New World Update 29 July 2022

29 July 2022

HERE we are, Friday once again and in the blink of an eye that’s July flown-by! This being the final update of this month, we have another interesting mixed world-wide selection. Prior to discussing today’s picks, we need to slip in a couple of reminders.

Just two weeks from today, we return to West Springfield, Massachusetts for the East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show 2022 which takes place on Friday, August 12 through to Sunday, August 14 (see full details further below). The end of July also means Debbie’s deadline of Monday August 15 is only a little over two weeks away, up to which you can forward any requests for certain specimens to be taken to the Munich Show in late September.

Now to today’s update and I’m going to begin with a species which I have seldom seen before, Wadeite from the Khibiny Massif on the Kola Peninsula. Wadeite is a potassium-zirconium silicate which occurs as delicate rose pink hexagonal crystals with a bright glassy lustre. Several shallow vugs containing Wadeite occur within a creamy nepheline-syenite pegmatite, shot through with acicular crystals of black Aegirine. For anyone assembling a suite of Khibiny or Kola specimens, this is a really nice rarity.

We have three offerings from Tsumeb: an Azurite; a Willemite and the classic combination of Ludlockite with Leiteite on Germanite. The spray of metallic deep apricot Ludlockite is a lead-iron arsenite and the colourless, glassy Leiteite, a zinc arsenite. Germanite is a copper-iron-germanium sulphide. I well remember the thrill of buying my first ever Ludlockite with Leiteite at the Bakewell Rock Exchange in 1993 for the princely sum of £40! It seems an awfully long time ago now, but the pure joy and excitement of finding that specimen still invokes my heart to beat faster! I must also mention, the featured miniature Azurite forms three branching arms of intergrown, stacked rhombic crystals with a bright glassy lustre and when back-lit, transmits rich areas of stunning electric blue.

For all Cassiterite fans, we have two specimens, one from Ehrenfriedersdorf in Saxony, the other from Krásno in Bohemia. The latter is a large thumbnail cluster of black twinned Cassiterite crystals with a fabulous metallic lustre and displaying distinct re-entrant angles between faces. It’s a gorgeous little specimen! That from Saxony has several Cassiterite crystals of, typically, 1 cm within a bed of Quartz crystals and drusy Mica.

A very beautiful and mineralogically fascinating miniature is a Calcite from the Příbram Mining District in the Czech Republic. Close examination reveals multiple successions of mineral deposition, each phase manifesting as a different habit, colour or lustre. You can read my description of its approximate paragenesis through the hyperlinks provided, for now, suffice it to say, its spiky hedgehog-like structure of glittering, orange-red scalenohedral Calcite is stunning.

Niederschlag mine in the Erzgebirge District of Saxony, Germany, is a comparatively new and still operating mine, having begun in October 2010. It makes a welcome change to report on a relatively new mine, as opposed to a state of abandonment with all collecting now banned! From here we have pale red Baryte and brassy-golden Chalcopyrite crystals scattered over unusually coloured cubic crystals of Fluorite. By ‘unusual’, it appears deep, translucent chocolate brown in artificial fluorescent light. However, once examined closely and in daylight, the Fluorite varies between deep inky sea green and dark, smoky mustard yellow. Unusual indeed!

The Malachite with Native Copper and Cuprite from Rudabánya in Hungary reminds us of coral. The myriad of small hackly Native Copper branches are largely covered with micro-crystallised druses of light peppermint to leafy mid-green Malachite, with the very occasional patch of massive, dark maroon-red Cuprite peeping through. Rudabánya was a rich silver and copper mining district dating back to the medieval period. The mineralised zone extended over a distance of about 10 km; an area now strewn with abandoned, water-filled open pits and extensive mine dumps.

Let’s end by highlighting today’s two largest specimens, both what I would describe as large cabinet. Equally beautiful and somewhat bewitching in their own right, the simpler of the two displays a cream to malty brown, barrel-shaped translucent Calcite crystal, perched on top of pastel pink Dolomite crystals with occasional white Quartz crystals emerging. The Calcite, of fairly complex habit, measures 7.0 x 4.5 x 4.0 cm and has a naturally etched, soapy-smooth surface with a most attractive waxy and reflective lustre.

As for the more complex of this pair, words (almost) fail me by which to accurately describe it! From Elmwood mine in Tennessee, USA, it forms a fascinating display of Fluorite with Calcite, likely Celestine, and even a sliver of Quartzite matrix. Some of the Fluorite shows this originally crystallised as cubes, but these have long since been destroyed by some process of natural etching or localised erosion, leaving the strange assemblage of fragments we now see. The Fluorite sits on highly flattened scalenohedral Calcite crystals, colourless to milky white with mirror-like smooth surfaces and a brilliant glassy lustre. Characteristic of Elmwood, many of the terminations grade to ice-clear, golden sherry.

Hopefully, this rather interesting selection will provide much interest over the weekend, which takes us through into August next Monday. At this rate it will soon be Christmas! Let’s close July with several little teasers. Tuesday will herald another British selection, together with some exciting news with great relevance to the British mineral collecting scene. And if that were not enough, for next Friday’s update I have been requested to select specimens fit for a White Wedding (with hint of blue and pink)! As for the identity of the blushing bride-to-be and the bride’s most special attendant, well, roll-on next Friday! PT.

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

Tuesday 2nd August - World

Friday 5th August - Wedding


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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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Author: JH, PT
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