New British Update 22 July 2022

22 July 2022

WE are back with this week’s second British update, but first a couple of notices.

It’s all happening in Weardale this weekend with the very welcome return of the much loved St John’s Chapel Mineral Show. The show, obviously, did not take place during the Covid pandemic, but now life is returning to normal, so does this delightful local event. UK Mining Ventures will be attending and offering a wonderful selection of Fluorites from the Rogerley, Diana Maria and Lady Annabella mines plus, I have no doubt, lot’s of other mineralogical goodies! The show will be held in the Town Hall in St John’s Chapel, Market Place (postcode DL13 1QF), both Saturday and Sunday (23 and 24th July) between 10 am and 5 pm each day. It is free to enter and in addition to minerals, has fossils, a photo competition, fun and educational activities for children and, that all-essential, refreshments.

May we also just add a reminder for you to contact Debbie before the close of Monday 15th August, should you have any requests for certain specimens to be taken to the Munich Show in late September. Maybe you’ve spotted a specimen (or several) on our website or at a previous show.

So now to today’s British selection, again, 15 specimens featuring some very choice items! I’m going to kick-off with our most northerly specimen and one I personally adore, a Calcite with Pyrite from New Glencrieff mine at Wanlockhead in Dumfriesshire. This specimen was in the Frederick H. Pough (1906-2006) Collection, a well-known and highly respected mineralogist, originally from Brooklyn, New York. Two scalenohedral Calcite crystals are joined end-to-end at their bases, both projecting in opposite directions and close to being in uniaxial alignment. The Calcite adopts a habit I have encountered before from Wanlockhead, wherein a scalenohedral crystal terminates as a single point at one end (as one would expect), while the base divides into numerous tiny scalenohedral crystals, giving a feathered termination at the opposite end. It is between these ‘feathered’ bases the two crystal are joined. The Calcites are translucent milky white with some faces darkened by inclusions of oxidised sulphides, with micro-crystallised, brassy Pyrite covering several small areas of the faces.

A highly aesthetic and amazingly architectural specimen is that of Cuprite on Native Copper from the Camborne-Redruth-St Day Mining District in Cornwall. Its shape cries-out for some analogy and the only thing which comes to my mind is the Deep Space Nine space station, you know, the one in Star Trek with sort-of curved, vertical docking arms! It’s easier if you study the photos! The two near-vertical outer arms measure 6 cm long and the entire framework of crystallised Native Copper is mainly encrusted with translucent to transparent, dark cherry red Cuprite crystals.

We received many compliments for Tuesday’s British selection (thank you) and we hope this is matched with equal enthusiasm today. To help emulate this, again we include a particularly delicious Liroconite, a miniature, again from its type locality at Wheal Gorland in Gwennap Parish, just east of Redruth. An approximately 3 x 1.5 cm exposed vug is completely lined with well-developed Liroconite crystals; the minority are the characteristic blue, the majority bluish-emerald green. Crystals on this specimen measure around 2 to 3 mm yet do attain 5 mm, all sharply crystallised and with a bright glassy lustre. The matrix is a hard, chocolate brown veinstone rich in dense Quartz and shot through with thin stringers and small pods of massive blue Liroconite. It’s gorgeous!

Returning north we have just two Weardale Fluorites, one from Frazer’s Hush near Rookhope, the other, a stunning lemon yellow from Greenlaws mine at Daddry Shield. If you visit the St John’s Chapel Show this weekend, the small village (or perhaps hamlet) of Daddry Shield only 1 km along the amin road. Yellow Fluorite is one of Greenlaws’ rarer colours and under LWUV fluoresces a reasonably moderate lavender-blue. That from Frazer’s Hush mine is a large cabinet specimen covered with glassy, vivid lilac Fluorite crystals, primarily as interpenetrant twins of up to 1.5 cm across. Like most Frazer’s Hush material, the crystals naturally fluoresce intense lilac-purple in direct daylight. It’s a beautiful piece and perfect for display.

Heading west to Cumbria, do take a closer look at the Linarite on Quartz from Red Gill mine in Roughton Gill in the Caldbeck Fells and a classic Calcite twin from the Cumberland Iron mines. Admittedly, one side of this crystal is broken-off, but the remaining majority, which is perfect, still remains attached to its matrix, a very rare occurrence. As you will know well, almost all Cumbrian Calcite twins are off-matrix, either because they ‘pinged-off’ during extraction or were deliberately prised-off by miners as it was wrongly thought these would fetch a higher price!

Meanwhile back in Cornwall, make sure you look at the Hematite with Chalcopyrite on Siderite from Carn Brea mine at Illogan and a rather gorgeous Blister Copper from Levant mine at Trewellard, near to St Just. Just the mention of Wheal Alfred conjures images of beautiful Pyromorphite and we include a stunning miniature with bright, oily lime green crystals. During the late 1970s when I studied in Cornwall, it was always rumoured the local farmer would take aim at you with his shotgun, hence no collector ever dared venture close to Wheal Alfred. This was most probably untrue, but certainly produced the desired effect for the landowner!

I’ll close with a nicely crystallised Bournonite displaying many cog-wheel crystals, however this time from its type locality at Wheal Boys, close to picturesque Port Isaac on the north coast of Cornwall. This mine was begun in the second half of the 1700s working antimony in the shallower sections of the lodes and changing to lead (Galena) at greater depths.

There are at least a couple more specimens not mentioned here, those are for you to spot and enjoy. We think it’s a great selection of minerals from the British Isles and, for sure, hope you agree. As always, enjoy ambling through today’s picks and should you happen to be in Weardale this weekend, do call in to say hello at the UKMV stand, we’ll be delighted to see you! PT.

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

Tuesday 26th July & Friday 29th July - 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.

 

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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