New Asia Update 01 October 2021

30 September 2021

FROM Europe on Tuesday we venture east today with a selection of great minerals from across Asia, the largest of all the continents.

The complexity of the geology and geological history of this landmass is too diverse to even hint at here, although we will briefly examine two extremes: the ancient building blocks from which this vast continent nucleated and one of its more recent geological events from where we have one of today’s specimens. While discussing Europe we referred to cratons, remnant fragments of earlier continents following their break-up due to continental drift. These mini continents then continued to drift and through processes of collision, vulcanism, sedimentary accumulation and subsequent metamorphism, became welded together so as to once more become topographically indistinguishable in the form of a new continent. Seven such cratons form Asia, comprising of the Angaran (Siberian platform), Indian, Arabian, Kontum and north and south China cratons, plus the North Tarim fragment. Most minerals in this update were formed during periods of mineralization throughout this accretion and melding period.

The one new kid on the block is a beautiful Fluorapophyllite with Calcite and Stilbite from the Pune District in Maharashtra, India. Such minerals come from the famous Deccan Traps, a flood basalt up to 2,000 m thick, intruded towards the end of the Cretaceous period, some 66 million years ago - a mere blink in geological time! This Fluorapophyllite has a 7.5 cm glassy crystal intergrown with colourless smoky Calcite crystals and sheaves of silky delicate salmon-pink Stilbite.

One specimen I think is outstanding is a Ferberite from Kara-Oba in Kazakhstan. This without exaggeration is a real showstopper comprising of two massive back-to-back Ferberite crystals, one 15 x 11 cm, almost rectangular with a horizontal termination and the smaller, 10.5 x 8 cm with an elongated, gothic arch-like termination. Adding to the splendor, overgrowths of Quartz, Galena, Pyrite and light green Epidote attractively dust the Ferberite making for a large cabinet display specimen which will arrest anyone’s attention.

Another I must give early mention to is a substantial and magnificent single crystal of Phenakite from the Krupskoye Emerald Deposit in the Middle Urals of Russia. Phenakite is a rare beryllium nesosilicate and crystals of this size, 4.2 x 5.3 x 3.7 cm, are phenomenal. Moving on to gem minerals, take a look at the cornflower blue Aquamarine Beryl from Shigar Valley in Pakistan, Tourmalines from Afghanistan and Vietnam and a complex Ruby Corundum from the gem fields of Mogok in Myanmar.

There are two fabulous specimens on which metallic crystals almost jump out at you and I love them both. One is a Rutile from Mount Kaputjugh in the Syunik Province of Armenia, a country rarely featured in our updates. While Armenia was part of the USSR, this locality was regarded as having the best Rutile specimens in the entire Soviet Union. Two highly lustrous metallic red-brown Rutile crystals to 1.8 cm emerge from a mound of iron-stained Quartz crystals. And from Fenghuang County in Hunan Province, China, excellent well-formed prismatic crystals of Cinnabar protrude from amongst contrasting white Dolomite crystals. The lustrous silvery maroon to red blocky crystals of Cinnabar are up to 1.2 cm and look stunning.

We have two very different Chalcocite specimens, both from the Dzhezkazgan Mining District in Kazakhstan. One forms excellent hexagonal platy crystals and the other, a wonderfully micro-crystallised mass of dark gunmetal-grey Chalcocite which sparkles due to the sub-mm metallic lustre of the crystalline surface texture.

Four wonderfully crystallised specimens are a Scheelite from Mount Xuebaoding in Sichuan Province, China; a pastel green octahedral crystal of Hydroxylherderite with Schorl from the Dassu Outcrop in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan; Bastnaesite on a granitic gneiss matrix from Zagi Mountain in the Khyber Agency of Pakistan and an amazing Eosphorite on Orthoclase from Paprok in Afghanistan. The latter has been labelled as Childrenite-Eosphorite as it is likely a mid-member in the Childrenite-Eosphorite solid solution series. Whatever, the crystals are magnificent and are dusted with microcrystals of white Apatite. Returning to the Scheelite, then wow! This quite remarkable large cabinet specimen of crystallised Scheelite forms intergrown octahedral crystals of translucent burnt golden orange with edges up to and exceeding 5 cm in length. Under short wave ultraviolet (SWUV) light the Scheelite fluoresces bright cream to snowy-white.

The ten Asian countries represented in today’s update provide but a tiny snapshot of just some of the fabulous gem, ore and rare minerals we stock here at Crystal Classics from this great continent. Many other beauties not mentioned above really must not be overlooked, so make the most of this weekend by taking a careful peruse and take the opportunity to explore our website further. We always hope you enjoy looking through and learning from our carefully selected updates, always with the possibility of discovering one or two which will add nicely to your collection. PT

Here is what you have to look forward to in next week's update:

Tuesday 5th October & Friday 8th October - Tsumeb

                                         

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.

 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

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

OCTOBER 22-24
The Munich Show 2021
Exhibition Center Messe München, WEST Entrance, Munich, Germany

NOVEMBER 20
The Sussex Mineral & Fossil Show 2021
Haywards Heath College, Harlands Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1LT, UK

NOVEMBER 27
Crystal Classics Winter Open Day 2021
No.1, The Old Coach Yard, East Coker, Somerset BA22 9HY, UK

 

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MINERAL WISH LIST

We also offer an additional service that enables you, as our customer, to contact us via orders@crystalclassics.co.uk with your mineral wish list to enhance your current collection, but are unable to find the right specimens on our website. We have 1000's of specimens in our general stock that do not appear online.

Author: JH
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