New British Update 13 July 2021

13 July 2021

WE return to the UK for our update this week as the wide range of minerals the British Isles has to offer is forever popular amongst collectors around the globe.

For such a small island the geological and mineralogical diversity is quite remarkable. Virtually every geological age is represented throughout Scotland, Wales and England, from Quaternary back to the Archaean eon of the Precambrian, the latter represented by the Lewisian gneiss in the western highlands of Scotland, dating to at least 2,700 million years. This rich geological history has given rise to an equally impressive mineralogy and thanks to proactive collectors, professional specimen recovery operations and academic research, new discoveries are frequently in the news.

Two recently named new minerals are Bridgesite-(Ce) from Tynebottom mine in Cumbria, named for Trevor Bridges, a highly respected English collector and academic, and Kernowite from Wheal Gorland in Cornwall, named for Kernow, the Cornish language name for Cornwall. Together, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the type locality to 120 species, and including Ireland (Eire) , this brings the total to an impressive 123.

So what from this range do we have to highlight in today’s update? Often in our British updates, Wales is seldom represented, simply because we rarely find Welsh material in the collections we buy. Today is different and we are delighted to offer four great Welsh specimens: a Brookite with Albite from Twll Maen Grisial, Prenteg; Native Gold from the Prince of Wales mine, Llanelltyd and two Native Golds, one with Tellurobismuthite, from Clogau St Davids mine at Bontddu. What could be more representative of Wales than Brookite and Gold? The Brookite is from its type locality and occurs as several orange-brown crystals scattered over a matrix of pale greenish-grey vuggy quartzite shot through with hexagonal milky Quartz crystals, so typical of Alpine style mineralisation in this region of North Wales. The three Native Golds hardly need introduction, Welsh Gold being famous throughout the world. The miniature from Prince of Wales mine contains a rich distribution of Native Gold visible on five sides, the only face with no Gold present is the base. Sub-millimetre grains form rich clusters embedded within the mixed Quartz and shale matrix. One of the Clogau St Davids mine golds displays a 4 cm wide band of opaque milky Quartz veinstone bounded by black Clogau shale and within the Quartz are many grains and hackly flakes of buttery yellow Native Gold and metallic silver Tellurobismuthite, a rare species sometimes occurring in these Welsh gold mines.

We have many interesting specimens from Cornwall, the problem being just what to mention from such a wide selection. Connellite is one or those rare and sought after species from Cornwall and this lovely miniature has a cluster of velvety, deep inky blue crystalline spheres on a matrix of massive Cuprite together with several crystals of turquoise-green Chalcophyllite. The deep bluish-emerald green Pseudomalachite from East Gunnislake mine near Calstock has an old label glued to the back bearing the old mineral name Ehlite and a reference to the English dealer Richard Talling (1820-1889) and dated 1873. Another old timer is a charming Cassiterite pseudomorph after Orthoclase from Wheal Coates at St. Agnes. Many of you will be familiar with this mine if only for widely published photos of its engine house framed against the magnificent backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Although only tiny, the pseudomorph is sharp and well defined, displaying nicely the original Carlsbad twin. These famous specimens were found around 1828. This specimen is in a small card tray with a beautiful label, presumably in Sir W. Sargeant’s handwriting to whom this specimen belonged.

Other Cornish beauties worthy of mention are a Chalcedony from Trevascus mine, Gwinear; the Blister Copper variety of Chalcopyrite from Tincroft mine at Illogan, Redruth; a superb miniature Bournonite from Herodsfoot; Wolframite with Quartz from Wheal Jane and an Olivenite with Clinoclase from Wheal Gorland.

Jumping about 740 miles due north of central Cornwall we move to the beautiful Isle of Skye from where we have a tremendously aesthetic Stilbite from the zeolite exposure at Edinbane, considered one of the best localities on Skye. This excellent specimen is formed from lustrous, silky, creamy-white fans of Stilbite crystals, the largest bow-tie measuring 4.3 cm.

Representing other areas of Britain, we include Langite from Bedford United mine in Devon; superb jet-black, highly lustrous Sphalerite crystals from Force Crag mine in Cumbria; Hemimorphite on Baryte from the 50 fathom Flats at Golconda mine in Derbyshire and pale sky-blue cubic crystals of Fluorite to 1 cm on Dolomite from Ullcoats mine in west Cumbria.

So there you have it, many classic species from many great British localities. Several of the species are those regarded as common, but when you see and hold, say, the Force Crag Sphalerite, we are reminded of what can all too readily be dismissed, can be elevated to the superb. Enjoy a meander through the stunning landscape of Britain and keep a look out for its mineralogical treasures en route. 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.

 

THE TEXAS MINERAL & FOSSIL DALLAS/FRISCO SHOW 2021

To all our American customers, we will be in attendance at The Texas Mineral & Fossil Dallas/Frisco Show this coming weekend. Operating from BOOTH 28 we will be showcasing some of our very finest mineral specimens. The show takes place from Friday, July 16 until Sunday, July 18 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Frisco Conference Center 7601 Gaylord Parkway, Frisco, Texas 75034. Opening times for Friday and Saturday are 10am-6pm and for Sunday it’s 10am-4pm. Admission and parking is free so come along and show your support for what promises to be a great show.

 

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Author: JH
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