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Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 08.23.2017 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

I’ve posted fun new specimens in this Mali Update (click here). This update features particularly good clinochlore crystals, and also specimens of prehnite, grossular and andradite specimens, with some distinctive finds and a couple of unusual Mali localities.

Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.9 cm

Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 2.3 cm crystal

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.5 cm

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.4 cm

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.6 cm

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – crystal 0.9 cm

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Clinochlore, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 2.8 cm

Diabe Sira, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali

Grossular, Diabe Sira, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 9.1 cm

Andradite Garnet, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali

Andradite, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 4.0 cm

Andradite Garnet, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali

Andradite, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 4.7 cm

Epidote, Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Epidote, Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 2.9 cm

Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Prehnite with pargasite inclusions, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé,
Kayes Region, Mali – 5.3 cm

Prehnite,  Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 6.4 cm

Prehnite,  Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 5.7 cm

Prehnite,  Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 5.4 cm

Grossular Garnet, Sibinndi, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

Grossular, Sibinndi, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.0 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 09.11.2015 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added some excellent yellow stilbites on the website in the new Mali Update (click here).

Beautiful yellow stilbite balls from Mali made their debut at Ste. Marie 2014. Although there has only been a small trickle of fine specimens since then, the deposit at Diamonkara has now once again produced a number of very fine pieces. As in 2014, moderate-to-significant damage was almost ubiquitous, and high-quality specimens like the ones in this lot are very uncommon. As a side note, although there has been a push to sell these as specimens of stellerite, none of the analytical work done to date has confirmed any stellerite identification, to my knowledge (and I am aware some analytical work has been done).

As for the specimens themselves, the good Diamonkara pieces are absolutely some of the nicest and most distinctive stilbites I’ve ever seen from anywhere, with beautiful colour and form. They are perhaps not yet appreciated for what they are – these are striking, colourful display specimens of a mineral that is often pale and drab.

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite with prehnite and epidote, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 6 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 6.2 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 6.8 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite on epidote, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali
Field of view – 5 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite on pargasite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 4.6 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite on prehnite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali
Field of view 4.5 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.8 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 4 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 4.1 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.1 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite (deep colour) Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.1 cm

Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliStilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.1 cm

Prehnite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, MaliPrehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – field of view 5.5 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 07.18.2014 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

Beautiful new specimens from Mali, featuring yellow balls of stilbite crystals from Diamonkara, a new find. The Diamonkara workings are in the same general vicinity of the Arrondissement Diako which has produced the now well-known specimens of prehnite and epidote. Also new among these specimens is an exceptionally fine prehnite on epidote.  These specimens are now posted under Mali – July 2014 Update (click here).

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Stilbite with Prehnite and Epidote, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Kayes Region, Mali – 6.9 cm

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Stilbite with Prehnite and Epidote, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Kayes Region, Mali – 7.5 cm

100496(1) Stilbite , Diamonkara, Bendougou, Kayes Region, Mali – 6.9 cm

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Prehnite on Epidote, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali – 5.9 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 07.02.2014 | Filed under: Latest, Mineral Shows | Comments (0)

 

Nestled in the Val d’Argent, in Alsace, France, the town of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines hosts one of the world’s largest minerals shows, with character and class unto itself.

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Alsace is dotted with picturesque villages…

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Rodern

vineyards…

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The vineyards near Saint-Hippolyte

… and forests, hills and castles.

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Château du Haut Koenigsbourg

The towns are small and picturesque, with distinctive architecture.

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Roses on a home in Saint-Hippolyte

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Quiet afternoon in Saint-Hippolyte

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First morning sunlight in Saint-Hippolyte

The Sainte Marie show itself is centred on the old theatre in the centre of town, with a small group of dealers hosted inside, and many more outside, based in white tents, lining tent “streets” in the mineral dealing area. (There are also other large buildings full of dealers).

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Theatre, Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines

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Exhibits inside the theatre

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A glimpse of some of the tents on one of many “streets” of dealers

Of course, with so many dealers and others in mineral world all coming together in one place like this, one hopes that there will be interesting minerals to see, and Sainte Marie 2014 did not disappoint. If you have time for a glimpse into a small number of highlights, here are a few.

For a couple of years now, we have been seeing the pale blue barites from the Sidi Lahcen Mine, Nador, Nador Province, Morocco. These are delicate and can be outright spectacular, but alas many are quite badly damaged and lots do not have good colour. A small number with the better colour have survived the mining/collecting, prep work, shipping and travel – and these are wonderful specimens.

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Barite, Sidi Lahcen Mine, Nador, Nador Province, Morocco – 7.7 cm

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Barite, Sidi Lahcen Mine, Nador, Nador Province, Morocco – 5.8 cm

Some super new dioptase specimens have been collected very recently at Mindouli, Mindouli District, Pool Department, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).  As always, it remains very hard to obtain specimens from this area, as it lies at the heart of the border area between DRC and Brazzaville, and conflict continues. However, these have been brought out and are beautiful.

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Dioptase with Plancheite, Mindouli, Mindouli District, Pool Department, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) – crystal 1.2 cm

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Dioptase with Plancheite, Mindouli, Mindouli District, Pool Department, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) – 5.3 cm

Another new African find is quite intriguing. The now well-known Bendougou vicinity in the Kayes Region of Mali has been producing fine specimens of green prehnite balls and epidote for many years. A new locality among the many within the district  – Diamonkara – recently produced super specimens of yellow stilbite. One dealer was adamant that these are stellerite, and then suggested that some are stellerite and some are stilbite, but the consensus assumption by many of us (granted, from observation alone) is that they are in all likelihood all stilbite. They are primarily “balls” and “wheels” of crystals, up to about 6 cm, some of which are associated with epidote and even prehnite. Unfortunately a few that could otherwise have been nice were terribly damaged, but the fine specimens are really sweet! I obtained the fine ones I could find available.

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Stilbite, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.7 cm

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Stilbite with Epidote, Diamonkara, Bendougou, Kayes Region, Mali – 3.5 cm

Finally, I would feel strange coming back from Ste Marie without anything fun from France… and I managed to find a small group of interesting pieces, including bournonite from Les Malines District, Saint-Laurent-le-Minier, Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon, and some very cool hematite specimens from Le Haïcot, Brézouard Massif, Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France.

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Bournonite, Les Malines District, Saint-Laurent-le-Minier, Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon, France – 7.0 cm

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Hematite,  Le Haïcot, Brézouard Massif, Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France – 5.0 cm

As with other top-level large international mineral shows, the Sainte Marie show included educational presentations and a display area. The theme of the display area was copper minerals and it included many jaw-dropping specimens from France and all over the world, assembled from the collections of museums and private collectors. I feel that photographing these through glass with inappropriate photo lighting would be tantamount to insulting these gorgeous specimens (and the collections in which they are housed). I mean it’s hard enough taking good accurate photos of azurite and dioptase as it is (!). Suffice it to say, I sure returned to this area more than once. (Did I kneel down in front of any cases?  Well I guess you may never know…) Beautifully done!

Minerals from the show will be available on the website in updates coming over the next few weeks.

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2014 was a great show – a sincere thank you to the organizers and display contributors. If you have not yet been, it is a show like no other. À la prochaine!

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