New Yellow & Orange Update 22 June 2021

22 June 2021

THIS week it’s all about colour. Based on colour theory we have chosen complimentary colours adjacent to one another in the colour wheel.

One of the first people to think about the relationship between colours was Sir Isaac Newton who put forward a ‘colour circle’ in his 1704 publication, ‘Opticks’, also titled “A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light”.

For today’s theme we’ve decided upon yellow and orange. When you think about mineral colours you would at first imagine all colours are well represented amongst the many hundreds of the more well-known species, but orange is one exception. Look through most collections and orange is not a prevalent colour by any means. Today’s update does include some, but these are in the minority, with the many variant hues of yellow dominating. See for yourself but first, here are a few highlights we would like to showcase.

A choice Ettringite of two acidic lemon-yellow crystals to 1.8 cm long are perched either end of a well crystallised group of Calcite crystals from the N'Chwaning Mines in South Africa. Another dominant yellow is a magnificent group of Fluorite crystals from Hilton mine in Scordale, England. The largest Fluorite crystal is the best, with a deep lemon interpenetrant twin measuring up to 2.3 cm long, of exceptional transparency and completely gemmy. My eye is also drawn to a Pyromorphite with bright lustrous lemon yellow to slightly fawn coloured crystals from Bunker Hill mine at Kellogg, USA and a truly gorgeous Prehnite from the Tanzanite gem mines in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania. Deep lemon yellow spheroidal crystal aggregates of Prehnite richly encrust a lustrous Quartz matrix.

Although not obviously yellow, the Chalcopyrite with Siderite we have implies golden yellow hues and sits comfortably amongst this selection. This truly magnificent small cabinet specimen is from the Kaiwu mine in Guizhou Province, southern China, a mine about which very little is known save for it being a base metal mine. Lustrous intergrown crystals of metallic brassy-yellow Chalcopyrite surround fine, sharply formed platy crystals of translucent-opaque Siderite making a prominent display across the specimen. What makes this specimen so remarkable is the mirror-like surfaces of the Siderite crystals. These, which average 2 to 3 cm wide, reflect the golden hues of the Chalcopyrite to create a mesmerising play of golden-yellow shades.

Hey! What about the orange specimens I hear you cry. OK, how about a Grossular Garnet from Jeffrey mine at Asbestos in Québec. The town of Asbestos was renamed Val-des-Sources in October 2020, but we collectors don’t like change and prefer to label specimens as the location for when they were found. This is a delightful large thumbnail cluster of gemmy pinkish-apricot orange Grossular. Without any doubt, the magnificent cabinet specimen of crystallised Wulfenite from Los Lamentos in Mexico is intense apricot orange. The Wulfenite forms thick, square to rectangular crystals up to 1.4 cm on edge. The majority form a triple sandwich-like layered prism, with rich apricot outer faces and a central intense zingy orange layer, with a bright glassy lustre.

From Tsumeb (we have to give Tsumeb a mention!) a lovely small cabinet specimen of Smithsonite which has been naturally stained apricot orange with only a little of the cream Smithsonite remaining exposed. And while in this part of Namibia, have a look at the terrific Smithsonite from Berg Aukas mine. Famous for its world-class Descloizite, this beautifully crystallised Smithsonite is a fine group of translucent fawn-yellow crystals, a must for anyone keen on Berg Aukas!

Perhaps our most unusual specimen today is a fabulous Beryl from the enigmatically named Green Walking Stick deposit, a little known locality east of Lake Kariba in northern Zimbabwe. Discovered by a field geologist, the Beryl crystals were collected and hidden away until being gradually released to the market during the 1990s. This miniature golden Beryl is superb and one I personally adore. It exudes what gem pegmatite deposits are all about, beautiful and unusual crystals, often found in small, as yet undiscovered, granite bodies. Measuring 5.3 cm long and 3.2 cm in diameter, the Beryl forms a hexagonal prism of delightfully rich multiple shades of burnt golden toffee, golden lemon, apricot orange and golden amber. Orange and yellow all in one specimen, now that fits the bill!

There are lots more superb goodies for you to look at in detail including a stunning sawn and polished golden Tiger’s Eye from South Africa complete with an ‘F.H. Butler, late Talling’ label; bright orange-red bladed Crocoite crystals from the old Berezovskii mining area in Russia; a mouth-watering acidic yellowish apple-green chevroned-array of Chrysoberyl crystals from the Ambatondrazaka District of Madagascar and an excellent burnt toffee yellow to bright saffron Tsumcorite from you know where.

Few collectors arrange their minerals according to colour, but when this is done the result can be enchanting. In our showcases here in East Coker we have created both monochrome and bi-coloured displays and my word, do they look good. You probably want to keep your own collection ordered by species, locality or chemistry, but any specimen, be it yellow or orange, will find its own niche within. We hope you enjoy today’s choices and there will be two new colours heading your way this Friday. PT

                                         

If you'd like to see a video of any of the specimens listed above then please contact us at orders@crystalclassics.co.uk 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
Categories: Updates

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