New British Update 26 October 2021

12 October 2021

WE return to familiar shores again this week with a selection of specimens from around the British Isles, albeit with a twist!

With Halloween approaching this coming weekend, we have aimed to pick specimens with a more ghostly, ghoulish or dark complexion, so read on if you dare!

One of the stand-out Halloween-esq specimens from today’s update is a rare and gothic looking Goethite from the Eisen Hill Mines in the parish of Winford, North Somerset. Specimens from here are virtually unheard of and this is the first I have seen for sale. Composed entirely of long and slender Goethite stalactites to an overall length of 7 cm, this large miniature is delicate in appearance yet strong and ridged. The botryoidal surfaces of the interwoven stalactites are jet-black with a glossy bright lustre. This rare and most aesthetic specimen was collected in 1982.

Staying on the subject of rare species we also have an incredibly rich example of Henwoodite, a rare mineral variety of Turquoise, with green to blue botryoidal crusts almost completely investing a black ferruginous matrix. Henwoodite is very rare and this is probably the best example we have ever had.

Representing the ghoulish greens, we have a lime green Pyromorphite from the relatively unknown mine Wheal Helston along with a leafy olive-green Olivenite from Wheal Gorland in Cornwall. If the dark side is more to your liking, then check out a beautifully crystallised thumbnail specimen of Chalcocite from Levant mine at Trewellard near St Just, Cornwall, England. The crystals display vertically ribbed and striated prism faces and most faces have an almost sooty black coating so dulling the metallic lustre, a characteristic well known for Chalcocite from this part of Cornwall.

What can be a more Halloween-like name for a species than Toad’s Eye Tin!? This unusual form of Cassiterite is similar in structure to “wood tin” in its banded, fibrous habit, but forms rounded botryoidal nodules, hence its allusion to a toad’s eye. Today’s six pieces offering contains a black-brown botryoidal nodule; a near spherical black-brown nodule; two botryoidal tan thumbnail groups and two curved ribs displaying fine acicular crystals. This selection forms a great representation of this rarer form of Cornish Cassiterite.

Other specimens to look out for include a fearsome Blister Copper, the botryoidal variety of Chalcopyrite, from the famous Cook’s Kitchen in Camborne, Cornwall, a paranormal Paralaurionite from Torr Works quarry (aka Merehead quarry) at Cranmore in Somerset and a small cabinet Bournonite specimen with ghostly looking Quartz from the Herodsfoot mine in Cornwall!

Let’s end today’s round-up in the northern region of the British Isles with a beastly Anglesite with Galena from the Wanlockhead mining district in southern Scotland. This specimen would certainly not win any prizes in the beauty stakes but is a mouth-watering delight for the connoisseur of classic British minerals and mining history! Two thickly crystallised areas of translucent greyish-cream Anglesite sit on the side of a somewhat hackly matrix of granular Galena with a sooty grey patina. Such specimens from the Wanlockhead-Leadhills ore field are seldomly seen, making this a somewhat rare and desirable example to add to any good collection.

We hope looking at today’s 21 specimens doesn’t provide you with too much terror and, who knows, perhaps your trip to the dark side will see a specimen or two being added to your chilling collection!! JH


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Author: JH
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