Archives

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 03.09.2019 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

I’ve posted great new amethyst specimens in this Indonesia Update (click here). Known as “grape amethyst”, these pieces feature beautiful groups of amethyst balls.

Originally referred to as “grape agate”, specimens were first found in the Mamuju area in 2015. These specimens are recovered from clay, in the spaces between the “pillows” in pillow lava.  Although they were first known as “grape agate”, they are not cryptocrystalline (and therefore are not agate) – they are balls of radiating crystalline quartz. When the find first came to market, there was a large amount of material, much of which was poor quality. With the passage of time, the diggers began to produce higher quality specimens. The recent article on this material in the Mineralogical Record (Nov-Dec. 2018) observes that the production of fine specimens is beginning to decline, although there are still a few very active teams working the deposits. The article speculates, based upon local sources, that all specimen mining of the pillow lava deposits will likely cease within the next three to four years. As with all mineral specimen localities, the ultimate accuracy of such speculation varies. In this case, the limited geographical extent of the known pillow lava deposits is a key factor.

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, IndonesiaQuartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 12.4 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 10.0 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 11.4 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 8.1 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 7.7 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 7.1 cm

102290(3)

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 8.3 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 5.7 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 6.8 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 4.0 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 3.9 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 3.8 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 4.0 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 4.3 cm

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Quartz, var. Amethyst, Mamuju area, Sulawesi Barat Province, Sulawesi, Indonesia – 3.5 cm

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 10.23.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

This Egypt Update (click here) features excellent goethite pseudomorphs after marcasite from the White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis.

This locality has been known for a number of years and pseudomorph specimens have come out once in a while. The pseudomorphs occur within the Cretaceous Khoman Chalk, from which the White Desert derives its name. Most crystals have typically been fairly indistinct, and to date sharp specimens have been relatively uncommon. These specimens, collected in 2013 and 2014, are remarkable for their relatively sharp marcasite crystal forms in aesthetic crystal clusters.

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

 Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 7.0 cm

Over the years, these pseudomorphs have been variously labeled hematite, goethite and limonite (the latter no longer a valid mineral species name, but is a term still used in reference to unidentified iron hydroxides, so its use has not been incorrect). Recent work by Hannah Allen at Hamilton College has confirmed that the White Desert pseudomorphs are predominantly goethite. The small white grains lodged in among the crystal blades are barite, calcite and gypsum. (Allen, Hannah M., Pseudomorphed Mineral Aggregates of the Khoman Chalk, Western Desert, Egypt, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 46, No. 2, p.66 (2014)).

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

 Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 5.4 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 6.1 cm

Although pseudomorphs after cubic and cuboctahedral pyrite crystals have also been found in the Khoman Chalk, the pseudomorphs after marcasite are more dramatic. These pseudomorphs are excellent specimens featuring beautiful marcasite crystal morphology, showing habits and forms exhibited by the crystallized marcasite specimens from the famous occurrences at Cap-Blanc-Nez, Pas-de-Calais, France.

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

 Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 3.8 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 5.7 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, EgyptGoethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 6.5 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 4.5 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 4.1 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 3.6 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 3.8 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 3.1 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 3.0 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 3.0 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt – 3.3 cm

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt

Goethite pseudomorph after marcasite, White Desert, north of Farafra Oasis, Egypt
Same specimen as in the previous photo, bird’s eye view, 2.2 cm across

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 07.25.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve posted superb new specimens in this new Bou Azzer Update (click here). A few localities from this famous Moroccan mining district are represented, including the famous Agoudal Mine, which unfortunately has just recently closed.

Roselite on calcite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Roselite on calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 7.7 cm

Roselite, epitactic on beta-roselite, with cobaltausitnite, on cobaltoan calcite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, MoroccoRoselite, epitactic on beta-roselite, with cobaltausitnite, on cobaltoan calcite
Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
5.7 cm

Roselite, epitactic on beta-roselite, on cobaltoan calcite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Roselite, exhibiting epitactic orientation on beta-roselite
Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Roselite with minor beta-roselite, on calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Roselite with minor beta-roselite, on calcite
Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
5.6 cm

Roselite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Roselite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco- 6.3 cm

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 12.0 cm

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 5.3 cm

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 7.9 cm

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 5.9 cm

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Cobaltoan Calcite, Agoudal Mine, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 4.5 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 9.8 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Field of view 2.0 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Field of view 3.0 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 4.6 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 5.0 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Field of view 4.5 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco – 6.8 cm

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Erythrite, Bou Azzer District, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Field of view 3.0 cm

Gersdorffite, Aït Ahmane Mine,  Bou Azzer, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco

Gersdorffite, Aït Ahmane Mine, Bou Azzer, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco – 4.6 cm

Skutterudite, Bouismas Mine,  Bou Azzer, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco

Skutterudite, Bouismas Mine, Bou Azzer, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco – 6.1 cm

Skutterudite, Bouismas Mine,  Bou Azzer, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco

Skutterudite, Bouismas Mine, Bou Azzer, Tazenakht, Ouarzazate Province, Morocco – 4.5 cm

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 05.22.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve posted a small number of excellent pyrite iron cross twins from Colombia in this update (click here).

