featuring mid-2012 mineral finds
from Inner Mongolia
Recently, new finds of mineral specimens from China have slowed down. Old classic localities are producing slowly, and recognizably less good pieces than even a few years ago. However, as mineral dealing and the education of mineral miners grows throughout China (rapidly!), more is coming to light from new regions. In particular, the hot locality of 2011 and going onwards into the next decade will be Inner Mongolia. There is a cluster of mines around the city of Chifeng, in this northern province of China, that has produced gorgeous fluorites and calcites, as well as important rarities such as helvite, borcarite, and ilvaite. In many ways, the deposits here resemble the richness and variety of Dalnegorsk when at its peak in the 1980s. please also see our early 2012 update of minerals from this mine at the link here: Newly updated specimens follow:
Recently, new finds of mineral specimens from China have slowed down. Old classic localities are producing slowly, and recognizably less good pieces than even a few years ago. However, as mineral dealing and the education of mineral miners grows throughout China (rapidly!), more is coming to light from new regions. In particular, the hot locality of 2011 and going onwards into the next decade will be Inner Mongolia. There is a cluster of mines around the city of Chifeng, in this northern province of China, that has produced gorgeous fluorites and calcites, as well as important rarities such as helvite, borcarite, and ilvaite. In many ways, the deposits here resemble the richness and variety of Dalnegorsk when at its peak in the 1980s.
please also see our early 2012 update of minerals from this mine at the link here:
Newly updated specimens follow:
This interesting combination piece was found in the summer of 2012, and has a sharp 6.5-cm-long scheelite perched on quartz and other scheelites. A nice doubly-terminated quartz crystal flanks the main scheelite. The symmetry of the scheelite, if not its color, makes it very dramatic and 3-dimensional. I saw many examples from this pocket and selected only a few in very good condition, which to me showed appealing geometry and/or association. Fluorescent slightly differently, under LW and SW UV light.
A stark and dramatic example of quartz grown in several generations, with one layer overtopping the others to create this "sceptre" effect. While I have seen a number of pieces from this mine which show this habit of quartz formation, few have been as robust as this crystal here, and in good shape. It has fantastic luster and throws off reflections all about. Complete all around, it is intergrown at its base with a small cluster of thin manganoan calcite crystals..
A sharp specimen of superb genthelvite crystals of a translucent red-amber color , to 1.6 cm, in a beautiful matrix of calcite. This is a highly uusual association, and I find it far more aesthetic than nearly all the others I have seen (and seldom bought) from here in any size. Many people are calling these best of species material, and when seen in a combo piece like this it is tempting to agree.
So many fluorites from this mine complex (actually 7-8 mines) are colorless, and these hot purple fluorites are to me among the most desirable. This piece features an interesting, pretty juxtaposition of two very different fluorite styles, on the same piece. The stalactite of small, gemmy octohedra packed together just shotos up out of the side of the larger, deeper purple octohedron. It looks like it was just stuck on randomly, or like some weird biological outgrowth. The piece is complete 360 around the sides, and top of the display face; just not on the bottom (where it is partially contacted and also just a little damaged at the bottom where removed from the host rock). It honestly displays about 4 different ways, from all sides looking equally good. I have seen a number of pieces from this pocket now (probably from April, 2012) , but none quite like this. The miners themselves, quite understandably, put a huge premium on the few purple fluorites amidst so many clear and colorless finds here.
This was apparently a very small find recently (April-early May , 2012) from metallic deposits near the famous Xikuangshih fields. This was the largest and richest single specimen that I was offered, amidst only a handful of pieces that seem to have come out. For sheer beauty, these unusual radial balls of acicular valentinite crystals stand out dramatically, regardless of the interesting chemistry. They are quite different from the sort of crystals you usually see. This piece is nearly cabinet sized, and is very display-worthy
This is a rare tetrahedrite from China, from a new find apparently. It has sharp, textbook crystals to over an inch, some coated on oriented faces by incredibly metallic, bright chalcopyrite in a micro-thin layer. It looks like the tetrahedrite crystals were dipped in gold plate, on those faces. Small calcites are also attached for texture.The piece is nearly complete all around, with just a small contact area on bottom. Although a fine specimen in its own right, I bought this in part because it was a freak piece , to my eyes, just a single nice specimen from "a new mine" in the rich Nan Dan area where so many calcites have come from. Time will tell whether more come, or none...
