New World Update 01 February 2022

1 February 2022

ALTHOUGH today’s selection is biased towards Asia, we have included a few wildcards from around the globe to provide added variety should your collecting interests be focused elsewhere. You will see quite a few from Russia, two from China and a selection which includes Kazakhstan, Vietnam, India, the UK, Bosnia and Herzegovina and even USA and Canada.

There are several quite rare species which include Colusite, Wiluite, Tausonite, Lamprophyllite and the silicate Amesite. For those of you keen on gem minerals, look out for a couple of fabulous Russian Topaz specimens from the Murzinka mine and a gorgeous Spinel from Luc Yen in Vietnam. And although not classified as gemstones in most people’s books, we do have a wonderful gemmy Fluorite from Weardale and two gemmy Quartz groups from the Dodo mine in Russia and Arkansas in the USA. Read on and we’ll also point out a few favourites and highlights, always keen to put mineralogical temptation in your way (what could be nicer!)

Let’s begin with some of the gemmy items. The Pingwu beryl mine works a vein swarm on the slopes of Mount Xuebaoding in Sichuan Province, China. From here we have ice clear colourless Goshenite crystals with Muscovite and Albite. Goshenite is the colourless variety of Beryl. The Spinel is from the Luc Yen mine in Yenbai Province, Vietnam and displays magnificent twinning marked by deep re-entrant angled faces. The Spinel crystals are translucent cranberry-mauve with a waxy lustre and slightly rounded edges all over. Placed under LWUV the Spinel fluoresces orange red against the fluorescent white marble.

Also in the gem department we have a charming miniature of gemmy pink Tourmaline projecting out from a matrix of Muscovite Mica and Quartz from the gem bearing pegmatites at Paprok in the Kamdesh District of Afghanistan. The two Russian Topaz specimens, both from the Murzinka mine in the Middle Urals are outstanding. One is an off-matrix terminated Topaz crystal of bright cornflower-blue with lustrous and smooth prism faces, some with a waxy appearance. Our second specimen has two pale blue Topaz crystals on a terminated Orthoclase crystal, both of around 2.5 cm in the longest dimension. Three tiny smoky Quartz crystals on one side just complete this wonderful miniature.

I said in the introduction we have some very gemmy specimens which fall more into the gem collector category than that of the gemstone wearer. The only Fluorite in this update is from The Hidden Forest Pocket in Diana Maria mine in Weardale, County Durham, England. This quite recently discovered pocket contains fabulous gemmy Fluorite crystals and we have one small cabinet to offer today. Deep emerald green Fluorite crystals completely cover an ironstone matrix with superb interpenetrant twinned crystals up to 2 cm on edge. The larger twins are entirely gemmy with razor-sharp edges and corners, with a fabulous bright glassy lustre. Held in daylight the crystals naturally fluoresce intense blackberry purple, caused by a unusually high content of rare earth elements. Under LWUV the Fluorite fluoresces bright lavender white and under SWUV, pale ethereal lavender. It is quite unusual for Fluorite from Diana Maria to fluoresce under short wave.

Other gemmy specimens include Hyalophane, a clear and colourless variety of Microcline Feldspar. This 5.0 x 5.0 x 3.8 cm crystal is from Busovača in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Finally to two magnificent Quartz specimens, both of large cabinet size which can be described as Rock Crystal, as they are sufficiently gemmy to be cut and faceted. One is a spectacular group of gemmy Smoky Quartz crystals from the Dodo mine in the Tyumenskaya Oblast' of Western Siberia, the other a characteristic group of colourless and completely gemmy ice-clear Quartz crystals up to 7 cm long from the world-famous occurrence at Mount Ida in Arkansas, USA.

I have already mentioned today’s rare species, so you can explore these hyperlinks for more information and additional photos.

To conclude, let’s just touch on a few which jump out when casting an eye over the selection. First a Plumbogummite pseudomorphing after Pyromorphite from Pingwu on Mount Xuebaoding in Sichuan Province, China. The Plumbogummite forms perfect pseudomorphed hexagonal prisms of powder sky blue, ranging from a few millimetres up to 2.4 cm tall. The base of this small cabinet specimen is composed of siskin lime green Pyromorphite crystals. If it were not for the quality and aesthetic of the Plumbogummite the specimen would be prized for the Pyromorphite alone. From Mount Ungoza in Kazakhstan, do take a look at the lovely cluster of creamy Celestine crystals with inclusions of limey sand, termed Sand Celestine. Many prisms are double terminated with the longest crystal just over 6 cm.

Other terrific specimens to look out for are a Pentagonite from the Wagholi Quarries in India; a choice Andradite Garnet from the Korshunovskoye iron skarn in Russia; an magnificent oil green Pyromorphite on Coronadite from the MMM mine at Broken Hill, Australia and a fine Diopside from Fargon Meeru in Afghanistan.

Yes, perhaps an eclectic mix of localities, but why worry, hopefully such diversity helps satisfy many mineralogical tastes. Enjoy exploring today’s offerings in more detail via the hyperlinks and one or more might just wend their way in your direction.. PT


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Author: JH
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