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Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 06.12.2019 | Filed under: Latest, Mineral Shows | Comments (0)

 

As spring unfolds in this part of the world in mid-late April each year, it’s time for the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium!

Of course, the extent to which it’s spring in this region depends on exactly where you are – Rochester was further ahead and this year there was still lots of snow up here in Bancroft. Even so, the first beautiful signs of the new season were emerging. (It has been a cold spring – our furnaces out here have been on still, into June (!)).

IrisFinal

Rochester 2019 marked our 46th year.

If you are new to the Symposium, it’s a unique event. It brings together professionals and amateurs, and a complete range of subjects in specimen mineralogy. It is collegial and friendly, meant for collectors and those who love to learn about minerals. The RMS prominently features What’s New in Minerals each year. It is also a mineral show with excellent dealers set up and open when the talks are not on. It may sound scientific and formal, but Rochester is perhaps the most welcoming and inclusive mineral gathering I know.  It’s a time for hanging out and having a good time with mineral friends, new and old (of course new people come every year, and if you’ve never been, make 2020 your first!).  It’s possible a drink or two is shared among us, and a few mineral songs are always sung.

Rochester is not meant to be a strictly scientific symposium – it is meant for anyone who wants to learn more about minerals. At Rochester, many of the best-known mineral people of our time, mineralogists, curators, collectors (including beginners) and students, all share and learn together.

We had a stellar cast of speakers this year! We began with three talks (Thursday night and Friday morning) about crystals, given by three friends who have been experts in crystallography for a long time.

John Jaszczak, Pete, John Rakovan at the Rochester Symposium, 2019

 Three Crystal Rogues. From Left, John Jaszczak, Pete Richards and John Rakovan.

These three talks began with some fundamental questions and concepts, progressed into distortions and ended up teetering on the edge of the crystallography universe – I lightheartedly told our speakers they were taking us on a journey, From Cubes to Tubes.

Thursday Night

John Rakovan started us off with Crystal Growth: A Primer. He explored why it is that crystals form flat faces. It’s such a fundamental question, I’ve never thought to wonder about it (!). It’s easier to assume that we have an understanding of basic crystals if we understand the crystal classes. As a general rule, crystals have flat faces, at a macro level. However, at a microscopic level, crystal faces often display topography that can help us to understand how they grew. The short answer about flat faces is that the mechanism of growth prefers to add thin layers as a crystal grows, completing a flat layer and then beginning the next. The longer explanation as to why that is has to do with the way atoms bond to surfaces – an atom will bond much more easily if it can attach not only to the flat surface underneath, but also a step/bench on one side. If thought of as a cube, if the bottom and one side can be attached, the atom is much more likely to be bonded and stay in place, as is the next, and the next, until the layer has crept all across the crystal. Once a new layer starts, the process is repeated.

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Layered growth visible inside a Panasqueira fluorapatite crystal,
both on a macro scale and an incredibly micro scale.
John Rakovan specimen and photo.

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 A beautiful illustration of layers on a pyrite crystal – this crystal surface is relatively flat
but with the right illumination, one can see the stepped growth pattern.

Friday Morning

R. Peter Richards opened Friday morning with a talk on Distorted Crystals. Many of you know Pete is often involved in unravelling some of  the most interesting crystallographic mysteries in Mineral World. His presentation took us away from typical flat-faced, simple geometric crystal forms, into the realm of distortions of various kinds. Pete is an engaging speaker and this was a great talk!

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 1.13.23 PM

John Jaszczak then led us to the brink of the crystallographic abyss, with Criminal Minerals: Investigating Minerals that Break the Law. A subject that could easily descend into a very technical place and lose an audience, but there was no worry of that! Why?  Well, other than the fact John is a great presenter in any event… he chose to explain the concepts using photographs of parked cars. Answering once and for all the age-old question (at least I’ve always wondered) can crystallographic issues be solved with parked cars…

Beginning with the illustration of a crystal on the right hand side of this slide…

 

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Explaining, for example, that complications can result in a crystal’s growth when something shows up where it should not, within a crystal’s lattice…

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Issuing a wanted-list for criminal minerals the offence of incommensurate modulation…

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… you might feel like “incommensurate modulation” is a good technical place to become lost… nope, turns out parked cars can illustrate almost anything, as this one example shows.

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OK, one _mineral_ example in photographs. This is cylindrite, a classic, with its cylindrical crystal morphology:

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Friday Afternoon – Contributed Papers in Specimen Mineralogy

Friday afternoon at the RMS, we have Contributed Papers in Specimen Mineralogy (we typically refer to it as the “Technical Session”). Our coordinator of this session and editor of the abstracts is Sarah Hanson – she runs the call for papers, and coordinates everything to put this program together. Our call for papers is usually out in December, but start thinking about it now – if you have a paper you’d like to contribute, we’d love to see your submission this year.

