New Europe Update 26 April 2022

26 April 2022

WE are back today with miniatures, this time European miniatures with some thumbnails.

Discussing these with a colleague, we kept picking out what we each considered to be a particular favourite and by the end had just about chosen everyone! There are no particularly rare species, but interesting and pleasingly aesthetic specimens are in abundance. We also include some fine British material; the British Isles being by far Europe’s largest island group.

Totting up the number of specimens from each of the 11 countries felt like gathering in the scores for the European Song Contest (Concours Eurovision de la Chanson), save for the UK coming in third bit. It has been traditional for about the last 20 years for the UK to be voted last, sometimes even joining the infamous Nul Pointers’ club! Today’s score places Germany in first place with cinq points; the Czech Republic quatre points and the UK trois point. For those nonaficionados of this European contest, the scores are always announced in both English and French. After Austria with deux point we have France, Italy, Kosovo, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland each with one specimen. Chanson’s aside, let’s get mineralising!

A particular favourite of mine today is a rather gorgeous Marcasite from the Cap Blanc-Nez cliffs close to Calais, France. This small miniature forms a pineapple-type spherical structure of intergrown, protruding spear-shaped crystals, all with faces covered in aligned surface growths of reptilian scale-like micro-crystals. The overall appearance is delightful. Another specimen reminiscent of fruit is a Fluorite from Horní Slavkov in the Czech Republic. This small cluster of intensely deep purple Fluorite crystals forms opaque, dark blackberry-purple cubes with many faces displaying a crazed patination outlined by lighter, creamy lines of Fluorite, very much like individual blackberry seeds. It really is rather different and beautiful.

I always consider Feldspar to be a totally underrated mineral, for when it is well crystallised it ranks right up there, rivalling most other species. The Potassium (K) Feldspar we have is an unusual and beautiful specimen of Adularia from the Zillertal Valley in the Tyrol of Austria, accompanied with a wonderful handwritten old label. This translucent, colourless to creamy equant crystal is multi-faced, displaying combinations of dodecahedral-order habits with faces with reticulated surface patterns.

The selection has several European classics including a Vivianite from the Trepča Complex in Kosovo; a pink tinged Phosgenite from Monteponi mine at Iglesias on the Italian island of Sardinia; Pyrargyrite from Shaft 366 at Alberoda in Saxony, Germany and a lovely crystallised Native Gold from Roşia Montană, Romania. Two Czech classics are a fabulous Cassiterite twin from Horní Slavkov and a bi-coloured Baryte with Calcite and Pyrite from Příbram. The Baryte crystals stand to 1.6 cm tall and grade from colourless/milky-white prisms to golden-yellow terminations.

We have two Scheelites, a mineral I am particularly fond of; one from Hiefelwand in Austria, the other from the St. Helena mine at Obří důl in the Czech Republic. The latter is a lovely undamaged crystal of pale yellowish-tan Scheelite with associated Quartz crystals. Very different is that from Hiefelwand, a splendid bi-pyramidal octahedral crystal of golden-butterscotch orange Scheelite measuring to 2.3 cm and ex. matrix. Under LWUV the crystal fluoresces feint butterscotch orange, while under SWUV, a ghostly yet distinct, ethereal white.

Our British three are two very different Cumbrian Calcites and an Axinite-(Fe) from Meldon Aplite quarry, close to Okehampton in Devon, England. Although only very tiny quarries, the two adjacent quarries which form Meldon Aplite quarry boast 46 species between them and prior to gaining the status of Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), were a favourite haunt of many UK collectors. Needless to say, collecting here is now strictly forbidden. This intergrown cluster of mottled light and dark chocolate brown Axinite-(Fe) bladed crystals is a fine representative large miniature. Our Cumbrian Calcites comprise of a heart twin from the mining district around Egremont and a wonderful a 6 cm tall hexagonal gemmy prism included with black dendritic Limonite. This lovely specimen was in Richard Barstow’s Collection and is accompanied with his characteristic white label. The Calcite heart twin has an equally illustrious provenance with a University of Cambridge (England), Department of Mineralogy and Petrology label.

This just leaves a few unmentioned and these can be ferreted out by following the accompanying hyperlinks. Look out for a rather tasty Rockbridgeite from the Hagendorf South Pegmatite in Bavaria! All European countries contain their own characteristic mineral suites and although not always, a careful look at many a specimen will quickly indicate its likely place of origin. We hope you agree this is a great selection to enjoy looking through and, in the process, may be tempted to pick one or two for your own collection. Good hunting! 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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