Join mineralogist Roy Starkey as he reviews the fascinating history of “Cairngorm stones”.
The Cairngorms are the most extensive area of high mountain terrain in Britain. The area has given its name to gem quality smoky quartz but has also produced spectacular specimens of beryl and topaz. In Victorian times, hunting for crystals was both a popular pastime and a “cottage industry”, but nowadays the area is a National Park and few fine specimens come to light.
In 1811 it was reported that these “Cairngorm Stones” were so much sought after, that a number of the inhabitants flocked to these mountains in quest of gems; and purchasers from London, who were well acquainted with their value, came frequently to buy the precious stones from these people. Huge amounts of effort were expended in the search for precious stones and records suggest that by the early 1800s, the Cairngorm diggers had already trenched more than twenty acres to a depth of from five to six feet. It is a recorded fact that Queen Victoria ascended Beinn a’ Bhuird on 6 September 1850 and collected specimens of Cairngorm quartz.
This talk will review the fascinating history of “Cairngorm stones”, illustrated by images of notable specimens and explorations over the past 25 years or so.
Roy Starkey read geology at the University of Sheffield from 1974-1977 and has been a mineral collector for over 50 years. He has made a special study of the minerals of Scotland, and the Cairngorms in particular, and is the author of “Crystal Mountains – Minerals of the Cairngorms” published in 2014. He is a past-President of The Russell Society, and founder of the British Micromount Society. Author of many articles and papers on British mineralogy, he is also a regular speaker to mineralogical and geological societies. In his spare time he works as a volunteer at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham. He has just published his third book Making it Mine – Sir Arthur Russell and his Mineral Collection (see https://britishmineralogy.com/wordpress/)
Free, booking required: book here