PERU!

I was in Peru about a month and a half ago buying specimens, here is the main update.  Of particular note was a new find of rare clinoatacamite on chrysocolla coated quartz-- the crystals on most of these are highly lustrous and very distinct, unlike most of the earlier examples.  For a rare mineral, they are actually quite beautiful.  There was also a new find of bright purple amethyst (I only brought back a couple pieces, there werent many, and most were far too damaged.)

In general, the story from Peru remains the same-- better explosives and increased mechanization have largely ended the flow of sulfide specimens from many of the classic ore localities, though projects undertaken specifically for specimen recovery (the Lilly Mine, Racracancha, Palomo, Angelina, Pasto Bueno/ Mundo Nuevo) continue to yield specimens.  Of those, Mundo Nuevo is currently dormant, and Palomo and Racracancha have not produced anything for some time.  Regardless, with enough searching, there are always pretty rocks to be found 

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14PE1 Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
17.0x 9.5x 11.0 cm
$5000

A large and exceptionally rich cabinet specimen of clinoatacamite, hosting numerous dark green clusters of the mineral set against a matrix covered by blue chrysocolla over quartz.

 

I purchased a large lot of Lilly Mine material while in Peru, the bulk of the specimens were mainly just druses of quartz over chrysocolla or malachite, though there were a small quantity of these very rare clinoatacamite specimens as well.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals and crystal clusters make the clinoatacamite on this piece easier to discern and appreciate.

 

This is one of the two best clinoatacamites from the lot (the other being specimen 14PE9) and an unusual example of the intersection between rarity and a macroscopic mineral that can actually be called aesthetic.  














14PE10 Quartz, Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
9.5x 7.8x 4.8 cm
$0

A specimen hosting several rather large clusters of dark green and lustrous clinoatacamite set against a contrasting quartz-lined vug.

 

On an absuloute scale, this is probably the third best in the lot, and certainly one of my favorites-- the crystals visually stand out much more than you can tell from the pictures.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals and crystal clusters make the clinoatacamite on this piece easier to discern and appreciate.

 

I purchased a large lot of Lilly Mine material while in Peru, the bulk of the specimens were mainly just druses of quartz over chrysocolla or malachite, though there were a small quantity of these very rare clinoatacamite specimens as well.

 

This is one of the top clinoatacamites from the lot and an unusual example of the intersection between rarity and a macroscopic mineral that can actually be called aesthetic.  

 

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.










14PE11 Clinoatacamite with Calcite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
10.5x 6.5x 6.1 cm
$880

A specimen of clinoatacamite, hosting numerous dark green crystals of the mineral set against a colorless calcite matrix.  This was the only specimen that I obtained where the clinoatacamite occured on calcite, the rest were over quartz and chrysocolla. 

 

I purchased a large lot of Lilly Mine material while in Peru, the bulk of the specimens were mainly just druses of quartz over chrysocolla or malachite, though there were a small quantity of these very rare clinoatacamite specimens as well.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals and crystal clusters make the clinoatacamite on this piece easier to discern and appreciate.

 

This is one of the top clinoatacamites from the lot and an unusual example of the intersection between rarity and a macroscopic mineral that can actually be called aesthetic.  

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.








14PE12 Quartz, Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
9.5x 6.7x 5.7 cm
$320

A specimen of rare clinoatacamite, with a few crystals (including a nicely centered main one) scattered in a vug lined by contrasting quartz over chrysocolla.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals make the clinoatacamite on this piece much easier to discern and appreciate.

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.








14PE14 Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
8.0x 7.4x 2.3 cm
$290

A rich specimen of clinoatacamite, with hundreds of dark green crystals over malachite, chrysocolla, and selenite.

 

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.








14PE15 Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
7.2x 5.5x 3.3 cm
$235

A specimen of rare clinoatacamite, with a cluster of dark crystals on a matrix covered by nicely contrasting quartz.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals make the clinoatacamite on this piece much easier to discern and appreciate.

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.








14PE16 Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
8.2x 5.3x 2.8 cm
$245

A specimen of rare clinoatacamite, with a cluster of dark crystals set in a vug lines by nicely contrasting quartz over chrysocolla.

 

The crystal is lustrous, sizable, and much easier to see in person-- the focus on my camera and light set up made it difficult to adequately show the crystal, as it is in a vug.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals make the clinoatacamite on this piece much easier to discern and appreciate.

