Archives

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 03.29.2020 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

I’ve added great new specimens in a new update of pieces from the Steve Szilard Collection (click here).  This update includes fine mineral specimens from all over the world.

Steve Szilard is a well-known and highly respected Canadian mineral collector who began collecting in 1982. It may strike a chord with many of you that one of his first two mineral books was the Peterson Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Fred Pough – that was certainly true for me too (and my own copy sure looks as well used as it has been!). Steve is a skilled and accomplished field collector, having collected extensively in Ontario, as well as in almost all Canadian provinces and across the United States. Having travelled the world acquiring minerals in many countries, he has also attended many mineral shows – in particular, he has attended the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium for almost 30 years. Steve has a long record of mineral community involvement and contribution, having been with the Walker Mineralogical Club in Toronto since 1985 (and a member of the executive for many of the years since then) – he has also been a member of the Scarborough Gem and Mineral Club, the Kawartha Rock and Fossil Club and the Canadian Micro Mineral Association. As you might expect, given his mineral collecting career, Steve is incredibly knowledgeable about minerals and many mineral-related subjects. He has always been kind and generous with his knowledge. Steve has enjoyed assisting in the activities of a great organization, the Young Toronto Mineralogists Club, including talks, using binocular microscopes, and field trips. It is my pleasure to be able to share his collection with you.

Anglesite, Galena, Touissit, Touissit - Bou Beker District, Jerada, Oriental, Morocco

Anglesite, Touissit, Touissit – Bou Beker District, Jerada, Oriental, Morocco – 1.8 cm crystal

Arsenopyrite, Muscovite, Yaoganxian Mine, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China

Arsenopyrite on Muscovite, Yaoganxian Mine, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China – 4.2 cm

Bastnäsite - (Ce), Zagi Mountain, Hameed Abad Kafoor Dneri, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

 Bastnäsite – (Ce), Zagi Mountain, Hameed Abad Kafoor Dneri, Peshawar,
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan – 2.0 cm

Benitoite, Neptunite, California Gem Mine, Santa Rita Peak, New Idria Mining District, San Benito Co., California, USA

Benitoite, Neptunite, California Gem Mine, Santa Rita Peak, New Idria Mining District,
San Benito Co., California, USA – 6.6 cm

Brookite, Magnet Cove, Hot Spring Co., Arkansas, USA

Brookite, Magnet Cove, Hot Spring Co., Arkansas, USA

Calcite, Celadonite, Irai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Calcite with Celadonite, Irai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil – 11.3 cm

Calcite, Celadonite, Irai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Same specimen as above, under UV light

Calcite, Irai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Calcite, Irai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil – 9.7 cm

Calcite, Irai, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

 Same specimen as above, under UV light

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

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

Calcite, Hematite, Santa Eulalia Mining District, Chihuahua, Mexico

Calcite, Santa Eulalia Mining District, Chihuahua, Mexico – 11.2 cm
Illuminated by UV light

Cassiterite, Viloco Mine, Loayza Province, La Paz, Bolivia

Cassiterite, Viloco Mine, Loayza Province, La Paz, Bolivia
Field of view 3.0 cm

Celestine, Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., PolandCelestine on Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., Poland – 8.1 cm

Celestine, Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., Poland

Same specimen as above, under UV light

Celestine, Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., PolandSame specimen as above, exhibiting phosphorescence after UV illumination

Celestine, Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., Poland

Celestine, Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., Poland
Field of view 3.5 cm

Celestine, Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., Poland Celestine on Sulphur, Machow Mine, Tarnobrzeg City Co., Poland
Field of view 3.0 cm

Cerussite, Barite, Les Dalles Mine, Mibladen Mining District, Midelt, Morocco

Cerussite on Barite, Les Dalles Mine, Mibladen Mining District, Midelt, Morocco – 7.1 cm

Corundum var. Sapphire, Ratnapura, Ratnapura District, Sabaragamuwa Province, Sri LankaCorundum var. Sapphire, Ratnapura, Ratnapura District, Sabaragamuwa Province, Sri Lanka – 4.2 cm

