New Weardale Fluorite Update 09 April 2021

9 April 2021

Mineral collectors the world over associate Weardale with gorgeous Fluorite and Crystal Classics’ sister company UK Mining Ventures currently works three mines for specimen recovery. The Rogerley and Diana Maria mines sit adjacent to one another a little west of the village of Frosterley while Lady Annabella mine is several miles away, close to Eastgate. The Lady Annabella operation began only last year in summer 2020, working part of the former Eastgate quarry, also known as the Blue Circle Cement quarry.

Since quarrying first began at Eastgate in the 1960s, various colours and beautiful colour zoned Fluorite specimens have been a firm favourite among collectors, yet the majority of specimens would have passed through the crushers of this vast limestone quarry. In the short period Lady Annabella has been operating it has produced a bewildering suite of wonderful specimens, many of which are completely new colour combinations and morphologies to the Weardale mines. It just goes to show that even after a few hundred years of mining and quarrying in this valley, it still has many new secrets to reveal.

Since last autumn Diana Maria mine has encountered some amazing new pockets including the fabulously named Truffle Pig Pocket, as well as the Milky Way, Buster and Bypass Pockets. But let’s begin our review with an old favourite, Papa Pocket, named for Diana’s father who made this discovery. Papa Pocket Fluorite has become highly regarded amongst collectors because of its exquisite colour and gemmy quality, both attributes aptly captured in this beautiful and well-priced large miniature. Bright light emerald green crystals cover the specimen, with prisms tending towards chrome green and all with excellent transparency and lustre.

The Milky Way Pocket was discovered in the Diana Maria mine during the 2020 mining operations and is so called because of its intensely deep purple colour, almost black, speckled milky white with patches of white Fluorite, reminiscent of stars set within the blackness of our galaxy. In one of today’s specimens intergrown cubic Fluorite crystals cover Quartz, the largest crystal measuring 2.5 cm. The Fluorite has a bright glassy lustre with dark chrome green edges and corners and opaque white faces. Under LWUV the Fluorite fluoresces bright lilac white and in daylight the natural fluorescence is such an intense dark blue purple it appears almost black.

We have to give mention to Truffle Pig, not just because I love the name, but also its magnificent specimens. This pocket sits near the intersection of the Sutcliffe and Greenbank veins and was discovered in the floor of an advancing crosscut. Because the pocket was at and below floor level, the specimen recovery team looked as if they were busy truffle hunting! Today’s specimen has four primary intermeshed cubic crystals up to 4.2 cm on edge, with transparent dark forest green corners and clouded green face centres mottled off-white. In daylight the corner sections naturally fluoresce the richest and deepest royal purple imaginable! It is beautiful and majestic, enough said!

Looking through today’s selection you will find Lady Anabella Fluorites from The Bull Vein, Fairy Holes, Helen’s and Harvest Pockets which include some lovely zoned yellows and greens. Two specimens from Fairy Holes feature fluid inclusions, one as a fixed static bubble and one mobile. Other pockets offered today from Diana Maria are Buster, Bypass, Heavy Metal and November Gem, all with their own distinct colours and characteristics.

So never imagine you have seen all the Weardale variations which might exist, as the current mining operations prove otherwise. Enjoy looking through this Friday’s selection of 21 brand new Weardale specimens and you may just be tempted to indulge in one or two of these Northern England treasures.

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

Tuesday 12th April - Carbonate Minerals

Friday 16th April - Silicate Minerals

                                         

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Author: JH
Categories: Updates

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