Ampliacion a Victoria Mine, Navaiun, La Rioja, Spain
Iron disulfide, cubic
$5 to $20
We just bought a nice lot of small pyrite specimens from this famous locality. Pyrite is commonly thought of as occurring as cubes, and boy are these perfectly cubic and in matrix. For their size they really don’t get much more cubic than these. Once I stopped in Madrid and bought a big bunch of these specimens on the last stop of a round the world trip. When I got to US customs in Los Angeles, they refused to believe that they were natural specimens and insisted that they were some how a manufactured item and confiscated them till I could file a customs declaration and retrieve them. Educate yourselves about what good pyrite specimens look like by checking out this link:
Actually this link will take you to just a third of the Best Minerals article about Pyrite because the article is so long it had to be broken up into three different articles. Use the links at the top or bottom of the article to navigate to the other two sections if you have the time to spend on it.
Jacaré Quartz (Window Quartz) (Water Quartz)
Minas Gerais Brazil – 5 to 15 cm
$ 8 to $ 100
Jacaré = alligator in Portuguese. This variety of quartz in Brazil is called Jacaré because of the multiple crystal points seen in specimens of this material. It is sometimes called window quartz because of triangular inset crystals faces that sometimes resemble windows and water quartz because specimens of this kind of quartz often have movable water bubbles in cavities inside the quartz that can be made to move around. They more often smoky in color rather than white and are typically found in the pegmatite region of Minas Gerais and never in the big sand stone region of that Brazilian state that produces the Arkansas look alike kind of quartz. The Germans often call this type fenster quartz. Fenster is the German word for window.
August 2011 shipment from Brazil, specimens.
Black Tourmaline in Quartz
Kyanite in Quartz
Pink Tourmaline in Quartz
August 2011 specimens from China
Pyrite balls, China
McDermitt Mine (Cordero Mine; Old Cordero Mine), Opalite District, Humboldt Co., Nevada, USA
$8 to $50 depending on size and quality.
Kleinite: I think we have most of the current worlds supply of this rare mercury mineral. There are only three localities for this rare mineral and those from the McDermitt Mine in Humboldt Co., Nevada are by far the best of the three. They are tiny little yellow, some would say yellow orange crystals on matrix. In the 80’s? Jim Puckett and Bruce Bennett (not the actor) got permission to collect in the open pit McDermitt mine and hit the jackpot of this rare mineral. This last batch we got from Bruce and I think it represents almost all of the specimens he had. When these are gone I think they will only be available as individual specimens from old collections. Our prices are very reasonable for examples of this rare mineral. You can even see the crystals with your naked eye, which is unusual today for rare mineral species.
Baotou League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,China
Ilvaite is not exactly a rare mineral and Mindat.org currently shows 170 localities, but there are not many places that produce good crystals. It used to be that if you wanted to get a good specimens of Ilvaite you wanted one of those from South Mt., Idaho. Then the Iron Curtain fell and good Ilvaite specimens started showing up from Dalnegorsk, Russia. Now all of a sudden, there is this new locality from Mongolia that has started producing specimens of Ilvaite, the best of which are an order of magnitude better than those from any other locality. Some of the crystals from this locality are the size of beer cans. We don’t yet have any of these exalted specimens, but we recently got in a nice shipment of small mostly single crystals that we cans ell for very reasonable prices. The mine also produces good specimens of Arsenopyrite and other minerals, some of which we hope to offer in the coming months.
Aegirine, Mount Malosa, Zomba District, Malawi
We have two qualities. Small inexpensive ones and larger very fine ones.
“Mine Run” Aegirine:
These are small specimens of the black shiny prismatic crystals of Aegirine. Frequently they are associated with white to cream colored blocky crystals of microcline feldspar. Some specimens are associated with tiny to brown to yellow crystals of zircon.
Depending on quality.
Single crystals of Aegirine:
Prices depend on size and quality.
Prices depend on size and quality
Aegirine specimens of high quality:
These are larger specimens usually showing shiny black prismatic crystals of Aegirine. Some of the specimens are associated with white to cream colored blocky crystals of microcline feldspar. Some specimens have associated quartz crystals and tiny brown to yellow crystals of zircon. Sometimes other rare minerals are found on these specimens.
Depending on size and quality.
Aegirine crystals are mostly shiny black and prismatic, but there are exceptions. In the past, the best specimens of Aegirine that were found in collections came from St. Hillarie, Quebec, Canada and if you were real lucky you might rarely see a nice specimen of a single prismatic black shiny pointy crystal in matrix from Magnet cove.
