New Europe Update 09 November 2021

9 November 2021

WE continue our tour of the continents and today are on home ground in Europe.

We began each of last week’s updates by listing the countries represented, so will adhere to the same policy today! Diplomatically, countries are given in alphabetical order: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greenland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and finally Switzerland; 13 altogether. The selection includes a few rare species, some true European classics and many specimens which are just particularly good examples for their locality.

With the latter in mind, keep a lookout for the Polish Baryte, Slovakian Amethyst and Italian Grossular Garnet. We have two super Fluorapatites from Panasqueira which are always a joy and a classic Sand Calcite from Fontainebleau. Europe’s mineralogy is remarkably diverse and by using the wonderful tools provided by mindat we can rapidly extract some statistics. There are currently 3,978 valid minerals recorded from Europe and the continent is type locality to 1,841 species. It is also the first recorded locality (FRL) to 72 minerals as yet unofficially named. Let’s kick-off our guided tour of what’s on offer today.

Mining in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains dates back to at least Thracian rule between the 5th to 4th Centuries BC and from the Madan Ore Field we have a lovely bubble gum pink Rhodochrosite intermixed with milky Quartz crystals. From the Czech Republic, look at a Calcite with Pyrite from Příbram; a terrific Opal from Valeč, this of the bubbly colourless variety Hyalite and a beautiful twinned Cassiterite from the mining district around Krásno close to Horní Slavkov. We also have three specimens from France: a Calcite from Fontainebleau, south of Paris; a Hematite from Le Haycot in the Brézouard Massif and an exceptionally fine Azurite with Malachite pseudomorphing after Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines.

Manganite from Ilfeld in Germany is a real European classic and today there is a charming thumbnail with two ex-matrix, metallic black Manganite crystals forming a V-shaped specimen, the larger crystal is 1.7 cm tall. Then from Neudorf in Saxony-Anhalt, a light biscuit-tan Siderite with an intergrown jumble of sheaves and five colourless, semi-transparent terminated Quartz crystals projecting out.

Greenland provides us with Thomsenolite crystals richly lining a 3 x 3 cm vuggy cavity in white Quartz from the Ivigtut Cryolite Deposit at Ivittuut on Arsuk Fjord. The Thomsenolite forms crystals up to 0.9 cm long, all tinged light tangerine, while the matrix is studied with numerous deep chocolate brown Siderite crystals. Next to warmer climes and a Grossular Garnet with Diopside from the Ala Valley in Piedmont, Italy. This most aesthetic small cabinet specimen is covered with prismatic, gemmy root beer Grossular crystals to 4 mm, with a small cluster of platy pastel green Diopside crystals to 1 cm.

As alluded to earlier, the Baryte from Stanisławów in Poland is a thing of beauty. The richly intergrown, colourless and gemmy Baryte crystals form excellent octahedral tabular prisms to 1.5 cm with perfect transparency. These envelop all upper surfaces of a cellular pastel pink Baryte matrix shot through with black botryoidal manganese-oxides.

On to Portugal and the Panasqueira Mines at Covilhã in Castelo Branco. We have two Fluorapatite groups, one a small miniature, the other a small cabinet with an attached cluster of pale silver Arsenopyrite crystals. The Fluorapatite in the latter is smoky greenish-teal blue with frosted interiors in various graded colours. The former is smoky sea green. Do take a look as they are delightful.

From the Herja mine at Chiuzbaia in Romania, a superb thumbnail of the rare lead sulphosalt Semseyite. Characteristic books of stacked bladed silver-grey crystals emerge from a solid bed of Semseyite. The crystals form pointed arrows which stack in ribbon-like bundles across the specimen’s surface. The Amethyst Quartz from Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia forms deep blackberry purple crystals, the colour intensity of which is quite remarkable. Individual crystals average 0.7 cm, although one predominant crystal measures 1.5 cm, this being a particularly fine example encircled by smaller crystals forming a wreath-like crown.

Moving on through the S’s, next is Slovenia and a Cinnabar from Idria mine at Idrija. Lustrous deep blood red Cinnabar crystals measuring to 0.5 cm are scattered and clustered over micro-crystallised drusy Quartz, this coating a deep grey-black siliceous rock matrix. The crystals are translucent with a brilliant glassy lustre.

Despite its wealth of fine specimen material, Spain is often under-represented in collections. Today we are pleased to have three specimens, a gemmy Dolomite from Eugui in Navarre; sour-apple-green Pyromorphite crystals from the San Andrés mine in Andalusia and a Freieslebenite from Hiendelaencina in Castile-La Mancha. Freieslebenite is a rare silver-lead sulphosalt which, in this rich cabinet specimen, forms perfect metallic, silver-lead grey octahedral crystals up to about 1 mm on edge. Dozens of well-formed crystals occur with drusy areas of colourless micro-crystals of Quartz lining shallow cavities which pervade a creamy Calcite matrix.

With just one remaining country to visit we end the tour in Switzerland with a magnificent group of Smoky Quartz crystals. Covering a granular plate of typical Alpine matrix, several deep chocolate brown Smoky Quartz crystals lie across an olive-green Chloritized Feldspar and Quartz matrix, the largest and most showy crystal measuring 14 cm long and 5.5 cm in cross section. One 4.5 cm long Smoky Quartz towards one end projects upwards from the matrix displaying a fine Dauphiné termination.

So that’s it, today’s 21 specimens in a nutshell. If you visit our website using the hyperlink with each specimen you can look at many more photographs and read full descriptions together with specimen dimensions. Just for the record, although a part of Europe, we tend not to include the British Isles in our European updates for as you know, we frequently have full British updates, so prefer to focus on Continental Europe on occasions like today.

Enjoy the selection and a good look through may hopefully highlight something worthwhile for inclusion in your collection.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.



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Author: JH
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