Posted by: macadmin on 05.14.2020 | Filed under:


Specimen # 100579
Mineral: Fluorapatite
Location: Fluorapatite, Cerro de Mercado, Victoria de Durango, Durango, Mexico
Size: 6.5 x 4.8 x 3.4 cm


Detailed Description

This specimen features a main fluorapatite crystal 1.4 cm in length, surrounded by quartz crystals. One of the coolest features of this piece is that upon close examination there are also crystals of pyroxene and hematite (octahedral pseudomorph after magnetite).  Some chipping on the main fluorapatite. The fluorapatite is sharp, glassy and transparent, with some intenal red due to hematite.  A nice piece!


About These Fluorapatites

Crystals of yellow-green fluorapatite from Cerro de Mercado have been known for a long time, and at times they have been produced in abundance. However, truly fine specimens are actually hard to find, as most of the fluorapatites from the mine are badly damaged. In part this is because they have typically been collected in the past without due care (tossed into buckets and so on). But in part it is also due to their own formation history – although their geological origin is still a matter of uncertainty, the crystals always have one termination and one incomplete end (doubly-terminated crystals are not known from Cerro de Mercado) and they are cemented into the matrix, all suggestive of post-crystallization activity within the deposit. This cementing involves varying mineral constituents (some of which are rather unhelpful when it comes to extracting fine mineral specimens). In particular, excellent matrix specimens are very uncommon.

Cerro de Mercado is still a producing iron mine, and the fluorapatite crystals in this lot were collected this year. As contemporary mining and sorting/separation have become mechanized, and also owing to the fact that the apatite at the mine is now concentrated for its phosphate value, the preservation of fine fluorapatite crystals and matrix specimens is a greater challenge than it used to be. Damage is still a rampant problem. I selected the few fine pieces here out of a lot of hundreds of specimens, offered by a seller who lives beside the mine. Although it is likely that specimens will continue to be produced for as long as the mine continues to operate, it is also likely that fine undamaged specimens will continue to be hard to obtain.

The definitive article on this locality is Wendell Wilson’s excellent piece in the Mineralogical Record, Special Issue – Mexico VI, Vol. 42:5, Sept-Oct 2011.

Additional information

Dimensions 65 × 48 × 34 cm