5.5" Rare White HEXAGONAL CALCITE Sharp Pinacoid Crystals Germany 1800s for sale
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Here is a superb specimen of HEXAGONAL CALCITE crystals with basal pinacoid terminations from Sankt (St.) Andreasberg, St. Andreasberg District, Harz, Lower Saxony, Germany. Calcite specimens from this district were illustrated in the 1700s, and specimens such as this were zealously collected by nobility and scientists throughout the 1800s. Calcite crystals from this location are famed for their highly recognizable hexagonal shape and basal pinacoid terminations, their good luster, as well as their translucent white color with gray zoning on some pieces. (See the mindat.com listing for this locality for many good examples of this historic material.)
I acquired this and another very similar specimen from a deceased collector who lived in Gill, Massachusetts, the town next to Greenfield, where I live. Though they were unlabeled, the crystal habit and form, and other evidence led me to conclude they came from Ben Shaub's famous Shelburne, MA find in 1952. In May 2014, I sent the two pieces to Dr. Carl Francis, former curator of the Harvard Mineralogical Museum and now Consulting Curator for the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum to verify the locality. He did some research and told me he is almost certain that they are in fact from St. Andreasberg. Though I was rooting for them to be from Shelburne (a town on the other side of Greenfield), I bow to his expertise.
St. Andreasberg was one of Germany's richest silver mining districts. It is located about 25 km southeast of Clausthal-Zellerfeld. The first mine in the district is believed to have been opened in 1487. There were many mines in this region which exploited the lead, copper, silver, and arsenic ores which occurred in quartz and calcite veins. The Samson mine, which was probably the last working mine in St. Andreasberg, closed in 1910.
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