A stark and dramatic example of quartz grown in several generations, with one layer overtopping the others to create this "sceptre" effect. While I have seen a number of pieces from this mine which show this habit of quartz formation, few have been as dramatic as this one for symmetry, size balance, and color/luster. Also, a dark phantom of a previous generation of quartz can be seen inside, and there are some small calcite crystals in association. Complete all around.
Emplaced aesthetically in vugs, are spheres to 5 mm across, of lustrous and slightly translucent, sky blue gibbsite, an uncommon aluminum hydroxide. From a new pocket in summer 2012
Spheres, to 6 mm across, of lustrous and slightly translucent, rich, sky blue gibbsite, an uncommon aluminum hydroxide, almost totally cover a sliver of matrix. This new find is possibly the world's best of species for intensity in coloration. Very pretty material! Very lightweight. One of the better quality pieces I saw for sale in a whole table of the material laid out at the Shanghai show in April 2012.
Composed entirely of gibbsite, an uncommon aluminum hydroxide, this specimen is highlighted by two differing color phases: a rich aquamarine blue in a vug ; and a lighter sky blue on the periphery. Spherules of gibbsite reach 3 mm across and they are lustrous and translucent. Beautiful new find of this rare species. Surprisingly lightweight, in person.
This is a lovely cluster of fluorite which consists of extremely intricate, modified cubes having glassy luster and gemminess along with a rich purple body color. The piece is pretty enough on that basis alone, but much mor einteresting is the rare "X" phantom sketched within, casued by an octohedral crystal within the modified cube atop, that shows oriented growth patterns. The more you look at it , the more mesmerizing this ineral pattern becomes. It is complete on the display face, though contacted in back , and with a few very minor dings only. It stands up on its own flat bottom, with the dominant phantom crystal atop. The largest crystal measures 3 cm across. Mined in early 2012
A cluster of lustrous and translucent, smoky quartz crystals, 7.5 cm in length, has formed a bowtie upon a perch of garnet crystals. The center of the bowtie sits upon a cluster of several, intergrown andradite garnet crystals to 1.7 cm across. Visually pleasing with a nice contrast of texture and color. Really nifty combo specimens are going to be the hallmark of this new locality! Mined in spring of 2012
Really nifty combo specimens are going to be the hallmark of this new locality! This is a very elegant example of new finds of doubly-terminated, sceptre quartzes. Perched aesthetically on mirror-bright, silvery arsenopyrite crystals to 7 mm across is a slightly curving and doubly-terminated quartz crystal, 8.3 cm in length. This crystal is studded with smaller quartz crystal terminations and all of them exhibit good luster, translucence and a slightly greenish color. As an added benefit, two lustrous, white calcite rhombs, to 7 mm across, are perched on the large quartz crystal. Other metallic species seem present, as well. Found in march 2012.
Two doubly-terminated, highly lustrous, jet-black ilvaite crystals, to 11.6 cm in length, have intersected each other at such an angle to form a near perfect "V" shape. The piece is complete, pristine, a floater all around! It is one of the few larger examples found in such condition, that I am aware of. The ilvaite specimens from China are now considered the best in the world by a long shot. There are many styles that have come from this mine but I think that this "floater pocket" from late 2011 has produced the most elegant examples of any style, from any locality.
This specimen is a stalactite growth of stacked cuboctahedrons of lustrous and translucent, rich, grape-juice-purple colored fluorite crystals, to 3.5 cm across. The crystals, when backlit, emit a mesmerizing, incredibly deep raspberry-purple color that this deposit is known for, but which is seldom see in this quality as an overall specimen. I have not seen one with such tall elongated form, and such concentration of fluorite close together, but only rarely. Usually these are dispersed on larger matrix, and seldom form clusters, it seems. Much better in person, and when backlit, although it looks nice in the photos already. As displayed in a normal case with decent halogen lighting , the top should glow as you see here but the body will be dark unless it is placed very close to lighting.
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