Mount Malosa, Malawi
Then all of a sudden, about ten years ago the locality of Mt. Malosa in Malawi started to produce fine crystals of Aegirine like there was no tomorrow. Block shiny terminated crystals up to 30 cm or so, though often the largest crystals were not of the best quality. Some of the specimens of Aegirine from Mt. Malosa are so fine they would make a Bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window. All of a sudden, the Aegirine crystals from other localities didn’t seem all that appealing.
The crystals from Mount Malosa appear to be black, but if you grind them to a fine powder, the powder will be green. There are more than 700 localities listed for Aegirine on Mindat.org and undoubtedly many more that have not yet been listed. Only a few of them however have produced good free standing crystals and most of these you would need a microscope to fully appreciate.
Epidote from Balochistan, Pakistan
We don’t know much about where these new crystals come from yet, but undoubtedly with time the the locality will become better known. Almost certainly they are from a skarn type deposit. Though most Epidote crystals are prismatic, these are strange in that some of them almost look like octahedrons, and others thick almost hexagonal looking plates. These crystals are additionaly strange in that some of the are magnetic and some a bit yellow looking b ecause of micro titanite crystals growing on their surfaces. Most other Epidote crystals are prismatic. They range in size from about five to ten cm = 2 to 4 inches with a few smaller and larger. They are for the most part not very shiny, but the crystals are well formed and they tend to be floaters. Some of the crystals are blacker and shiner than others, and the black ones tend to be magnetic. Some of the “hexagonal” looking ones seem to have a slight yellow cast to them which are actually very tiny yellow Titanite crystals growing on the surface of the Epidote.
Prices: $30 to $150 each depending on quality.
Blue agate with druzy quartz (Blue Holley Agate)
Ngabu village, Southern Malawi.
20 Km from Ngabu village in the Chiwawa District of Southern Malawi are the mines that produce this beautiful blue agate. It is all hand dug by the villagers and as you can see from the pictures, they work pretty hard for it. The striking thing about this agate is its beautiful blue color and the little sparkling druzy quartz that covers the agate in places. Much of the agate is attractively banded and associated with a pale yellow green calcite which adds contract to the specimens. If you wish you can remove the calcite by using a 10% solution of hydrochloric acid (muriatic or pool acid). We have many customers that buy these specimens for it attractive blue color and the sparkling druzy quartz and others that cut it up into druzy cabochons and other objects. This stuff is pretty new on the market here in the USA and I don't think there is much yet about it in the various books and literature that the new age community consults for their purposes. The name blue Holly or Holley agate is taken originally from the blue agate found on Holley Mountain in Oregon.
Price: $8 to $15 There are very many also of lesser quality that are cheaper.
The Miklancic collection:
So one morning I came in to work and checked my email and there was one from a lady in Washington that said she was interested in selling her recently diseased husband's mineral collection.
After a few emails and some phone calls we decided we should at least go up and look at it. 2500 pieces plus she says and all of them were cataloged and labeled. I had a friend up in Washington at Bart Cannon's gem and mineral show in Seattle and I asked him to go out and take a look at the collection, but he ran out of time and could not make the 3 hour drive over the Cascades to the eastern part of the state, so I finally talked my buddy Clem Smith to fly up there to take a look at it.
Most of it was inexpensive specimens purchased for less than $50, and most of them were purchased during the last ten years. But it was very well cataloged and labeled. If it had not been, I am not sure if we could have justified buying the collection. You could tell that the guy really loved his specimens and the care he gave it in cataloging and labeling it really showed.
Well we did finally buy the collection. He had to cancel his return flight, rent a truck, and spend the next three days packing up the collection and driving it back down to Los Angeles. This alone cost us an extra $2000 dollars or so. We then spent the next week or so cleaning what needed to be cleaned and putting it in flats and putting prices on the specimens. We are still not finished with that job.
There were no multi-thousand dollar specimens in the lot, and some of the larger specimens were in the decorator category, but we have a lot of customers who buy that kind of thing. There were quite a few “arrow rocks”* which reflected his interest in rare species. There were particularly good things from the northwest part of the USA and an interesting suite of rarities from Nevada. A lot of things that might be classified as good “internet” rocks.
There were way too many individual things to try and list them here, and the pictures are mainly just to give you some idea of the size of the collection and to encourage you to visit us at our warehouse where you can see it all.
Yours truly, Rock Currier. June, 2011
*Arrow rocks are terrible looking specimens that look more like rocks than crystallized mineral specimens and the object of interest on the specimen is usually some tiny speck that is so small that without the aid of little paper arrows glued to the specimen to point out exactly where the little speck is, you would not notice it.