The session itself is moderated by Dr. Carl Francis. Friday afternoon is packed with great 15-minute talks on a range of topics, some completely specimen-oriented, some more mineralogical. I never write at length in these blog posts about the Technical Session talks, because the abstracts from the talks are published during the year in Rocks and Minerals magazine (don’t forget to watch for them!) and they are published in the RMS Program Notes (see the links section at the end of this blog post).

However, I do feel strongly about writing a just bit about it. The Technical Session is one of the features of the RMS that makes it unique, with professionals and amateurs all contributing. For collectors, there is a lot of interest in these talks – sometimes about rare or new minerals or finds, sometimes about localities, sometimes about scientific work done to establish fakes in Mineral World. We had a high percentage of truly excellent talks given by students. The group from the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio did a particularly outstanding job. Too often, we look around Mineral World and see fewer young people than we’d all like – these students represent a bright future for mineralogy and the science that underpins everything we enjoy in Mineral World.

Friday Night

On Friday night, Terry Huizing gave “The Variety and Appeal of Calcite”. Terry has a superb calcite collection, and this talk was full of photographs of wonderful calcite specimens. He spoke about calcite colours and crystals – with Terry’s presentation, anyone could be tempted to specialize in collecting calcite.

Terry made one point that really struck me – it’s something I had never known about calcite, and I thought it was an awesome bit of mineral learning. Many people know that calcite is known for its huge variety of crystal forms, as over 800 have been described. It’s mind-boggling. I love poring over incredible intricate calcite crystal drawings in Goldschmidt and other publications. Terry pointed out that all of these complex crystals we see are combinations of two or more of only five forms, along with any twinning that may be present: the pinacoid, prism, rhombohedron, scalenohedron and dipyramid. (!) I loved learning that!  Terry illustrated these, including some Jeff Scovil photos in the following slides:

Calcite - Pinacoid and Prism

 

Calcite - Rhombohedron

 

Calcite - Scalenohedron

 

Calcite - Dipyramid

Terry’s was mostly a talk comprised of great photos of beautiful specimens, including this wonderful piece.

Rhombohedra and dipyramid

Saturday Morning: What’s New in Minerals and Localities

Saturday morning is always dedicated to What’s New in Minerals – it has been at the heart of the Symposium from the early days, and it is an absolute  highlight every year. We divide the morning into Parts I and II.

Jeff Scovil has been leading Part I for 25 years (time flies!), and even after Friday night’s fun takes us all well into the night, this talk is packed every year. Of course it is: this is the world’s great and famous mineral photographer showing us fantastic photos of the most remarkable new things he’s shot over the past 12 months. The jaw-dropping specimens and awesome photos mean this part is full of oooohs and aaaahs. Here are a few highlights from Jeff’s Part I this year:

CaliforniaGold

Gold, Colorado Quartz Mine, Mariposa, California – 2.7 cm high
Dave Varabioff specimen, Jeff Scovil photo

Cummengeite

Cummengeite, Curuglu workings, Boleo Mine, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, Mexico – 1.8 cm
Peter McGaw specimen, Jeff Scovil photo

PinkEuclase Euclase, Brumado Mine, Bahia, Brazil – 1.7 cm
Alex Schauss specimen, Jeff Scovil photo

MetaAutunite

Meta-Autunite,  Golconda Mine, Governador Valadares, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil – 2cm
Marini & Gobin specimen, Jeff Scovil photo

EpidoteBowtie

Epidote, Kharan, Balochistan, Pakistan – 3.2 cm
Ziga Minerals specimen, Jeff Scovil photo

IrelandFluorite
Fluorite, Joe Larkin’s Quarry, Shannapheasteen, Co. Galway, Ireland – 8.5 cm
Dan Weinrich specimen, Jeff Scovil photo

 SceptrePetersenMountain

Quartz sceptre, Petersen Mt., Washoe, Nevada – 25.6 cm
Jim and Gail Spann specimen, Jeff Scovil photo

Part II is led by John Betts – he coordinates the program team and assembles all of what’s new into slides. John then presents some of the material, while other team members speak about the contributions they’ve assembled. This year’s team included Jim Nizamoff, Mark Jacobson and me. Part II is great session, bringing together finds and workings from around the world with photographs of localities and specimens. Of course, our goal is to bring new specimens and stories to light!

I won’t go too far into this, as we covered a lot of ground, but here are a few photos to give a little glimpse, and I’ll finish with a particularly interesting story from Mont St. Hilaire.

John covered finds from all over, and he included some rather interesting new finds from Maine:

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The new finds I presented for What’s New have mostly already been posted elsewhere here on my website, including under What’s New Blog and New Specimens.

