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Book Launch and soirée of autographs of the book:

Authors: Carlos Cornejo & Andrea Bartorelli

Friday, May 28, 2010 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Livraria Cultura - Conjunto Nacional, 
térreo, Avenida Paulista, 2.073 - São Paulo - SP. Phone (55-11) 3170-4033

Silvia Rita dos Santos
Solaris Edições Culturais
Rua Tavares Bastos, 205 – Perdizes – São Paulo – SP – Brasil – CEP 05012-020 
Phones (55-11) 3675-0307 / 3675-6396 – Cell. Phone (55-11) 8686-8331

Carlos Cornejo: Cell. phone (55-11) 8259-9411, Phone (55-11) 3675-0307. 
Andrea Bartorelli: Phone (55-11) 3814-9169.

The book Minerals & Precious Stones of Brazil is unique in its kind and was afforded with the sponsorship of Vale by means of the Federal Law of Cultural Incentive. It presents a vast historical and iconographic panorama of the national production of minerals and precious stones, with chapters dedicated to Indian lithic art of Brazil, the beginning of mineralogy in the Country recorded by European travelers, naturalists and mineralogists, as well as cabinets of curiosities, mineralogical museums, private collections and collections of the Court of the Imperial Family, emphasizing the Museu Nacional, the Museu Ciências da Terra, the Museu de Ciência e Técnica of the Escola de Minas of Ouro Preto and the Museu de Geociências of the Universidade of São Paulo.

Still regarding the historical aspect, the work broaches the description of new minerals in Brazil and the gold and diamond cycles, with pictures of great interest drawn by travelers, as well as splendid sceneries during the gold rush of Serra Pelada in recent decades, registering for the first time in a book the biggest gold nuggets still preserved in the World, which belong to the collection of the Museu de Valores of the Banco Central, in Brasilia.

The book depicts some of the most beautiful, amazing and valuable brazilian specimens of emerald, aquamarine, heliodore, morganite, tourmaline, garnet, topaz, euclase, amethyst and diamond, many of them unique and that render Brazil one of  the World’s major producers of gems.

According to Luiz Alberto Dias Menezes Filho, in the foreword of the book: This book describes Brazilian minerals, masterpieces of nature, which endowed our subsoil with incomparable wealth of variety and quality. The authors opted to place emphasis on the history of mineralogy in Brazil, closely linked with the history of Brazilian mining, which has been characterized by a series of superlatives: Brazil was leading world producer of gold and of diamonds between the mid-18th century and the mid-19th century. At the present time, it is the leading world producer of iron ore, tin and niobium, and an important producer of manganese, aluminum, silicon, tantalum, rare earths, graphite, magnesite and countless other ores. In the field of collection and gemological minerals, Brazil is the leading world producer of tourmaline (of all colors), of quartz (colorless, rutilated, amethyst and agate), of beryl (aquamarine, morganite and heliodore, and the second ranking world producer of emerald), of topaz (imperial, blue and colorless), alexandrite, euclase, phenakite and many others.

On behalf of Brazilian mineral collectors, who contributed most of the photos, I would like to thank the company VALE for the pioneer and notable initiative of sponsoring the publication of this book, which should contribute to portray the extremely rich history of Brazilian mining, with an emphasis on small pegmatite mining ventures, factories of dreams and of illusions, which do not only provide conditions for subsistence and progress in some of the poorest regions of Brazil, but also enabled the recovery of these spectacular minerals, generating important funds for the Nation, as well as extremely valuable scientific knowledge. On the other hand, we emphasize that the vast majority of those samples were produced at small claims, and only a small part came from industrial mining ventures (such as red scheelite, pink apatite, siderite, dolomite and the quartz from the Mina de Morro Velho; and uvite, the twinned “Japan law” quartz, hematite, magnesite, dolomite, nováèekite and metazeunerite from the mines of Brumado, among others), where they were probably collected by mine employees. If this had not happened, these spectacular samples, of immense scientific and commercial value, would have been crushed and milled. Hence we would like to take the opportunity to suggest that mining companies and their technical staffs consider the possibility of introducing a methodology for the collection and preservation of mineral samples at their mines, or that they outsource this collection. This is accomplished successfully in mining ventures in other parts of the world, without prejudice to the normal operation of the mines, allowing the recovery of an extremely important scientific legacy, and also even generating a financial return for companies.

