New Africa Update 04 May 2021

4 May 2021

AFRICA is known for its fabulous mineral wealth and the fabulous specimens produced by its countless mines and outcrops. African minerals are characteristically colourful, so this week we are showcasing some of this great continent’s mineralogical treasures to add a splash of colour to what has been a cold, wet and overcast May weekend in the UK.

Today’s selection of 21 specimens cover several of Africa’s most famous localities plus a few it its more obscure. The species range from common to rare, yet all pack great visual punch due to their colours, habits and overall aesthetics. Here are a few teasers to entice you into delving further.

Here at Crystal Classics we specialise in Tsumeb, what has been described as the world’s greatest mineral locality. Even if you disagree, it is certainly up there amongst the top ten. Today we have eight excellent specimens, all great examples of their species and all so typically Tsumeb! Dioptase with Duftite and Calcite; beautiful rhombohedral Calcite crystals with orientated coatings and inclusions of the lead-copper arsenate Duftite; a lovely powder blue Willemite and a terrific example of the Willemite variety Troostite, with reddish tinted chocolate brown crystals forming drusy botryoidal spheres and hemispheres. There is also a splendid translucent pale sky-blue bed of Anglesite crystals; leafy emerald green Zincolivenite; Fahleite, containing what was known as Mineral GS1 with the appearance of a brittle green plastic fragment and the rare lead-copper phosphate, Tsumebite.

Do take a look at the Primary Malachite from Mashamba West mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This is a good-sized specimen of this rare form of Malachite and at a great price. The acicular crystals form roughly 9 mm by 4 mm double terminated bundles with dark bottle green centres and electric-emerald green tips. It is simply fabulous.

Other one-off specimens include a gorgeous Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo in the Arusha Region of Tanzania. The locality was only discovered around 2007 in a 100 m wide weathered Quartz vein. This 2.6 cm diameter lustrous gemmy to translucent Spessartine crystal is a zingy barley sugar orange, truly looking like a delicious glassy sweet fit to make your mouth water! And from the classic Kabwe mine (formerly Broken Hill mine) in Zambia, a beautiful large miniature Pyromorphite, rich with intergrown tapering prismatic crystals of light lime green and white.

The Kalahari Manganese Field in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa also features with Hematite and a Rhodochrosite with Baryte from Wessels mine, Hotazel, and a delightful Ettringite from N'Chwaning 2 mine, featuring bright canary yellow prismatic crystals, many with white tipped terminations.

For all connoisseurs of Fluorite we have to include two majestic colour zoned examples from the Okorusu mine in northern Namibia and a stunning nickel lime green octahedral crystal from the Riemvasmaak fluorite occurrence near to Kakamas in western South Africa.

Finally on this supersonic tour we end up in Morocco. Morocco never fails to produce breath taking specimens and we have some rare species included today. Roselite; Erythrite with Spherocobaltite and Wendwilsonite/Roselite on Cobaltoan Calcite, all from Bou Azzer and a show stopping, sensational miniature Vanadinite on Goethite from Taouz. Beautiful apricot orange hexagonal Vanadinite crystals of complex multi-stepped habit perch close to the apex of a series of sooty dark grey to black Goethite stalactites averaging 3 cm tall. It’s fantastic!

This update contains many species and localities from all over Africa, showcasing just some of its mineralogical diversity. One would expect such a large continent to be rich in minerals, but Africa goes beyond this, for its number of rare species, unique occurrences and stunning aesthetics. Enjoy looking through today’s specially selected 21 African specimens, a feast indeed for the eye and maybe an addition or two to your collection.


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Author: JH
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