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.








14PE17 Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
9.3x 7.6x 3.0 cm
$290

A specimen of rare clinoatacamite, with a cluster of dark crystals on a matrix covered by nicely contrasting quartz over chrysocolla.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals make the clinoatacamite on this piece much easier to discern and appreciate.

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.








14PE18 Quartz, Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
8.5x 6.7x 4.3 cm
$275

A specimen of rare clinoatacamite, with a few crystals scattered in a vug lined by contrasting quartz over chrysocolla.

 

The main crystal is sizable (0.7 cm) and lustrous, though at the back of the vug.  It is shown in the closeup.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals make the clinoatacamite on this piece much easier to discern and appreciate.

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride.








14PE19 Galena on Quartz
Palomo Mine, Castrovirreina Prov., Huancavelica Dept., Peru
7.8x 7.8x 4.7 cm
$235

A beautiful example of sharp cubo-octahedral galena on a hemisphere of spiky quartz.

Some of the galena crystals have a dusting of minute seligmannite crystals (this can be seen in the bottom right hand image.)

As far as galena goes, these are probably some of the brightest cubooctahedral examples from anywhere-- second only to Bulgaria, in my opinions.

This mine has been producing specimens for about 7 years now, and examples were always plentiful in Peru.  Unfortunately, no new material has been found in the last several months, and the locals are saying that the find has probably been exhausted.

This mine was officially closed sometime in the 90's, though the last several years of specimen production have been the work of small scale work conducted exclusively for specimens. 

This locality and was featured in the March-April 2008 issue of the Mineralogical Record.








14PE26 Orpiment
La Libertad Mine, Santiago de Chuco Prov., La Libertad Dept., Peru
13.5x 10.0x 2.6 cm
$0

One of two examples of this unusual orpiment that I obtained on this trip.  Usually, the orpiment at this mine forms mictrocrystalline masses with a somewhat light orange color, and if there is a barite association, the barite has crystallized over the orpiment.

 

On this piece, the matrix is actually a plate of barite.  Orpiment has crystallized on both sides of the barite, forming odd orange globs with a very bright orange color.

 

There also seems to be a second generation of orpiment that has formed a lighter orange dusting that selectively highlights parts of the main orpiment clusters-- this is visible in the upper right image.








14PE28 Atacamite with (and in) Selenite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
17.8x 7.5x 8.6 cm
$490

A cabinet specimen covered with selenite, and in parts with prismatic atacamite.  A subsequent generation of selenite has crystallized on the piece, and some of those crystals are included with atacamite.

 

There is some edge damage to some of the larger selenite crystals-- the mineral is notoriously soft and cleavable-- but all in all, the piece is exactly as shown in the pictures.










14PE29 Orpiment on Barite
La Libertad Mine, Santiago de Chuco Prov., La Libertad Dept., Peru
11.4x 8.5x 2.3 cm
$370

 cabinet specimen of  botryoidal orpiment, hosting a number barite crystal from the La Libertad Mine.

 

There are a few scuffs and sports of damage, but compared to the bulk of what I have seen, this one is in pretty good condition (and to clarify what I mean by "the bulk": heavily scuffed, yellowed specimens with almost every barite crystal broken.)

 

Specimens like this are not coming out of the mine anymore, and if they are being found the miners are unable to remove them from the mine.  This one was held back in the old stock of a dealer.








14PE3 Enargite
La Libertad Mine, Santiago de Chuco Prov., La Libertad Dept., Peru
11.5x 9.0x 4.3 cm
$1600

A big enargite specimen from a very small recent find in Peru, of a style that has not been found in years.

 

Enargite specimens are primarily known from Montana, Taiwan, and a couple localities in Peru.  The first two locations have not produced specimens in decades, and the Peruvian mines have only produced small quantities of exceptionally ugly examples for the last several years.

 

This is a very rich specimen, the best example from a very small recent find.  It all looks somewhat jumbled in the pictures, but the crystals appear much more distinct in person, and the piece more three dimensional overall.

 

Saw marks on the back.








14PE30 Orpiment with Barite
La Libertad Mine, Santiago de Chuco Prov., La Libertad Dept., Peru
10.1x 3.9x 2.4 cm
$275

 cabinet specimen of  botryoidal orpiment, hosting a number barite crystal from the La Libertad Mine.

