New Beauty and the Beast Update 10 May 2022

10 May 2022

AT T-minus 2 Days and Counting, we are excited to again announce our Open Weekend event at the Crystal Classics Tucson Fine Mineral Gallery, to be held Friday to Sunday inclusive, May 13th to 15th 2022. Ian, Debbie and the Tucson Team will be there to give a warm welcome and guide you around the magnificent new showroom.

Our theme this week is Beauty and The Beast, a mix of many beautiful specimens balanced by some which may be perceived (by some) as beastly! It’s a touch of the old yin and yang, light and dark, complementary yet interdependent opposites, you get the drift! Beautiful minerals require no advertisement, but why should anyone want a specimen described as beastly? Well, for starters, beauty is only skin deep. What at first may appear a dull chunk of dark matrix can harbour exquisite micro-crystals. Many hundreds, if not thousands, of species only crystallise in the micro-range. Two fine examples amongst today’s Beastly range are Argentopyrite and Arseniopleite.

Although a common species, the Cassiterite from the seldom encountered Cornish locality of Rock Hill China Clay Pit, north of St Austell, may look like a lump of sintered porous coke but examined closely is a mass of micro-acicular Cassiterite crystals. I can vouch that in my own Cornish collection, pulling open many a drawer can initially convey great disappointment to the uninitiated seemingly containing little of interest. But once each specimen is scrutinised, those Beasts transform into Beauties! I have now doubt most mineral collectors empathise with this, save for those who only collect the aesthetic. Should you fall into this group, then only look at today’s Beauties! 😊

We have near enough divided the selection equally, presenting eleven Beauties and ten Beasts. We’ll take a quick overview of the Beauties first, so allowing ‘aesthetic only’ fans to make a quick exit.

The three Fluorites from Crystal Classics sister company UK Mining Ventures’ Weardale mines are beauties indeed. We offer two wonderful green specimens; one associated with silver-grey Galena crystals from The Hidden Forest Pocket and one from Papa Pocket, both in Diana Maria mine in Rogerley quarry. The third Fluorite is from the opencast mining operation at Lady Annabella mine in the former Eastgate quarry, also known to collectors as Blue Circle Cement quarry. This yellow and blue specimen is from Jakub’s Pocket, named for Jakub Sauermann, a member of the UKMV specimen recovery team, who discovered this football-sized pocket in The Bull Vein in September 2021. The Fluorite is a pale acid lemon yellow with lavender outer faces, the colour intensifying along the edges and at the corners. Look carefully and several nested internal colour-zoned bands of delicate blue and purple descend towards the centre, parallel to the faces. A Beauty indeed.

Four other British beauties include a magnificent Pharmacosiderite from Wheal Gorland; sky blue to light teal Baryte crystals on pearlescent Dolomite from Egremont in west Cumbria; lustrous acid yellow to limey siskin green Pyromorphite crystals to 1.2 cm from Roughton Gill in the Caldbeck Fells and a gorgeous Kidney Ore Hematite from Florence mine.

Our overseas beauties include gemmy, golden-yellow Baryte crystals to almost 2 cm entirely covering leaf green Fluorite from the Pöhla-Tellerhäuser mine in Saxony; a stunning Quart Gwindel from Tujetsch, Switzerland; Dolomite on Quartz from Cavnic, Romania and a charming micro-acicular emerald green Malachite from Lavrion. Right, are you braced for the Beasts?...

Specimens from Torr Works quarry in the Mendip Hills of Somerset, England often appear adopt a beastly look as the exotic mineralisation occurred in sooty black manganese pods which were occasionally encountered. From here we have a Cerussite plus a Hydrocerussite with Baryte and Cerussite. The two rare species already mentioned earlier, Argentopyrite and Arseniopleite are, respectively, from Samson mine in St. Andreasberg, Lower Saxony and Sjögruvan in Sweden. The Arseniopleite forms dozens of translucent cherry red crystals of up to 1.5 mm over one surface of a mottled mid to dark tan chert-like matrix. Despite this being a very small mine operating for only three years between 1886 and 1889, it is the type locality to four species, Arseniopleite being one.

My colleague Jon has amusingly just pointed out the Calcite from Příbram satisfies both of today’s criteria, beautiful from one direction and beastly from the other! That’s the consequence of the Calcite having a preferential coating of micro-crystallised Pyrite, but from which direction does it strike me as beautiful? Surprising the Calcite only side; take a look and see if you agree.

Some other true beauties hiding their light beneath beastly bushels include a Native Silver pseudomorphing after Dyscrasite from Příbram; a well-formed Cobaltite crystal in Chalcopyrite from Tunaberg in Sweden and superb Melilite (group) crystals from San Rocco, Italy.

The Beauty and The Beast theme may seem frivolous, and we openly admit to deriving school boy amusement in declaring some specimens beastly. But such a theme does highlight the obviously aesthetic and provide an opportunity to celebrate the apparent underdogs which are themselves equally wonderful. See for yourself and who knows just which camp you make fall in to. Enjoy. PT

                                         

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.

 

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Author: JH
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