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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 02.22.2016 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve posted a new Morocco Fluorite Update (click here) with super yellow fluorite crystals from a small recent find at the El Hammam Mine. These are great yellow fluorite specimens!

The hue of these fluorites varies, depending on the light source (common phenomenon for fluorite). They appear a warmer honey-yellow under halogen, 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. The depth of the yellow colour also varies from one specimen to the next thanks to the fine, faint purple phantoms in many of the crystals.

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

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

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco
Fluorite with Pyrite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco – 14.8 cm

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

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, MoroccoFluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco – 11.3 cm

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

 Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, MoroccoFluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco – 7.2 cm

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, MoroccoFluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco – 4.1 cm

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, MoroccoFluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco – 7.6 cm

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, MoroccoFluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco – 5.4 cm

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

Fluorite, El Hammam Mine, Meknes, Meknes-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

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

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 11.15.2015 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve posted a new Brazil Update (click here), with superb, diverse specimens.

From the world famous morganite finds at the Urucum Mine, this crystal is likely from the 1973 pocket.

Beryl, var. Morganite, Urucum Mine,  Galileia, Minas Gerais, BrazillBeryl, var. Morganite, Urucum Mine, Galileia, Minas Gerais, Brazil – 7.9 cm

A one-of-a-kind specimen, this aqua-colours montebrasite crystal was found in a pocket in the 1970s. Most of the pocket material was etched and did not exhibit crystal faces.

Montebrasite, Lavra da Ilha, Taquaral, Itinga, Minas Gerais, BrazilMontebrasite, Lavra da Ilha, Taquaral, Itinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil – 3.9 cm

From a new recent find, a small pocket at Novo Horizonte produced a small number of remarkable crystals, sold to me under the label “synchysite”. Subsequent analysis by Don Doell has confirmed more about their identity. Having conducted semi-quantitative EDS at SGS Labs, Don found that these are in fact phosphate mineralization, and they are likely a combination of rhabdophane-(La), rhabdophane-(Ce) and possibly including monazite-(Ce). They appear to be pseudomorphs after a REE carbonate, probably in the parisite group, given that parisite-(La) has been found at Novo Horizonte in crystals with a similar aspect and appearance, at a similar time. They could also be after bastnasite-(La), which has been described from the locality. For now, I’m labelling them rhabdophane, pseudomorph after parisite, with the proviso that the above is the technically closest identification information to date. Thanks very much to Don for this analysis!

Synchysite, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, BrazilRhabdophane pseudomorph after Parisite, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil – 3.4 cm

Synchysite, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, BrazilRhabdophane pseudomorph after Parisite, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil – 2.6 cm

Synchysite, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, BrazilRhabdophane pseudomorph after Parisite, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil – 2.0 cm


Synchysite, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil Rhabdophane pseudomorph after Parisite – 2.4 cm

Also from Novo Horizonte, a tabular crystal of rutilated quartz, in superb condition and with bright prismatic golden rutile crystals:

Rutilated Quartz, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil

Rutilated Quartz, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil – 7.6 cm

From Brumado, excellent pleochroic crystals of uvite tourmaline, exhibiting purple hues at certain angles and greenish hues when viewed from other angles. The first two photographs below are views of the same uvite crystal from different viewing angles.

Uvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite,  Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, BrazilUvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite, Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, Brazil
Crystal 0.8 cm

Uvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite,  Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, BrazilUvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite, Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, Brazil
Same crystal as prior photo

Uvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite,  Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, BrazilUvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite, Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, Brazil
5.4 cm

Uvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite,  Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, Brazil Uvite Tourmaline (Pleochroic), Magnesite, Pombas Mine, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, Brazil
Crystal 1.2 cm

Another unusual tourmaline for Brumado, green dravite crystals are quite uncommon.

Dravite Tourmaline, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, Brazil

Dravite Tourmaline, Magnesite, Brumado (Bom Jesus dos Meiras), Bahia, Brazil – 1.5 cm crystal

The update also includes specimens from other well-known finds and localities

Elbaite Tourmaline, Barra do Salinas, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil Elbaite Tourmaline, Barra do Salinas, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil – 2.9 cm

Brazilianite, Telirio Claim, Linoplois, Divino das Laranjeiras, Brazil

Brazilianite, Telirio Claim, Linoplois, Divino das Laranjeiras, Brazil
Crystals to 3 cm

Fluorapatite, Bertrandite, Faria Mine, Golconda District, Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Fluorapatite, Bertrandite, Faria Mine, Golconda District, Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Crystal 1.5 cm

Hematite (Iron Rose). Coluna Mine, Miguel Burnier District, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Hematite (Iron Rose). Coluna Mine, Miguel Burnier District, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Field of view approximately 4 cm

Hydroxylherderite, Morro Redondo Mine, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Hydroxylherderite, Morro Redondo Mine, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil – 5.3 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 07.07.2014 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

Sharp, lustrous epidote specimens from the relatively new (and apparently depleted) locality, Concession Morgan 3, Coayllo, Cañete Province, Lima Department – to see the Peruvian Epidote – July 2014 Update, click here.

These are great epidotes! I acquired all of the good ones I could in Peru.

Information about the find has been pretty sketchy. I was told that it was a “small skarn zone” encountered and removed. The zone was certainly quite tight – most specimens I have seen have unfortunately had some level of contacting, confirming that there was not a lot of open space for free crystal growth. The specimens are beautiful, well-developed sharp epidote crystals, with great lustre. Some are very dark and in some ways reminiscent of some of the epidotes from Prince of Wales, Alaska, while others have slightly lighter green (and in these, there seems to be some colour variation with some brown as well).

 

100439(1)

Epidote, Concession Morgan 3, Coayllo, Cañete Province, Lima Department, Peru – 5.0 cm

100460(2)

Epidote, Concession Morgan 3, Coyallo, Cañete Province, Lima Department, Peru – field of view 6 cm

100440(1)

Epidote, Concession Morgan 3, Coayllo, Cañete Province, Lima Department, Peru – 5.8 cm

100442(1)

Epidote, Concession Morgan 3, Coayllo, Cañete Province, Lima Department, Peru – 4.8 cm