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Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 05.07.2020 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve posted beautiful new specimens in this Moroccan Prehnite Update (click here). These are from a recent find of excellent prehnite near Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco.

Prehnite, Taza, Morocco

 Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 8.6 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco
Field of view 8.0 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 13.5 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 9.3 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 10.0 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 5.8 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 6.8 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 4.0 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite and quartz, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 6.6 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 12.9 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 6.6 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 4.0 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 5.2 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 04.11.2020 | Filed under: Latest, Mineral Shows | Comments (0)

In these strange days, it’s hard to believe how different the world was, only a few weeks ago. Who imagined then, all the ways in which our lives would be impacted in the weeks after Tucson… As events evolve, it’s clear that it will be a while until all of us are once again together at a large international show, which makes it all the more important to enjoy a few memories of our most recent gathering and stay connected online. In that light, let’s travel back to Tucson…

Tracks

One of the best times of the year, the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral show is like no other time if the year for mineral people. It is gathering of countless thousands of mineral specimens!  OKOK… not just specimens… it is one of the mineral collecting community’s finest annual gatherings, with friends from all over the world converging on Arizona to catch up and share, and talk a lot about minerals (and even life beyond minerals, heaven forbid).

Cactus hills

Tucson is a great midwinter break for me and all of my northern friends – a chance to leave snow, ice and frigid temperatures behind for a bit. Instead of shades of white and grey, it’s blue skies, beige and every hue of green, not to mention the purple-blue shades of mountains all around the horizons.

I am lucky to be hosted by my friends David Joyce (davidkjoyceminerals.com) and Carol Teal, along with their dog Riley.

Carol, Riley, Dave

Riley and I have come a long way together – in the first year or two we knew each other, he had somehow failed to catch that I’m a dog person. I wasn’t speaking his language – I’m used to speaking Labrador Retriever. We’re sure good now though – he accepts me as a member of the pack.

Riley 1

We have an understanding that tummy rubs, ball throwing and treats are all part of the deal.

Riley 2

As always, Tucson was full of activity of all kinds, at shows spread out all over the city. It’s strange now to think that such a short time ago, COVID-19 was not a thought on many minds, and in Tucson there was virtually no visible indication of any difference – just lots of conscientious alternatives to handshakes and the occasional mask.

This year there was substantial movement of dealers and vendors around town. Of course this happens to some extent every year and the sands always shift over the longer term, as the individual shows and dealers evolve and migrate. Once upon a time, the Desert Inn was the place to be, and now it is no longer standing. Similarly, for many years, the show at the Best Western Executive Inn (also known as the “EI”) was the hub for a large number of dealers with the best selection of fie minerals. Years ago, the show moved to the Inn Suites (renamed the Hotel Tucson City Centre) and now the “EI” is closed and fenced for final demolition. In 2020, the Inn Suites completed its last contract year with the show organizers, and many dealers had already chosen to move to new venues. As for this show itself, the organizer is moving it to the Hilton Conquistador, up in Oro Valley – it remains to be seen what will happen at the Inn Suites next year. I’ve always really liked the setting at the Inn Suites and will miss the times when it was the major hotel show!

Inn Suites

Having said which, the larger development unfolding at the same time has been the development and opening of the “Mineral District” just off North Oracle, with the Mineral City show and other related venues all within a couple of blocks of one another.  The Mineral City venue hosts many excellent dealers and was greatly expanded into new buildings opened this year.

Meanwhile, another key spot in the Mineral District fully opened this year, as the conversion of the old La Fuente restaurant is now complete. It is the new main venue for Jewel Tunnel Imports (both the wholesale business and the selling of more of Rock Currier’s personal collection), as well as mindat HQ and the new location where you could have your favourites photographed by Jeff Scovil. Speaking of the new La Fuente, each restroom is particularly inclusive, inviting anyone:

Bathroom

Which makes a nice segue into a discussion of a few of the minerals in Tucson this year. Starting with JTI headquarters at La Fuente and Rock’s collection. As many of you will have seen in online reports, people lined up early in the morning to be able to see what was available. This was true for the original opening, and even to a lesser extent for each “refresh” opening, when they put out new material to fill spaces. Rock’s collection contained so many great high-quality pieces, including classic specimens, unusual localities and uncommon minerals and mineral associations.

