New Olympics Update 20 July 2021

20 July 2021

INSPIRED by the start of the XXXII Olympic Games this Friday, with the opening ceremony in Tokyo, we have chosen 42 specimens for this week’s updates, each representing one of the participating nations. In doing so, every specimen this week is from a different country, something we have not done before.

Today’s selection covers the following countries and, keeping with the tradition of the Parade of Nations, we begin with Greece and end with the host country: Greece, Brazil, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Scotland (GB), Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Japan.

So first to Greece and a rich cabinet specimen of Andradite Garnet from Serifos in the Aegean Islands. Abundantly intergrown crystals to 8 mm display typical milky chocolate beige faces with edges delineated in dark chocolate brown. his classic Andradite is on a matrix of pale yellowish green Hedenbergite.

Although we can’t mention every nation in today’s line-up, we will highlight a few to provide a flavour of what’s on offer. Hedenbergite is a calcium-iron silicate and the iron-rich end member of the Pyroxene group of which we have a well crystallised miniature from the Nordmark Odal Field in Sweden. Dark bottle green monoclinic prisms to over 2 cm long form an intergrown tight cluster with a jet black appearance. Only on close examination can the thinner edges of the prisms be seen to be green and in at least one crystal a tiny translucent, almost chartreuse green is apparent.

From the Chiredzi mining district in Zimbabwe is a lovely Quartz Sceptre with a colourless stem and mottled Amethyst head grading to Smoky Quartz towards its base. And remaining with Quartz, an amazing group of crystals from Cavnic mine in Romania, aesthetic for its unusual habit, perfection and size. Standing 14 cm tall and sitting perfectly on its naturally flat base, long elegant Quartz crystals emerge from a Quartz matrix. The majority of each crystal is translucent milky white, then within 1 to 3 cm of each termination there is a distinct shift to colourless, semi-transparent-translucent Quartz. These colourless caps add an extra level of beauty while every prism face has a stepped surface covered with highly lustrous micro terminations.

Representing Pakistan is a beautiful 1.6 cm tall, gemmy prismatic light cobalt pink terminated Topaz crystal from Katlang in North-West Frontier Province. This near-perfect crystal has a superb termination and displays ideally on its matrix. From Mežica in Slovenia, what else but a fine large miniature of intergrown Wulfenite crystals of butterscotch orange to 8 mm and displaying a double pyramidal habit with many showing multiple terminations.

Scotland attends the Olympics as a member of the Great Britain team, so we include a characteristic Galena from the New Glencrieff Vein at Wanlockhead, the famous mining district together with Leadhills, south of Glasgow. The specimen is dominated by a bright metallic grey Galena crystal measuring up to 2.2 cm and well positioned on the central area of the crystallized lustrous black Sphalerite matrix. Also on the specimen are two brassy yellow crystals of Chalcopyrite and several smaller crystals of Galena.

Proudly representing Egypt is a fabulous Peridot, the gem variety of Forsterite, from the truly classic locality of St John's Island in the Red Sea. St John’s Island is composed of Quaternary volcanics and has been mined for gem Peridot since the 3rd Century; this gorgeous yellowish lime-green crystal measures up to 3.7 cm. We have a quite unusual and highly aesthetic Fluorite with Fluorapatite from Kara-Oba in Kazakhstan, the Fluorite forming spectacular, opaque, deep blackberry octahedral crystals to 1.9 cm on edge. On one side of this are superb prismatic hexagonal Fluorapatite crystals with flat pinacoids of gemmy aquamarine-teal blue.

To cover a few other nations we have a rich and lustrous green and purple-mauve Vesuvianite from Jeffrey mine in Canada; excellent rich deep leaf green tabular hexagonal crystals of Fluorapatite to almost 2 cm from Sapo mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil; a superb single crystal of gemmy Smoky Quartz to 10.6 cm from Tujetsch in Switzerland and a stunning Rhodochrosite from Wutong Mine in the Guangxi Zhuang Region of China. This fabulous single crystal measures 10.6 cm tip to tip between its widest points of a lozenge-shaped highly flattened rhombic crystal. It is a fabulous deep candyfloss cherry pink with bevelled edges and a fabulous satin lustre with one face entirely coated with micro-granular Rhodochrosite of a very pretty light blush pink and matt lustre.

There are many more fine specimens for you to examine, but to conclude today’s selection we present a magnificent large cabinet-sized Stibnite from the world famous Ichinokawa mine on Shikoku Island, Japan. This beautiful specimen is composed entirely of elongated Stibnite crystals averaging 3 to 4 cm long, lying parallel to one another and layered in a way whereby countless terminations are displayed to full advantage. The crystals are a bluish-tinted steely silver with a bright metallic lustre and terminate in sharp chisel-like tips.

Postponed from 2020, the 32nd Olympic Games will be a thrilling and spectacular event in Japan, although a new experience without any spectators this year, but no doubt destined to be a great success. Likewise, we hope this week’s diverse selection of nations and specimens also provides great viewing and excitement, with the added advantage of being able to bring a piece of the action directly back to your home collection. Enjoy our update and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. PT


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Author: JH
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