Cuprite, Chrysocolla, Mashamba West Mine, Kolwezi Mining District, Lualaba, Democratic Republic of the Congo Cuprite on Chrysocolla, Mashamba West Mine, Kolwezi Mining District, Lualaba,
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dioptase, Altyn-Tyube Deposit, Kirghiz Steppes, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan

Dioptase, Altyn-Tyube Deposit, Kirghiz Steppes, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan – 4.8 cm

Dioptase, Altyn-Tyube Deposit, Kirghiz Steppes, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan

Dioptase, Altyn-Tyube Deposit, Kirghiz Steppes, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan – 2.7 cm

Elbaite Tourmaline, Chiar Mine, Sao Jose da Safira, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Elbaite, Chiar Mine, Sao Jose da Safira, Minas Gerais, Brazil – 3.8 cm

Epidote, Prince of Wales Island, Ketchikan Mining District, Alaska, USA

Epidote (twinned), Prince of Wales Island, Ketchikan Mining District, Alaska, USA – 4.2 cm

Ettringite, N'Chwaning II Mine, Kalahari Manganese Fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa

Ettringite, N’Chwaning II Mine, Kalahari Manganese Fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa – 4.3 cm

Fluorite, Sphalerite, Annabel Lee Mine, Hardin Co., Illinois, USA

Fluorite on sphalerite, Annabel Lee Mine, Hardin Co., Illinois, USA

Fluorite, Xianghualing Mine, Linwu Co., Chenzhou, Hunan, China

Fluorite, Xianghualing Mine, Linwu Co., Chenzhou, Hunan, China – 10.5 cm

Fluorite, Xianghualing Mine, Linwu Co., Chenzhou, Hunan, China

Same specimen as above, under UV light

Gypsum var. selenite with halite, Salinas de Otuma, Paracas, Pisco, Ica Dept., Peru

Gypsum var. selenite with halite, Salinas de Otuma, Paracas, Pisco, Ica Dept., Peru – 5.0 cm

Gypsum var. selenite with halite, Salinas de Otuma, Paracas, Pisco, Ica Dept., Peru

Gypsum var. Selenite, Santa Eulalia Mining District, Chihuahua, Mexico – 8.1 cm

Gypsum var. Selenite, Naica, Saucillo Municipality, Chihuahua, Mexico

Gypsum var. Selenite, Naica, Saucillo Municipality, Chihuahua, Mexico – 11.1 cm

Hemimorphite, Santa Eulalia Mining District, Chihuahua, Mexico

Hemimorphite, Santa Eulalia Mining District, Chihuahua, Mexico

Malachite, Chrysocolla, Mashamba West Mine, Kolwezi Mining District, Lualaba, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Malachite on Chrysocolla, Mashamba West Mine, Kolwezi Mining District, Lualaba,
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Pyrite, Canutillos Mine, Machamarcha District, Potosí, Bolivia

Pyrite, Canutillos Mine, Machamarcha District, Potosí, Bolivia

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

Pyromorphite, Daoping Mine, Gongcheng Co., Guanxi Zhuang A.R., China – 3.3 cm

Pyrrhotite, Dal'negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia

Pyrrhotite, Dal’negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia – 5.7 cm

Smithsonite, Kelly Mine, Magdalena, Socorro Co., New Mexico, USA

Smithsonite, Kelly Mine, Magdalena, Socorro Co., New Mexico, USA – 7.7 cm

Sphalerite, Dashkesan Deposit, Maly Caucasus, Koshkarchai Valley, Azerbaijan

Sphalerite, Dashkesan Deposit, Maly Caucasus, Koshkarchai Valley, Azerbaijan – 6.3 cm

Vanadinite, Taouz, Errachidia Province, Morocco

Vanadinite, Taouz, Errachidia Province, Morocco

Vivianite, Tomokoni Mine, Canutillos Subdistrict, Machacamarcha District, Potosí, Bolivia

Vivianite, Tomokoni Mine, Canutillos Subdistrict, Machacamarcha District, Potosí, Bolivia – 4.3 cm

Zircon, Astor Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Zircon, Astor Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan – 4.3 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 02.23.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Mineral Shows | Comments (0)

 

It’s hard to believe that another Tucson has come and gone already. In the middle of a cold Bancroft winter, Tucson’s wonderful warm sunshine was sure welcome.