For example, the beautiful new fluorite specimens from Madagascar:

Fluorite, Mandrosonoro, Ambatofinandrahana, Amoron’i Mania, Madagascar

Fluorite, Mandrosonoro, Ambatofinandrahana, Amoron’i Mania, Madagascar – 11.0 cm
Mary Holdgraf specimen

On a very different note – a new identification – we had a great contribution from Lázló Horváth (thank you Les!). This story goes back to the 2013 approval of marshalsussmanite as a new species (an intermediate species between serandite and pectolite) and the subsequent 2014 Rocks and Minerals magazine article about it. Les wondered if perhaps some of the serandite specimens from Mont St. Hilaire might in fact be marshalsussmanite. In cooperation with the Canadian Museum of Nature, a survey of various Mont St-Hilaire serandites was commenced using several techniques, and a number were found to be in the marshallsussmanite range. Notably, one of them was from the major 1981 find, often associated with Ernie Schlichter. Single crystal structure analysis confirmed that the 1981 bladed serandite was marshallsussmanite. However, there’s more to the story…

This single crystal structure analysis also confirmed that the mineral named marshalsussmanite is identical to the mineral schizolite, described from Greenland in 1901 and  unnecessarily dropped from the valid minerals list in 1955. There was no official discreditation at the time, because this predated the establishment of IMA. Now, owing to the priority of schizolite, marshallsussmanite has been discredited and the mineral is schizolite.

So where does this leave Mont St-Hilaire serandites? Well, there is no simple answer. It seems that so far, the 1981 Ernie Schlicter-find specimens tested are all schizolite. Initially, it had been thought that perhaps the thin, bladed habit might be reliable as a diagnositc indicator, but this has proven to be too simple and unreliable a conclusion. Ongoing study of specimens is being conducted by Tony Steede at the Royal Ontario Museum lab, and he has found crystals in the thin, bladed habit that are in fact serandite. It seems that the only way to know is to have every specimen fully analyzed. Further discussion of the schizolite story and findings are expected in an upcoming article by Peter Tarassoff in Rocks and Minerals magazine, and also in the highly-anticipated upcoming new book on Mont St-Hilaire (more on that below).

This is a confirmed schizolite:

serandite4-UL-0154

Schizolite with analcime and natrolite, Mont St-Hilaire, Quebec – 18 cm
Laval University specimen, Laszlo Horvath photo

Saturday Afternoon

Saturday afternoon, we began with “Mineral Collection Matters”, by William Severance. Bill has shared specimens from his collection with us in the display room at the Symposium each year for as long as I can remember! He gave a great talk about mineral collecting, illustrated with specimens from his collection. One of my favourite aspects of mineral collecting is visiting mineral friends and going through their collection together, hearing the stories behind each piece. Bill’s talk was very much like that, with provenance of the specimens and other background, lots of collecting wisdom gleaned over the years, and some fun stories. I’ll share the one that was my favourite laugh (and I was certainly not alone):

Bill was visiting with highly-accomplished Tucson collector Jim Blees, and they had been spending time going through Jim’s collection. Bill recalled what Jim said (and we can give a small tip of the cap to Apocalypse Now):

“A great mineral specimen always comes up at the worst possible time. The house needs a new roof. Your wife needs a new washing machine. Your daughter needs braces. At that moment, you’re either a collector or you’re not. Sell the house! Sell the wife! Sell the kid! Buy the rock!“

This talk was a treat visually as well,  featuring many of Jeff Scovil’s photos featured in Bill’s chapter in the Mineralogical Record Supplement, Mineral Collections of the American Northeast. (Jul/Aug 2016).

Dioptase

 Dioptase on calcite, Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Namibia – 2.7 cm
William Severance collection, Jeff Scovil photo.

Azurite

 Azurite, Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Namibia – 9.5 cm.
William Severance collection, Jeff Scovil photo.
Ex Sid Peters specimen. Included in Julius Zweibel’s McDole
Trophy exhibit (1977). From Marshall Sussman (2003)

Calcite on Copper

Complex calcite twin over calcite phantom on copper, 6.4 cm, from the Copper Falls mine, Owl Creek fissure, Keweenaw County, Michigan.
William Severance specimen, Jeff Scovil photo.
Ex Clarence Bement collection (1900). Ex I. P. Scalisi collection.
From Stuart Wilensky (1999). Pictured in American Mineral Treasures (2008).

To close out our Saturday afternoon, Les Presmyk took the podium. Les has been a generous contributor in many capacities throughout Mineral World, and we were thrilled to have him back in Rochester. For those of you who might not know (or know of) Les, he has a superb collection of Arizona minerals, and has given presentations on a variety of Arizona mineral subjects. On Saturday he gave a talk he had just finished putting together, “Arizona Sulfates”.

I was intrigued by this talk as a subject matter, because when one thinks of Arizona, one does not usually jump to thinking of sulfates. Turns out there are lots of great sulfate minerals in Arizona! Far more species than only he ones that came to mind for me. Here’s just a glimpse (these are classics…):

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Slide13

 Spangolite, Czar shaft, Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Warren District, Cochise Co., Arizona

Sunday Morning

Sunday we capped off the 46th RMS with two more excellent talks.

Chris Stefano opened with his talk, “Lucius Lee Hubbard: One of the Copper Country’s Greatest Mineral Collectors”. Hubbard was a true Renaissance man, and he was passionate about minerals. Chris told Hubbard’s story with far more than mineral specimens – he included historic photographs and Hubbard’s original correspondence, working with Hubbard’s descendants. The Hubbard collection ultimately contained many exceptional specimens, including superb Michigan copper country specimens, and it was one of the three private collections that formed the foundation for the collection of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum of Michigan Technological University.

