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Werner Lieber
(1925-    )

Werner F. Lieber, prominent German mineral photographer and author, was born in Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany on January 18, 1925. He attended Gymnasium (college) there from 1935 to 1943, then served in the German Navy during World War II before returning home and enrolling at the University of Karlsruhe in 1946. He received his Diplom-Chemiker degree (Chemistry and Mineralogy) there in 1953, and continued his studies for another two years until receiving his Doctorate in Natural Sciences. After graduation in 1955 he joined the Heidelberg Cement firm where he worked until his retirement in 1988, rising to the position of chief chemist of the research laboratory.

Lieber's first exposure to minerals came in 1946 when he happened to see a jeweler's showcase containing a "rough and cut" exhibit of gemstones and uncut natural crystals. He took courses in mineralogy at the University and was soon collecting minerals himself; he eventually built a substantial personal collection of about 1,500 specimens in the 7 x 9-cm size range, all systematically arranged. Lieber has traveled widely and field-collected at many localities in the U.S., Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Great Britain, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Ceylon, Australia (including Tasmania), China, South Africa, Namibia, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Mexico. His first exchange of specimens with the Smithsonian Institution took place in 1967.

Lieber's first published article in an American magazine appeared in Rocks & Minerals in 1954 (an article on the Idar-Oberstein gem center). Since then his personal bibliography has grown to 134 books and articles in most of the leading mineral magazines including Mineralogical Record, Lapis, and Der Aufschluss. He is an Honorary Member and past President (until 1971) of the VFMG (the German "Friends of Mineralogy and Geology"), a Member of the German Mineralogical Society since 1952, and is an Honorary (lifetime) Member of the American Friends of Mineralogy. He also served as editor of the VFMG's journal, Der Aufschluss, from 1957 to 1961. He founded the first organization for mineral collectors in Heidelberg in 1956 and served as its Director for 17 years; he also established in Heidelberg one of the first two German mineral shows in 1964, the other being the famous Mineralientage München ("Munich Mineral Days") founded that same year. In addition, he has been a member of the Advisory Board for Lapis magazine (where he published over 50 articles), and was a member of the board of Associate Photographers of the Mineralogical Record from 1976 to 2006.

Werner Lieber is perhaps best known internationally as one the small coterie of master mineral photographers in the 1960s-1990s. His ten published books are lavishly illustrated with his own photography and photomicrography, taken primarily in 2¼-square (6 x 6-cm) format with a Rolleiflex camera (up to 5X magnification), a Zeiss binocular microscope (up to 15X magnification) and a Leitz Aristophot (up to 30X magnification). His book Der Mineraliensammler ("The Mineral Collector") went through seven editions from 1963 to 1978, and his book Kristalle unter der Lupe ("Crystals Under the Magnifier") became a classic study of the beauty of microminerals. Many hundreds of his photos have been published in his various works, as well as books and articles by other authors.

Lieber donated his collection in 1995 to the Mineralogy Department at the University of Karlsruhe, where it is on exhibition.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - Werner Lieber Werner Lieber (right) with Prof. Paul Ramdohr (head of the Mineralogical Institute at the University of Heidelberg) in 1973
The Mineralogical Record - Werner Lieber Der Mineraliensammler ("The Mineral Collector") (seven editions in 1963-1978)
The Mineralogical Record - Werner Lieber Bunte Welt der schonen Steine ("Colorful World of Beautiful Rocks") (1969 and 1978)
The Mineralogical Record - Werner Lieber Kristalle unter der Lupe ("Crystals Under the Magnifier") (1972)
The Mineralogical Record - Werner Lieber Kristalle - wie sie wirklich sind ("Crystals as They Really Are") (1977)
The Mineralogical Record - Werner Lieber Menschen, Minen, Mineralien ("Men, Mines, Minerals") (1978)
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