“Iron-cross twins” are twinned crystals exhibiting the forms of two pentagonal dodecahedra (also known as pyritohedra). These twins display edges crossing at 90 degrees, and in an idealized/model twin, these edges form a cross. In nature, the edges that form the cross are sometimes not continuous or are not equal to one another, so a pyrite crystal that is twinned according to the iron-cross law may or may not exhibit an actual cross shape, but in any event the relationship of the crystals exhibits the “crossed” symmetry.

The iron cross twin law is well known and exhibited in specimens from various localities, but rarely does one find good-sized complete crystals. These remarkable specimens are from a find about a year ago near Gachalá, Colombia. They are superb iron-cross twins.

These were being sold as “limonite” pseudomorphs after pyrite, but they are not. They are pyrite crystals with a thin surface veneer of goethite.

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

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

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 4.2 cm

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 3.8 cm

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 3.7 cm

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 2.9 cm

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 3.2 cm

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 2.9 cm

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Pyrite Iron-Cross Twin, Gachalá, Cundinamarca, Colombia – 3.0 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 04.13.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added some great specimens from a new find in this Bolivia Amethyst Update (click here). These are beautiful glassy crystals – some doubly-terminated, and some exhibit a great reverse-sceptre habit.

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.

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – 6.3 cm

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – field of view 2.3 cm

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

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

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – 4.7 cm

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – field of view 3.0 cm

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – field of view 3.5 cm

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – field of view 4.5 cm

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia – field of view 4.0 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

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia, with negative quartz crystal inclusions
Field of view 1.5 cm

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia

Quartz. var. amethyst, Potosí, Bolivia, with negative quartz crystal inclusions
Field of view 1.2 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 03.30.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added excellent specimens from two great Peruvian localities in this Peru Update (click here) – tennantite specimens from Mundo Nuevo and pyrite specimens from Huanzala.

The Mundo Nuevo tennantites are excellent specimens for the species. Mined during 2014-15 specimen recovery work, they are part of a find that has now been analyzed quite extensively. Of those (over 40 specimens tested) all were tennantite except one that was a borderline tennantite-tetrahedrite. Accordingly, specimens from this find are now labelled tennantite. I have not had each of these analyzed, given the pervasive tennantite results (and not wanting to add to their prices by incurring unnecessary cost). These tennantites were originally posted on this website labelled “tetrahedrite”, as they were sold to me under that label – they were then removed from the site until the analysis work on the find had been completed.

Tennantite, Mundo Nuevo Mine,  Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru

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

Tennantite, Mundo Nuevo Mine,  Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru

Tennantite, Mundo Nuevo Mine, Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru – 8.1 cm

Tennantite, Mundo Nuevo Mine,  Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru

Tennantite, Mundo Nuevo Mine, Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru – 8.0 cm

Tennantite, Pyrite, Mundo Nuevo Mine,  Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru

Tennantite, Pyrite, Mundo Nuevo Mine, Mine, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province,
La Libertad Dept., Peru – 7.6 cm
The pyrite specimens from Huanzala are particularly high quality ones I’ve acquired individually in recent years, including a couple acquired in Peru.
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
 Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 6.5 cm
102142(1)(7.1)
 Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 7.1 cm
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
 Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
Field of view 6.0 cm
 Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., PeruPyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 11.5 cm
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 7.5 cm
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 6.3 cm
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
 Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 5.0 cm
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., PeruPyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 5.3 cm
Pyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., PeruPyrite, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru – 5.6 cm
Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 03.16.2018 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added some beautiful new specimens in this China Fluorite Update (click here). These include specimens from Xiayang, Yongchin Co., Fujian, where the 2017 find of “tanzanite fluorites” was made. This update also features a gorgeous fluorite with calcite from the famous Xianghuapu Mine, water-clear crystals from Huanggang Mines, and purple octahedra from the De’An Mine.

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China

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

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 3.5 cm

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China
Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 5.4 cm

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 9.7 cm

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 8.0 cm

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China

 

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 6.0 cm

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China

Fluorite, Xiayang, Yongchun Co., Fujian, China – 4.8 cm

Fluorite with Calcite, Xianghuapu Mine, Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan, China

Fluorite with Calcite, Xianghuapu Mine, Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan, China – 12.7 cm

Fluorite with Calcite, Xianghuapu Mine, Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan, China

Fluorite, Huanggang Mines, Hexigten Banner, Ulanhad, Inner Mongolia A.R., China
Field of view 3.5 cm

Fluorite, De'An Mine, China

Fluorite, De’An Mine, Wushan, Jianxi, China – 9.8 cm

Fluorite, De'An Mine, China

Fluorite, De’An Mine, Wushan, Jianxi, China – 5.8 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!