Santa Rita Foothills, Arizona Santa Rita Foothills, southeast of Tucson

I was very fortunate to be able to experience Tucson’s natural surroundings this year. I stayed with my good friend and collecting partner David Joyce (David K. Joyce Minerals), with Carol Teal and their dog Riley at their new place in the beautiful Santa Rita Foothills, southeast of the city.

DaveRiley2

 Dave and Riley on their sitting rock

In the foothills

Photo of me taken by Don Doell – Santa Rita Foothills, with Tucson in the distance

The Sonora Desert is a remarkable place in the world. In places, and at many times of year, it appears harsh and unforgiving. As to flora and fauna, the Sonora Desert gives the superficial impression that it is inhabited only by the hardiest very few species.

Saguaro SceneSaguaro Cacti

Immerse yourself in it a little, and the truth reveals itself – the variety of plants and animals is amazing (600 plant species and 200 animal species).  As with everything in life, the more quiet observation you do, the more you see. The foothills and desert areas around Tucson are full of life.

Deer 1

Deer paying a visit to Dave and Carol’s place

Cactus flower

Cactus bloom

Saguaro armSaguaro arm

On one of our mornings in the desert, the moon put on a show of its own.

Mesquite EclipseUnder the mesquite trees with the lunar eclipse before dawn, Santa Rita Foothills

The Minerals

OK OK. I know, we all really want to read about minerals. Of course, what Tucson means is the fun of midwinter urban field collecting, and there were lots of great specimens this year.

Some beautiful and interesting specimens have continued to come from Pakistan and Afghanistan. From Pakistan, the recent brucite specimens are super – some of the finest brucite I’ve ever seen. The Killah Saifullah brucite were first noted to me by John White after he saw a couple in Munich, 2016, and since then, the quality of the finest has greatly increased over those early days. It seems that most of these are occurring in very tight seams, or with a fragmented or brecciated matrix, and so most have contacts and grey spots around them. The colour of most of them is a cream-to-very-pale-yellow, but the best have a bright yellow hue. Many are very finely crystallized, but on some, like these ones, one can easily see many crystal faces. These Pakistan brucites are amazing for the mineral.

I’ve done my best to colour-balance them accurately (daylight, shade). I always do that anyway, of course, but some mineral specimens are susceptible to really skewing away from daylight appearance when photographed.

Brucite, Killa Saifullah, Balochistan, Pakistan
Brucite, Killa Saifullah, Balochistan, Pakistan – 6.1 cm

Brucite, Killa Saifullah, Balochistan, Pakistan

Brucite, Killa Saifullah, Balochistan, Pakistan – 7.2 cm

Brucite, Killa Saifullah, Balochistan, PakistanBrucite, Killa Saifullah, Balochistan, Pakistan – 3.2 cm

From Afghanistan, a small number of excellent specimens have continued to come from some of the best-known occurrences, and I just want to highlight one in particular. From Sar-e Sang, Dudley Blauwet has recently brought out a couple of particularly excellent diopside specimens, and I am including one here. Given that diopside is not an uncommon mineral, it’s surprising that great matrix specimens are so hard to find. This one is striking.

102113(1)(8.0)
Diopside, Ladujar Medam, Sar-e Sang River, Kokcha Valley, Badakhshan, Afghanistan – 8 cm

Moving on to South America, there have been a couple of particularly interesting new finds. In Potosí, Bolivia, there has been a discovery of very pretty amethyst crystals. There isn’t more specific information about the locality at this time – I’m told that this is because it is in an unnamed area of Potosi, not near to any named settlement or geographic feature. The specimens were discovered by farmers, at the edge of a field area, bordering hills. These have somewhat similar habit and appearance to some of the amethyst crystals from Peidra Parada (Las Vigas), Mexico. They are sharp, with top lustre and excellent transparency. Some are doubly-terminated, and some show a great reverse-sceptre habit. These are really sweet – I only found them available from one person, and I acquired the nicest for the website.