 

There are a few scuffs and sports of damage, but compared to the bulk of what I have seen, this one is in pretty good condition (and to clarify what I mean by "the bulk": heavily scuffed, yellowed specimens with almost every barite crystal broken.)

 

Specimens like this are not coming out of the mine anymore, and if they are being found the miners are unable to remove them from the mine.  This one was held back in the old stock of a dealer.








14PE31 Orpiment with Barite
La Libertad Mine, Santiago de Chuco Prov., La Libertad Dept., Peru
5.6x 4.5x 3.8 cm
$185

A miniature specimen of  orpiment with barite, from the La Libertad Mine. Not perfect, but in very good condition over all.

 

Specimens like this are not coming out of the mine anymore, and if they are being found the miners are unable to remove them from the mine.  This one was held back in the old stock of a dealer.








14PE32 Pyrite ps. Pyrite
Racracancha Mine, Tinyahuarco Dist., Pasco Prov., Pasco Dept., Peru
11.0x 10.5x 7.0 cm
$0

A very interesting specimen of pyrite that has pseudomorphed (epimorphed?) pyrite.  This specimen hosts the largest single psudomorphed crystal that I have seen ( 5 cm on edge).

I am fairly sure that the numerous small crystals are not epitaxial growths, as fractured surfaces on other pieces show internal voids between the replacement crystals.  Either way, these are very unusual specimens-- I obtained two on my first trip to Peru a few years ago, there was another find a few months ago. 

The many reflections and varying topography makes this piece hard to focus and single out the main pseudomorphed crystal, so I outlined the main crystal in green.  

It is a lot more distinct and less jumbled in person... some of these are not too photogenic.

There is some shearing on the left side of the specimen, but the main crystal is intact.

I had a several on my shelf in Tucson and sold all but one... on the internet however, they tend to sit.  This probably has something to do with the fact that they come across in pictures as massive jumbles of tiny crystals. 










14PE34 Pyrite ps. Pyrite
Racracancha Mine, Tinyahuarco Dist., Pasco Prov., Pasco Dept., Peru
7.0x 6.9x 4.1 cm
$320

A very interesting specimen of pyrite that has pseudomorphed pyrite.  There are 4 particularly distinct pseudos, the largest one is 3.0 cm on its longest edge.

 I am fairly sure that the numerous small crystals are not epitaxial growths, as fractured surfaces on other pieces show internal voids between the replacement crystals.  Either way, these are very unusual specimens-- I obtained two on my first trip to Peru a few years ago, there was another find a few months ago. 

The many reflections and varying topography makes this piece hard to focus and single out the main pseudomorphed crystals, so I outlined them in green. 

It is a lot more distinct and less jumbled in person... some of these are not too photogenic.

I had a several on my shelf in Tucson and sold all but one... on the internet however, they tend to sit.  This probably has something to do with the fact that they come across in pictures as massive jumbles of tiny crystals. 

 








14PE35 Pyrite ps. Pyrite
Racracancha Mine, Tinyahuarco Dist., Pasco Prov., Pasco Dept., Peru
4.2x 4.0x 3.5 cm
$0

A very interesting specimen of pyrite that has pseudomorphed pyrite. 

 I am fairly sure that the numerous small crystals are not epitaxial growths, as fractured surfaces on other pieces show internal voids between the replacement crystals.  Either way, these are very unusual specimens-- I obtained two on my first trip to Peru a few years ago, there was another find a few months ago. 

The many reflections and varying topography makes this piece hard to focus and single out the main pseudomorphed crystals.

It is a lot more distinct and less jumbled in person... some of these are not too photogenic.

I had a several on my shelf in Tucson and sold all but one... on the internet however, they tend to sit.  This probably has something to do with the fact that they come across in pictures as massive jumbles of tiny crystals. 








14PE36 Selenite, Chrysocolla
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
14.0x 7.6x 3.1 cm
$185

Several transparent selenite crystals, on a matrix of light blue-geen quartz over chrysocolla.







14PE37 Realgar on Orpiment
La Libertad Mine, Santiago de Chuco Prov., La Libertad Dept., Peru
21.5x 13.0x 5.0 cm
$0

large cabinet specimen of  orpiment, covered in prismatic realgar.

