New Beauty and the Beast Update 13 May 2022

13 May 2022

TODAY delivers the second and concluding instalment of our Beauty and The Beast theme, although as dedicated and passionate mineral collectors we do tend to regard all as beauties!

Those we somewhat tongue-in-cheek classify as beasts are often the less colourful specimens, perhaps sulphides and sulphosalts whose typical drab colours don’t sock us in the chops! From a personal perspective, in my own collection I have many sub-suits which certainly contain more beasts than beauties. I’ve built quite a large sub-collection of Franklin-Ogdensburg, the majority of which would be considered more as builder’s rubble than mineral specimens, until you turn on the ultraviolet that is! And although most of us swoon at the mention of Cornwall and Devon, both counties have their fair share of fascinating yet rather ugly species, be this due to their colour, micro-sized crystals, dull patina or drab pervading matrix. Yet it is these very specimens which often give depth to a collection and together with the accompanying aesthetics, provide a balanced and representative profile of a mine, region or country’s mineralogy.

Both Epidote and Manganite form dark coloured crystals, yet in each of today’s specimens, the quality of crystals elevates them to true beauties. The Epidote from Knappenwand in Austria forms superb gemmy acicular crystals of lustrous, deep olive green to 1.8 cm. These are surrounded by dense, hair-like mats of grey-green acicular Byssolite and occasional colourless Fluorapatite crystals. The Manganite requires no introduction as it is from Ilfeld in Germany; I think without doubt the world’s most famous and best location for crystalised Manganite. In this fabulous small cabinet specimen the Manganite crystals average between 1 and 1.5 cm tall and are jet-black with a very bright metallic lustre.

Bright splashes of colour are provided by Rhodochrosite from the Săcărâmb and multicoloured Pyromorphite from Asprières in France. The cabinet Rhodochrosite displays an overall 9 x 5 cm open vug lined with bright bubble gum pink Rhodochrosite crystals. The surface is composed of tiny cockscomb blades of Rhodochrosite forming botryoidal mounds to 7 mm diameter. The Asprières Pyromorphite is characteristic for this locality in central-southern France, with acidic mustard yellow and lime green Pyromorphite crystals nestling in a shallow vug of snow white milky Quartz. There are clearly two generations of Pyromorphite; the first forming the lime green prismatic crystals, followed by a deposition of cockscomb arrays of yellow Pyromorphite overgrowing the former, so producing a botryoidal habit.

For fans of British minerals we have four for you to consider: a Senarmontite with Nadorite from Port Quin Beach, Cornwall; Chalcocite, most likely from the Carn Brea area between Redruth and Camborne; a beautiful Calcite from Stank mine near Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and a charming lemon and lavender Fluorite from Jakub’s Pocket, discovered during September 2021 in Lady Annabella mine, County Durham. The latter two are beautiful aesthetics, so making the Port Quin and Carn Brea specimens our British Gruesome Twosome! Yet like most beastly minerals, look closely and your frog will transform into a prince. Colourless and gemmy micro-octahedral crystals of Senarmontite are associated with abundant beige-dark brown crystallized Nadorite and rare yellow earthy Stibiconite in a matrix of metallic Stibnite and Jamesonite with Quartz. How could anyone not fall for this? I cannot honestly apply similar embellishment to the Chalcocite, but it is a well crystallised example; let’s just compromise and say it’s a handsome beast!

Other specimens offering much more than their dark personas initially convey are a Native Silver from Saxony; well crystallised Chlorargyrite on Limonite from Johanngeorgenstadt, again in Saxony; Dufrénite from Ullersreuth in Thuringia, Germany; excellent platy metallic crystals of Nagyágite from Săcărâmb, Romania and a fine Wurtzite with Galena, Sphalerite and Quartz from Příbram.

The Andradite Garnet with Hedenbergite and Quartz is from Mega Horio on Serifos, one Greece’s beautiful Aegean Islands. This is a gorgeous and decent size cabinet specimen, yet we have debated just which pigeon-hole does it fall into, that of Beauty or Beast? It’s a difficult one, so our decision is that of a Beastly Beauty! It defiantly registers mid-scale deflection on our Beastometer yet we love it for its excellent Andradite crystals of orange tinted milk chocolate brown richly covering a matrix of grey-green Hedenbergite. The Andradite crystals measure to 1.5 cm and several milky white Quartz crystals are scattered over the top, the longest to exactly 3 cm.

Perhaps the most beautiful of today’s selection is a spectacular Fluorite from Halsbrücke in Saxony, Germany. This large cabinet piece is covered with inky blue Fluorite crystals, some as elongated twins and measuring to 1.5 cm on edge. Creamy white micro-crystalline Calcite has precipitated down, preferentially coating all the Fluorite crystals from one direction, like a dusting of freshly fallen snow.

The specimens already mentioned and those left for you to discover are all very worthy of further investigation by following the hyperlinks to our detailed website descriptions. The reasons for why we are all so passionate about minerals are as varied as there are collectors. But indisputably, whether a specimen’s aesthetic tips toward that of a beauty or a beast, each is a product of the mineralogical environment in which it formed, so making all of equal importance. Enjoy this update and your weekend and we will be back with a world selection next week. PT

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

Tuesday 17th May & Friday 20th May - World


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.



Crystal Classics are delighted to announce that our 2022 Summer Open Day will be taking place on Saturday, June 11 from 10am to 5pm.

To book your place please email Debbie at 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.

Breakfast and lunch will also be provided by The Village Cafe which is located next door to our offices.

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



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Author: JH
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