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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 02.23.2016 | Filed under: Latest, Mineral Shows | Comments (0)

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

TucsonSunset

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

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

Oranges

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

frost

 Palm trees through the frost on the car windshield.

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

Tucson 2016

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

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

CarWarning

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

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

poolsideThe courtyard mineral localities beckon…

Minerals!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brochantite

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

Brochantite2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lazulite2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strontianite3

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

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

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

100740(2)(fov4.0)

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

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

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

lautite

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

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

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

Ajoite3

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

Tucson Beyond the Minerals

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

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

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

Dinner

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

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

Last Light

Last sunlight, as Tucson shadows fall

Happy to be back home, to the forest shadows…

Snowshadows

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

Final Snowshadow

Links

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

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

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 06.12.2015 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

 

I’ve added a new Namibia Update (click here) with selected excellent specimens from the Tsumeb Mine and also from the Kaokoveld Plateau in Namibia.

 Cerussite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, NamibiaCerussite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – 4.4 cm

Cerussite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, NamibiaCerussite and Goethite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – 4.9 cm

Cerussite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, NamibiaCerussite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – 5.2 cm

Copper, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, NamibiaCopper, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – crystal group 1.5 cm

Malachite pseudomorph after azurite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, NamibiaMalachite pseudomorph after azurite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – 5.8 cm

Malachite pseudomorph after azurite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia Malachite pseudomorph after azurite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – 7.2 cm

Smithsonite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, NamibiaSmithsonite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – 5.7 cm

Tennantite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, NamibiaTennantite, Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia – 5.2 cm

Dioptase, Okandawasi Pit, Kaokoveld Plateau, Kunene Region, NamibiaDioptase, Okandawasi Pit, Kaokoveld Plateau, Kunene Region, Namibia – crystal 1.4 cm

Dioptase, Okandawasi Pit, Kaokoveld Plateau, Kunene Region, NamibiaDioptase, Okandawasi Pit, Kaokoveld Plateau, Kunene Region, Namibia – field of view 2.4 cm

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 04.14.2014 | Filed under: Latest, Recent Mineral Updates | Comments (0)

This China Update – April 2014 features excellent new chalcopyrite/siderite and tennantite specimens from the Kaiwu Mine (the tennantites have been confirmed by analysis). The update also includes amazing highly distinctive new calcites from Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province (including some unique mushroom-shaped ones). I’ve also included a few other excellent quality calcite specimens from Shimen, Wenshan, Gongcheng and Daye.

 

 Chalco

Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 03.13.2014 | Filed under: Latest, Mineral Shows | Comments (0)

Cactus

Urban Field Collecting

Each year when “Tucson” nears, I’m like a kid who can’t wait to race downstairs on Christmas morning. Just the chance to experience the sprawling mineral shows all over the city (known collectively in Mineral World simply as “Tucson”)… there is so much to see and we all come away with different impressions.

This is just a brief blog post about a few favourite finds from Tucson 2014 that you might find interesting. I’m also including a few words below about Bisbee and the great little museum there, but not before Tucson (!).

I have been travelling to Tucson with my collecting partner David Joyce every year for a long time now. Finding what we’re after can be tough! We embark on excursions involving long trekking, backpacks, headlamps, loupes… sledge hammers and drills… Ok, ok, no sledges and drills. But it’s still urban field collecting. We work through a lot of rock in hopes of finding something great – and eventually we do.

The Music

Before I get to mineral specimens, I’ll start with something that was entirely new to Mineral World. Dave premiered his new CD – Nuggets and High Grade: The Mining and Mineral Collecting Songs of David K. Joyce. So, it was no ordinary Tucson. The guitar, the fans, the autographs, the crowd control barriers, the police escorts… (or something like that, anyway…)

Dave played small gigs around Tucson, including a great evening of Krupnik and Kielbasa hosted of course by Spirifer Minerals, and wine and cheese hosted by Dave Bunk Minerals up at the Westward Look show.

