New World Update 17 June 2022

17 June 2022

FOLLOWING a three-year break due to Covid, the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Mineral Show returns next week, much to the delight of mineral collectors the world-over. And, as you would expect, both Crystal Classics and UK Mining Ventures also make a welcome return to this delightful Alsatian village, set in the grandeur of the Vosges Mountains in eastern France. The show runs from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th June inclusive and we so look forward to meeting-up with friends both old and new. Do pay us a visit; Crystal Classics occupy Booth TGS 8 within the Theatre and UKMV can be found in Zone Mineral in Booth CJ15. Both companies will be displaying stunning material from various new finds and old collections. Please call in for a very warm welcome and to see our stunning specimens.

Back to this week’s update and we continue with minerals from around the world and I have to say, it’s a rather colourful selection. As often the case, we have a mix which includes some minerals of unusual chemistry; locations rarely seen in collections; classic old favourites and some which are just unashamedly aesthetic despite being the most common of species.

We’ll commence our review with some eye-candy and leave the technical aspects of other species until later! Deep magenta and bubble gum pink Grossular Garnet crystals from Sierra de Cruces in Mexico are extremely popular amongst collectors, simply because of their striking colour and to my knowledge, the only locality which produces Garnet of this colour. The deposit was discovered in the 1960s and many specimens dating more towards this era were labelled Lake Jaco. Indeed, Lake Jaco could be seen from the mine, but binoculars would have assisted in locating it. Yet another example of a false locality to prevent collectors descending on a newly discovered deposit.

Another real beauty is a red, Hematite-included cluster of Quartz crystals from Jinlong Hill in Guangdong Province, China. This small hill has been worked by farmers for mineral specimens and what amazing specimen they found! That is certainly my type of farming, where crops give way to fabulous minerals! Long, elegant, colourless Quartz crystals, tinged delicate cherry red towards their terminations by inclusions of fine Hematite, display beautifully on a well-proportioned Quartz base. For added good measure, small rosettes of metallic black Specular hematite blades are scattered over the Quartz.

The rare zinc arsenate Legrandite always pleases with its characteristic acidic lemon yellow crystals. In this miniature the crystals are gemmy to translucent and look stunning set against an apricot druse of micro-botryoidal crystals of either stained Quartz or Mimetite. This is from Ojuela mine in Mapimí, Mexico. Should you be unsure just which of Mexico’s many famous mines Ojuela is, it’s the one with the scary-looking suspension bridge leading to the mine portal! To apply the Scots’ vernacular, a bridge too shooglie! [wobbly!].

Devotees of the Illinois-Kentucky Fluorspar District will enjoy a delightful rich sky blue cube with overgrowths of white Baryte from the Minerva No. 1 Mine at Cave-in-Rock. The Fluorite’s edges and certain zones appear a tinted pale lilac and pale mauve, although this seems to disappear once examined closely!

If thumbnail aesthetics are on your wish-list then take a look at our Adamite, Chalcocite and Rhodochrosite. The Adamite is from Tsumeb with crystals up to 4 mm, with gemmy outer faces of pale lemon yellow and leaf green edges, descending internally to a mottled cream and lime green opaque core. The Chalcocite is also from Tsumeb, forming gunmetal to bright metallic silver prisms of up to 7 mm long. The crystals are intergrown at random orientations, forming an open stick-like framework full of voids. And finally the Rhodochrosite, a small thumbnail of cherry red, gemmy crystals from the N'Chwaning II mine; it’s a delightful mini-example from this most classic of localities.

Rapidly mentioning some of today’s other great specimens, see the Calcite with Pyrite from the Príbram Mining District in the Czech Republic, which I at first thought was a Wanlockhead specimen! There is a super 2.6 cm tall Azurite crystal with Calcite from Lavrion; large Magnetite crystals from the Dashkesan cobalt-iron deposit in Azerbaijan; an elegant fan of white Baryte with burnt apricot terminations from the Hammam-Zriba mine in Tunisia and a rather showy deep apple green Diopside from Malacacheta in Minas Gerais. A 4.5 cm tall Diopside crystal rises vertically from a mixed matrix of colourless Quartz and leaf green Diopside.

Two strange and fascinating German specimens are a Mellite from its type locality at Artern in the Unstrut Valley and a Whewellite from Oberschlema in Saxony. Both are relatively rare species and contain organic compounds containing hydrocarbon chains. It remains unclear as to how such species form, especially in the case of Whewellite. Mellite is an aluminium-oxygen hydrocarbon (benzene hexacarboxylate) which typically forms in lignite (coal) deposits, so its chemistry is more easily explained. Whewellite, a calcium-oxygen hydrocarbon, can occur in low temperature hydrothermal veins which is harder to explain. However, many ore fields of igneous origin have been found to contain hydrocarbons in the form of solid bitumens and mobile oil, the Cornubian Batholith in Cornwall being an example; hence potential hydrocarbon sources can be identified.

Let’s end on two spectacular specimens, one large and one small. Chalcopyrite and Pyrite on Quartz forms a super-showy small cabinet specimen from the mines around Baia Sprie in Romania. Colourless, gemmy acicular Quartz crystals provide the perfect foil to various sized Chalcopyrite crystals of up to 1.5 cm, all with a breath-taking patina of burnished orange-brassy-gold with flashes of brilliant peacock colours. There are also many small cubic crystals of buttery golden Pyrite whose presence is over-shadowed by the strikingly coloured (and sized) Chalcopyrite. Should we just say the Chalcopyrite hogs the limelight!

And finally, the small beauty, a Fluorapatite with Fluorite, Chalcopyrite and Quartz from Horní Slavkov in the Czech Republic. It’s a mouth-wateringly delicious small miniature featuring two prominent cubic Fluorite crystals of mottled lilac and deep plum surrounded by 40 to 50 gemmy lilac, hexagonal Fluorapatite crystals to 7 mm. Need more be said?

So there you have it, I think it’s fair to say a selection covering many areas of interest from the rare to the aesthetic, with many happily combining both qualities. The weather here in the UK is all set to be a scorcher this weekend with temperatures even entering the low 30s… and that’s degrees Celsius! No doubt almost ten degrees can be added to this temperature in Sainte-Marie! A cooler option may be to remain in the shade, perhaps enjoying a chilled beverage and muse over our update. An new addition or two to your collection is the perfect weekend tonic! PT

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

Tuesday 21st June & Friday 24th June - World

                                         

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, PT
Categories: Updates

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