This book formed gradually like a crystal, incorporating, page by page, extraordinary mineral treasures and true masterpieces of Nature. To produce this paper museum, we went around mines and garimpos, visited museums and libraries, and came into contact with collectors, scientists, miners and garimpeiros. Brazil is one of the greatest producers of minerals of economic importance,  precious stones and mineralogical collection specimens in the world, which explains the relevance of a publication that describes the amazing wealth of the
mineral kingdom in the country.

We wished to highlight lithic art and the use of minerals by indigenous peoples, the history of great discoveries of noble metals and gemstone minerals, and the excellent, sometimes unique specimens, that exist in museums and private collections. All illustrated with refined photographic technique, justifying the publication of a book that reunites images of the marvels that have already been found in Brazilian subsoil, faithfully reproducing their habits, crystallization, color and luster, besides focusing on aspects of their extraction, with abundant documentation portraying the landscape and the people from the back country of Brazil, from the gold claims of the Amazon, passing through the diamondiferous and precious stone producing regions of the Northeast and Southeast, to the agate and amethyst claims of the tablelands of Rio Grande do Sul. The book covers aspects related essentially to mineral production and dates back to colonial times, gathering reports from travelers and naturalists, besides reproductions of prints produced by notable illustrators, with important historical images forming part of this documentation.We emphasize that the book also addresses minerals as subjects of cultural interest, instilling in readers the perception of precious stones and minerals as natural aesthetic products, to be protected so that future generations can contemplate this irreplaceable legacy of Nature.

I am immensely grateful to everyone that helped in the creation of this work, placing their collections of minerals, documents and photographs at our disposal, or sharing their experiences and knowledge. I am also grateful to those that, to dig up the treasures of the generous Mother Earth, lead a life of adventures and sacrifices at mines, claims and garimpos. I also pay tribute to my mother, María del Rosario Chacón Yensen, deceased while I was writing the book, who not only gave me life, but communicated her enthusiasm for life to me.

Finally, I wish to thank VALE for its valuable support that made this book possible.

In the start of the editorial project of this book we were surprised by the enthusiastic support of friends, collectors, scholars, technicians, miners, prospectors, claim owners and museums, which ceaselessly flowed in with specimens, photographs, documents, texts, suggestions, corrections. They kindly put at our disposition their collections, showcases and safes, making them available to be photographed and documented with all the dedication they required. Their contributions were such that the book grew bulkier in an unexpected manner. The minerals are reproduced in the photographs as they were found in Nature, having not been submitted to any process of cutting or polishing, except in the case of agates and cut stones. We have also reunited the history of emerald, gold and diamond cycles, as well as accounts of the great discoveries or bamburros and their protagonists, besides reports on modern mineral discoveries, such as that of the iron of Serra dos Carajás. One of the most highly esteemed Brazilians dedicated to mineralogy was José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, the Patriarch of Independence and the greatest mineralogist and collector of Brazil of his time. Members of the Imperial Family also dedicated to interesting collections, such as the Empress Leopoldina, the Emperor Dom Pedro II and specially Prince Dom Pedro Augusto de Saxe-Coburgo-Gotha e Bragança.  With this publication we hope to instill the appreciation and the preservation of specimens of the various mineral species, a unique and rare legacy, comparable to the most valuable art masterpieces. If this book awakens interest in Brazil’s precious and amazing mineralogical and cultural heritage, it will justify the efforts of all those who collaborated with us for its achievement, an enjoyable task that provided us with the opportunity to come into contact with all the people passionate about the wonderful mineral world.