New Platinum Jubilee Update 03 June 2022

30 May 2022

TODAY is our Platinum Jubilee update, celebrating 70 years since Her Majesty The Queen became Monarch.

Born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York, there appeared little prospect she would one day become Queen as it was her father’s brother, Edward, Prince of Wales, who was in direct succession to become King. This he did on January 20, 1936 being crowned Edward VIII, but in November that same year, unexpectedly abdicated in order to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Because of this, Princess Elizabeth’s father was crowned King George VI and Elizabeth’s destiny was set.

In February 1952, Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, flew to Kenya for a short break before embarking on a world tour, standing in for her father who was by now suffering from poor health. While staying at the Treetops Hotel, a game-viewing lodge, the Royal party received news that King George VI had passed away in his sleep, aged just 56. It was Wednesday, February 6, 1952 and on this day Princess Elizabeth became Queen. Preparations for a such a coronation are long and complex, so it was not until June 2, 1953 that the Coronation of Elizabeth II took place at Westminster Abbey in London. This weekend’s Platinum celebrations begin on Thursday, June 2, 69 years to the day since the coronation and marking 70 years of service as Queen. Elizabeth II is now the longest reigning monarch in British history.

Queen Elizabeth II has visited 110 countries across six continents during her 70 years as monarch and we reflect this amazing achievement with this, the last in our series of world mineral updates.

We’ll begin by looking at a rather lovely Sphalerite from the mines at Plaka, within the Lavrion mining district in Greece. I have visited Plaka on several occasions yet have never collected Sphalerite. The Sphalerite forms sharp, highly modified isometric crystals, each averaging around 0.8 cm across. Most are opaque metallic black with a translucent light grey patina, although occasional crystals are light clove brown and translucent throughout. These contrast well against the creamy-white matrix.

One specimen which stands out to me is a simple yet beautiful Dolomite from Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia. This Dolomite forms spectacular orbs of typically 1.8 cm diameter with lustrous, sparkling surfaces of tiny Dolomite crystals. Some spheres occur as individuals while many merge to form an intergrown chain of partially merged domes, reminiscent of the Eden Project’s geodetic biospheres. Today’s selection contains three Pyromorphites, from Asprières and Les Farges in France and the San Andrés mine in Spain. All three are very different: that from Asprières forms smooth botryoidal, light slate grey crystal clusters; that from Les Farges has lime green-tinged acidic lemon yellow prisms and the specimen from San Andrés forms excellent hopper crystals of cream-green. This unusual colour reminds me of a lime milkshake, very yummy on both fronts - the shake and the specimen!

On Tuesday we promised to include a few British specimens and true to our word, we have three. From Eyam in Derbyshire, a nail-head Calcite of rich translucent honey-tan with associated minor pale-yellow Fluorite. Most likely from Ladywash mine (close to Eyam), scalenohedral Calcites are common, but a nail-head termination such as this is most unusual for both this mine and this part of Derbyshire, to my knowledge anyway! It’s always good to include a specimen from Wheal Gorland and today it’s a Pharmacosiderite. Although Wheal Gorland is not the type locality for Pharmacosiderite, it is one of this mine’s classic minerals. Abundant, intergrown cubic crystals of deep olive green Pharmacosiderite to 3 mm line several open, shallow vugs in a ferruginous Quartz, small cabinet sized matrix. Our final British specimen is the certainly the pièce de resistance and a specimen I would dearly love my own collection; a Siderite on Quartz from that most famous of Cornish mines, Wheal Maudlin. Wheal Maudlin is an old mine just north of the town of Lostwithiel in northern Cornwall and is world famous for it “horse-tooth” Siderite crystals, the most famous specimen being that in the NHM, London. This magnificent specimen is different in that the Siderite forms flattened lenticular ‘flying saucer’ style crystals, all close to 1 cm in diameter. These dark tan to deep greyish-buff crystals form a tightly-packed 5 x 3 x 2 cm cluster which wraps around the upper half of a tapering, barrel-shaped, 7.5 cm long translucent Quartz crystal, with a transparent termination. It’s a Cornish beauty fit for the very best of collections!

Taking a quick canter amongst those not yet mentioned are a lovely Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, France; Galena with Marcasite from Salchendorf in Germany; beautiful leaves of buttery Native Gold from Roşia Montană, Romania; twinned crystals of Titanite from Mullwitz Aderl, Austria and a rather gorgeous Phosgenite from the classic Italian locality of Monteponi mine in Sardinia. The specimen we will end on is a most handsome Bournonite with Quartz from Baia Sprie in Romania. The crystals of metallic grey, cogwheel habit Bournonite measuring to 9 mm, are abundantly clustered and scattered over the Quartz matrix to excellent effect, associated with areas of minor light metallic yellow Pyrite. The Bournonite crystals really do look like gears or being pedantic, pinions. For all readers familiar with Meccano, these crystals bear a marked resemblance to the No. 25a pinion, one of my favourite gear wheels! Now that really is nerdy I admit!

Following this weekend’s Jubilee festivities we take a break with no updates either next Tuesday or Friday. But don’t even begin to think we’ll all be relaxing and putting our feet up. It will be all hands to the deck preparing for the Crystal Classics Summer Open Day, to be held here in the East Coker Showroom on Saturday, June 11 between 10 am and 5 pm. Our Open Days are always a wonderful opportunity for old friends to meet and to meet and make new friends, all with a passion for minerals. As already advertised, we are delighted and excited to be marketing the Michael F. Brooke Collection of British Minerals. Specimens from Mike’s collections will also feature in that Saturday’s bumper 42 specimen web update. This is be made available on the web at 10 am sharp, coinciding with doors opening to our customers who can make it to Somerset in person. We look forward to seeing you all then, be this in person or via the web. The countdown has begun! PT

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

Saturday 11th June - Summer Open Day


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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We also offer an additional service that enables you, as our customer, to contact us via 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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