New British Update 11 May 2021

11 May 2021

THIS week we are back on home territory with an exciting selection of British minerals. With reference to building a mineral collection we use the term British to include England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island.

Geographically, Great Britain tends to refer to the single island incorporating England, Wales and Scotland, while Northern Ireland is part of the much smaller island of Ireland. Yes, we do empathise with overseas collectors as to just what name to use and we have not even given mention to the United Kingdom! Great Britain is Europe’s largest island and the earliest known reference to the name Great Britain is by Aristotle (384-322 BC).

Between them, the four home nations are type locality (TL) to 120 minerals while the number of species found in each county reflects their respective size as well as their geology. As of now, England can boast 792 confirmed species (71 TL); Scotland 525 (30 TL); Wales 310 (11 TL) and Northern Ireland 132 (8 TL). Today’s 21 specimens include many from the major ore fields across Britain as well as a few interesting one-off, single occurrence localities.

One off-piste locality is Boulby mine, situated on the North Yorkshire coast close to the picturesque seaside village of Staithes. Boulby is Europe’s deepest mine and works rock salt and polyhalite deposits of Zechstein (middle to late Permian) age which extend out under the North Sea. In this lovely specimen, well crystallised Boracite fills the upper vuggy surface of massive Boracite, the latter probably more typical of what is usually present in the mine. Both the massive and crystalline Boracite is a powder sky-blue with the crystals forming radiating sprays to around 1 cm.

Another obscure specimen is a British geological classic, a beautiful polished block of Puddingstone, a local name for the hard Eocene Conglomerate occasionally found outcropping in the south eastern counties of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. This particular specimen is from Colliers End to the east of Luton. This cabinet specimen is a fine example from the Clemente Collection with one face beautifully polished and the back face remaining natural where the argillaceous matrix and flinty pebbles can be examined and admired. The mixture of apricot orange pebbles with tan and black rims is stunning.

Our one specimen from Devon today is a colourful and interesting Chalcoalumite, Ajoite and Brochantite on Native Copper and Cuprite from New East Wheal Russell at Tavistock Hamlets.

The beautiful county of Derbyshire is represented by two specimens; an unusual stalactitic section of Baryte from Dirtlow Rake just south of Castleton and a seldom seen Calcite on Sphalerite from the mining area around the village of Eyam. The latter is from the famous Joseph Neeld Collection and is a charming miniature of gemmy clear scalenohedral Calcite crystals to 3.4 cm overgrowing a matrix of massive clove brown-black Sphalerite. The Dirtlow Rake piece is a fascinating tubular structure of banded pale salmon pink Baryte with one end sawn and polished to fully display its radial growth structure.

From Cornwall we have two lovely crystallised Quartz specimens form Lanterdan quarry close to Tintagel, one with included Rutile and Brookite. There is also Libethenite and Chalcosiderite from Wheal Phoenix; Aragonite from Greystone Quarry; Cassiterite from St. Agnes; a lovely Kaolinite pseudomorphing after Orthoclase from Melbur China Clay Pit, St. Austell and an Olivenite from Wheal Gorland.

The Caldbeck Fells never fail to produce fascinating specimens, so take a look at our lovely miniature Pyromorphite from Roughton Gill and a really beautiful Campylite from Dry Gill mine. Campylite is the barrel-shaped variety of Mimetite. This large miniature is a little beauty, rich in mustard to lemon yellow Campylite crystals with a superb glassy lustre and richly scattered over an aesthetically contrasting matrix of sooty black Pyrolusite.

Finally, we visit the iron ore deposits of West Cumbria where you will find a superb single Calcite crystal from Stank mine; a fabulous colour zoned Dalmellington Baryte; Calcite and Hematite from Egremont; Kidney Ore Hematite from Goose Green mine and a lovely Quartz with Hematite from Florence Mine.

No matter how many West Cumbrian Calcites, Dry Gill Campylites or Wheal Gorland Olivenites we may have in our collections, there will always be room for that one last extra “must have”, a one-off specimen which reappears all too frequently! Enjoy this Tuesday’s update and we hope at least one specimen is an unmissable addition!


If you'd like to see a video of any of the specimens listed above then please contact us at and we'll be happy to assist you. We endeavour to respond to all enquires within 24 hours during weekdays, however at the weekend it might take us a little longer to respond.



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Author: JH
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