Gone but not forgotten
This page is dedicated
to some of the more noteworthy specimens
ACF Mine, Mibladen, Morocco
6.5 x 3.5 x 2.5 cm
This is one huge Vanadanite crystal. Complete all-around.
This was the first mineral specimen that Cal Neva Mineral Company sold. Thanks Rob.
Beryl var. Aquamarine
Ghur-Salak, Kunar Province, Afghanistan
5 x 4.2 x 3.9 cm
Rainbow Ridge Mine, Virgin Valley, Humboldt County, NV
3.8 x 2.9 x 1.5 cm
This colorful specimen is section of a limb from a conifer tree that has been replaced by Opal. This specimen has been completely dried out and has a great play of colors ranging from green to red, blue and violet. Virgin Valley is considered to be the premiere source of precious opal in the United States. The Roebling Opal, one of the more famous Opals from Virgin Valley was mined at Rainbow Ridge about 1918 and is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
12.8 cm x 7.3 cm x 5 cm
This peculiar polyhedroid Agate specimen is from Paraíba, Brazil which is famous for its distinctive Blue-colored Tourmaline due to their high Copper content. These remarkable Agates were first found in 1974 by Odwaldo Monteiro and are all but impossible to obtain these days as the supply has been exhausted for many years. These anomalies of the Quartz family are occasionally seen for sale as polished slabs. It is rare that an intact example is seen for sale. I've done quite a lot of research trying to determine how these mineral oddities are formed. There are many hypotheses as to how these are formed. However, in the course of my research I have found that no two theories are the same. So just enjoy these for what they are, a most unusual Agate specimen.
This specimen was featured in John S. White's essay on Quartz Polyhedroids published in the May/June 2014 issue of Rocks & Minerals.
Amethyst Mountain, Yellowstone National Park, Park County, WY
18 x 14 x 8.4 cm
A large cabinet-sized plate of Amethyst on Chalcedony from Amethyst Mountain, Eastern Fork of the Yellowstone River, NW Wyoming. The crystals on this specimen have a light, lavender-purple hue. The smaller crystals have unusual stepped faces on their terminations. Nearly all of the crystals on this specimen are intact. This specimen pre-dates Yellowstone Park and is most likely circa 1860's to early 1870's. It was collected before collecting in Yellowstone was prohibited and had resided in the Philadelphia Academy Collection for over a century until 2007 when the collection was dispersed. I think any mineral specimen from America's most famous park is to be treasured and can be considered an American Heirloom.
Heulandite on Mordenite
5 x 5.5 x 2.5 cm
Rat's Nest Claims, Custer County, Idaho
This specimen features super lustrous crystals of Heulandite to 1.8 cm. perched on a mound of Mordenite.
This specimen was featured on mindat.org as specimen of the day on May 16th, 2007.
Calcite on Sphalerite with Chalcopyrite
Spodumene var. Triphane
Darre Pech, Afghanistan
7 x 7.5 x 3 cm
Fluorite on Barite
Liter's Quarry, Breckenridge County, Kentucky
10.6 x 6.1 x 2.6 cm
While Illinois is the undisputed king as far as Fluorite from the U.S. is concerned, its neighbor to the south has been known to produce the occasional specimen. This specimen features cubes of light-purple-colored crystals of Fluorite measuring to 1 cm perched on a matrix of bladed crystals of Barite. While seldom seen at the best of times, Fluorite specimens from Kentucky have always been eagerly sought out by collectors. This specimen came labeled as being from the Irvington Quarry which is the former name of Liter's Quarry.
Quartz with Tourmaline inclusions
Sapo Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil
8 x 7 x 5.5 cm
I picked up a couple of dozen of these at the 2003 Tucson show. Tourmaline in Quartz is a common mineral association but I think these Sapo Mine specimens are better than average. The Quartz crystal is on a mass of bluish-green Tourmaline. It is also a double terminated scepter and is loaded with green & blue Tourmalines to the point that it looks like there was a Tourmaline explosion inside of the Quartz crystal. There are so many Tourmalines that they stick out of the crystal on almost all of the faces. There are also several large bluish-black Tourmalines on the rear of this specimen. This specimen is almost a floater, with just a small area of contact on the right side of the specimen.
This is one of the specimens mentioned in Luiz Menezes' article on the Sapo Mine that was published in The Mineralogical Record, volume 40, #4.
Quartz var. Amethyst
Virginia City, Comstock District, Storey County, NV
8.5 x 5 x 3 cm
The Comstock Lode achieved fame for the enormous volume of Silver that was mined there during the 1800's. Very few examples of the silver ore specimens or other associated minerals such as this Amethyst specimen were preserved. While single crystals are occasionally found on the mine dumps & surrounding hills by local collectors; it is indeed a rare occasion that an intact plate of crystals such as this one is found.
