Marsh Mineralogy Award

The Marsh Award for Mineralogy aims to recognise individuals (or groups of individuals) based in the UK who have made a significant contribution to the field of mineralogy, yet whose efforts have not necessarily been widely recognised to date

The  Award recognises those who have contributed significant work to the field, through popular publications, websites, collecting and donating natural history collections to museums, superb preparation or conservation of specimens in public collections, as well as artistic or technical innovations. Those nominated can be of either amateur or professional status.

Nominations for the Award can be made via Natural History Museum’s website and the final winners are put forward to the MCT for approval.

Pictured: Roy Starkey, 2016 winner, installing specimens at the Lapworth Museum

This Award was previously run in partnership with the Natural History Museum.

Dr Jolyon Ralph 2019

Dr Ralph’s love of minerals started at a young age when he found a quartz crystal on a beach in Cornwall. Throughout his childhood he would often spend time at the Natural History Museum exploring the collections. His other great passion is computing, from 1982 when he got is first home computer to today.

In 1993, he decided to combine these two passions and build his own database of minerals and their localities from scratch, and he called it mindat. However, it wasn’t until 2000 when he decided to convert the database into a website that other people could contribute to. In 2013, he devoted himself full time to running the website

Mindat has become an essential resource within the mineral world, acting as the leading source of information regarding minerals and their localities. The site encompasses over 5 million pages detailing information on mineral species, rocks, localities, photographs, glossary entries and more. The website saw over 4 million visitors in 2018 and has allowed for a community of users to come together and explore the world of mineralogy together.

Previous Winners

Steve Rust

Steve is well known to the mineral collecting community in the UK and through his work at Crystal Classics in Somerset. Over the past 45 years, his relentless fieldwork has resulted in many new discoveries in both species and topographic mineralogy.

Steve began collecting with his brother Don from a young age and together they wrote detailed accounts of their finds and observations in early publications, such as Mineral Realm. One such article detailed their discoveries in the disused Milltown Quarry in Derbyshire in the early 1980s which were destined to become the type specimens for the minerals Ashoverite and Sweetie. In 2008, Steve discovered a mineral new to science in Ceredigion, a lead-copper thiosulphate which was named Steverustite in his honour.

Steve is a recognised expert in visual mineral identification and focus-stacking digital photography and is currently working on his new book, The Mineralogy of Frongoch Mine. He commands an amazing knowledge of British mineralogy as well as the Larium-Karamiza mining district in Greece. He is also a regular contributor and administrator to Mindat, an essential database and website for mineralogists.

David Green

David has been at the forefront of encouraging specimen mineralogy in the UK for almost 40 years since his ‘hobby’ became his livelihood. For many years, he was a curator of Earth Sciences at the Manchester Museum and was successful in substantially improving the collections through donations and acquisitions as well as overseeing the complete redevelopment of the minerals gallery, which is now one of the highlights at the museum.

David is an active and successful researcher and field collector and pursues his interest in mineralogy across the UK, regularly turning up new finds. He also has an exemplary publication record and he was Editor of the UK Journal of Mines and Minerals which was published from 1986 to 2013. David’s photography skills came to light through the Journal, where he developed a range of techniques and equipment which made him a master at photographing the very small. He is always helpful to other collectors and enthusiasts, providing support with analysis and identification.

Roy Starkey

Roy is an amateur mineralogist and has dedicated his life to his passion for British topographic mineralogy and in support of others who seek the same aims. Roy was instrumental in the formation of the British Micromount Society (BMS) in 1981 and membership levels remain high, with Roy continuing to take an active role as their President, regularly hosting the meetings of the West Midlands Branch at his home.

Over the years, Roy has donated specimens of British minerals which he has collected to nearly every major museum in Britain, including the Natural History Museum, the Royal Scottish Museum and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. He is also a great believer in encouraging others to have an interest in the science of mineralogy and has never once sought to sell specimens for profit, rather he would prefer to provide them for free for others enjoyment.

Roy is well-known for his broad range of talks to a number of mineralogy societies and he freely provides information to academics and collectors alike about the many localities he has visited – giving useful tips on where best to find specimens, after having spent many days and lots of resources to find them himself.

Roy’s first book, Crystal Mountains Minerals of the Cairngorms, was published in 2014 and is a culmination of over 25 years of fieldwork and research in a historically important mineral-producing region. He is currently engaged in research for his second book, The Minerals of the English Midlands, which is due for publication in 2018. As part of this, he has photographed specimens from all the major museums in Britain, and the high quality photographs have been provided freely to the institutions, as an accurate and useful record of specimens.