Music

The songs and instrumentals were played around the show, including at the Main Show – and they could be heard on sound systems coming from dealers’ rooms as you walked by. Light-hearted with good laughs, these are songs for mineral collectors. (If you haven’t heard Damn The Glaciers or The Mineral Dealer, you haven’t lived.) I feel safe predicting that many of these songs will be played live during the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium, if you’d like to sing along in person. In the meantime, they are available on CD and downloadable from iTunes. If you have not yet heard these tunes, check them out here.

The Minerals

Moving on from the Rock Star to the rocks themselves… here are a few of the mineral finds I thought were special. (Some are new, and some are minerals that have debuted before now, where the prices, quality, or quantity have really improved.)  Specimens from all of these finds will be available on our website in the coming weeks.

China remains at the forefront for new and interesting mineral specimens.

There are amazing new calcite specimens from Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China (specifics on locality were not freely forthcoming as yet – if you know more I’d love to hear from you (email or here).  These are comprised of first generation scalenohedral crystals capped by second generation flattened calcite crystals, giving wonderful aesthetic form, including even an almost mushroom-like appearance.  Unfortunately most that I saw from this find were damaged, but I managed to find a few that were in super shape. These are very cool specimens!

Calcite, China

Calcite, Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China – 4.1 cm

Another interesting new one was a find of beautifully twinned cerussite at the famous Daoping Mine, Gongcheng Co., Guilin Prefecture, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, which is most famous for pyromorphite. Although nice specimens of blocky yellow cerussite crystals were found a few years ago at the locality, these ones are distinctly different – they are flattened, twinned and nicely coloured. I only acquired one (photographed below), because for the most part prices were high for what they are, and I saw only a very few that were high enough quality. Nonetheless there may be a few others around so keep your eyes open for them. I only saw them with the one dealer in Tucson – who knows if there could be more?

 ChinaCeruss

 Cerussite from the Daoping Mine, Gongcheng Co., Guilin Prefecture, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China – 3.1 cm

The latest specimens of chalcopyrite on siderite from Kaiwu, Hezhang County, Ghizou Province, China, are higher quality than most that have been coming out in the past, with sharp chalcopyrites and a new twist on a couple, which include tennantite (confirmed by post-Tucson analysis).  When these were first coming out, so many were badly damaged, and even so, they were incredibly expensive.

 Chalco

 Chalcopyrite and Siderite from Kaiwu, Hezhang County, Ghizou Province, China – 9.6 cm

The Huangguang mines in Inner Mongolia have continued to produce some wonderful mineral specimens. Many prices asked are still beyond the reach of mere mortals… but with some serious searching, fine specimens of several minerals were obtainable, including sharp ilvaites, some lollingites (most are still pricey) and others. What a great contemporary mineral producing region!

 Inner Mongolia

 Jewel-like Fluorite among dark-tipped sceptered Quartz, Huangguang Mines, Inner Mongolia, China – 5.3 cm

Moving on to the other world famous deposit with some strikingly similar mineralogy to the Huangguang Mines, some fine specimens continue to come from Dalnegorsk, Russia.  In particular, there were some nice fluorite crystals. There were also really neat quartz crystals with overgrowths of beta quartz, and also a few tabular-style pyrrhotites. 

DalFluoriteFluorite, Dalnegorsk, Russia – 5 cm

Coming further west, the famed type locality for  dioptase at Altyn-Tyube in the Kirghiz Steppes, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan is producing some beautiful specimens and operations continue, with hopes of more in the future. A couple of  gorgeous ones are here.

100231(1)

New Dioptase from Altyn-Tyube in the Kirghiz Steppes, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan – 12 cm

A truly new find was the pocket of wonderful black tourmalines found at Tsitondroina, Fianarantsoa, Madagascar – they are magnesiofoitite. The crystallography on these is pretty amazing. I acquired the best of them and they will be posted on the site soon.