Stefano Copper

 Copper, Keweenaw Peninsula, 23 cm. Michigan Mineral Alliance specimen (UM 1674).
Christopher Stefano photo.

Stefano Silver

Silver, Cliff Mine, Keweenaw Co., Michigan – 10 cm A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum specimen (LLH 508)
John Jaszczak and Christopher Stefano photo.

And for our grand finale, Les Presmyk presented “Collecting Arizona Minerals: 150 Years of Mining, 100 Years of Statehood, and My 50-Year Journey.” This talk was awesome, featuring historical photos and packed with photos of killer specimens.

Wulfeniteonquartz.RedCloudMine.Scovil2011-04-0081

Wulfenite, Red Cloud Mine, Trigo Mountains, La Paz Co., Arizona – 4.3 cm
Les and Paula Presmyk specimen, Jeff Scovil photo.

New Books!

Just a quick mention of three new books that are coming soon and were talked about a lot at the RMS – they are of particular interest to many of the people who attend RMS (and of course many more throughout Mineral World). I can’t wait for my copies of all three! Links for all of these are in the links section at the end of this blog post.

First, the project from George Robinson, Jeff Chiarenzelli and Michael Bainbridge, Minerals of the Grenville Province: New York, Ontario and Quebec should be out literally any day now (it can be ordered through Schiffer Books and will be on amazon… OR… if you will be at the Bancroft Gemboree this year (August 1-4, 2019), there will be a launch and signing, at the Bainbridge Photography booth (#145), and George Robinson will be there for a signing on Saturday, August 3, from 1:00-4:00 pm).

GrenvilleBook

The new book on Mont St-Hilaire is almost here too! Mont Saint-Hilaire: History, Geology, Mineralogy by Lázló Horváth, Robert A Gault, Elsa Pfenninger-Horváth and Glenn Poirier (ed. R.F. Martin) will be released in September 2019.

MSH COver

And the third is the highly-anticipated book about Bill Pinch and his collection: The Pinch Collection at the Canadiane Museum of Nature, by Michael Bainbridge (eds. Gloria Staebler and Tom Wilson). It will be published in fall 2019 and the link for pre-orders is in the link section below. Bill was very involved with the preparation of this book, and the collection described has been regarded by many as perhaps the finest private collection ever assembled. With photography by Michael Bainbridge, this will be an amazing work.

Displays

Every RMS, we have great displays in the Exhibit Room and this year was no exception. Some are contributed by museums and many are contributed by collectors attending the RMS.

I say that it was no exception, but it _was_ exceptional in one respect. We have now retrofitted all of the RMS display cases with super new LED lighting. Thanks to Brian McGrath for doing all of the hard work on this – they looked awesome! (A side note, if you are interested in lighting for your own display cases, these are from Graham Sutton, with contact information in the links section below).

Here are a few glimpses from among the many great displays.

Terry Huizing assembled a case of beautiful calcite specimens in support of his talk. Some great eye-candy here!

TerryHuizingCase

John Betts’s display, “Recent Additions”, included many sweet specimens.

JohnBettsCase

I could have chosen many for a closeup, but I chose this gorgeous chalcocite:

Chalcocite, Bristol Copper Mine, Bristol, Connecticut
Chalcocite, Bristol Copper Mine, Bristol, Connecticut – 5 cm (crystals to 2.6 cm)
From the private collection of Ex. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Wilke (1925-2014) of Eppertshausen, Germany, No. 193

The Mineralogical & Geological Museum at Harvard University brought a display of great calcite specimens:

HarvardCalciteTwins

Scale: specimen on the right approx. 4 cm.

Canadian collector George Thompson brought a case, “Canadian Quartz”, with many distinctive specimens from localities that are less commonly seen:

GeorgeCanadaQuartz

 Don Dallaire had many excellent specimens in his case dedicated to the Minerals of New Hampshire – I thought this was truly exceptional quality for cordierite:

CordieriteDallaire

Cordierite, Richmond Soapstone Quarry, Richmond, New Hampshire – approx. 5 cm

Bob Morgan’s case was dedicated to Epitaxy – here’s a great albite on orthoclase specimen:

BobMorganEpitacticFeldspar

 Scale: approx. 10 cm tall

 Carl Francis brought a case of killer quartz specimens from Switzerland:

CarlFrancisCase

A couple of close-up photographs from Carl’s case – these are wonderful crystals:

CarlFrancisGwindel

Quartz gwindel, Fedenstock, Uri, Switzerland – approx. 9 cm

CarlFrancisLargeQtz

Quartz, Rhone Glacier, Wallis, Switzerland – approx. 25 cm

Fun

As I write every year in my RMS posts, a lot of the best of Rochester occurs beyond the talks – in the halls, over meals, and on the 4th floor (the dealer floor, open when talks are not on). Socializing continues well into the morning hours each night, and includes a few traditions – among others, the not-to-be-missed Saturday night mineral songs with David Joyce. (I assume most have heard Dave’s mineral collecting and mining tunes, but if not, I’m including a link below). Somehow, I had so much fun that I forgot to be taking pictures to include here. Oops.