Quartz, var. amethyst, Potosi, BoliviaQuartz, var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – 5.3 cm

Quartz, var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz, var. amethyst (reverse sceptre), Potosí, Bolivia
Field of view 1.5 cm

Quartz, var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz, var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia
Field of view 2.5 cm

In Peru, there has been a new discovery of clinozoizite. I understand that the workings from which these were produced are only operational on a sporadic basis. The specific zone from which these specimens were recovered is apparently now done, and they have encountered a bit of epidote as the work has advanced. Excellent display specimens of clinozoisite are generally uncommon – one thinks of the famous finds at Alchuri in the Shigar Valley in Pakistan, and few other localities come to mind. These clinozoisite specimens are all clustered groups of crystals. I have seen no single isolated crystals. The crystals themselves are very sharp and well-defined, lustrous, with some twinned and some not.

Clinozoisite, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Canete, Canete Province, Lima Dept., Peru

Clinozoisite, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Cañete,
Cañete Province, Lima Dept., Peru – 4.3 cm

Clinozoisite, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Canete, Canete Province, Lima Dept., Peru Clinozoisite, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Cañete, Cañete Province, Lima Dept., Peru

Clinozoisite twin, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Cañete,
Cañete Province, Lima Dept., Peru – 3.5 cm

Clinozoisite, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Canete, Canete Province, Lima Dept., Peru Clinozoisite, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Cañete, Cañete Province, Lima Dept., Peru

Clinozoisite twin, Cerro San Cristobal, San Vincente de Cañete,
Cañete Province, Lima Dept., Peru – 8.6 cm

I want to highlight one other great find that is relatively recent – the spectacular iron-cross twins of pyrite from Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia, discovered about a year ago (I believe the ones available in Tucson were from the original find, as opposed to new production). The term “iron-cross twin” refers to twinned pentagonal dodecahedra, the edges of which cross at right angles. Well-defined iron-cross pyrite twins have always been uncommon and sought-after. Most are small, and often incomplete. These are quite large for iron-cross twins – they are pretty spectacular. One note about these: they have been mislabeled as goethite or limonite after pyrite. They are not pseudomorphs. In fact, they are pyrite, with a very thin surface layer of goethite.

Pyrite Iron Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 5.0 cm

Over to Africa, some great specimens. In Tanzania, the Merelani occurrences continue to produce very fine specimens of a number of minerals, while a few specimens from finds in recent years have surfaced as well.

Merelani Diopside

 Diopside with graphite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 3.7 cm

MerelaniPrehnitePrehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 5.3 cm

From the finds in 2012-13, I managed to acquire a world-class alabandite crystal.

Alabandite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Alabandite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 6.8 cm

From Malawi, there have been more first class specimens available from the the occurrences at Mt. Malosa and Mulanje, including arfvedsonite, eudidymite and zircon.

Zircon, Mount Malosa, Zomba District, Malawi Zircon, Mount Malosa, Zomba District, Malawi – crystal 3.2 cm

Over the years, the very well-known almandine occurrence at Vrondolo, Madagascar, has produced some unusually fine crystals. This occurrence is a fair distance up a small mountain – it takes hours to reach it on foot. Most often, the crystals from here are slightly to heavily chipped when extracted, because they are found frozen in solid rock. However, I found a small recent group of specimens including crystals that grew into open spaces, as well as other crystals extracted in super condition. These are really nice garnets!

Almandine, Vorondolo, Antananarivo, Madagascar

 Almandine, Vorondolo, Antananarivo, Madagascar – 4.5 cm

Last from Africa, Morocco continues to produce excellent specimens of many minerals – the golden age of Moroccan minerals continues. Because these finds have been known generally or written up by others, I won’t dwell too much on them in this report – there will be many fine Moroccan specimens coming on the website over the next few months. However, I want to highlight some Imilchil material that I think is noteworthy. For some time, we have seen small dark garnet crystals from Imilchil. Some of these crystals have been found to be the titanium-rich garnet group member, schorlomite, while I’m told most analyzed specimens are actually titanium-rich andradite, not enough titanium to be schorlomite. A new find at Anemzi (the same Imilchil-area locality that produces the fine green fluorapatite crystals, and has produced nice magnetites) has produced some of the nicest of these dark andradite crystals I have seen from Imilchil. At their finest, the crystals are sharp with beautiful morphology, and a good number of the specimens are comprised of a stack of these crystals. Some specimens have small, sharp, octahedral magnetite crystals in association – they are sparse, but a neat pairing. Independent from the andradites, Anemzi has produced some sharp magnetites lately as well, making for very nice specimens.

