New Africa Update 02 November 2021

14 October 2021

THIS week we are covering two continents, today being Africa.  The nine countries represented are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.

 Africa’s mineral wealth reflects its size, being the second largest continent with the second largest mineral industry.  From a mineral collector’s perspective, Africa has a wonderful historic record of classic minerals and iconic localities and excitingly, new discoveries are constantly being made.  Some of the specimens in today’s update are from deposits only discovered in this millennium and with each new discovery, there often comes a distinct set of new characteristics in the form of habits, associations and aesthetics.  So, following on from our list of countries, let’s have a whistle-stop visit to each, travelling in alphabetical order.

The first country I ever worked in was Zaire which would have been last in our list, but now begins it under the name Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC.  From the Kamoto Principal mine in the Kolwezi District of Katanga, we have a choice cabinet specimen of Malachite on Chrysocolla.  The specimen displays a fine sparkling druse of green Malachite crystals covering intergrown, cauliflower-like formations of light blue Chrysocolla and comes with a selection of older labels.  And from the Kambove District, a magnificent group of mirror-bright, metallic silver crystals of the copper-cobalt sulphide Carrollite.

From Moanda mine in the Léboumbi-Leyou Department of Gabon, an excellent small cabinet Rhodochrosite of quite gemmy 2 to 3 mm cherry red scalenohedral crystals on a fine granular matrix of sooty black manganese ore.  Next, we visit Madagascar and a single, off-matrix tabular crystal of Monazite-(Ce) from the Sahatany Valley.  At this locality the Monazite-(Ce) is found in miarolitic cavities within Lithium-Caesium-Tantalum (LCT) pegmatites.

Next Mali, a country seldom featured in mineral lists and one we are pleased to include.  This specimen is a real eye-catcher and one I personally love!  A small cabinet specimen of two intergrown Grossular garnet crystals from the find made in 1994 at Arrondissement Diakon in the Kayes Region.  The crystals display a delicious rich apple to lime green outer shell, some 3 to 8 mm thick, beneath which is a Grossular core of translucent glassy dark olive green, appearing almost black.  The two epitaxially aligned crystals measure around 5.5 cm and 3.2 cm in diameter, each forming a dodecahedron.

Morocco never fails to please and is a superb source of spectacular specimens.  From here we have two magnificent examples, an Azurite with Malachite and a Vanadinite.  The Azurite forms a radial structure of six thick clusters of Azurite blades in parallel groups.  The individual clusters reach 3 x 3 x 1.5 cm and end in a myriad of tiny perfect terminations.  The specimen is a beautiful azure blue colour, not dark azure nearing black as is often seen.  The Vanadinite makes wonderful cabinet specimen of thick-set hexagonal crystals to 1.5 cm, of translucent and lustrous deep maroon-red to rich orange-red, with one side having a pinkish-tan preferential coating.

Namibia dominates this update with several terrific specimens from some great locations.  For all Berg Aukas enthusiasts, make a beeline for a stunning Descloizite dusted with micro-crystals of Calcite. And for all Tsumeb fans, take a look at an Azurite with Malachite; two super miniatures of Dioptase on Calcite; a Smithsonite with Mimetite and Galena and an old-time Mimetite, the latter was mined prior to 1918 on Level 5.  The crystals are particularly attractive as the majority of each prism is light green, changing to delicate yellow caps over the final few millimetres.  From Davib Ost Farm 61 in the Erongo Region, do take a look at the Schorl on Feldspar and green Fluorite on Muscovite as both are beautiful.  And finally from Namibia, a fabulous display of colour-zoned Aquamarine crystals with Schorl, Feldspar and Hyalite from the Erongo Mountains.

Nigeria is another country not often represented, but today we have an excellent gemmy single crystal of Topaz from the Ratin Gabbas area.  At 7.5 cm tall, it is well formed with an excellent termination displaying growth patterns of two dimensional stacked, offset pyramids.  The prism is a gorgeous pastel cornflower-aquamarine blue, with lustrous glassy faces and gemmy throughout, allowing the reading of fine text in almost any direction through the prism.

The famous N'Chwaning Mines (N'Chwaning I, II and III) lie in the Kalahari Manganese Field in Northern Cape Province, South Africa.  From here we handsome examples of Hausmannite, Rhodochrosite and Rhodochrosite on Manganite.

Reaching our final destination of Zambia, a super spray of Pyromorphite crystals from Kabwe mine in Central Province.  Acidic deep orange yellow Pyromorphite crystals to 2.8 cm tall form a V-shaped divergent spray and are surrounded either side by smaller, vertically standing individual crystals.  It is an unusual and lovely example from this most famous mine.

These 21 specimens cover many areas of interest, be they classic or unusual localities, rare species or gem minerals, hopefully there is something for (almost) everyone.  It is a colourful selection featuring many superbly crystallised examples and we hope you discover an exciting new item to add to your collection.

                                         

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.

 

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Author: JH
Categories: Updates

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