We have a lot of fun together at Rochester – and if you’ve never been, I hope you’ll come next year and be a part of it with us!

RMS 2020

We have another great lineup of speakers shaping up – the dates are April 23-26, 2020.

RMS on Facebook

The Rochester Mineralogical Symposium is now on Facebook (here) (thank you Michael Bainbridge!). Our Facebook page is one good way to keep up with us – feel free to visit and give it a Like!

Until Next Year…

The Rochester Symposium is a great event, that has seen many of Mineral World’s most prominent names as contributors. At the same time, the Symposium continues to embrace contributions from all levels in mineral collecting – it simply would not be what it is without everyone who contributes.

Thank you to all of our amazing speakers this year! And thanks to our speakers and photographers for all of your help with photos to share through this report.

Of course, the Symposium could literally not happen without the dedicated efforts of the team who put it together – particularly Carl Miller, our registrar. Carl is The Man. Sarah Hanson does it all to put together the technical session and coordinate the abstracts.  Tom White is our technical coordinator, insuring that all the presentations and recordings run without a hitch. Many thanks to all on our committee and those helping in the background year-round, including John Betts, Steve Chamberlain, Dan Imel, Betty Fetter, Carl Francis, Bruce Gaber, Brian McGrath, Bob Morgan, Susan Robinson, and Quintin Wight. Thanks to Paul Dudley for technical and website support. We also have a host of people helping us at the RMS and behind the scenes, including Mike Avery, Michael Bainbridge, John Diaz, Charlene Freundlich, Fred Haynes, Mark Jacobson, Jim Nizamoff, Ed Smith, Laurie Steele Sperber, Dan Sperber, Gloria Staebler, Lee Tutt, and Ken Wolf  I sure hope I haven’t missed anyone!

Links and References

If you are seeking links for anything mentioned above, some of these may be of interest:

Our amazing professional mineral photographers (who – of course – take photos of private collection specimens for individual collectors): Jeff Scovil and Michael Bainbridge

David K. Joyce has written – and plays and sings, of course – the soundtrack for so many great times in minerals. The mineral tunes are available on itunes (enter David K Joyce in your itunes search window) or the CD is available from Dave – if you’d like to hear them, here is the page where you can listen.

If you are interested in display lights for your collection, Graham Sutton’s company, It’s West Display & Lighting, has great lighting solutions. We love the new RMS display case lighting.

Here are links to the books:

Minerals of the Grenville Province (Click here)  Or, as mentioned above, come to the Bancroft Gemboree and visit Michael Bainbridge. [NB as of the time of publishing this post, the only actively-shipping listing is the direct link through the publisher]

Mont Saint-Hilaire (Click here) [NB at the time of publishing this post, SP 14, Mont Saint Hilaire, was not yet listed at this page, but the book launches in September and it will be at this link!]

The Pinch Collection at the Canadian Museum of Nature (Click here)

When they are online, the 46th RMS Program Notes will be posted online here.

 

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 02.27.2019 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

I’ve added some super new specimens in this Elmwood Update (click here). This update features beautiful high-quality twinned calcite crystals, and also a great fluorite.

First opened in the 1970s, the Elmwood Mine (the Elmwood-Gordonsville-Cumberland mining complex) has produced some of the world’s finest calcite crystals, many of which are twinned. Over the years, the miners referred to the large orange Elmwood calcite crystals as “footballs”, and they referred to the clear gemmy calcites in this update as “jewels”. These are from a pocket found a few years ago. Most specimens were damaged and these are exceptional – the handful of top-quality specimens in this update are the result of a quest through many flats.

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 7.3 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 8.3 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 7.0 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA
Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 10.2 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 10.1 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA
Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 9.8 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 6.5 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 5.9 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 5.4 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Tennessee, US

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 5.2 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US - 5.4 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 5.2 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US - 5.4 cm

Calcite (Twinned), Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 5.5 cm

Fluorite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co.,  Tennessee, US

Fluorite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US – 6.2 cm

Fluorite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co.,  Tennessee, US

Fluorite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, US

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 02.14.2017 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added some excellent specimens in this Russia Update (click here). In particular, there are some super, transparent, colourless fluorites from Dal’negorsk, with crystals exhibiting up to five crystal forms. Among these area couple of great overgrowth and phantom pieces. These fluorite specimens are not new, I’ve kept an eye out for them in recent years and have acquired good ones when I’ve been able. This update also includes some great calcite specimens, with some fascinating crystal forms, and some fine datolite specimens with sharp crystals.

