SS Liverpool wreck site, Isle of Anglesey, Wales, UK
Miniature, 3.5 x 2.9 x 1.5 cm
Abhurite is a fascinating tin-containing mineral species formed in nature somewhere perhaps as microcrystals, but found in large crystals like this only as a result of the interaction of saltwater with pure tin ingots on sunken colonial era sailing vessels, in a few shipwrecks worldwide. Of them all, I have been told that those from the SS Liverpool are the finest (and from what I have seen, just a few over many years, this seems true). This was one of the finest specimens, from a small English collection sold off over a decade ago. I bought it originally from Cal Graeber at the time, and then it sold to a private collection. It also carries a Nick Carruth label. I have not had the chance to get a better one, since, and this remains a relative beauty among those known. According to MINDAT: The steamer SS Liverpool was carrying tin ingots from Cornwall and sank in 1863 after colliding with the barque La Plata, which had just left Liverpool on its way to Lima, Peru. The wreck lies just off the north coast of Anglesey and between Middle Mouse Island and the coast. These turn up on the market so seldom. It is interesting to note that this is yet another example of a mineral species that fits into Bob Hazen's paradigm-changing theories on the synergistic interaction of the geosphere and the biosphere (and now of human activity within it), to produce novel species on earth (the "Mineral Evolution" papers, and see also some talks from our Dallas Symposium, available by request).