New World Update 24 June 2022

24 June 2022

THE Sainte-Marie Show is now in full swing and with Friday evening approaching, this leaves just two days remaining, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June 2022.

Officially called the International Mineral & Gem Show in Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines, this picturesque old mining town nestles in the valley of the Lièpvrette River and is surrounded on all sides by spectacular mountain scenery. In eastern Alsace, the town is only about 35 km west of France’s border with Germany. The town grew-up amongst the rich silver deposits which were first discovered around the time of the Roman occupation in either the 2nd or 3rd centuries CE. If you plan to attend the show this weekend, have a wonderful time and do pay us a visit, as we will be delighted to welcome you. Crystal Classics occupy Booth TGS8 within the Theatre and UKMV can be found in one of the iconic Medieval-style tents in ‘Zone Mineral’; Booth CJ15.

As a little compensation for everyone unable to visit Alsace, we again bring you a great selection of 21 varied minerals from around the world, covering many countries and species. We have deliberately not included any from the British Isles as next week we have a double-bill of British specimens. So, all you collectors of UK only specimens, take note, we have many a succulent morsel in waiting!

I openly admit there no rare species today, save perhaps for a crystallised Eudialyte from the Lovozero Massif on the Kola Peninsula. But minerals don’t have to be rare to be desirable; we feature some which are splendid examples of their species from a given locality; some aesthetically beautiful and some which just make you smile, because every collector has their own personal reasons why a certain specimen may just resonate!

I have lots of favourites amongst this line-up and will begin with a really eye-catching, zoned Fluorite from the Minerva No. 1 mine at Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, USA. Although this cabinet Fluorite is only a small part of a once very large whole crystal, it is a delightful example composed from an amazing sky blue outer shell of Fluorite enclosing an inner core of translucent, ginger-lemon yellow. Like all Fluorite from this district, the colour intensifies along the cube’s edges and the depth of this intensely sky blue band extends as much as 5 mm into the crystal. There is one almost complete crystal edge which measures 9.5 cm. White, often globular inclusions of chalky textured, snow-white Calcite occur on and within the Fluorite.

The aesthetic, delicate lemon Baryte is from a location I don’t ever recollect us featuring before. The SSX mine is situated on the Pattani Springs gold deposit in Elko County, Nevada; SSX an abbreviation of ‘South Saval Extension’. It’s a small cabinet specimen of exceptional value, featuring gemmy to semi-transparent yellow Baryte forming lustrous, thick tabular crystals to around 2.5 cm. These contrast superbly against a black vuggy basalt matrix. Also representing the USA is a fine Elmwood Calcite, without doubt an American classic. The famous Elmwood mine is at Carthage in Smith County, Tennessee. This 8.5 cm long Calcite prism has a single termination at one end while the opposite end forms multiple terminations of juxtaposed, small scalenohedrons forming a ragged, feathered structure.

If, in addition to being a dedicated mineral collector you have a similar passion for Star Wars, then may I suggest looking at the Realgar on Calcite from Jiepaiyu mine in Hunan Province, China. Perhaps my imagination is too vivid, but the flattened-triangular, semi-transparent Calcite crystal, 5.9 cm long, reminds me of the Imperial Star Destroyer spacecraft. Maybe I just need to get out more! This double terminated Calcite crystal has one side richly coated with well-crystallised, pigeon blood red Realgar crystals up to 1 cm. It’s lovely.

The Cassiterite from Mount Bischoff mine in western Tasmania has a crystal 1.6 cm wide, nestling in a bed of Muscovite mica. Mount Bischoff was Tasmania’s first major mine, the ore deposit having been discovered by a farmer in 1871. Unexpectedly, when you scrutinise the specimen, a tiny yet rather nice solitary pale blue Fluorapatite crystal resides amongst the mica.

Other specimens well worth a look include a Pyrite from Bayerland mine in Bavaria; Cassiterite and lilac Fluorite on Quartz from Krupka in the Czech Republic; a gorgeous specimen of Calcite crystals covering the tips of Quartz crystals (Chalcedony) from Hüttenberger Erzberg in Austria and a lovely Manganite from Ilfeld, Germany.

With mention of Germany, we also have an uncommon, 2.5 cm, light peppermint green octahedral Fluorite on Calcite from Artenberg quarry in the Black Forrest. Under LWUV the Fluorite fluoresces a reasonably bright lilac-purple and an under-lying layer of slightly yellow Calcite, exposed only around the periphery of the specimen, lends a pale greenish-yellow fluorescent outer ring.

Two final mentions must go to a stunning Hematite from N'Chwaning II mine in South Africa and a delightful Native Sulphur from Agrigento Province in Sicily. The Hematite occurs as bundles of aligned, tall, elegant crystals, forming spire-like prisms with a stunning metallic lustre. The crystals are scalenohedral in appearance, with gradually tapering cross sections, terminating with very sharp tips. The most prominent of these crystals measures at least 2.7 cm tall. The Native Sulphur displays at least 12 fine crystals grouped over a crystallised Calcite matrix; the matrix blackened by what I suspect are natural hydrocarbons. The contrast between this dark matrix and the bright, internal acidic lemon glow of the Sulphur crystals is fabulous.

Other beauties do lurk in the update, but we’ll let you discover these for yourself. As mentioned, the selection moves back to British minerals next week. These will feature some seldom seen localities and many an interesting specimen. Enjoy your weekend be it in Sainte-Marie, at home or wherever, but above all, a mineral-filled weekend, for what could be nicer? PT

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

Tuesday 28th June & Friday 1st July - British

                                         

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
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