New British Update 16 February 2021

16 February 2021

This week we return to Great Britain as this remains a great favourite amongst collectors both within these shores and across the world. Considering the British Isles are relatively small, their geological and mineralogical diversity is quite remarkable.

Advanced mining technology probably first reached Britain during the occupation by the Roman Empire (AD 43 to AD 410). A second wave of mining expertise occurred during the Tudor period, especially that of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), when engineers from Saxony were invited here to improve mining and mineral processing methods.

Today’s selection of 21 specimens includes some interesting material from Cornwall and Somerset, a few historic pieces with fascinating provenance and some unusual items from the Northern Pennine ore field.

Rhodochrosite from Levant mine near to Land’s End in Cornwall is one of the rarer species seen from this area. Take a look at this excellent rosette of bright coral-pink translucent crystals, without doubt, this week’s bargain item.

Skipping counties and moving up to Somerset, the home of Crystal Classics, we have two rare species found at Torr Works quarry at Cranmore, close to Shepton Mallet, commonly know as Merehead quarry. Check out a great cabinet specimen of the rare lead oxychloride, Mendipite, named for the nearby Mendip Hills and a terrific thumbnail of the copper-manganese oxide, Crednerite.

Hilton mine in eastern Cumbria is always popular for its amazing yellow Fluorite and today’s selection does include a delightful miniature encrusted in quite gemmy, golden-lemon Fluorite crystals.

However, in addition we have a terrific example of the rare nickel mineralisation often mentioned occurring in this mine. Nickeline with Gersdorffite, Galena, Annabergite and Fluorite are all well represented on two accompanying specimens from the Dow Scar Flats at Hilton. This, displayed with a Hilton yellow Fluorite, will make a good complimentary pair.

Any selection from the British Isles really has to include a Weardale Fluorite or three. This update is no exception and one to draw your attention to is a superb large, cleaved corner of blackberry-purple Fluorite from one of the lesser known mines in Weardale, Burtree Pasture, north of the village of Cowshill. This is mottled in shades of light lavender, mid-violet and rich blackberry and in direct sunlight naturally fluoresces bright, vivid blackberry-purple with excellent zoning.

Another Fluorite with good daylight fluorescence is an asymmetric interpenetrant twin from Boltsburn mine at Rookhope. A mix of sherry and pale lilac, with internal zones of characteristic Boltsburn lilac. In direct sunlight the crystals naturally fluoresce dull lilac-purple and where light catches certain internal cleavage planes, brilliant patches of iridescent peacock colours play within the crystal.

There are lots of other goodies for you to delve into and stroll amongst, including fine specimens from the West Cumbrian iron ore fields, including a little beauty from Stank mine.

Heavy rain has set in here for the afternoon, making it an ideal Somerset winter’s day to study mineral lists and updates, while cosied-up by the fire. Wherever you are and whatever the weather, we hope you enjoy our British update and perhaps find that essential missing item from your collection!


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Author: JH
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