Quartz, Sphalerite & Dolomite
Beryl var. Aquamarine on Feldspar
Darre Pech, Afghanisatan
size 4.7 x 4.9 x 4.6 cm
Of all the miniature sized Aquamarine matrix specimens that I've seen, this one has made the biggest impression on me. It's got a lot going for it. A big blocky, partially dissolved Feldspar crystal (I'm not sure if it's an Albite or an Orthoclase) with an aesthetic sky blue double terminated Aquamarine that has a very gemmy upper half, majestically perched on its front face and at the point where it becomes less gemmy is a nest of hair like Schorl crystals. And, to top it all off, the Aquamarine is a scepter. Not one of those crystals with the lower portion dissolved away that are called scepters. This is the real thing. The lower termination has the same hexagonal shape as the upper portion of the crystal.
Topaz with Lepidolite and Cookeite
Teixeirinha Mine, Itinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil
7.4 x 5.2 x 3 cm
This extremely lustrous and gemmy, etched Topaz is from the small find made in 2004 and features a jacket of Lepidolite covered with Cookeite.
Anorthite variety Bytownite (rough & cut)
Dorado Mine, Municipio Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico
size = 4 x 3 x 1.8 cm
A crystal fragment and faceted example of gem Anorthite, variety Bytownite. Bytownite is a calcium rich member of the plagioclase solid solution series of Feldspar minerals. Bytownite was first described in 1835 and named for an occurrence at Bytown (now Ottawa), Canada. This material was brought out of Mexico around 20 years ago by miner and mineral dealer Benny Fenn.
Smoky Quartz gwindel
Dodo Mine, Saranpaul, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia
13.8 x 8 x 8.5 cm
A plate of Quartz crystals from the Subpolar Ural Mountains of Russia. This specimen has mostly clear and lightly colored Smoky Quartz crystals up 6 cm in size and a large, 13 cm, curved and darker Smoky Quartz crystal. Quartz crystals with this growth form are known as “gwindels”. The term "Gwindel" is derived from the German "gewunden", which means helicoidal, twisted. The Smoky Quartz has multiple terminations which are intact with only a little wear on one point. The upper half of the Smoky Quartz gwindel is nearly gem-clear. The Dodo Mine is a classic Russian alpine locality which had its heyday around the 1980's and the Quartz specimens from there are known for their gemminess and their dramatic twisting style. Along with the Swiss Alps and a few mountains in France, this location has produced the most famous gwindel Quartz specimens.
Piccadilly Beach, Newfoundland, Canada
3.5 x 3.6 x 3.4 cm
A very cool concretion of Pyrite, crowned by a cluster of cubic crystals. These Pyrites are comprised of SEDEX (sedimentary exhalative deposits) ore, similar to the black smokers of the South Pacific. After having weathered out of their matrix, they washed ashore on the beach at Piccadilly, which accounts for the slightly water-worn appearance.
Itrongay, Mahasoa Est, Betroka, Anosy, Madagascar
4.6 x 4.5 x 3.7 cm
A good sized, and complete crystal of Sanidine. This specimen has a pleasing yellow color and is mostly transparent to translucent with several internal fractures. Most of the Sanidine crystals from Itrongay are river tumbled, broken or so heavily etched that they retain none of their original form. For many years these yellow Feldspars were sold as Orthoclase but in 2002 it was determined that they were in fact Sanidine. The finest gem crystals of Sanidine are produced in this region of Madagascar.
Nakhlak Mine, Anarak District, Esfahan Province, Iran
7 x 4 x 5 cm
This specimen features a multitude of very lustrous, reticulated sixling-twin crystals up to 1.5 cm. Iranian Cerussite specimens are extremely hard to find and in my opinion are every bit as good as those from Tsumeb.
Elbaite on Microcline
Stak Nala, Haramosh Mountains, Skardu District, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
7.1 x 5.5 x 4.5 cm
A very aesthetic matrix specimen of Tourmaline from the pegmatites of Stak Nala. This specimen features a 6 cm, multicolored Elbaite Tourmaline nestled in a blocky crystal of Microcline. What, for me really sets this specimen apart from others are the yellow-colored terminations of two smaller crystals at the base of the specimen. Yellow is a color almost never seen in Elbaite crystals. These yellow-capped Elbaites were from a one-off find in the early 1990's.
variety Uvarovite with Amesite (Type Locality)
Saranovskii Mine, Saranovskaya Village, Permskaya Oblast', Urals Region, Russia
6 x 4 x 1.5 cm
This incredible mineral specimen features the variety of chromium Garnet known as Uvarovite, which was named after Count Sergey Semeonovich Uvarov. The Uvarovite crystals are partially embedded in a nest of lavender crystals of the mineral Amesite, making for a pleasing contrast of colors. This specimen features Uvarovite crystals measuring up to 3.5 mm. which is considered to be larger than average for this species of Garnet.
