The Purple Rain Pocket - Lady Annabella Mine, Weardale, England

10 November 2021

UK MINING VENTURES is delighted to announce the launch of our exciting new pocket at the Lady Annabella Mine in Weardale, England – The Purple Rain Pocket.

As spring slowly eased into summer along the Weardale Valley, the second season of mining operations at Lady Annabella Mine commenced. Less than one month into the 2021 season, miners encountered a rich clay-filled pocket in Pit 1, associated with the Fairy Hole Vein, containing excellent specimens of purple-blue Fluorite and Galena. On excavating this four-metre-long cavity, many of the Galena crystals were coated with a film of white Hydrocerussite, a basic lead carbonate (Pb3(CO3)2(OH)2).

Diana Bruce with some Fluorite finds at the Purple Rain Pocket

The pocket has since been named Purple Rain, and those specimens displaying snow-white Hydrocerussite-coated Galena, as the Hailstorm Pocket. Both pockets are synonymous with their two names reflecting its two distinct types of mineralisation. Many Purple Rain Fluorites are associated with superb Galena crystals, but of characteristic silver colour showing no trace of Hydrocerussite.

A Fluorite specimen extracted from the Purple Rain Pocket

A freshly extracted Fluorite with Hyrdocerussite-covered Galena

Mineralisation: The Purple Rain and Hailstorm Pockets describe a complex series of connected Fluorite-filled cavities closely associated with the Fairy Hole Vein. The veins are steeply dipping structures following pre-existing faults and fractures in the underlying limestone-shale sequence, these having acted as feeder conduits for warm metal-rich brines. Such hydrothermal action dissolved sections of the adjacent limestone so creating dissolution cavities, known locally by miners as flats. It is these which form the mineralised pockets from which specimens are recovered. The delineation between vein and flat is often ill-defined, field geology always being infinitely more complex than that in textbooks!

UKMV miner Dan Holt with a new Fluorite discovery

The Specimens: Purple Rain and Hailstorm Fluorites are characteristically translucent deep inky purple, while displaying numerous permutations of purple-blue, purple mauve, frosted white face centres, leaf-green cores, colourless zones and white sugar-frosted faces edged with intense blackberry-purple. Some Fluorite displays wonderfully colour-zoned crystal clusters with bands of blackberry, cranberry, mauve-red, deep purple and green. All Fluorite adopts the cubic form, as interpenetrant twins and fine single crystals. They may have smooth glassy surfaces or intricate growth patterns in geometric mosaics. Occasionally, fluid inclusions are encountered, where liquid or gas has become trapped within the Fluorite during crystallisation. Such fluids can often move and are named bubbles.

Fluorite, Purple Rain Pocket

Fluorite with Hyrdocerussite-covered Galena, Hailstorm Pocket

Purple Rain specimens may also be rich with crystallised Galena. Such crystals are frequently large and cuboctahedral, with naturally pitted and etched bright metallic silver faces. The Galena may occur on the Fluorite or vice versa, when the Galena dominates and in both cases, the crystals display rounded, faces, most likely reflecting fluid flow erosion cutting while in-situ. The Hailstorm specimens have similar Galena crystals, but these have a pervasive coating of cream to pure white Hydrocerussite, reminiscent of golf ball sized hailstones and larger!

A close-up example of the zoning present in the Fluorite at the Purple Rain Pocket

Fluorescence: Interpenetrant twins of Purple Rain and Hailstorm Fluorite equally fluoresce intense blackberry purple in direct daylight, a phenomenon known as daylight fluorescence. Single cubic crystals do also fluoresce, but not as intensely as the twins. This difference is prevalent in Weardale Fluorite from most of its mines.  Under artificial long wave ultra-violet (LWUV) light, both single and twinned crystals fluoresce uniform bright whitish lavender while in short wave (SWUV) take on a more ghostly, ethereal pale acidic lilac.

To celebrate this launch Crystal Classics will be featuring 42 specimens from the Purple Rain and Hailstorm pockets for next week’s two updates (Tuesday, November 16 & Friday, November 19) which will all be available to purchase at www.crystalclassics.co.uk.

Furthermore, trade customers will also have the chance to view all the new wholesale material from the pockets via the new UKMV Wholesale Group on Facebook. You can request to join the group here (answers to a set of registration questions are required) and once approved you, will be able to join the 'Purple Rain/Hailstorm Pocket Launch Live Show' which is taking place at 7.30pm (GMT)/2.30pm (ET) on Tuesday, November 16.

Author: JH
Categories: News & Information

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