This is a very choice specimen of BARITE crystals from the Sidi Lahcen Mine in Nador, Nador Province, Oriental Region, Morocco. The barite from this locality crystallizes in sprays of in thin, tabular bladed crystals, often in a spectcular luminous blue color. I found this fine piece at the Sainte-Marie-aux-Miens show.
There were dozens of Moroccan dealers at Ste.-Marie, probably double the number that show up in Tucson. This is no doubt because the Moroccans can drive themselves and their merchandise to the show, as opposed to flying to Tucson and shipping their material by air freight. Asif, one of our old Tucson buddies, had some exquisite matrix specimens festooned with curved fans of blue barite crystals from this mine. In 2012, Tomasz Spirifer rediscovered this locality originally discovered in the 1970s, and examples of this material began to show up in Tucson and Denver in 2012. Unfortunately, these were mostly damaged and scandalously priced. Now it seems the prices have returned to earth, and I hope more good specimens will be available in coming years.
Note: This item has been repaired.
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