Andradite, Anemzi, Imilchil, Er Rachidia, Morocco

Andradite, Anemzi, Imilchil, Er Rachidia, Morocco – 7 cm

Andradite, Anemzi, Imilchil, Er Rachidia, Morocco

Andradite, Anemzi, Imilchil, Er Rachidia, Morocco – 3.5 cm

Magnetite, Anemzi, Imilchil, Er Rachidia, Morocco

Magnetite, Anemzi, Imilchil, Er Rachidia, Morocco – 4.4 cm

My final mineral entry is from China. I feel that the find of fluorite from Fujian deserves a mention, even though China has produced so much fluorite over the years. These new ones are the fluorites that have been dubbed “tanzanite fluorite” by several dealers. These have been available since early 2017, and they were not widespread this year at Tucson. The ones available were quite expensive. This locality has produced a range of fluorite – the most tanzanite blue-purple is from the one 2017 find, while other blues and purple hues have been recovered as well. I’ve been told there is “no more” – of course!!! – and we’ve all heard that so many times before, so skepticism is certainly warranted! I personally will believe it when I see it. However, I didn’t see as much as I expected and hoped, so we’ll see. Moreover, most of the specimens I did see were significantly contacted and/or damaged. I believe this is not only reflecting the way they were collected (perhaps in some cases with less care than we’d like), but also due to the nature of the occurrence. Many of these seem to have formed in very tight and narrow spaces, and would have been exceptionally difficult to extract without any contacting issues. I think the overall story of this locality will be clearer over time. Given that there are several colour hues and crystal habits from this locality, so it seems likely there was more than one pocket. These are beautiful fluorite specimens!

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yonchun Co., Fujian, China

 Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 5.3 cm

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yonchun Co., Fujian, China

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 3.4 cm

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yonchun Co., Fujian, China

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 5.2 cm

A Remarkable Emerald

My friend John White came upon a remarkable emerald specimen from Pakistan and I want to share a photo. I’ve never seen anything like it, and much more important, John (you likely know, the former curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s mineral collection) has never seen anything like it! It is available.

Beryl var. Emerald - Pakistan 28-1-25

 

 Beryl, var. emerald, Guijar Kalay Valley, Swat District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
The larger crystal is 3.5 cm tall.

Friends

Tucson 2018 was a great time, with lots of great friends and the beauty of the Sonora Desert. Thank you all!

3 shadows

Evening shadows  (I believe the order is Don Doell, me, John Betts)

Mineral Song Campfire

Mineral songs around the campfire, led by Dave (of course!)
From left: Malcolm Southwood, John Veevaert, John Betts, Don Doell, David Joyce and Angela Southwood

Thank you again Carol, Dave and Riley, for a wonderful time!

Carol Dave Riley

Until next year, so long, Tucson…

Palo Verde Sunset

Home! And… Rudy!

As great as it was, it’s wonderful to be home. The warm sun of the Tucson desert having recharged me, I’m happy to be back out in the winter woods.

Snowy Road, Bancroft, OntarioOur snowy woods, near Bancroft, Ontario

SnowWoods 2

Sunny winter morning, Bancroft, Ontario

And as many of you know, this means I’m back to once again sharing fun with young Rudy, our Labrador Retriever puppy.

Rudy McDougallDad, can I join you on the couch?

Rudy McDougall

First shipping run to Bancroft.
Dad, I’ll drive.

In only a couple of months he has transformed from tiny puppy to young dog. He’s gleeful about pretty much everything.

Rudy McDougallSnow? Love it!

Rudy is of course new to all this mineral business. Our founding Labrador Retriever, Emery, supervised all operations – he was the Chairman of the Afternoon Snooze Committee and comprised our IT Department, although he slept through most of our business operations. It will be a while until Rudy is ready to step into Emery’s higher roles, but he is a great little supervisor. For now, he is happy to be a particularly active part of all packing, shipping and particularly unpacking operations. He has delighted in founding our Playful Mayhem Department.

Rudy McDougall

What do you mean, my office chair is for “sleeping” while you work?

With lots of Tucson minerals to come, Rudy and I will do our best to get them online over the next few weeks!