New The Americas Update 23 March 2021

23 March 2021

This week we pay a return visit to the Americas, with a wide selection of mineral species from across South America and the USA. Of our 21 featured specimens, 20 are different species and the only two which are the same, Hematite, are very different as one was crystallised within a volcanic fumarole. Today’s assortment ranges from common yet superbly crystallised minerals such as Pyrite and Hematite to rare species including the lead-arsenic sulphosalt Gratonite and the copper selenide, Umangite.

As always, we highlight a few specimens which we personally like, so I will start with a terrific miniature ‘Copper Skull’ from Cliff mine in Keweenaw County, Upper Michigan. Copper Skulls are formed by the deposition of Native Copper around conglomerate pebbles. At some later stage, the pebbles are dissolved leaving hollow Native Copper casts. These are Copper Country classics and this charming miniature is just perfect for a Keweenaw collection of this size range.

From the Julcani District of Peru, take a look at a lovely combination of Fluorapatite crystals on Tetrahedrite and Galena. White crystals of prismatic Fluorapatite measuring to 2 cm terminated mild apple green contrast wonderfully against the metallic species.

The granite pegmatite at Coronel Murta, Brazil, is especially well known for its superb multi-coloured Elbaite Tourmaline crystals. This captivating miniature measures 3.7 cm tall and grades from a flesh-pink base through wispy bluish green to a cerise pink termination. It’s simply beautiful.

Now, let’s look at three quite amazingly crystallised specimens. It’s all too easy to become complacent with Pyrite, but when a specimen such as this appears, it suddenly becomes elevated amongst the greats! From the Huanzala mine in Peru, this exquisite miniature has crystals to 1.4 cm with each face forming a perfect equilateral triangle. The edges are slightly flattened to the dodecahedron and the faces are pierced with concave equilateral pits, all in epitaxial alignment to the geometry and orientation of each primary crystal face.

From the Payún Matrú volcano in Argentina, an exquisite Hematite pseudomorphing after Magnetite. The specimen is composed entirely of precisely orientated Hematite crystals of steely greenish-blue grey, all aligned in perfect rows and columns, making for a stunning miniature.

And finally, a Galena from the Picher Field lead-zinc mining district in the Tri-State District of Oklahoma, a specimen fit to delight any crystallographer and put your goniometer in overdrive! The specimen appears to have nucleated around a flattened cubic Galena crystal, over which several other crystal habits manifest at differing scales and stages of epitaxial development.

These are just some of the choice range we have for you to look through today. There are lots of miniatures and a few cabinet specimens, including a lovely Rhodonite from Franklin Furnace, New Jersey. With the diversity of minerals and localities on offer, there are hopefully pieces to please everyone, including the odd one or two which may fill those must-have gaps in your collection! Enjoy.


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Author: JH
Categories: Updates

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