Among the classics was this wonderful millerite from the Sterling Mine near Antwerp, New York – this is a fantastic specimen.

Millerite, Sterling Mine, Antwerp, Jefferson Co., New York, USA

Millerite, Sterling Mine, Antwerp, Jefferson Co., New York, USA – 6.6 cm

102543(2)(fov 1.6)Close-up of the same specimen

For unusual specimens from unusual localities, Rock had a small number of very cool hematite crystals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Great crystal forms!

Hematite, Kamoto Principal Mine, Kamoto, Kolwezi, Lualaba, democratic Republic of the Congo

Hematite, Kamoto Principal Mine, Kamoto, Kolwezi, Lualaba, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 3.2 cm

Moving on to recent finds at Tucson 2020, there were gorgeous new bournonites from the Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia. The locality has produced excellent bournonite specimens over the years, but the finds are have been sporadic, often years apart. The nature of the bournonite has varied from one find to the next, and some of the bournonite has been of modest lustre, sometimes dull, and of varying sharpness/definition. This latest find has produced sharp, lustrous bournonite crystals of the finest quality, exhibiting the classic “cogwheel” twinning.

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

 Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia – 5.2 cm

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

 Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia
Field of view 3.5 cm

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

 Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia – 4.2 cm

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

 Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia – 2.3 cm crystal group

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

 Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia – 4.1 cm

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

 Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia – 3.8 cm

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

 Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia – 4.9 cm

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia

Bournonite, Viboras Mine, Machacamarca District, Potosí, Bolivia – 4.1 cm

There has been a new find of beautiful prehnite from Morocco (it seems Morocco somehow always comes through!). In fact several localities in Morocco have produced fine prehnite specimens over the years, but I love the prehnite from Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco.

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, MoroccoPrehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 8.6 cm

This prehnite occurs with minor quartz crystals, including one small crystal on one piece that looks to me to be a faden. The prehnite crystal aggregates exhibit two principal habits, sometimes together on the same matrix: (1) radiating balls of crystals and (2) radiating fans of varying size and thickness. These specimens are quite different from most prehnite balls and aggregates, in that the individual crystals are easily visible and differentiated/separated from their adjacent neighbours – they are sharp and lustrous with individual terminations. The colour of these specimens is a pretty green – they are so nice!

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, MoroccoPrehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 9.1 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, MoroccoPrehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 10.0 cm

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco

Prehnite, Taza, Fès-Meknès, Morocco – 5.8 cm

Also from Morocco, from a find at Mibladen that originally debuted at Munich last fall, are vanadinite specimens in a habit we only see once in a while, in some rather good-sized crystals for the species. These are the somewhat complex, somewhat skeletal-growth crystals, often in small aggregates. The colour and lustre varies, including on the same specimen, depending on the viewing angle. They are super-cool vanadinites.

Vanadinite, Mibladen, Morocco

Vanadinite, Mibladen, Morocco – 3.7 cm
Vanadinite, Mibladen, MoroccoVanadinite, Mibladen, Morocco – 3.7 cm

One last entry from the African continent from me – welcome to my nightmare…

I include this next photo partly to show just how hard it is to secure fine mineral specimens. As many of you know, I’m very fond of the best of the prehnites, epidotes and good yellow stilbite balls from Mali. They are wonderful specimens and they make beautiful display pieces, adding colour and form to any display case. The prehnites and epidotes have been coming out for quite a few years now, and the good stilbites have been trickling out – I seek out excellent specimens, particularly of the stilbite which are so nice for the species. It has become evident that the problem is not that there aren’t any in the ground – rather, it’s what happens to them next. Many are thrown into sacks and buckets, then transferred to other containers with little or no packaging. This is a process no fine mineral specimen – but particularly stilbite – can be expected to survive… As an example, here’s a photo of an actual Mali specimen-packing job, arrived at Tucson for sale.

Bucket o' Mali

Bucket O’ Mali
(The specimens in this bucket are now completely damaged/destroyed and of no value to collectors of fine minerals.)