Elbaite with Quartz
Neelum Valley, Muzaffarabad District, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan
6.3 x 2.5 x 1.9 cm
A tri-colored Tourmaline crystal from Kashmir. The bottom portion of this Tourmaline is rose-colored and translucent. The center portion is medium-green in color and is mostly clear. The upper portion is olive-colored, mostly clear with a thin layer of very dark olive-green. The crystal is complete all around with just a small area of contact near the termination. The front face of this crystal has a good lustre, while the other 2 sides have an overgrowth of clear Quartz. This is an older specimen from the early 2000's. Examples of this material were only available for about a year or so and are rarely seen these days.
with Natrolite, Analcime, Aegerine, Rhodochrosite and Behoite
Poudrette Quarry, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec, Canada
12.3 x 4.6 x 3.3 cm
Here we have a superb example of Serandite, the signature mineral from Mont Saint-Hilaire. This log-like Serandite specimen features an assemblage of minerals which include: numerous white Natrolite crystals to 2.3 centimeters; several Analcime crystals, the largest of which measures 1.5 centimeters; many splendid, richly-colored rosettes of Rhodochrosite crystals; a pair of grayish tufts of the extremely rare beryllium hydroxide mineral Behoite, one of which can be seen on the lower portion on the rear of the specimen, as well as the ever-present mineral, Aegerine. This mineral specimen is a veritable all-in-one representative suite of Mont Saint-Hilaire minerals. Large Serandite crystals are hard to obtain these days, even more so, one with such a variety of associated minerals.
River, Nizhnyaya Tunguska River Basin, Evenkia,
12.4 x 11.2 x 5.1 cm
A large specimen consisting of ocher-yellow Stilbite crystals. These Lustrous crystals are interwoven with each other on their matrix. The crystals on this specimen measure up to 3 centimeters. This specimen is very 3-dimensional; more so than the photograph conveys. These hard to find specimens were collected by the staff of the Fersman Museum on an expedition to this remote area some years ago.
Gold on Quartz
Brusson Mine, Brusson, Aosta Valley, Italy
3.2 x 2.6 x 1.4 cm
Toca da Onça Pegmatite, Virgem da Lapa, Minas Gerais, Brazil
11.3 x 8.1 x 6.1 cm
Here we have a tri-colored example of the mineral Beryl. This Beryl sandwich features a base layer of greenish Aquamarine, followed by a layer pink-colored Morganite and is capped with colorless Goshenite. All three portions this colorful specimen are clear and in some areas gemmy. This specimen is a result of hydrothermal etching in the pocket where it formed giving it a strange but interesting form.
Citrine with Indicolite inclusions
João Velho Mine, Jenipapo District, Itinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil
7.6 x 6 x 3.8 cm
A very clear crystal of Citrine has has been included by Indicolite Tourmaline. This specimen is complete all-around and has no damage. Quartz crystals included by blue Tourmaline from this location have been available for around 20 years but few of them are Citrine. Natural Citrine Quartz crystals are uncommon worldwide and are almost never found associated with minerals except for Feldspar and other varieties of Quartz. These Citrine crystals from João Velho are the only examples of Citrine that has been included by another mineral that I am aware of.
Adularia variety Valencianite
Silver City Mining District, Owyhee County, Idaho
8.7 x 8.2 x 3 cm
A good sized example of lustrous crystals of the variety of Feldspar known as Valencianite, whose name comes from the mine that it was first identified from. This specimen features crystals measuring up to to 2.6 cm. While Valencianite from the type locality can be found if you look really, really hard; Valencianite from the other three localities from which it is known are only encountered once in a blue moon if you are lucky.
& Rose Quartz on Quartz
Laranjeira, Taquaral, Itinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil
12.7 x 9.1 x 5.9 cm
An example of what is probably the rarest of all Rose Quartz mineral associations. This specimen consists of a 10 cm prism of Quartz overgrown with transparent to translucent crystals of Rose Quartz which serve as a host for a clear, 5 cm crystal of Elbaite. The Rose Quartz grades from medium to pale in color while the Elbaite is a deep-green with just a hint of blue. While not unheard of, Rose Quartz with Elbaite is extremely rare. Examples of this combination have in the past been found in the pegmatites of Maine and Connecticut even more rarely Brazil. This specimen came from the collection of noted Brazilian mineral dealer, Luiz Menezes. Although it could be done, I have not made any attempt to clean this specimen keeping with the tradition of my late fiend, Luiz who rarely cleaned many of his own specimens lest he remove some rare mineral.
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