Andorite, Zinkenite
San Jose Mine, Oruro City, Cercado Province, Oruro Department, Bolivia
Miniature, 3.2 x 3.1 x 3.0 cm
From the historic find in November 2004. Andorite is lead, silver, antimony sulfosalt and was named for the Hungarian mineral collector Andor von Semsey (1833-1923), who holds a remarkable distinction for having two mineral species named after him (andorite and semseyite). This mine at Oruro dates Spanish mining as far back as the year 1595 and was mined by Incan Indians for several centuries prior. In all the years of mining, the specimens found in 2004 are undoubtedly, the world's finest Andorites extant. These specimens were extracted from the same vein system worked by the father of Bolivian mineralogy, Federico Ahlfeld. Ahlfeld worked the San Jose mine and Itos mine (the other significant andorite locality at the same mountain in Oruro) when the mines were used predominantly as a major sources of tin to the United States during WWII. The best examples of the species have come from Bolivia. The piece features a few "classic," steel-grey, multi-layered crystal groups aesthetically intermixed with rare, prismatic, lustrous Zinkenite "needles." Upon close inspection, one can see small yellow and whitish-yellow Cervantite crystals, along with some very small bronze colored Ferrokesterite crystals (less than 1 mm), and I have illustrated this in the photos.