As an aside, I’ve been building a small collection of excellent Mali specimens for a future update – was only able to add a couple nice small pieces in Tucson (sadly, none from this vendor!), but there will be some really nice specimens coming in that update.

Moving on to Asia, some nice entries from localities that have recently been producing fine specimens. From Balochistan, Pakistan comes another new find of epidote fans and quartz. The epidote fans are sharp and very lustrous, with high-lustre terminations. Some are partially-to-fully included within quartz crystals, but this was uncommon in the material I saw. It’s too bad the percentage of fine specimens was not higher, as they are really beautiful combination-pieces, but most were badly damaged. I acquired a small lot of choice specimens.

Epidote and Quartz, Kharan, Balochistan, Pakistan

Epidote fans on Quartz, Kharan, Balochistan, Pakistan – 5.8 cm

For a few years, we’ve seen the lollingite specimens from the Huanggang mines (Inner Mongolia, China) that redefined the species. The best are the world’s finest by far (for example, John White’s – if you have not admired that one, it’s here). Specimens have never been plentiful and those pieces we do see available are damaged (I know, my common complaint from urban field-collecting expeditions…). I found a very small number of excellent specimens from one of my Chinese friends.

Lollingite, Huanggang Mines, Inner Mongolia, China

Lollingite, Huanggang Mines, Inner Mongolia, China – 4.6 cm

Also from China, over recent years we’ve seen some creedite specimens from Qinglong. In Tucson I acquired three with a light lavender hue – very pretty specimens!

Creedite, Qinglong County, Qianxinan, Guizhou, ChinaCreedite, Qinglong County, Qianxinan, Guizhou, China – 8.5 cm

And I’m going to finish with some specimens that some people might consider a bit less pretty, but given their rarity and where they come from, they are worthy of a grand finale. From one of Canadian dealer Rod Tyson’s expeditions to the Yukon several years ago, some excellent specimens of the Rapid Creek phosphate minerals were available in Tucson. Expeditions to this remote part of Canada have become difficult to arrange and have also become extremely costly of late (they require a lot of helicopter time). Rod feels it’s tough to predict what, if anything, will come out in the foreseeable future. For several of the species found at Rapid Creek, specimens from there are the best from anywhere.

Kulanite, Rapid Creek, Yukon, Canada

Kulanite, Rapid Creek, Dawson Mining District, Yukon, Canada
Main ball of crystals 0.9 cm

Gormanite

Gormanite on siderite, Rapid Creek, Dawson Mining District, Yukon, Canada – 3.2 cm

Of course the Tucson experience is about so much more than the minerals. Meals and maybe a couple beverages with mineral friends from all around the world, sometimes accompanied by music…

David Joyce Banjo

 David Joyce leading the songs with his banjo. (Not pictured: a bunch of us singing along..).

As happens every year, I am always already home before the main show and related festivities, so I obviously am not able to report on them. However, there was one important development in Tucson that I do not want to miss mentioning. This year is a special year as it represents the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Mineralogical Record. And of course, the Mineralogical Record was founded by John S. White (if you have not already, you can read about that here). This year in Tucson, a new award was unveiled and presented at a dinner held by Jordi Fabre and Jim and Gail Spann: John was the first recipient of what will be the annually-awarded John S. White Mineral Legacy Award For Excellence in Mineralogical Education. Every year from now the same wording will appear on the awards to future recipients – it will always be, in fact, the John S. White Mineral Legacy Award. John called it “the mother of all humbling experiences”.  Which is of course the kind of thing he’d say. He’s always been humble about those early days of the Mineralogical Record. But it’s pretty incredible to think that at 36 years old, with a young family and full-time job at the Smithsonian, he founded this magazine. So many mineral collectors owe a good part of their knowledge to the publication he created. So many serious collectors have the Mineralogical Record in their home. He has touched the lives of literally thousands and the award could not be more fitting.

