• Created By : 23-Dec-2015
  • Write By: tmmadmin
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Mineral collectors love to look at fine mineral specimens! It is very exciting to inspect and handle a good piece, because it gives you the opportunity to look at it very closely and notice "up close and personal" such details as crystal structure, sharpness of crystallization, intensity of color, clarity of gemmy crystals, luster, contrast, and so on. But in doing so you surely do not want to damage the specimen, so learning how to pick up, hold and handle, and put down a specimen without causing harm is essential to maintaining a quality mineral collection and to remaining on good terms with dealers and other collectors who let you look at their collection. The fact is that certain minerals and stones are very fragile, very soft, or highly sensitive to pressure or changes in temperature, any of which can result in damage. Yet many collectors, especially those who are new to collecting, do not know how to properly handle specimens.

  • Created By : 24-Nov-2015
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See full-size photos below

Controversy has swirled around lab-grown mineral specimens for centuries. Collectors generally fall into one of two groups on this issue:

1. First, there are the die-hard folks who are uncompromising about their mineralogy, who are likely to say, "No lab grown minerals in my collection, period."
2. Then there are those who are not so adamant, and who appreciate the beauty and perfection of man-made mineral specimens regardless of the source.

So who is right? They both are! To me, it is a matter of personal taste, not right or wrong (although some hard-core mineralogists might disagree with me on this!).

159.5 carat 2.1" terminated gem diaspore crystal showing green to red-violet color change

Diaspore is a native aluminum oxyhydroxide, AlO(OH) which crystallized in the orthorhombic habit. It forms as a secondary mineral in weathered surface zones in clay and limestone deposits, in metamorphic marbles, and in nepheline syenite pegmatites. Massive diaspore is a major ore of the aluminum ore bauxite, but crystals are rare, and good diaspore crystals are very highly prized. There are many sources for diaspore, but few have produced good crystals. After a 10-year lapse in production in Turkey, in 2011 a new source was found in the Kucukcamlik and Buyukcamlik mines, 12 km south of Pinarcik in the Ilber mountains, which are in the Milhas-Mugla region of southeastern Turkey. The new site, which boasts several openings, has produced spectacular crystals, some of which have been cut into faceted gemstones. Gem marketers call it "Sultanate" (Sultanate) to make it sound more appealing; other trade names include "Ottamanite" and "Csarite".

Sphalerite cut gemstones

Sphalerite gem rough

Sphalerite is a zinc sulphide mineral (Zn,Fe)S that is the chief ore of zinc. While common as massive ore and crystals, gem quality rough is extremely rare. Gems that display flashes of light are prized for their exceptional fire, which is the result of the dispersion of white light into the separate spectral colors. Top grade gem sphalerite specimens exhibit a dispersion value of 0.156, which is three and a half times higher than that of diamonds, at 0.044. In measurements of how light passes through sphalerite, it has a refractive index of 2.37, just slightly less than diamond, at 2.42. Sphalerite is a fairly dense stone, with a specific gravity of around 4.0, so even small cut stones will weigh a comparatively high number of carats for their size.

1.8" New Find from CT Purple Violet AMETHYST Double Terminated Scepter Crystal for sale

Jason Baskin and his cohorts at Jay's Minerals of New Jersey made an exciting new find of amethyst in an undisclosed locality in Windham County, Connecticut in April & May of 2015. They brought their new finds to the East Coast Gem & Mineral Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts, where the amethyst created an immediate sensation. (Jay seems to be making a habit of this, as he is the guy who showed up at last year's show with the new Red Ember Mine garnets in graphite.) He reports that he was extracting the amethyst at the 11th hour (literally), the night before the site was bulldozed for construction. That, alas, means there will not be any more of this excellent new material.

  • Created By : 18-Sep-2015
  • Write By: tmmadmin
  • Published In: Mineral Show Reports
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Special Report Part 3:
he 2015 Sainte Marie Mineral Show


The town of Ste. Marie aux Mines is nestled in a deep valley, surrounded by mountains that are up to 2,500 feet high. The town's streets are lined with old buildings, half a dozen housing entrances to the old underground mine tunnels, which are accessible on several guided tours. The town is full of greenery and flowers, and the houses and streets are decorated with flower boxes filled with red geraniums and other colorful flowers. As you stroll through the tent-lined streets of the mineral show, the atmosphere is like that of a big flea market. Everywhere you see people who are smiling, talking excitedly, and ogling minerals with envy and mineral lust. Along the streets are small stalls where you can buy local delicacies like pate de fois gras, fresh-baked regional bread, cheese, and more.