Botryogen Included in Gypsum
Small Cabinet, 9.0 x 7.7 x 6.4 cm
Sierra Gorda District, Tocopilla Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile
Ex. Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences
Bright, cherry-red crystals of gypsum to 2.5 cm are colored by rich inclusions of the rare species botrygen, in this unusual specimen that is both historic and beautiful. Note how the best included areas show crystals, acicular needles, of botrygen shooting through the selenite! The little cavity with the major crystals is protected, and host also to freestanding botrygen crystals around the selenite terminations. This has to also be the oldest Wards label I have seen personally go through my hands, probably dating to the late 1800s. Note that, interestingly, on his label, Ward did not identify the red substance - botrygen was added in later in a different hand. On the museum label, they thenmisidentified the inclusions as a crocoite at first, an error later corrected when the material was further studied. The Chilean suite of this collection was particularly important.