New USA Update 26 November 2021

26 November 2021

INSPIRED by yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebrations we focus today on minerals from the USA.

Thanksgiving is celebrated in many countries around the world as a traditional mark of respect to a good harvest, in preparation for the winter months ahead. In the UK we know this as Harvest Festival and, like Easter, the date varies. Here it is traditionally held on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. Why make it easy? In the United States of America, Thanksgiving is simply always the fourth Thursday in November, so removing the need for an understanding of celestial mechanics!

A selection of minerals from across the USA always brings great diversity to our updates and provides a good variety of ore minerals as well as gem species. As always, we include a few rarer items and even have a stony-iron meteorite from Iowa. The Estherville meteorite is part of the largest mesosiderite meteorite ever found in the USA, whose fall was observed in the late afternoon of May 10, 1879. It contained two mineral species not then yet discovered on Earth, Stanfieldite and Tetrataenite, making the town of Estherville type locality to both. What a super-cool way (or should I say hot) to gain the status of a double type locality, delivered directly to your door! There are a lot of great specimens to review, so let’s kick-off.

The gem species catch my eye so we shall begin with these. Morganite from Stewart mine, two lots of Tourmaline from the Himalaya mine and a Kunzite from Vanderberg mine, all these localities being in California. The Morganite, a pink variety of Beryl, is a single gemmy, very pale pink crystal to 2.1 cm, set in white blades of Cleavelandite, a variety of Albite. This is made even more aesthetic by several small pink Tourmaline prims attached to opposite sides.

One of the Himalaya mine Tourmalines is a wonderful set of ten ex-matrix crystals displayed in a black Riker Specimen Mount, still in its original brown cardboard protective box! The Elbaite crystals range in length from 2.7 cm up to 6.0 cm and vary between 5 and 7 mm in cross section. The three primary colours of raspberry-pink, lime-green and almost colourless, come in many shades and vary from translucent to partly gemmy. This is a delightful old display set and without doubt, both as an object and for its contents, is a thing of great beauty. The second specimen from the Himalaya mine displays two Tourmaline crystals of 3.2 and 2.9 cm tall, each vertically half embedded in a perfectly terminated smoky Quartz crystal. The prisms are mainly translucent bubble-gum pink with graded 3 mm deep electric-lime-green terminations. End-on, the flat pinacoid terminations are a fascinating acidic apple-green while the basal sections of both crystals fade to pinkish green.

Kunzite is the lilac pink variety of the lithium aluminium silicate Spodumene. This gemmy pink crystal from the Vanderberg mine in San Diego County measures to 11 cm and demonstrates well the trichroic nature of the prism when viewed from three orthogonal directions: pale pink, mid pink and intense pink from end-on.

Now to some of the ore minerals, although very aesthetic ore minerals I hastily add! Do take a good look at the nicely crystallised Native Silver with Copper from the Keweenaw Peninsula, a subtle mix of the two metals in what is termed a 'half-breed'. Copper and silver sit adjacent in the periodic table and are able to form a continuous solid solution series, where any percentage of one is completely miscible in the other. This specimen bears an aesthetic darkened patina beneath which the Native Silver dominates.

There is a lustrous barley sugar orange Vanadinite from the Apache mine in Gila County, Arizona; a Stolzite from Darwin in California; two great Pyromorphites, one from Bunker Hill at Kellogg in Idaho and one with Quartz crystals from Black Pine mine in Granite County, Montana. The miniature Galena from Picher Field in the Tri-State District of Oklahoma is a crystallographer’s delight.

Probably the most unusual locality in today’s update is that of the Vivianite. This was discovered in the centre of downtown Richmond in Virginia, during the construction of a road and tunnel. World class Vivianite crystals were recovered and this stunner measures to 9.5 cm, forming a bowtie-shaped specimen whose crystals appear deep inky blue, yet in strong transmitted light are mild sea green.

We have already mentioned the Estherville Meteorite. For all meteorite fans or mineral collectors with a keen interest in mineral evolution and the early history of the Solar System, this could make a terrific addition. Stony-iron meteorites sub-divide into mesosiderites and pallasites, this being the former, a brecciated mix of meteoric iron embedded in silicates.

There are many other fine specimens not mentioned here but very worthy of closer inspection via the hyperlinks to our website.

We hope all our friends in the USA, and anywhere else, enjoyed a splendid Thanksgiving yesterday and trust you are now recovering from that third slice of pumpkin pie plus a side helping of pecan! That is it, no more mention of food otherwise I will burst! Have a lovely weekend, enjoy perusing today’s USA update and if you can find that ‘must have’ specimen, that is the icing on the cake. Whoops! PT

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

Tuesday 30th November & Friday 3rd December - 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.

 

CRYSTAL CLASSICS WINTER OPEN DAY

Crystal Classics are delighted to announce that our 2021 Winter Open Day will be taking place on Saturday, December 11 from 10am to 5pm.

To book your place please email Debbie at debbie@crystalclassics.co.uk or by phone 01935 862 673 to register your interest.

We have many new collections to showcase as well as thousands of superb specimens in our showroom which are set out in beautiful display cases and drawered cabinets beneath oak beams bedecked with antique crystal models and other mining and mineralogical ephemera.

Complimentary food will also be provided by The Village Cafe which is located next door to our offices.

As is standard, we will be doing a bumper British Update on Saturday morning to coincide with the Open Day, so for that week only, there will be no update as usual on Tuesday or Friday.

It promises to be a great day and we look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful showroom in East Coker, Somerset.

 

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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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