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 9.5 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – crystal 1.3 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 9.3 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 9.6 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – crystal 3.5 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite phantom, modified cube inside modified dodecahedral crystal
Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – Field of view 2.0 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – Field of view 5.0 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – Field of view 3.5 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite exhibiting five crystal forms,
Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia
Crystal 1.3 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 5.5 cm

Fluorite, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Fluorite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 3.7 cm

Calcite, Verchniy Mine. Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Calcite, Verchniy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 9.0 cm

Calcite, Verchniy Mine, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Calcite, Verchniy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Calcite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Calcite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 5.5 cm

Calcite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Calcite, Nikolaevskiy Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Datolite, Bor Pit, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Datolite, Bor Pit, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 2.1 cm crystal

Datolite, Bor Pit, Dalnegorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Datolite, Bor Pit, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 7.5 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 05.02.2016 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added some beautiful, gemmy, twinned calcite crystals in this Elmwood Calcite Update (click here).

First opened in the 1970s, the Elmwood Mine (the Elmwood-Gordonsville-Cumberland mining complex) has produced some of the world’s finest calcite crystals, many of which are twinned. Over the years, the miners referred to the large orange Elmwood calcite crystals as “footballs”, and they referred to the clear gemmy calcites in this update as “jewels”. These are from a pocket found in late 2014. Most specimens were damaged and these are exceptional – the handful of high-quality specimens in this update are the result of a quest through
about 50 flats of specimens.

Highly dependent upon global metal prices and given the low price of zinc, the Elmwood Mine was unfortunately closed in December, 2015. Metal price fluctuations are cyclical and this is not the first time this has happened – the Elmwood Mine has closed and reopened under new ownership in the past. For now, the mine has been placed on care and maintenance with an uncertain future ahead. Hopefully at some point in the future it may be profitable for someone to reopen it.

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 8.4 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA
Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 6.2 cm crystal

 Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 5.8 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 5.7 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 7.0 cm

101306(1)(5.3)

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 5.3 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 5.4 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 5.3 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 5.6 cm

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA

Calcite, Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Smith Co., Tennessee, USA – 4.9 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 02.23.2016 | Filed under: Latest, Mineral Shows | Comments (0)

I love arriving back in Tucson. Urban field collecting at its finest!

TucsonSunset

There’s an excitement about the Tucson shows – we all feel it.

A bit similar to the way a the Christmas tree each year is evocative of the fun of past Christmases, in Tucson we have our ornamental orange trees in the courtyard at the Hotel Formerly Known as The Inn Suites…

Oranges

The mornings at the start of Tucson 2016 were not quite tropical.

frost

 Palm trees through the frost on the car windshield.

 However,  the Tucson sun is great and by the afternoon there’s a warm sunlight casting shadows.

Tucson 2016

So, into the car and off to the shows all over town in search of fine minerals… but can I just make a small random observation first?

Our rental car flashed this at us regularly,  throughout the trip:

CarWarning

I’m sorry, but if your brain is not already subconsciously running this question in the background for you every day, you’re gonna have issues. Waiting until a car prompts the thought is inadvisable.

OK. I’m done. On to the minerals. (It’s safe to move.)

poolsideThe courtyard mineral localities beckon…

Minerals!

There were great mineral specimens in Tucson this year and this post is just a small glimpse of a few fun things I managed to acquire. Each of the following will be the subject of an update on the website over the coming weeks.

Let’s begin with a new find of gorgeous yellow fluorites from Morocco. These are from the classic fluorite locality, the El Hammam Mine, they are unusually sharp, yellow cubes.

The hue of these fluorites varies, depending on the light source (common for fluorite), from a warmer honey-yellow under halogen, to a slightly brighter yellow in daylight and even a bit bolder under cool-temperature LED lighting. (This effect is different with each specimen, some show it more and some less).

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, MoroccoFluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco
Field of view 4.0 cm

Upon close inspection, many of the crystals contain delicate, fine-lined purple phantoms.

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, MoroccoFluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco
Field of view 2.5 cm

This was not a large find, and I chose the best quality ones available – if you’d like to see more photos, they are in the Morocco Fluorite update (click here).

Next up is the amazing Milpillas Mine in Mexico. It’s no surprise that we are continuing to see more azurites, and a few other things are trickling out too, but this time I was particularly interested in the brochantites. There are not so many (certainly nothing like the azurites) but these are super for the species, and I found a few excellent ones available this year.

Brochantite

Brochantite, Milpillas Mine, Cuitaca, Mun. de Santa Cruz, Sonora, Mexico – 3.9 cm

Brochantite2

Brochantite, Milpillas Mine, Cuitaca, Mun. de Santa Cruz, Sonora, Mexico
Width of this group is 3.2 cm

A bit further away from home, there was a relatively small new find of axinite at Dalnegorsk, Russia. Of course, over the years, some beautiful axinite specimens have been found at Dalnegorsk, some have been identified as axinite-(Mn), some as axinite-(Fe), and I’m told that these ones are axinite-(Fe). As is always the case with axinite, it is incredibly difficult to obtain damage-free specimens, and most from this find did have chipping. However, a few were in superb condition!

