New World Update 15 July 2022

15 July 2022

BEFORE introducing today’s world-wide specimens, may we first turn your attention to The Munich Show (Mineralientage München). This may seem like long-term planning but remember, this year the show is one month earlier, running from Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2. So, unbelievably, as we are already in mid-July, Munich is only a little over two months away!

Crystal Classics and UK Mining Ventures will be there in force so, if you have any particular specimen(s) in mind which you would like to see, please let Debbie know by email (debbie@crystalclassics.co.uk) and they will be waiting for you to inspect. To allow sufficient time for shipping, as specimens may be either in the UK or Tucson, do please ensure you contact Debbie before the close of Monday, August 15. Maybe you have spotted a specimen (or several) on our website or at a previous show. This is your opportunity to see them in person, providing you’re heading to Munich that is!

So, back to today. Our selection of 21 specimens roughly divides into two camps; colourful specimens and, dare I say, grey, silvery-black and black; the grey uglies as are they are often disparagingly referred to!

But please, don’t immediately divert to just the colourful members of the pack. As is often the case, those which initially appear dull, once looked at, instantly have you in their clutches. They are the giant squids of the mineral world, stealthily lurking in the dark and ready to grab you! There is no escape!

I speak from personal experience, believe me, my collection is full of things which, at first look pretty dull! In today’s selection, take the solid block of Goethite from Schönbrunn in Saxony, with an unusual compact columnar habit. The columns are typically 1.5 cm in diameter and pack together similar to basalt columns as in, say, the Giant’s Causeway and the Isle of Staffa, adopting pentagonal and hexagonal cross-sections and concave, radially-crystallised ends. I think this specimen is fascinating and stunning. The Kermesite from Pezinok in Slovakia, with its dark maroon acicular crystals set against a brooding grey matrix, once examined is another stunner and a superb example of this antimony oxysulphide.

Also in the dark grey and white department, the Argentite on Quartz from Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia is an elegant old-time specimen. Dark, metallic grey Argentite crystals are over-grown by similar coloured, smooth to botryoidal Argentite, with areas of micro-Pyrite crystals, formed around a prismatic crystal of translucent off-white Quartz, standing 7.5 cm tall. The Quartz is a fine example of the Muzo habit, where alternating faces of the hexagonal prism are broad and narrow. This crystal tends to the extreme form where the narrow faces are almost negligible, resulting in a prism which appears to have three faces and therefore of a near trigonal habit.

OK, now to some colourful specimens. An Inesite from Hale Creek mine in California forms candyfloss to creamy rose pink blocky, tabular crystals lining an open, elongated vug. Crystals measure up to 1 cm making for an eye-catching specimen. We also have a lovely miniature Dioptase from Tsumeb, with tightly-packed, deep emerald green crystals, the largest measuring 1 cm long. The crystals grade from transparent outer faces to opaque cores, the interface looking like embedded green metallic foil.

Another colourful and quirky large miniature is a Calcite with Baryte, of spiky hedgehog appearance. From the Hammam-Zriba mine in Tunisia, apricot coloured scalenohedral Calcite crystals radiate out from a central hemisphere of pure white Baryte. The colour contrast between the two really make the Calcite crystals jump out at you. It is possible the Baryte is Celestine, but c'est la vie, Baryte or Celestine, it’s a fabulous specimen. The two species from this locality are visually tricky to differentiate.

A specimen of subdued colour yet beautiful nonetheless is a Cassiterite with Goshenite Beryl and Mica from Pingwu in Sichuan Province, China. Just a brief description of the vein mineralisation at the Pingwu Beryl mine on Mount Xuebaoding makes you instantly reach for the napkins to mop those drooling chops! Goshenite is the almost colourless variety of Beryl, in this specimen, a pale teal blue of gemmy to translucent optical clarity, with the larger crystal measuring a whopping 3.8 cm! The largest Cassiterite measures to 2.5 cm and all Cassiterites have a dazzling reflective lustre.

Let’s conclude with mention of three more of today’s less colourful specimens, but mark my word, everyone’s a stunner, all displaying excellent crystals of their respective species! Franklinite with Zincite from Franklin, New Jersey; Magnetite from the Kovdor Zheleznyi mine on the Kola Peninsula and Zircon with Ilmenite and Albite from Vavnbed Mountain in Russia. The latter is one of those specimens which, once you look a bit closer, delivers the big wow-factor. Creamy Albite feldspar binds individual Zircon and Ilmenite crystals in this busy large miniature. The Ilmenite forms reasonably well-developed crystals, however, it’s the chocolate brown Zircons which hog the limelight, forming flattened, octahedral crystals with a bright glassy lustre and ranging from a few millimetres to 2.4 cm on edge!

Next week we are back in the British Isles with atop-notch selection! Rest assured, there will be something for everyone, yet on both Tuesday and Friday next, a few British spectaculars will surface which compare favourably to some classics in the Sir Arthur Russell Collection. OK, this may be deemed close to heresy, but just wait and see! We hope you enjoy today’s picks, finding them aesthetic, interesting and perfect for your collection. PT.

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

Tuesday 19th July & Friday 22nd 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.

 

EAST COAST GEM, MINERAL & FOSSIL SHOW 2022

We return to West Springfield, Massachusetts for the East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show which takes place on Friday, August 12 through to Sunday, August 14. Admission for the show is $10.00 (Under 13 free with adult) and Crystal Classics will be located at space 129 in the shows retail section. Doors open 10am-6pm on Friday and Saturday and 10am-5pm for the Sunday.

 

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MINERAL WISH LIST

We also offer an additional service that enables you, as our customer, to contact us via orders@crystalclassics.co.uk 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, PT
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