New British Open Day Update 11 June 2022

10 June 2022

THE Crystal Classics Summer Open Day has arrived and as the showroom doors open on the dot of 10 am for our visiting guests, our web update is sent to you simultaneously. As always on an Open Day, it’s a 42 specimen bumper British Isles issue. Every specimen is new to the web and we are delighted to include many recently acquired specimens from the Michael F. Brooke Collection.

Mike is a very well-known figure on the British and international mineral scene, especially through his former company Broadstone Minerals. Mike’s personal collection specialised in minerals of the British Isles and Ireland and having spent many decades carefully assembling this, its coverage of localities is remarkable. Many counties, especially within England, tend to be overlooked as they contain no specific orefield or particularly famous sites. Hence, specimens from many an interesting small mine or quarry never find their way to mineral dealers or collectors. Mike has broken this barrier by being an active and successful field collector for most of his life, so populating his collection with fascinating material from areas such as Dorset, Oxfordshire and Somerset. The clock is ticking, so let’s take a quick overview then you can make some important decisions as we know there are many keen collectors out there looking!

We’ll kick-off with one of the key pieces, a cornflower-sky blue Fluorite with crystallised Chalcopyrite on Quartz from South Caradon mine near Liskeard, Cornwall. Good Fluorites from here are like hen’s teeth! It’s a large miniature at just under 7 cm long, of translucent octahedral and modified cuboctahedral Fluorite crystals averaging 1 cm, but with some larger. Richly distributed amongst these are numerous Chalcopyrite crystals, most with a bright orange tinted golden surface and hints of peacock iridescence. It's a wonderful miniature of arresting form and colour.

Through close connections with the mining team at Geevor, Mike was able to build a magnificent suite of Geevor material and several are in today’s selection; essentially some of the very differing habits and colours of Calcite found in this mine. Geevor mine, close to Land’s End at the most westerly tip of Cornwall, famously extends out under the Atlantic Ocean. A reoccurring theme with Calcite and Quartz from Geevor is their propensity to be orange. When you think about this, orange is a colour not that well represented in the mineral kingdom, but minerals from Geevor buck this trend. One fine example displays two almost perfect tangerine spheres of Calcite sitting on a bed of milky Quartz crystals and sprinkled with micro-crystals of Hematite. Another great Geevor specimen is a Carbonate-rich Fluorapatite, what used to be called Francolite, although this name is seemingly now out of favour. The Fluorapatite forms splendid, thick-set tabular hexagonal crystals all with rounded and deeply striated faces, very much with a cogwheel appearance. They are of a superb translucent burnt barely sugar to deep orange (orange again!) with a dusting of mid-sage green Chlorite.

For a change of colour, let’s hop over to Ireland and to Sheshodonnell mine in County Clare for a rather gorgeous vivid lemon yellow cadmium Smithsonite with several purple Fluorite crystals. There is nothing to be found now at this location, yet when Sir Arthur Russell visited the site in 1917 he was able to collect excellent specimens from an estimated four tonnes of yellow Smithsonite dumped as gangue. Why can’t I ever visit a site like this?

This update contains many more Cornish classics, for example Bournonite with Quartz from Herodsfoot mine; Siderite with Chalcopyrite on Quartz from South Crofty; a fabulously crystallised Bornite from Carn Brea mine in Illogan; Bismuthinite from Fowey Consols and a fabulous Tetrahedrite and Chalcopyrite on Quartz pseudomorphing after Baryte, again from Herodsfoot.

One Cornish beauty I have to alert you to is Hematite with Chalcopyrite on Siderite from Carn Brea mine. Carn Brea mine formerly lay in the district of Illogan, at the northern foot of Carn Brea, an elongated hill formed from a satellite granite offshoot of the more southerly Carnmenellis Pluton. Micro-crystallised black Hematite with a twinkling, bright metallic lustre is richly scattered over rounded, lenticular blades of caramel tan Siderite with two generations of Chalcopyrite crystals are scattered over. It’s a stunning specimen from Carn Brea mine, again, ex the Collections of Mike Brooke.

Amongst the many great specimens from West Cumbria is a fabulous kidney ore Hematite from Florence mine; a specimen like nothing I have ever before encountered. A mass of highly lustrous, botryoidal Hematite sits embedded in what looks like a quite finely brecciated matrix of Calcite, cemented by Hematite. Take a look at the photo, it’s amazing. There is also a stunning blue Fluorite.

Right, there are lots and lots of other super specimens, but don’t delay any longer. We are sorry you cannot join us in person in East Coker, but hope this extensive update provides the next best thing. Good luck and enjoy choosing! PT

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

Tuesday 14th June & Friday 17th June - 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.



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Author: JH, PT
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