New British Update 19 March 2021

19 March 2021

Following our Saint Patrick’s Day special update featuring minerals of Ireland last Tuesday, today we hop islands and focus on British minerals. There are some very special pieces amongst today’s selection, some from classic localities infrequently seen. Britain contains many iconic Fluorite localities, four of which feature today. The same can be said for Calcite, with one on offer from Wheal Wrey near the village of St. Ive in Cornwall.

As always, we have 21 specimens for you to look at and enjoy, of which some are fabulous specimens from less well-known British mines and quarries, examples of which include Malachite from Newhurst quarry in Leicestershire and Cassiterite from the Bejewans Tin Stream Works at Sancreed in Cornwall. Read on and we will look a little closer at a few of these specimens for you to ponder over and consider adding to your collection.

Today’s Fluorites are from four very famous British mines, Blackdene, Florence, Boltsburn and Rotherhope Fell. The small violet-purple cubes from Blackdene are gemmy and associated with crystallised Galena and the Florence is of the most sought-after deep sky blue, it is simply superb. Then to Boltsburn mine at Rookhope in Weardale, a stunning interpenetrant twin of characteristic warm mauve, featuring colour zoning and fluorescence both of which are amazing. And talking of colour zoning, the enigmatic Rotherhope Fell mine on Alston Moor in eastern Cumbria has produced some of the best zoned Fluorites ever to come out of Britain and the specimen we offer probably contains over thirty internal zones of mauve, cherry and blue.

The Calcite from Wheal Wrey in Cornwall will date back to the mid 1800’s, while worked for its lead and silver, the latter in the form of argentiferous Galena. However, it was the spectacular Calcite crystals which propelled this mine to mineralogical fame and the example we have here is a lovely example. To add icing on the cake, under LWUV this Calcite fluoresces bright peachy orange. And from the 200 level in Cambokeels mine at Westgate, Weardale, two intergrown bevelled, rhombohedral Calcite crystals with beautifully smooth glassy faces and a magnificent lustre. Under LWUV this Calcite fluoresces bright tangerine-orange.

Before concluding, mention must be given to the sooty-black Cassiterite with embedded milky Quartz crystal sections from the Bejewans Tin Stream Works close to Penzance in southern Cornwall. And finally, excellent clusters of bright green Malachite spheres dusted over colourless, dog-tooth Calcite crystals, a specimen collected in 1976 from Newhurst quarry in central England.

There are many other fascinating and aesthetic specimens to see, so take some time as the weekend is once again upon us. There are specimens here for those new to collecting the British Isles through to gorgeous examples for the long-experienced collector. Given the relatively small size of these islands, we are lucky to enjoy such mineralogical diversity and splendour, a little of which you can admire today and perhaps acquire for your own showcase. Enjoy and have fun.

Here is what you have to look forward to in next week's updates:

Tuesday 23rd March and Friday 26th March - The Americas


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Author: JH
Categories: Updates

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