Madagascar

Magnesiofoitite Tourmaline from Tsitondroina, Fianarantsoa, Madagascar – 6.5 cm

And the last one for now – some really great datolite crystals have recently been found at Charcas, Mun de Charcas, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The datolite crystals can reach several centimetres across and range from pale green to pale blue. Some of the datolite crystals show a preferential crystallization habit, with highlighted white faces representing certain crystal forms. A number of the datolite specimens are accompanied by sulfide mineralization – primarily pyrite and chalcopyrite, crystals of which even occur fully included within datolite crystals.

DatoliteDatolite from  Charcas, Mun de Charcas, San Luis Potosí, Mexico – 7 cm

 

Where Minerals Go to Die

Just as an aside, have you ever wondered where minerals go to die? During real field collecting, the answer is usually the mine dumps. But what happens in the context  of urban field collecting?

There are places in Tucson where mineral specimens are thrown on top of each other, piled, crunched, maybe bathed in oil, bleached under the intense Arizona sun…

hwyshow1

Imagine a fine mineral specimen surviving this mayhem  (not sure why we need the pretext of boxes here)

Urban Field Collecting Can Wipe a Guy Out 

davsnzHard-working mineral dealer David K. Joyce, “power-napping” in the middle of the courtyard at the height of the busy Tucson City Centre Inn Suites Hotel Show.

(Dave likes to call it “power-napping.”  Possibly because it sounds more productive than “snoozing on the grass.”)

World Famous Bisbee

Although I could look at minerals all day every day an never tire of it, there’s something attractive to a change of pace and scenery, so we headed to Bisbee. The trip to Bisbee leads through Tombstone, famous in its own right as one of the roughest towns of the American Old West, best known for the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Many of the lives of the early inhabitants of Tombstone ended prematurely.

boothillCemetery at Boot Hill, Tombstone

(Interesting about the name “Boot Hill”: This name was commonly given to cemeteries in the American Old West and was derived from the notion that this was where the gunfighters – the people who died with their boots on – were buried.  The Cemetery at Boot Hill, Tombstone was not limited to gunfighters.)

If you’ve never done the day-trip from Tucson to Bisbee, it’s worth it.

Headframe

Headframe at Bisbee

Of course Bisbee is best known among mineral collectors for its historic copper mines, which  are among the United States’ most prolific mineral specimen localities (325 different minerals have been found at Bisbee).  The old mining operations feature prominently on the modern landscape of the Bisbee area.

Bismine2

 The Sacramento Pit and Lavender Pit are the large (inactive) open pit mines at Bisbee

Bisbee itself is a neat town with lots of older buildings, artists’ studios and shops.  But (as you might guess) the highlight of the visit for me was the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. This little museum is so well done!  A member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Affiliation Program, the displays were designed with the Smithsonian’s assistance. They are fascinating, informative and easy to walk through for however long (or not) you might want to stay. The museum is housed in the building that was once the corporate headquarters of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company (eventually purchased by Phelps Dodge Corporation, which was subsequently acquired by Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.) – it is a beautifully preserved building and a National Registered Landmark.

bismus6

The upper floor of the museum’s displays includes underground mine scenes and some mineral specimens from various collections:

Bismus1

Gibbsite stalactite with Malachite and Azurite on Goethite from the Copper Queen Mine – approx. 15 cm
(James Douglas Collection, Smithsonian Institution Collection)

Bismus3

Calcite on Malachite from the Copper Queen Mine – approx. 12 cm
(James Douglas Collection, Smithsonian Institution Collection)

Bismus7

Malachite pseudomorph after Azurite from the Holbrook Mine – approx. 15 cm
(M.J. Cunningham Collection, Bank of America)

Bismus4

Gorgeous Cuprite from the Czar Mine – approx. 10 cm – largest crystal perhaps 1.2 cm
(M.J. Cunningham Collection, Bank of America)

I stumbled out of the museum, as those unforgettable red cubes were making my head swim!  Nice way to end the day in Bisbee.

Back in Tucson, it was time to wrap and pack specimens for shipment! We had a few last fine meals with mineral and mining friends before saying goodbye and heading back to the Great White North.

sunset2