Alpine Mineral Museum in Seedorf, Switzerland

Author: Zbyněk Buřival
Published: 07.09.2020 10:39
Last updated: 18.09.2020 01:35

Detailed photo report from the 2019 visit of the famous Uri Mineral Museum in Seedorf, Switzerland. The mineral exhibition includes wide variety of the high quality Alpine minerals.

The Uri Mineral Museum is located in the small village Seedorf, about 50 km south from Zürich and 2 km west from small town Altdorf. The museum is located in the former economic stone building of a nearby A Pro castle (also spelled Apro or A-Pro). The building was restored in 1978-1981 and placed under protection as a landmark and cultural heritage. Currently, the museum is under the patronage of the Urner Mineralienfreunde (UMF), which has been managing the exhibitions since the first opening on 30th May in 1981.

Seedorf mineral museum room with displays and text panels
Historic building of the Seedorf Mineral Museum. Photo: Urner Mineralienfreunde

The museum is open only from May to October. However, the exhibition is changing every year, so its well worth the repeated visits. The museum is in the historic stone and timber building from 16th century. There are several rooms with the total od 16 displays and lot of decorative items, info panels and large historic and current photos around them. There is also a special DVD-room where you can watch documents about collecting in the Alps.

One of the special features of this museum is the chance to see top specimens of the local collectors. These mineral hunters, known under the German term Strahler (or Cristallier in French), include both hobby collectors and hardcore professionals. Some of the local families collect crystals for living for several generations. The high-altitude Alpine season is very short and collecting many of the displayed specimens requires huge experience, skill, lot of patience and of course luck.

Seedorf mineral museum room with displays and text panels
One of the Seedorf museum rooms with displays and text panels.
Mineral display with quartz, calcite and amiant from Switzerland
Displays with minerals are nicely arranged and well lit.
Display full of big gwindel quartz specimens from Switzerland.
Nerve wrecking display full of big gwindel quartz specimens from Switzerland.
Displays with huge quartz crystal clusters from Swiss Alps
Displays with big quartz crystal clusters from Swiss Alps.
Huge smoky quartz cluster with gwindels from Siwtzerland
Huge smoky quartz cluster (including several gwindels!) from Switzerland.

Mineral Museum Seedorf – opening times and price

The current entry fee is 7 CHF (or €7) with discounts for students, seniors and groups. You can also buy some mineral magazines and books in the museum, unfortunately for foreign visitors, all are in German. If you speak German, you can enjoy also the guided tour. The current rates and opening times are available here.

Unfortnately, due to covid-19 circumstances, the planned 2020 exhibition of “Minerals from Surselva” was cancelled completely and the museum is shut-down for the season. Details of the current exhibition are available here.

The gwindel quartz exhibition of 2019

The current report – including photos – is from the season 2019. The topic of the exhibition was “gwindel”, which is a special growth form of quartz. Almost parallel quartz crystals grow on each other with slightly twisted orientation, forming typical bent or twisted crystal shapes. Gwindels (from German “gewunden” = twisted) are typical for the Alps, but they may occur in some other areas with Alpine type fissures – like in Prepolar Ural’s localities Dodo and Puiva (Russia). If you are interested in details, check the detailed explanation and description of gwindels.

Gwindels have two common forms. The prevailing form is so called open gwindel (in French “peigne”), the much more exceptional form is the closed gwindel (in French “sucre”). Also the half-open (or semi-closed) form exists, these gwindels have one side shaped as the closed gwindel and the other one as the open gwindel. As there are left- and right-handed quartz crystals, also gwindels can be twisted clock-wise or counter clock-wise.

The 2019 season included lots of quartz specimens with minor prehnite, amiant (amphibole asbest), calcite, epidote, brookite, anatase and only few fluorites. However, several displays were dedicated to gwindels only, including some very nicely shaped closed gwindels (even on matrix), huge open gwindels and very interesting and rare morion (black quartz) gwindels. Vast majority of the specimens was from the Kanton Uri with significantly less from Kantons Wallis (Valais), Tizino (Ticino) and Graubünden.

You can find the older report with photos from 2002 season at kristalle.ch.