 

There is some damage, notably around the patch on the lower right part of the specimen.

 

Specimens like this are not coming out of the mine anymore, and if they are being found the miners are unable to remove them from the mine.  This one was held back in the old stock of a dealer








14PE38 Orpiment
Palomo Mine, Castrovirreina Prov., Huancavelica Dept., Peru
10.8x 9.3x 4.3 cm
$385

An unusual specimen of mustard yellow orpiment encasing realgar crystals, over quartz.

This mine has been producing specimens for about 7 years now, and examples were always plentiful in Peru.  Unfortunately, no new material has been found in the last several months, and the locals are saying that the find has probably been exhausted.

This mine was officially closed sometime in the 90's, though the last several years of specimen production have been the work of small scale work conducted exclusively for specimens. 

This locality and was featured in the March-April 2008 issue of the Mineralogical Record.









14PE40 Quartz incl. Chrysocolla
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
8.4x 6.0x 4.7 cm
$165

A specimen of brighter-than-usual chrysocolla over quartz, from the Lilly mine.







14PE41 Quartz incl. Chrysocolla
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
10.0x 11.5x 7.5 cm
$435

A cabint specimen featuring a vug of quartz that has crystallized over a thin layer of chrysocolla, giving the entire piece a light blue-green color.  If you search hard, there is also a small clinoatacamite in the vug.







14PE42 Pyrite
Racracancha Mine, Tinyahuarco Dist., Pasco Prov., Pasco Dept., Peru
8.0x 9.0x 3.1 cm
$395

A perfect, damage free and rather sculptural pyrite specimen from the Racracancha mine.  Racracancha has produced mainly cubic pyrite, virtually always with striated faces,  and this is a particularly large example.   

As is unfortunately the case with most Peruvian specimen mines (Racracancha is operated exclusively for specimens) a lack of heavy machinery means that miners are confined mainly to old workings.  Very little good material has been found over the last two years, and most of what has been recovered over that interval is simply massive pyrite, not crystaline. 

Fine crystalline examples like this were never common-- damage is almost always present.

Racracancha is a long abandoned mine, which around 2007 was rediscovered by local miners who for the last few years have been working to extract mineral specimens.  The mine is most notable for its striated pyrites, included calcites, and manganocalcites. 








14PE43 Pyrite
Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Peru
8.7x 7.2x 3.3 cm
$395

A cluster of bright octahedral pyrite crystals on a contrasting matrix.  The bulk of pyrite specimens from this mine are packed clusters of crystals, but there is actually some space between them on this specimen.

Pyrite has long been a staple of the Peruvian mineral dealers, though since Fujimori's privatization program caused many mines to come under the control of foreign multinationals (Huanzala included) specimen production at many of the most famous mineral localities has severely slowed or stopped all together, a result of increased mechanization, better explosives, and changes in company policy.  I often hear older collectors balking at the pyrite prices at shows-- once upon a time you could buy this stuff by the pound, but the fact is that even in Peru, you will not find them cheaply-- especially good ones.

This is an older piece from a collector in Peru, and an example of material that is no longer quite as plentiful as it once was.








14PE44 Pyrite
Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Peru
5.5x 3.9x 2.6 cm
$95

A cluster of bright octahedral pyrite crystals on a contrasting matrix.  The bulk of pyrite specimens from this mine are packed clusters of crystals, but there is actually some space between them on this specimen.

Pyrite has long been a staple of the Peruvian mineral dealers, though since Fujimori's privatization program caused many mines to come under the control of foreign multinationals (Huanzala included) specimen production at many of the most famous mineral localities has severely slowed or stopped all together, a result of increased mechanization, better explosives, and changes in company policy.  I often hear older collectors balking at the pyrite prices at shows-- once upon a time you could buy this stuff by the pound, but the fact is that even in Peru, you will not find them cheaply-- especially good ones.

This is an older piece from a collector in Peru, and an example of material that is no longer quite as plentiful as it once was.








14PE46 Pyrite
Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Peru
12.4x 9.7x 4.3 cm
$385

A cluster of bright octahedral pyrite crystals that are actually a cast, presumably after pyrrhotite. Blady indentations are visible under the specimen, and pyrrhotite is the most likely guess for Huanzala.

