Siglo Veinte Mine (Siglo XX Mine; Llallagua Mine; Catavi), Llallagua, Rafael Bustillo Province, Potosi Department, Bolivia
Small Cabinet, 6.6 x 4.2 x 1.8 cm
Monazite gets its name from the Greek word "monazein," which means "to be alone," in allusion to its isolated crystals and their rarity when first found. Monazite is usually found in granitic pegmatites, but these crystals are found in hydrothermal tin veins where is an absolute absence of Thorium (usually a trace element in Monazite). This is a remarkable, very well crystallized, ridiculously rare, specimen hosting a sharp, lustrous, translucent, orange-pink, twinned crystal on Monazite-(Ce) measuring 7 mm on Quartz crystals on matrix. There is also a smaller twin of equal quality on the piece. These twins are some of the most distinct and impressive twinned Monazite crystals I have seen from Bolivia. The crystals actually perform a color change in different lighting ranging from orange-pink to almost colorless depending upon the light source. This specimen has some of the largest crystals I have seen from this mine, and it just came out of the ground a few months ago! This piece is from the same mine for which this material was discovered along the Contacto and San Jose veins in this mine and was first described by Sam Gordon and Mark Bandy.