“My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.”
I recalled those words from Forrest Gump when I acquired this little mineralogical "delicacy" from an elderly lady in the Siegerland. It is a remarkable miniature collection of 22 Dioptase specimens, one Cerussite and one Azurite from Tsumeb Mine in a box of chocolate candies from Kazmaier Schokoladenfabrik in Windhoek in a typical design of the 1960s.
This small collection is also a charming symbol for a special part of the Siegerländer mining history, which has created a close connection with the Tsumeb Mine. The history of this mine is inextricably linked with German miners, who emigrated at the beginning of the last century, especially from the Siegerland. Most of them came from the Herdorfer and Daadener area.
One of the most famous Siegerländer emigrants was the Herdorfer Steiger Josef Hellinghausen. He emigrated to Tsumeb in 1925 and returned temporarily to Herdorf following the temporary closure of the mine during the depression years. But the yearning for the exotic country persisted. When the mine was put back into service in 1937 and a request from OMEG reached him, Hellinghausen emigrated to Tsumeb again.
Back in the 1980s, I had the opportunity to visit the "Tsumeb veteran" -now over 90 years old- finally returned to his home in Herdorf in his gorgeous African-style house. It was a fascinating meeting with the "Tsumeb legend".
This small collection in the box of chocolates originally came from the possession of Josef Hellinghausen. It was a gift from him to the lady, when she was still a child.
This truly is a unique artefact of the relations between the Siegerland and Tsumeb mining districts.