Pyromorphite on plumbogummite

Prismatic pyromorphite, up to 2 mm, on drusy plumbogummite from Roughton Gill mine, Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria probably collected in the late 1800's from underground. National Museum Wales specimen NMW 83.41G.M.7818, ex R.J. King coll. and ex. Bootle Museum. Photograph by Mick Cooper © Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales.

Welcome to The Russell Society

Welcome to the web site of The Russell Society, a national group of both amateur and professional mineralogists that encourages the study, recording and conservation of mineralogical sites, material and minerals. Members range from complete beginners to experts, who all share a great interest in minerals and share their knowledge with others. The Society is named in honour of Sir Arthur Russell, the foremost British mineral collector of the 20th century.

RusselliteThis site is for anybody with an interest in minerals and also introduces the Russell Society as a group of similarly interested people. There are full details about the Society and our activities plus information for members and non-members alike. If you are interested in joining the Society please use the options given to the right to obtain more information about membership of the Society.

The Society is divided into seven branches that cover different regions of Britain. Information on each branch, their area, contact details and activities is given in the Branch details menu. Details of meeting venues and Branch programmes are also published here.

Russellite from Hemerdon Bal Mine, Plympton, Devon, England. This is a rare bismuth tungstate mineral and is named after the British mineral collector Sir Arthur Russell. Photograph © Richard De Nul.

News and Events Headlines

Crystal Mountains - Minerals of the Cairngorms. New book available October 2014

Smoky quartz from the head of Loch Avon Roy Starkey's long-awaited book on the minerals of the Cairngorms was launched in Edinburgh on 25th September. (You can see some pictures of the event here. Copies will be available at the Sussex Mineral Show in Haywards Heath on 15th November.

Crystal Mountains - Minerals of the Cairngorms tells the story of the early crystal hunters who roamed the mountains and glens of the Cairngorms during the 18th and 19th centuries in search of Scotland's famous gem - the smoky quartz or cairngorm. The book provides a comprehensive history of this arduous and uncertain quest, and explains the geological background to the occurrence of the gem minerals. Lavishly illustrated with photographs of the wild and rugged scenery of the Cairngorms National Park, the text invites exploration and discovery.

More information...

The image is a smoky quartz from the head of Loch Avon a remote freshwater loch set deep within the central Cairngorms plateau, in the Cairngorms National Park.

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Herodsfoot Mine

Herodsfoot engine house South-West Branch member Richard Humphrey is the owner of the classic Cornish mine site of Herodsfoot mine (or North Herodsfoot) which is justifiably famous for the "cog-wheel ore" bournonite specimens that came from the mine.

Richard is undertaking a major project with the site and he has contributed a brief article on the mine and the work being undertaken to understand more about the mineralogy and the old mine workings.

The old engine house, shown here, and other remaining buildings on the site are being preserved and stabilised whilst the main goal is to access the old underground workings. See how he getting on. You can read his article here.

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An Appreciation of Sir Arthur Russell

Sir Arthur Russell. Photo courtesy of Bob Symes

The 24th February 2014 marks fifty years since the death of Sir Arthur Edward Ian Montague Russell (1878-1964) 6th Baronet, of Swallowfield Park, Reading, Berkshire. Sir Arthur was perhaps the greatest British mineral collector of the 20th century, and is revered across the World, by collectors of British minerals.

Roy Starkey has compiled an appreciation of Sir Arthur to mark the occasion, and this includes many previously unseen images, links to PDF files of his published papers, and a narrative reviewing his long and distinguished mineralogical career. This document is being made freely available for download on this web site. Click on this link for more information.

The image shown here is part of one taken from the document. It shows Sir Arthur Russell, in his field gear, at the Cheesewring Quarry, Linkinhorne, Cornwall on the International Geological Congress excursion to South-West England in 1948. Original photograph courtesy of Bob Symes.

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Dr Bob King 1923 - 2013

Dr Bob King

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Bob King, peacefully in his sleep, at home on 25th September.

Bob was the founder of The Russell Society and a former member of staff at the Geology Department of the University of Leicester. He was well-known in the world of earth science curation and a highly regarded field mineralogist.
Bob was born in 1923 in Leicester, England. He attended the City Boys School, Leicester, and later earned an MSc in Geology from Imperial College London in 1972. The mineralogy of Leicestershire was Bob's real passion and he pursued this interest as the subject of a PhD at the University of Leicester in 1973. His fine personal mineral collection was purchased by the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, in 1983.

The presentation of the first Russell Medal to Bob King, with his wife Sally, by Bob Symes at the RS AGM 1992.

In 1972, Bob founded the Russell Society, named in honour of his mentor Sir Arthur Russell, a body which continues to thrive today, 40 years later. Bob's professional interests embraced all aspects of mineralogy and geology, but especially curation of geological materials. He was a founder member of the Geological Curators Group and winner of its A. G. Brighton Medal in 1995. He was honoured by the naming of Offacolus kingi, a chelicerate arthropod which he discovered in the concretions of the Silurian-aged Wenlock Formation in Herefordshire (Orr et al., 2000), and in 2002 the mineral bobkingite was named for him (Hawthorne et al., 2002). A full obituary will appear in a future issue of the Russell Society Newsletter.

Our condolences go to his wife Sally and family.


  • Orr, P. J., Siveter, D. J., Briggs, D. E. G., and Sutton, M. D. (2000) A new arthropod from the Silurian Konservat-Lagerstätte of Herefordshire, UK. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 267: 1497-1504.

  • Hawthorne, F. C., Cooper, M. A. , Grice, J. D., Roberts, A. C., and Hubbard, N. (2002) Description and crystal structure of bobkingite, Cu2+5Cl2(OH)8(H2O)2, a new mineral from New Cliffe Hill Quarry, Stanton-under-Bardon, Leicestershire, UK. Mineralogical Magazine 66: 301-11.

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Russell Reflections Released

Front page from Russell Reflections After a lot work by members of the Society collecting, collating and compiling hundreds of photographs taken by members over the 40 years that the Russell Society has been in existence the document Russell Reflections has been released and can be downloaded from link on the News Page of this web site. Russell Reflections is a compilation of photographs, evoking nostalgic memories of the many aspects of the Russell Society, have been collected together from 1972-2012 as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations.
The full PDF file is posted in Dropbox and the link can be found in the News Page with other information. More information...

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More about the RS

The Russell Society is a society of amateur and professional mineralogists which encourages the study, recording and conservation of mineralogical sites and material.

Find out more: RS Information and history.

More on Sir Arthur Russell, the man and mineral collector, also includes images of Russell specimens and labels. Sir Arthur Russell


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11th August 2014

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