Mixed Minerals!

A smaller update featuring a selection of mixed minerals from around the world, including some very odd Pak/Afghan pieces from discoveries around 20 years ago. 

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DBT01 Tourmaline var. Elbaite
Khash District, Kokcha Valley, Badakhshan, Afghanistan
3.1x 3.0x 2.2 cm

A beautiful example of tourmaline from an unusual locality.  The vast majority of Afghan tourmalines come from further south, in Kunar and Nuristan provinces. Badakhshan is located at the extreme northeast, and is primarily known for its lapis lazuli, scapolite, and the occasional phlogopite and clinohummite.  The crystal has an appearance that is quite distinctive from the usual Paprok stuff, a bit darker with clear (and more saturated) green and reddish zones.  Older material.

DBT02 Silver with Calcite and Malachite
White Pine Mine, Ontonagon Co., Michigan, United States
5.6x 3.9x 2.8 cm

A very unusual specimen from the Michigan copper country.  To begin with, the White Pine Mine is best known for rather flattened copper growths-- the mine worked the Nonesuch Shale beds, laminated strata lacking the open space that allowed for the more three dimensional growth seen in specimens from other northern Michigan mines, which worked through basalt flows.  Considering that lack of growth space, it is somewhat unusual to find such a well formed calcite crystal from the location.  Even more unusual is the silver/ calcite association-- copper/ calcite specimens are known (particularly from the Quincy Mine) but to have a silver/ calcite from anywhere in the region is quite unusual.  A cool rock for the collector of Michigan or Midwestern minerals.

DBT03 Cuprite
Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia
5.6x 3.6x 3.6 cm

A nice (and reasonably rich) specimen of cuprite from the world famous Tsumeb mine.  The color is more metallic in person, the red comes from the strong lighting.

DBT04 Tourmaline on Quartz
Mawi, Laghman Prov., Afghanistan
4.8x 3.5x 2.7 cm

A beautiful combination specimen of pink tourmaline on quartz.  Both the quartz crystal and the tourmaline are terminated, and the secondary tourmaline crystals all have at least one termination as well. 

As a side note, this is an older piece.  Today, most of these pastel colored tourmalines are irradiated to increase their color saturation, but at the time when this was found, such treatments were unheard of.  Irradiation of tourmaline specimens is a MAJOR problem with Afghan specimens, and it extends to many of the top dollar pieces on the market these days as well.  For decades, these same pegmatites produced crystals within a certain range of color saturation-- all of a sudden about 10 years ago there was an influx of more saturated examples that coincideded with the appearance of treated spodumene and topazes.  I very much doubt it is a coincidence... 

DBT05 Elbaite Tourmaline
Paprok, Nuristan Prov., Afghanistan
5.3x 0.75x 0.65 cm

A beautiful tourmaline crystal that grades from green, to pink at the termination.

DBT06 Marcasite
Pleasant View, Shelby Co., Indiana, United States
10.5x 8.5x 4.3 cm

A tiered cluster of fan shaped marcasite crystal aggregates, arranged in a way that makes it look something like a metallic Christmas tree.

This came from a dealer in the Midwestern United States, and as the locality information is little more than an unincorporated city in central Indiana, I suspect this is the product of some local field collector's efforts, 40+ years ago.

Collected around 1976.

DBT07 Cassiterite
Darrah Pech, Kunar Prov., Afghanistan
6.4x 4.5x 3.5 cm

A very rare (and decently large, for any locality) cassiterite crystal from a pegmatite locality in Afghanistan.  I have seen a few examples from Pakistan, but never one from Afghanistan-- in fact, Mindat only has photos of 5 examples. The crystal is not perfect: it has a decently sized chip on the lower center, though it actually somewhat blends in with the ridged surfaces of the rest of the crystal. The overall form is great, and it sits perfectly atop an albite matrix... and you will almost certainly NOT find another Afghan example of this magnitude.

DBT08 Corundum var. Ruby
Chumar Mine, Ganesh Himal, Nepal
3.0x 1.3x 1.85 cm

A rare, thumbnail sized example of ruby crystals from Nepal.  You see plenty of rubies around from the neighboring countries (from Hunza in Pakistan, Jagdelak in Afghanistan, and various southern Indian localities) but never really any from Nepal.  

DBT09 Scapolite incl. Phlogopite Mica
Der-e-zu Mine, Sar-e-Sang, Badakhshan, Afghanistan
3.1x 2.1x 1.1 cm

A very unusual scapolite crystal from Afghanistan's northerastern-most province.  This crystal comes from the same area as the lapis lazuli mines, and differs substantially from the usually purple (often treated) examples that are often seen these days.  I selected this crystal because the overall form made for a great thumbnail, but also because the phlogopite inclusions made it subtly different from the cookie cutter purples ones.  Seeing a specimen from this area attributed to a specific mine, rather than a general mining region, was also somewhat unusual.

DBT10 Dolomite
Tormiq, Shigar-Skardu Road, Norther Areas, Pakistan
6.5x 5.5x 3.8 cm

Another unusual Pak/Afghan specimen-- a dramatically arranged cluster of yellow dolomite crystals from Tormiq.  This locality is best known for its Knappenwald-mimicing epidoes and other Alpine style minerals, though this is certainly the first dolomite I've seen from there (or anywhere else in Pakistan, for that matter.). It is an older piece, found around 20 years ago.

Dolomite is seldomly the focus of a specimen-- except perhaps for some examples from Eugi, Spain, it is always just a matrix or accessory.  This piece actually showcases the mineral in its own right, and on top of that, I would imagine it to be of particular interest to a collector of Pakistani/ Afghan minerals.

DBT11 Fluorite
Auglaize Quarry, Junction, Paulding Co., Ohio, United States
2.9x 2.0x 1.5 cm

A nice thumbnail sized sample of fluorite cubes with partial purple phantoms, from Ohio. 

DBT12 Rutile
Zagi Mtn., Khyber Agency, FATA, Pakistan
3.3x 2.7x 2.7 cm

A very good (for the locality) rutile crystal that seems to show a degree of twining.  I've never seen a single crystal quite this large from here, though I have seen a couple very small thumbnails and rutilated quartz crystals. 

DBT13 Zircon
Manangi, Darrah Pech, Kunar Prov., Afghanistan
6.5x 4.8x 2.9 cm

A nice sample of zircon from an unusual locality, with two decently sized zircon crystals frozen in their matrix.  The crystals do have a bit of damage, but I am offering it because the crystals are decently sized and the locality is quite unusual-- almost all the zircon from the general area seems to come from Astor, in Northern Pakistan.

DBT14 Fluorite
Thabeikkyin Twp., Pyin-Oo-Lwin Dist., Mandalay Division, Myanmar (Burma)
5.4x 4.1x 2.7 cm

A very rare example of fluorite from Myanmar, consisting of tightly packed aggregates of cubic crystals that almost have a pseudo-botryoidal appearance.  Burma produces a fair quantity of mineral specimens and even more gem rough, but fluorite is certainly not one of the minerals you see from the country very often!

DBT15 Betafite
Silver Crater Mine, Bancroft, Ontario, Canada
2.5x 2.1x 1.6 cm

A nice thumbnail sized specimen of betafite from the Silver Crater Mine, arguably the source of the best betafites in the world.  This one is contacted on the reverse, but has sharp edges, clear faces, and displays well from the front. 

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