John S. White Mineral Legacy Award

And on a final note about this beautiful part of Arizona, I confess that this beauty is an  aspect of the Tucson experience that I really did not take in properly for the longest time. Time on these visits is at such a premium – and it was especially so when I was taking time out of my last career to do it – there are so many minerals to see, so many mineral friends and so many good times together. Until recently, I never took the time to immerse myself in just how amazing this place is. I have Dave and Carol to thank for that, not only because they live in a beautiful little nature paradise, but also because they love to enjoy it. I thought I’d share a few photos from our time the Santa Rita foothills.

I swear I did not pay the deer and doves to pose – it’s naturally as idyllic as it looks..

Deer Dove

This is a great area for hiking (as long as you give the sharp plants lots of clearance!). Dave led the way…

Dave trail

Some of the plants are astounding. The Tucson show does not correspond with most flowerings, but looking at last year’s yucca and agave stalks… they are huge. Here’s a sense, with me for scale:

Yuccas and me

The stalks dominated the landscape in places, making for unusual and beautiful scenes.

Yucca stalks

And of course one can see such expansive vistas from the lookouts…

DaveRileyLookout

Riley catching up with Dave to take in the view…

Goodbye Tucson, til next time.

Sunset

 

As always, I love being away and I love coming home.

Bit of a temperature change from Tucson (20c/68F) to Bancroft that night…

Cold

(-22F…)

We had lots of snow once again this year, beautiful in an entirely different way from Arizona.

SnowTrees

And of course Rudy is in heaven in it…

Snow Rudy

Again this year the snowbank beside our house (known each year as Mt. Rudy) grew to a major height, width and depth – that’s Rudy (full-grown Labrador Retriever) for scale at the top with a normal-sized soccer ball in his mouth.

MtRudy2020

I’m happy to say that because I’m writing this so late this year, Mt Rudy is now much reduced in size, only about 5 ft high (it will be all melted in May). And as happens every spring, the lake is beginning to thaw. In the sun, there’s a bit of water on the ice on a warmer day, but I can see that as of now the ice at the margin of the dock is at least a foot thick…

Snow Lake

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 06.27.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve posted some super specimens in this new Tanzania Update (click here). This group of specimens includes a variety of species from several different finds, and includes a world-class alabandite.

Alabandite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

 Alabandite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 7.0 cm

Alabandite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Alabandite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 4.7 cm

Diopside, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

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

Grossular Garnet, var. Tsavorite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Grossular Garnet, var. Tsavorite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania
Crystal 0.7 cm

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 5.0 cm

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 5.4 cm

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 3,2 cm

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 3.1 cm

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 5.0 cm

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania

Prehnite, Merelani Hills, Lelatima Mountains, Manyara, Tanzania – 4.2 cm

Spessartine Garnet, Nani, Loliondo, Arusha, Tanzania

Spessartine Garnet, Nani, Loliondo, Arusha, Tanzania

Tremolite, Mwajanga, Manyara, Tanzania

Tremolite, Mwajanga, Manyara, Tanzania

Kyanite (Twinned), Nani, Loliondo, Arusha, Tanzania

Kyanite (Twinned), Nani, Loliondo, Arusha, Tanzania – 3.0 cm

Kyanite (Twinned), Nani, Loliondo, Arusha, Tanzania

Kyanite (Twinned), Nani, Loliondo, Arusha, Tanzania – 3.0 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!

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

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

Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

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

Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diabe Sira, Arrondissement Diako, Kayes Region, Mali

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 10.01.2016 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)



I’ve added new specimens in this Mali Update (click here), including excellent prehnite, epidote, grossular and vesuvianite.

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

Prehnite on Epidote, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 6.5 cm

Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 4.3 cm

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

Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 4.8 cm

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

Prehnite on Epidote, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 5.1 cm

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

Prehnite, Arrondissement Diako, Cercle de Bafoulabé, Kayes Region, Mali – 1.8 cm ball

Grossular Garnet, Sandaré, Cercle de Nioro, Kayes Region, Mali

Grossular Garnet, Sandaré, Cercle de Nioro, Kayes Region, Mali – 4.7 cm

Vesuvianite, Sandaré, Cercle de Nioro, Kayes Region, Mali

Vesuvianite, Sandaré, Cercle de Nioro, Kayes Region, Mali – 2.6 cm

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

100497(1)

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

100494(1)

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

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

100509(1)

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