Fluorite With Quartz
Cabinet, 13.7 x 12.4 x 12.0 cm
Boltsburn Mine, Rookhope District, Weardale, North Pennines, Co. Durham, England

A large, imposing specimen of rich purple color, classic for this old district of English fluorite (actually, iron) mining. Most of these specimens from the Boltsburn are said to date to two spurts of mining in the early and in the late 1800s. Specimens of similar style dated prior to 1860 are well known, and in fact classics of the European museums. The mine was most famous for a particular sort of fluorite - this sort: big, gemmy, lustrous and interpenetrating fluorite crystals of huge size in association with sparkling quartz. It is absolutely indicative of the mine, and of its most famous style. The major crystals reach 9 cm, nearly 4 inches in size. The crystals are not quite pristine, but they are very close and given the age and size I can pardon what are really a few trivial dings only, in context. In fact, given the age and comparing this to other old specimens of big size, its miraculous they are in such superb condition. These pieces also fluoresce an intense, solid purple color under ultraviolet light (in fact it is from specimens of this overall district in England that the very word fluorescence was coined, after fluorite itself). Overall, an important specimen both for district and mine, and for fluorite in general. Weight is 5.5 pounds. Joe Budd photos