New World Update 12 July 2022

12 July 2022

WE continue with our world-wide theme again this week as it provides the widest selection of specimens, no matter what your speciality is. “What about us” I hear the British-only collectors cry; well just hang-on until next week and we’ll be only too happy to oblige.

So, similar to the last few weeks, today’s selection of 21 specimens covers a wide variety of species and locations. We include a few rarer species and some beautiful examples of the more common. This is just one of the countless delightful aspects of mineral collecting, even common species never fail to provide new twists and turns; be this the habit; colours never before encountered or aesthetics unimagined. The permutations are infinite.

A choice example of this is the stunning red Calcite group from Leiping mine 884 in Hunan, China. Not only is the specimen striking for its preferentially dark blood red-coloured faces, but also for its surfaces which appear as if covered with a dragon’s scales. This is not an official IMA descriptive term I hasten to add! But like dragon scales they are indeed, making it a thing of beauty and fascination. Do take a look at the beautiful photos Olga has taken.

A sort of similar, yet very different, specimen is a Calcite with minor Pyrite from Uranium mine No. 21 in the Príbram mining district of the Czech Republic. The display face is composed of 2 to 2.5 cm tall scalenohedral crystals, coloured blood to brick red with light grey frosted edges and lightly dusted with micro-cubic, glistening Pyrite crystals. At a larger scale, this group of Calcite crystals build a 9 cm tall composite scalenohedral crystal whose back and sides are preferentially coated with a thick, drusy coating of fine-grained, sucrosic white Calcite with a blushed light pink partial surface.

From the wonderful Panasqueira mine at Covilhã in Portugal, we have a rather gorgeous Quartz with Muscovite and Calcite. The 8.7 cm tall, gemmy Quartz crystal is preferentially coated on one side with sparkling, snowy white clusters of Calcite. Attached at its base is a mound of bladed, silver-fawn Mica sheaves dotted with similar snowy white Calcite. The blackened crests of the Muscovite blades are sprinkled with tiny Pyrite crystals. A Panasqueira beauty!

Picking out some of the rarer species we have good examples of Pucherite from Schneeberg in Saxony; a Lorenzenite and a Loparite-(Ce), both from the Khibiny Massif on the Kola Peninsula and Görgeyite from the Inder B Deposit and Salt Dome at Atyrau in Atyrau Province, Kazakhstan. This Görgeyite crystal is an impressive small cabinet specimen, forming an 8.7 x 7.4 cm pseudohexagonal plate of up to 1.2 cm thick The crystal is a patchy mixture of translucent to opaque Görgeyite in a multitude of shades between biscuit tan and murky-cream. A really is a fine example of this potassium-calcium sulphate.

Two beautifully crystallised specimens of note are a Datolite from the Bor Pit from the Dal'negorsk B deposit and a Scapolite from Kukh-i-Lal in Tajikistan. Admittedly there is nothing remotely gemmy about the Scapolite, but my word, what a fabulous crystal it is. I could imagine this in a museum showcase where perfectly developed crystals are displayed alongside their wooden or plaster-cast model equivalents. At almost 6.5 cm tall and 3.3 x 3.2 cm in cross section, the opaque, mottled, pale pear-green and cream tetragonal crystal terminates with a characteristic, four-sided shallow pyramid. Scapolite is a complex aluminium-calcium-sodium tectosilicate. The Datolite, a calcium boron hydroxide nesosilicate, forms an intergrown bed of greenish-yellow crystals up to 3.5 cm wide. These are generally pale apple green, gradually grading to acidic yellow towards the prism’s top surfaces.

I’m not the greatest fan of Floss Ferri, the coral-like variety of Aragonite, yet this cabinet specimen from Oberzeiring in Styria, Austria does win me over, this time at least! It is remarkable for its fine architectural structure and amazing colour. Sitting on a mottled tan and light grey matrix, Medusa-like writhing snakes are formed from rounded Aragonite of a totally uniform chalky-white, yet subtly tinted delicate, pale lemon-yellow. Under LWUV the specimen fluoresces pale, somewhat ghoulish greenish-white.

From the many of today’s specimens not yet mentioned, I’ll round-up with a last two, and what a difficult choice this is!

How about the Pyrite with Siderite from Hüttenberger Erzberg in Carinthia, Austria. Forming both cuboctahedral and modified pyritohedral crystals to 1.4 cm. All the Pyrite, although smooth and highly lustrous, has a frosted texture on close inspection, a result of micro-crystallised surface patterns. The Siderite forms sharp rhombic crystals of translucent light to mid tan and sparsely scatted over these are white to colourless Calcite crystals.

We’ll conclude with a Conichalcite and Malachite on Calcite from Tsumeb. The Conichalcite forms a pervasive and dominant green coating over the Calcite, this forming as milky to colourless, transparent rhombic prisms. The Conichalcite tends to form sub-millimetre acicular glassy crystals, rather than the more conventional spheres, of mossy leaf green becoming a vibrant limey-rich apple green under a low power lens. Dotted over this are dark holly green spherules of Malachite.

So, lots to choose from and, we hope, lots of which are of interest. Although there may only be one specimen from each selection which dovetails with your collection, it is looking and reading through such postings that help broaden the reader’s knowledge of mineralogy, in terms of species and localities. Enjoy looking through and we’ll be back as usual on Friday. PT.


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Author: JH, PT
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