Research in the mineralogy section stands in the tradition of collection-related research projects in museums. It ties in with the directions of work which stood in the center of research in the Museum for Mineralogy and Geology Dresden since the 1930s.
The then curator for mineralogy, Dr. Walther Fischer (employee since 1925, curator from 1930 to 1946), worked on numerous research subjects which show an immediate connection with the unique collections of the Dresden museum grown over centuries. Beside the introduction of a scientific collection documentation, these were particularly works on the regional and systematic mineralogy of Saxony, Saxon gemstones and semi-precious stones, the occurrence of mineral raw materials as well as science and collection history.
This tradition of collection-related basic research as well as applied museum-specific subjects were continued by curator Dr. Werner Quellmalz (curator from 1958 to 1994). Main focus areas of his research activity can be found in works on mineral systematic (Argentopyrite, Sternbergite), regional mineralogy of Saxony (contributions to state mineralogy), gemmology (local semi-precious stone deposits, investigation of semi-precious stone sets of the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), systematic gemmology) as well as science history (contributions to the commemorative Agricola issue, collection history).
Scientific collection documentation
Since 1992, essential progress in the scientific collection documentation could be made through the introduction of computer-aided collection management. Parts of the mineralogical collection were newly processed and entered into a database. The aims of this work are the increased availability of information about the collection for continuing research and exhibition projects as well as the production of topical collection catalogs. The first publication of this kind could be presented in 1997 with the “Catalogue of Meteorites in the State Museum for Mineralogy and Geology Dresden”.
With the acquisition of an X-ray diffractometer Siemens D5000 (since 2015 Bruker AXS D8 ADVANCE) scientific investigations and mineral identification on collection material can be carried out in an in-house laboratory with the method of X-ray diffractometry since 1997. This scientific method of mineral identification is used for the identification of accessions, to revise the inventoried old collection stock and as a service for mineral collectors.
Regional mineralogy and mineral topography of Saxony
Collection-related researches about the mineral topography of Saxony are very important. Monographic treatments of selected source regions (minerals from the Döhlener Becken, minerals from Schneeberg, minerals from Marienberg, minerals from the Osterzgebirge), literature collections and arrangements about mineral deposits in Saxony as well as deposit researches (historical and new gold deposits in Saxony) are contributions to the state mineralogy of Saxony.
The mineralogical collections are intensely used for in-house exhibitions and research projects as well as from guest researchers which has been reflected in numerous publications in which the collection or collection material is described and minerals from the Dresden collection are illustrated.
Saxon semi-precious stones and gemstones
A special area of research on the regional mineralogy of Saxony are the investigations to the local semi-precious stone deposits. Beside literature evaluation as well as documentation and revision work in the collection of Saxon minerals historical semi-precious stone deposits are researched. At that, special meaning is given to the rediscovery of forgotten sites of discovery beside the systematic sampling of the semi-precious stone deposits. With the researches about the mining and processing of Saxon semi-precious stones, a long-standing cooperation with the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD; State Art Collections Dresden) can be noted.
Museum and collection history
Works on science and collection history (History of Mineralogy and the Collecting of Minerals, History of the Mineral Collection of the Dresden Museum with the Baldauf Collection and the Racknitz Collection, Mineral Collection of the Natural History Collection Waldenburg) complement the research profile in the mineralogy section.
Bibliography of the geologic literature about Saxony
With the publication of the bibliography of the geologic literature about Saxony, a long-standing tradition in the Saxon region is continued. It found its origin in the bibliographies of Alfred Jentzsch (1874) for the period from 1835 to 1873 and was continued till 1950 by Kurt Pietzsch (1922, 1953).
Since 1951, when the then manager of the museum Hans Prescher took over the literature documentation, these compilations are published by the museum (1963, 1969, 1971, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2007). With the publication for the period in 2006-2010, published in 2016 in the publication of the Museum for Mineralogy and Geology Dresden, the 12th bibliography of geoscientific literature about Saxony was presented. At the moment the literature for the periods 2011-2015 and from 2016 onwards is being compiled.
The PDF files of the periods 1996-2010 can be downloaded under Geologica Saxonica – Journal of Central European Geology under Sachsenbibliographie.
Heavy metal extraction from industrial and mining waste
Apart from the above, a research project on the subject heavy metal production from industrial and mining waste was realized until 2012. The aim of the work was the development of ecologically friendly procedures of the extraction of metals from electroplating sludge and acid mine drainage by microorganisms and safe organic acids.