Axinite-(Fe)Axinite-(Fe), Bor Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia
Field of view approximately 4 cm

Also from the Dalnegorsk mining complex, a newer mine has produced some wonderful new calcite specimens. The Yushnoe Mine is a newer mine and to date has produced virtually no fine mineral specimens. In 2015, a pocket of calcite crystals contained some beautiful twins. This was not a large or prolific find at all, and I found almost no specimens were undamaged, but I did find them! They show excellent twinning, with the same form as the now-classic twinned yellow calcites from the Sokolovskoe Mine, Rudniy, Kazakhstan. Beautiful!

YushnoeCalciteCalcite, Yushnoe Mine, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia
Field of view approximately 3.5 cm

From Canada, a recent expedition to Rapid Creek, Yukon, produced some fine lazulite specimens. This is a very remote locality and collecting there is so expensive that it is rarely undertaken these days. Many specimens from the find debuted in Tucson, and we (David K. Joyce and I) acquired the finest.

Lazulite2

Lazulite, Rapid Creek, Dawson Mining District, Yukon, Canada
Largest crystal 1.5 cm

Lazulite1Lazulite with Kulanite, Rapid Creek, Dawson Mining District, Yukon, Canada – 5.7 cm

One of the great things about Tucson is of course the chance to reconnect with mineral friends and colleagues from all over the world, and sometimes they have brought some pretty amazing things along with them. Not all of these are new finds by any means, but sometimes some remarkable specimens surface in Tucson.

One such find was strontianite from an Austrian collection. Strontianite is a relatively common mineral, but great specimens are not common. Typically when we think of the mineral strontianite – let’s face it, IF we even think of it at all – we think of fuzzy-looking aggregates of tiny crystals or relatively unattractive specimens. Perhaps that’s not fair (sorry strontianite!) and there are of course exceptions, including a small number of specimens from Scotland, Illinois and the Alps. And some of the finest strontianite crystals in the world come from Oberdorf an der Laming, Laming valley, Bruck an der Mur, Styria, Austria. The crystals occur in a variety of habits, with quartz-like prisms, blocky hexagonal prisms and elongated dogtooth-style crystals. I was very happy to have found a small suite of exceptionally well-crystallized strontianites from Oberdorf an der Laming in Tucson.

StrontianiteStrontianite, Oberdorf an der Laming, Laming valley, Bruck an der Mur, Styria, Austria
Crystal 1.2 cm

Strontianite2Strontianite, Oberdorf an der Laming, Laming valley, Bruck an der Mur, Styria, Austria
Field of view approximately 3.5 cm

Strontianite3

Strontianite, Oberdorf an der Laming, Laming valley, Bruck an der Mur, Styria, Austria
Field of view approximately 2 cm

Another great thing about reconnecting with everyone in Tucson is the chance to learn from mineral friends. You know, we all end up with these specimens from all over the world, and then we take them back to our little lairs, and inevitably we have more work done on them. So there are always new finds, identifications, and re-identifications of minerals.

In Tucson this year, I learned that last year’s find of super tetrahedrite crystals at the Mundo Nuevo Mine was in fact a find of crystals of tennantite. Of a large number of specimens tested at Harvard, only one turned out to be tetrahedrite. Almost all turned out to be tennantite (a small number were intermediate, tennantite-dominant). Which is fun – they were already great tetrahedrite, but they are super for tennantite. I have a few left and although they are presumably tennantite, I have taken them off the site pending confirmatory analysis, and then they will be back on. For those of you who might not have seen them when I posted them originally, they are sharp and lustrous – here are a couple.

100740(2)(fov4.0)

Tennantite, Mundo Nuevo Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru
Field of view 4.0 cm

100742(1)(8.2)Tennantite, Mundo Nuevo Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru – 8.2 cm

Related to this finding, it was also discovered that there are some tennantite specimens with the rare mineral lautite on them. These are microscopic crystals and rosettes – a mineral that is rarely found at all, let alone in crystals. Here’s a photo. (By the way, Dave still has a few of these lautites available on his website – I’m including a link to them at the end of this post, if you are interested.

lautite

Lautite, Mundo Nuevo Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru
Field of view 2mm.
David K. Joyce photo.

Speaking of identifications, one find that first came to light last year has turned out to be something special. Last year you may have seen (and may even have acquired) specimens of “chrysocolla over malachite pseudomorphs after azurite” from the Luputo Mine, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thanks to analysis conducted by Dr. Hexiong Yang at the University of Arizona, we now know they are in fact not chrysocolla, but ajoite. This is a remarkable development – ajoite has not been known in display specimens, so this is a first! (Ajoite is best known from the ajoite-included quartz crystals from Musina, South Africa).  I was very happy to be able to acquire a few of these specimens in Tucson!

Ajoite2Ajoite over Malachite pseudomorph after Azurite
Luputo Mine, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Field of view 3.5 cm

Ajoite3

Ajoite over Malachite pseudomorph after Azurite
Luputo Mine, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Field of view 2.5 cm

Tucson Beyond the Minerals

I’ll spare you the stories of all of the great get-togethers with mineral friends, but I’d like to share a couple.

