2015 Dallas Symposium Speakers

Aug 18, 2015

Dallas Symposium 2015 Line-Up

Back in 2010, a handful of well-known fine rock and mineral experts in attendance at the Arkenstone's Grand Opening event offered to share their expertise with other participants, by giving an impromptu presentation. The audience was thrilled by the event, asking that the presentation of speakers continue the next year – and thus the first Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium was held in 2011. Since then, the event has continued to grow and contribute its knowledge to the fine rock and mineral community.

This year, attendees will gather from around the world to meet August 21st-23rd, at the Eisemann Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas. The event will feature world-renowned speakers, covering broad topics ranging from market to mine. This educational experience offers value and appeal for all levels of fine rock and mineral enthusiasts, regardless of expertise.

Previous speakers have included notable field collectors, published authors, and well-established fine rock and mineral dealers – all of whom have shown an incredible willingness to support and contribute to the knowledge and skills of their audience. This year is no exception – and iRocks is excited to introduce the 2015 roster of speakers.

Learn about fine minerals, especially tanzanite, from Brice Gobin, who frequently visits mine locations throughout the world hunting crystals. Brice Gobin will be presenting a talk on natural tanzanite crystals found in Tanzania

Brice Gobin
Mineral collector and expert Brice Gobin comes from a long line of gem and mineral enthusiasts, with a family business which has operated for 4 decades. A world-known traveler, he often visits the source of production in order to acquire unique, exceptional, and rare specimens, and create a direct connection between miners and clientele.

Brice's passion for the natural sciences began at a young age, when his father (himself a renowned mineral dealer and collector) took Brice for a visit to Paris's Natural History Museum. 5-year-old Brice was sparked by that first visit, and it forever sealed his passion for gem & mineral collecting.

Learn more about Brice


Learn about the famous Tsumeb Mine from Dr. Robert Bowell, one of the world's foremost experts on this incredible mining locality. World-traveler Robert Bowell is an expert in Africa's Tsumeb Mine and other African minerals, which will be covered in his two presentations this year.

Robert Bowell
Dr. Robert Bowell is a geochemist and first-class honors graduate of both Manchester and Southhampton Universities. He is currently a corporate consultant at SRK, with over 28 years of mining industry experience with TCL, Goldfields, Ashanti, and BHP.

Gathered over years of personal and business travel, Rob’s mineral collection contains specimens from 115 different countries. He specializes in pyromorphite and apatite group minerals, micromounts, and African minerals – especially those originating near Tsumeb, where he has traveled extensively. He is pleased to lend his expertise to those interested in learning more about this African mine's fine minerals.

Rob currently divides his time between projects in Namibia, Zambia and Niger, and his UK home.

Learn more about Rob


Learn about tourmalines and other stones from Madagascar at the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium. In addition to running one of the worlds best mineral cleaning labs, Dr. Pezzotta is also an expert on Madagascar.

Dr. Federico Pezzotta
Dr. Federico Pezzotta, mineralogy curator at the Natural History Museum of Milan, Italy, obtained his doctorate in isotope geochemistry from the University of Milan, and the CNR of Pisa. He is currently acting Chairman of the IMA-Museum Commission (since 2013), and Associated Editor of the Journal of Gemmology and Director of the Editorial Board of the Rivista Mineralogica Italiana.

Dr. Pezzotta has worked as a private consultant since 1994, working with companies prospecting for gemstones of pegmatitic origin in Madagascar, Nigeria, Malawi, and Brazil. He is also skilled at mineral specimen preparation, with over 20 years of experience, and founded an advanced mineral preparation lab in 2013.

As an expert in the mineralogy and petrology of granitic and gem-bearing pegmatites, Dr. Pezzotta is a renowned international keynote speaker. After receiving several awards, in 2003 he was honored with the naming of the new mineral and gemstone pezzottaite, from Madagascar.

Learn more about Federico


Learn about the Mineralogical Record from Tom Gressman Tom Gressman knows the ins and outs of the Mineralogical Record, a must-read for mineral enthusiasts.

Tom Gressman
Tom Gressman has been a mineral collector for more than 60 years, and has served the Mineralogical Record for many of them, beginning as a fundraising volunteer at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show's annual auction in 1976, then as a Member of the Board of Directors (beginning in 1990). In 2009, Tom joined the Mineralogical Record staff as Associate Publisher and Circulation Director.

With unique insider knowledge from his time on staff, Tom will detail a history of the Mineralogical Record, a publication so significant and vital to the mineral world.

Learn more about Tom


If you want to learn about African minerals, Dr. Bruce Cairncross is a legend in the field! An undeniable expert in African minerals, Dr. Bruce Cairncross will give two presentations at the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium

Dr. Bruce Cairncross
After completing his MSc at the University of Natal in 1979, Dr. Bruce Cairncross worked as a coal geologist for Rand Mines before embarking on his PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand. He then joined Rand Afrikaans University in 1989 (now the University of Johannesburg) and has been Head of the Geology Department since 2003. He is currently Professor of Geology at the University of Johannesburg.

Dr. Cairncross enjoys photographing minerals, as well as documenting the mineral localities of South Africa and neighboring countries – and he publishes extensively on these topics. He has been an avid mineral collector for over 40 years, and currently includes approximately 7,200 specimens in his collection (most originating from the southern African region).

Dr. Cairncross serves on the editorial board of The Mineralogical Record and Rocks & Minerals. He was previously Chairman of the Geological Museum Association in Johannesburg, for 12 years. In 2013, the mineral cairncrossite (discovered by Dr. Ludi Von Bezing in the Kalahari manganese field) was named in his honor.

Learn more about Bruce


If you want to learn about Moroccan minerals, including vanadinite from Mibladen, The Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium features a talk by expert Tomasz Praszkier Adventurer Tomasz Praszkier travels to Morocco multiple times a year hunting new mineral finds.

Tomasz Praszkier
Tomasz (Tom) Praszkier developed his interest in geology early in childhood – participating in his first real collecting trip at age 7, and starting his first geological publication in high school. Over the subsequent 30 years, Tom has visited many interesting geological localities, from active volcanos to paleontological and mineralogical locations – mostly in Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA.

After graduating from Warsaw University, Tom spent the next few years teaching before publishing several scientific papers (mostly in paleontology and stratigraphy), as well as countless popular science articles and books. His latest project is MINERALS newspaper, which he edits and publishes. 10,000 copies are distributed, for free, at several of the world’s biggest mineral shows.

Tom is also president of the “Spirifer” Geological Society, which is focused on geological education for children and promotion of earth science – with goals to open a museum. The Society currently maintains a collection of approximately 20,000 specimens (many of which are self-collected by members).

Tom is also promotor of the biggest mineral shows in Poland (including Crystal Days). He also frequently visits Morocco, and is currently working on a mineralogical monograph of the country.

Learn more about Tom


The speakers will also be available to answer questions at the banquet dinner, taking place at the Renaissance Hotel (located just across the street from the Eisemann Center), on Saturday, August 22.

To learn more about this year's presentations at the 2015 Dallas Symposium, or to register for the event, please visit the event website.

*Original biographies and descriptions can be found on the Dallas Symposium Speaker page.