New Beauty and the Beast Update 17 August 2021

17 August 2021

WE have given this week’s update the whimsical title of Beauty and The Beast. It is all too easy in the world of mineral collecting to focus on those that are Beautiful, readily dismissing the more Beastly! But it is said beauty is in the eye of the beholder and indeed, many collectors are greatly attracted to the less aesthetic whose Beastly qualities beguile and bewitch.

I, for example, delight in what I term Beastly Cornish Quartz crystals. Most unattractive compared to many world localities but having a charm all of their own and somehow evoking the rugged and often misty beauty of the Cornish landscape. It is also interesting to ponder that the Beastly, predominantly grey and black specimens we offer today, are often of a much more exotic chemistry that the Beauties. One might imagine any species containing, say, Gold or Silver would manifest as a beautiful specimen, but this is often the opposite. To build a comprehensive collection containing such rare species, in terms of aesthetic the collector has to compromise and accept those with a Beastly appearance while simultaneously appreciating their inner Beauty.

If the Beastly don’t quite appeal then fear not, the Beauties do just outweigh in number. And without doubt, the ten lacking in aesthetics more than make-up in rarity and fascinating chemistry. Let’s begin our overview with a splendid Beast, but then alternate between the two camps to lend equal emphasis and impartiality. Let it be said, many collectors do have a preference for the Beasts, especially the sulphosalts!

From Asprières in France, an unusual, smooth botryoidal Pyromorphite. Varying in colour from creamy light yellow to light grey while the edges of the specimen display a sequential radial banded structure. In any collection of Pyromorphites this will certainly catch the eye as it is one of the rarer colours and habits of this highly popular species. A beastly beauty without doubt.

Ramping-up the aesthetics, Quartz on Chrysocolla is certainly a beauty from the Old Dominion mine at Buffalo Hill in Gila County, Arizona. Hemispheres and botryoidal aggregates of sky blue Chrysocolla are covered by a thin sparkling druse of colourless Quartz on a red-brown Goethite matrix. The carpet of micro-drusy Quartz surrounding the Chrysocolla is teal blue and together, the combination of species and colours produces a most aesthetic miniature. While in Arizona, do look at the Wulfenite with Mimetite from Rowley mine in Maricopa County. Gemmy mid-orange crystals of platy Wulfenite with edge modifications are scattered over a druse of bright orange Mimetite. The intensity and vibrancy of the Mimetite is fantastic and must be amongst the most dramatic shade of punchy acidic orange-yellow possible!

Despite being one of our ten Beasts, we have a terrific miniature of dark tan, tending towards black, Wulfenite crystals on a bed of micro-crystalline deep red to golden-brown Sphalerite from the world-famous Příbram mining district in the Czech Republic.

Nagyágite is a rare lead-gold-tellurium-antimony sulphosalt often containing other metallic elements and forms black metallic crystals throughout a small cabinet size specimen from its type locality of Săcărâmb, a village in west central Romania, formerly named Nagyág.

Others in our Beastly range include a lovely miniature of the silver antimonide Dyscrasite from the St. Andreasberg district in Lower Saxony; the rare copper-iron-lead sulphide Betekhtinite from Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan; an excellent large miniature of snow-white bladed Valentinite crystals (an extremely rare antimony oxide) from the Brezové Hory Ore Region in the Czech Republic and last but not beast (sorry!), micro-acicular, golden-orange crystals of the rare silver sulphosalt Pyrostilpnite nestling within a metallic grey sulphide-rich matrix from the Santiago Alto mine in Bolivia. Time for some more beauties I think!...

How about a simply gorgeous Wulfenite with Mimetite from Ojuela mine in Mexico displaying lustrous blocky to oblong zoned orange Wulfenite crystals with surrounding crystalline botryoidal light green Mimetite. The Wulfenites are particularly attractive, appearing like sharply sliced caramel toffees of light mustard yellow-orange with a deeper apricot orange central zone.

There are also two lovely Elbaite Tourmalines from the famous Pederneira mine at São José da Safira in Brazil; a single crystal of Sapphire from the alluvial gem gravels of Sri Lanka which turns delicate cornflower blue in transmitted light and an outstanding Native Sulphur from the Cozzo Disi mine in Sicily, about 100 km west of Mount Etna. The Sulphur forms blocky, translucent and gemmy, bright sulphur-yellow prisms of between 1.2 and 1.9 cm across overgrowing an undulating carpet of light grey-cream micro-spiky Aragonite.

There are many more great specimens, so do take a closer look through the links provided to reveal the complete mix of Beauties and Beastlies. Without exception, all are worthy of any fine mineral collection be this designed for the aesthetic or systematic. Possibly you may add one to your collection, inviting comments such as “Wow, that’s beautiful!” or “Uh? another grey one”. Whatever the case, it’s your collection and you choose what pleases you. PT


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.



Crystal Classics, and our sister company UK Mining Ventures, will be in attendance at the following shows for the remainder of 2021:

Colorado Mineral and Fossil Fall Show 2021
Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center 15500 E 40th Ave, Denver, CO 80239, USA

Hardrock Summit 2021 - Evolution
Colorado Convention Center, Four Seasons Ballroom 700 14th St, Denver, CO 80202, USA

The Bakewell Rock Exchange 2021
Lady Manners School, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1JA, UK

The Munich Show 2021
Exhibition Center Messe München, WEST Entrance, Munich, Germany

The Sussex Mineral & Fossil Show 2021
Haywards Heath College, Harlands Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1LT, UK

Crystal Classics Winter Open Day 2021
No.1, The Old Coach Yard, East Coker, Somerset BA22 9HY, UK



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Author: JH
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