Alpine prehnite crystals from Maderanertal, Switzerland
Nice prehnite crystals from Maderanertal, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Pale green prehnite from Valle Maggia, Switzerland
Typical pale green prehnite from Valle Maggia, Kanton Ticino, Switzerland.
Amphibole asbest (amiant) with clear quartz from Maderanertal, Switzerland
Amphibole asbest (amiant) with clear quartz from Maderanertal, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
calcite crystal with smoky quartz from Schattigwichel, Switzerland
Less common nice calcite crystal with smoky quartz from Schattigwichel, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Classic red Alpine fluorite from Göscheneralp, Switzerland
Classic red Alpine fluorite on albitized matrix from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Alpine fluorite from Galenstock, Kanton Uri, Switzerland
Pale fluorite with pink core from Galenstock, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Cluster of quartz, adularia, brookite and anatase from Riedertobel, Switzerland
Big cluster of quartz and adularia with brookite and anatase from Riedertobel, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Epidote crystals on quartz from Alp Cavrein, Switzerland
Epidote crystals on quartz from Alp Cavrein, Kanton Graubünden, Switzerland.
Amethyst and quartz from Kanton Ticino, Switzerland
Left: Tessiner habitus quartz with siderite from Foppe Airolo, Kanton Ticino, Switzerland.
Right: Scepter amethyst from Leventina, Kanton Ticino, Switzerland.
Alpine amethyst crystals from Fieschergletscher, Switzerland
Unusual Alpine amethyst crystals from Fieschergletscher, Kanton Wallis (Valais), Switzerland.
smoky quartz cluster from Göscheneralp, Switzerland
Classic smoky quartz cluster with perfect color and clarity from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
dark gemmy smoky quartz crystals from Tiefengletscher, Switzerland
Big cluster of dark gemmy smoky quartz crystals from Tiefengletscher, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
clear quartz crystals with minor chlorite and adularia from Cavardias, Switzerland
Huge clear quartz crystals with minor chlorite and adularia from Cavardias, Kanton Graubünden, Switzerland.
smoky quartz with adularia from Valle Verzasca, Switzerland
Pale smoky quartz with adularia from Valle Verzasca, Kanton Ticino, Switzerland.
crystal cluster of gemmy smoky quartz with adularia from Galmihorn, Switzerland
Perfect cluster of gemmy smoky quartz with adularia from Galmihorn, Kanton Wallis (Valais), Switzerland.
smoky quartz gwindel from Fieschergletscher, Switzerland
Big and very nice shaped smoky quartz gwindel from Fieschergletscher, Kanton Wallis (Valais), Switzerland.
chlorite covered smoky quartz gwindel from Furka Pass, Switzerland
Big and partially chlorite covered smoky quartz gwindel from Furka Pass, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
gemmy smoky quartz gwindel from Fedenstock, Switzerland
Honey-colored and gemmy smoky quartz gwindel from Fedenstock, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
smoky quartz gwindels on matrix from Göscheneralp, Switzerland
Two less developed open smoky quartz gwindels on matrix from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Perfect smoky quartz gwindels from Kanton Uri, Switzerland
Perfect smoky quartz gwindels from Furka Pass (left) and Fedenstock (right), Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
pale smoky quartz gwindels on matrix from Furka Pass, Switzerland
Two big pale smoky quartz gwindels on matrix from Furka Pass, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Clear quartz gwindel with minor chlorite from Grimsel Pass, Switzerland
Clear quartz gwindel with minor chlorite from Grimsel Pass, Kanton Bern, Switzerland.
smoky quartz gwindels from Switzerland
Great smoky quartz gwindels from unknown locality (left) and Tiefengletscher, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
smoky quartz gwindel with chlorite from Furka Pass, Switzerland
Big smoky quartz gwindel with chlorite from Furka Pass, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
smoky quartz crystals cluster with several gwindels from Göscheneralp, Switzerland
Great smoky quartz cluster with several gwindels from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.

CLOSED GWINDEL

Unique morion black quartz gwindels from Göscheneralp, Switzerland
Unique morion (black quartz) gwindels from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland. Left closed gwindel, right classic open gwindel.
Smoky quartz crystals from Galenstock, Kanton Uri, Switzerland
Smoky quartz crystals from Galenstock, Kanton Uri, Switzerland. Left closed gwindel with imperfect shape, right faden quartz (white straw inside the crystal).
smoky quartz semi-closed gwindel from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland
Classic golden-brown colored smoky quartz semi-closed gwindel from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Smoky quartz cluster with closed gwindel from Val Giuv, Kanton Graubünden, Switzerland
Smoky quartz cluster with closed gwindel from Val Giuv, Kanton Graubünden, Switzerland.
Smoky quartz closed gwindel on matrix from Göscheneralp, Switzerland
Closed smoky quartz gwindel on matrix from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.
Semi-closed smoky quartz gwindel from Göscheneralp, Switzerland
Semi-closed smoky quartz gwindel from Göscheneralp, Kanton Uri, Switzerland.

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