2018 Speaker – Alain Martaud

Alain has been a collector and geologist for 40 years. He is a long-time mineral dealer, and his personal collection contains many French minerals. His favorites are his French fluorites. Alain is also essential to the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines show, heading up the organization for the special minerals exhibitions including “Hidden Treaures of Americas,” “Cu2+,” “Alps,” “Origins: The Colors of Wine and Stones,” “Geodes and Fumarolles: Minerals Related to Volcanism,” and most recently, the 2018 “Mineral Phantasms.” Alain also collaborates with museums, contributes to magazines such as Le Regne Mineral, and wrote the book “ The Minerals of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines.” Alain is also passionate about his hobby of cave photography.

French Fluorite Mines and Mining

France is a longtime mining country. The exploitation of fluorite began in the late 1800s, and a century later, in 1975, France ranked the third largest fluorspar ore-producing country.  Luckily, France also has a history of treasuring minerals, not only as a commodity, but also as fine crystal specimens. A large boom in fluorite collecting started in the 1960s, with special interest in the bright blue French fluorites.

Alain will take you for a tour to see some goodies from the best of the 900 known veins, including finds of blue cubes, red octahedrons, big yellows, stalactites, pseudomorphs and more, from the French Riviera to the summit of Mont-Blanc; from the middle-age silver mines of once-booming Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines to the underground quarries of Paris.

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