Tantalite-(Mn), Quartz
Small Cabinet, 7.1 x 5.7 x 4.7 cm
Darra-i-Pech (Pech; Peech; Darra-e-Pech) Pegmatite Field, Nangarhar (Ningarhar) Province, Afghanistan
This interesting piece is something that is seldom seen from here, a beautiful red manganotantalite crystal. This doubly-terminated tantalite is perched diagonally on a doubly-terminated quartz crystal, the whole cluster a floater with no attachments or damage. The luster of the tantalite, which is 3 cm diagonal or 2 cm on edge and shaped like a rhombus, is unusually bright and metallic. The rare red color shows on this crystal with only minimal lighting needed, while most are more black than red. I should clarify to say that most tantalite found in these pegmatites is dark and black ferrotantalite. The manganoan species are more uncommon in good crystals, and in those already uncommon pieces, a good red hue is rare.