This this is incredibly bright and lustrous.  If you leave it under a lamp on a table, you will see small reflections on the ceiling.

Pyrite has long been a staple of the Peruvian mineral dealers, though since Fujimori"s privatization program caused many mines to come under the control of foreign multinationals (Huanzala included) specimen production at many of the most famous mineral localities has severely slowed or stopped all together, a result of increased mechanization, better explosives, and changes in company policy.  I often hear older collectors balking at the pyrite prices at shows-- once upon a time you could buy this stuff by the pound, but the fact is that even in Peru, you will not find them cheaply-- especially good ones.

This is an older piece from a collector in Peru, and an example of material that is no longer quite as plentiful as it once was.








14PE47 Pyrite
Racracancha Mine, Tinyahuarco Dist., Pasco Prov., Pasco Dept., Peru
7.4x 5.3x 4.6 cm
$380

A cluster of bright pyrite cubes, including a somewhat odd main crystal with a rough stripe passing through the center.  I am not sure what caused it, but it gives the piece a nice focal point.

Racracancha is a long abandoned mine, which around 2007 was rediscovered by local miners who for the last few years have been working to extract mineral specimens.  The mine is most notable for its striated pyrites, included calcites, and manganocalcites. 








14PE49 Pyrite
Racracancha Mine, Tinyahuarco Dist., Pasco Prov., Pasco Dept., Peru
10.7x 5.7x 3.7 cm
$290

A large and lustrous pyrite specimen from the Racracancha mine.  Racracancha has produced mainly cubic pyrite, virtually always with striated faces,  and this is a particularly large example. 

Racracancha is a long abandoned mine, which around 2007 was rediscovered by local miners who for the last few years have been working to extract mineral specimens.  The mine is most notable for its striated pyrites, included calcites, and manganocalcites. 








14PE6 Augelite
Ortega Claim, Huamachuco, Sanchez Carrion Province, La Libertad Dept., Peru
4.0x 3.3x 2.1 cm
$0

A beautiful example of bright green and unusually gemmy augellite crystals set against a contrasting quartz matrix.

 

In the bottom two images, you can even see a Japanese law twin positioned just next to the augellites.








14PE7 Quartz var. Amethyst
Cantera Otoca, Ica Department, Peru
8.1x 5.1x 4.1 cm
$460

Another new find, deep purple amethyst crystals on a quartz matrix, from a quarry in Ica, a coastal area about 200 km south of Lima.

 

I have seen amethyst from Peru in the past, but the color has never been particularly deep.  

 

The specimens from this new occurrence however, are another story. The color is every bit as deep as Uruguay, and probably even a bit brighter.








14PE8 Quartz var. Amethyst
Cantera Otoca, Ica Department, Peru
7.5x 5.0x 3.8 cm
$385

Another new find, deep purple amethyst crystals on a quartz matrix, from a quarry in Ica, a coastal area about 200 km south of Lima.

 

I have seen amethyst from Peru in the past, but the color has never been particularly deep.  

 

The specimens from this new occurrence however, are another story. The color is every bit as deep as Uruguay, and probably even a bit brighter.










14PE9 Quartz, Clinoatacamite
Lily Mine (Lilly Mine), Pisco Umay, Ica Department, Peru
10.4x 7.8x 9.4 cm
$1850

A specimen of clinoatacamite, hosting numerous dark green crystals of the mineral set against a vug lined with contrasting quartz over bits of malachite. 

 

This is one of the top two clinoatacamites from the lot (along with the first specimen on the page, which I would consider the best.)  The other specimen has more clinoatacamite and is larger, but I think this one might have better aesthetics.

 

The majority of the examples I have seen have the crystals somewhat jumbled together, or set against dark green malachite matrixes.  As a result, the crystals can be hard to properly appreciate.  The contrasting background and distinct nature of the crystals and crystal clusters make the clinoatacamite on this piece easier to discern and appreciate.

 

I purchased a large lot of Lilly Mine material while in Peru, the bulk of the specimens were mainly just druses of quartz over chrysocolla or malachite, though there were a small quantity of these very rare clinoatacamite specimens as well.

 

This is one of the top two clinoatacamites from the lot and an unusual example of the intersection between rarity and a macroscopic mineral that can actually be called aesthetic.  

 

Clinoatacamite is a hydrous copper chloride








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