Canadian collector and dealer Ray Hill hosts fun dinners at his rented place in Tucson each year. Not only is he a great cook, but he also assembles such good groups together that it is always both interesting and a good time. The group included Ray Hill, David Joyce, John Montgomery, Marie and Terry Huizing, David Wilber and Larry Venezia. I wish I had a photo from this evening’s highlight, but it was too dark out to capture the mood without a proper camera setup. Ray had brought a portable propane campfire from Canada. (Never seen one before…) After dinner we moved outdoors… and what is a campfire without a song or two?  Many of you know that David Joyce has written, and plays and sings, great mineral songs (link at the end of this post) – so Dave brought out his guitar and we had good fun singing mineral songs around our Tucson campfire under the stars.

The other one I’d like to share is a photo from a dinner we look forward to every year, with Si and Ann Frazier, and Frank and Wendy Melanson. Always a fun evening, with good food, stories, laughs, and some mineral show-and tell, so it’s hardly a time that prompts serious reflection (!). However when I was looking at this photo afterward, I was struck by the knowledge and experience in this room. You are looking not only at five of the most knowledgeable mineral people out there, but the five people in this photograph have been responsible, directly and indirectly, for the preservation and placement of uncounted tens of thousands of the world’s fine mineral specimens into museums and private collections.

Dinner

From left to right, Si and Ann Frazier, Wendy Melanson, David K. Joyce and Frank Melanson

Although we all wish Tucson would never end, somehow it ends too soon every year…

Last Light

Last sunlight, as Tucson shadows fall

Happy to be back home, to the forest shadows…

Snowshadows

… and where the snow crunches underfoot with each step in the winter woods.

Final Snowshadow

Links

(1) For the lautite specimens at davidkjoyceminerals.com, click here.

(2) For the mineral songs click here (“The Mineral Dealer” is an awesome song for Tucson season.)

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 05.23.2015 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve made no secret of my belief that excellent black crystals are very cool. But colour is great too, and the latest update has lots! The new DR Congo Update (click here) features some amazing hues of pink in beautiful specimens of cobaltoan dolomite from Katanga, some of which have green malachite in association. The update also includes a specimen with exquisite twinned calcite crystals from Mashamba West.

Dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the CongoDolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite with malachite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo – field of view 3 cm

Dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the CongoDolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 7.3 cm

Dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the CongoDolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo  – 8.5 cm

Dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the CongoDolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite with malachite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo – field of view 3 cm

Dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the CongoDolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 5.9 cm

Dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Malachiteon dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo – field of view 2.4 cm

Dolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the CongoDolomite, var. cobaltoan dolomite, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo – field of view 2 cm

Calcite on chrysocolla, Mashamba West Mine, Kolwezi, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Calcite twins on chrysocolla, Mashamba West Mine, Kolwezi, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 4.1 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 04.15.2015 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added a selection of fine, distinctive specimens in the new China Update (click here). The pieces in this group are very high quality, picked from many different lots. There are beautiful fluorites of various colours and habits, including stunning clear crystals, deep blue, green, purple, and there are great phantoms and zoning in some of them. The update also includes a great pyromorphite, an unusually fine quality Xiefang golden barite (these are virtually always damaged) with a nice phantom, a super cabinet specimen of Shimen calcite with a large twinned crystal, excellent lustrous spessartines and more.

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China – crystal 1.1 cm

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China – crystal 1.2 cm

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China

Fluorite and Quartz, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China – 5.1 cm

Pyromorphite, Daoping Mine, Gongcheng Co., Guanxi Zhuang A.R., China

Pyromorphite, Daoping Mine, Gongcheng Co., Guanxi Zhuang A.R., China – 6.2 cm

Fluorite (Phantoms), Huangshaping Mine, Guiyang Co., Hunan Province, China

Fluorite (Phantoms), Huangshaping Mine, Guiyang Co., Hunan Province, China – field of view 4.5 cm

Fluorite, Quartz, Yaoganxian Mine, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China

Fluorite and Quartz, Yaoganxian Mine, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China
Field of view 4.0 cm

Fluorite, Quartz, Shangbao Mine, Leiyang Co., Hunan Province, China

Fluorite, Quartz, Shangbao Mine, Leiyang Co., Hunan Province, China
Field of view 2.3 cm

Barite, Xiefang Mine, Ruijin Co., Jianxi Province, China

Barite, Xiefang Mine, Ruijin Co., Jianxi Province, China – 5.1 cm

Calcite, Jiepayu Mine (Shimen Mine), Shimen Co., Hunan Province, China

Calcite, Jiepayu Mine (Shimen Mine), Shimen Co., Hunan Province, China – 11.8 cm

Quartz, Fluorite, Magnetite, Calcite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China

Quartz, Fluorite, Magnetite and Calcite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad,
Inner Mongolia A.R., China – 7.1 cm

Spessartine Garnet, Tongbei, Yunxiao Co., Fujian Province, China

Spessartine Garnet, Tongbei, Yunxiao Co., Fujian Province, China – 5.2 cm

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China
Field of view 5.7 cm