• Created By : 02-Dec-2014
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  • Published In: Mineral Species
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Crocoite, 2010 Pocket, Adelaide Mine - AMCP Photo

Most mineral collectors consider specimens of crocoite to be arguably the most beautiful objects to ever emerge from below the surface of the earth. They are certainly amongst nature's most brilliant creations. Crocoite's stunningly vibrant flame-red and red-orange colors result from the presence of the element chromium in the mineral's chemical structure. Crocoite is a rare mineral that was first discovered in 1766 in the Ural Mountains of Russia. This find was eclipsed in the late 1800's when crocoite was discovered as large, brilliant, well-formed crystals in Australia on the island of Tasmania. The abundance of phenomenal crystals and aggregates from the mines at this locality set a new standard for color, quality and size that has never been matched. Today, exceptional material is still coming out of Tasmania as the mines are being worked exclusively for specimen production. A beautiful specimen that shows off crocoite's flamboyant color, gleaming luster and unusual crystallization are a prized addition to anyone's collection.

  • Created By : 13-Dec-2014
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5.2" Translucent pale white glass tube fulgurite - Sand Hills, Myers Co., Florida

One of the rarest and most astonishing objects in the mineral world is fulgurite, which is naturally fused glass that is created when a flash of lightning strikes in the desert or on a sandy beach. Thus, petrified lightning! The proper scientific name for this weird science, barely credible material is lechatelierite - the varietal name given to quartz (SiO2), that is fused by the extreme heat of lightning striking the ground. Fulgurite was first discovered in 1706 by a German pastor name David Hermann. Lechatelierite is named for the French chemist Henry Le Chatelier (1850-1936). Mineralogists consider fulgurite a mineraloid because it has no crystal structure.

  • Created By : 13-Dec-2014
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156 ounce gold nugget found in the Mojave Desert in California in the 1970s

"Mmmmmm, smell that? You mean you can't smell that?
You sure? What is that???
Whaddya mean what is that??
That's the smell of GOLD, that's what!"
- Jim Rocha

  • Created By : 13-Dec-2014
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By now, you've probably seen some of the crystals of gem heliodor (the name used for golden yellow beryl) that come from the Zeylotoya Vada Mine, also called the Gelte Krustle Mine, near Rangul in southern Tajikistan. There have been many reports that the stuff is fake, that the mine doesn't exist, etc., etc. I admit I had doubts about the authenticity of this material, too. But then in 2008 I met a man in Tucson who said he bought his supply directly from the man who owns and operates the mine, and he was able to give me plausible answers to my concerns about the rumors and accusations that have swirled about this controversial material since it first came to market. Below you can read what I learned, and the information I turned up which finally convinced me that this heliodor is the real deal.

  • Created By : 13-Dec-2014
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Hiddenite is the green gem variety of the mineral spodumene - a mineral which only rarely occurs in a transparent gem form. Hiddenite is the rarest of three gem varieties of spodumene: violet-pink kunzite and yellow or clear triphane are the other two. People disagree about exactly what hiddenite is. Some feel it must contain chromium to be hiddenite; others say it must be a particular shade of green; and others claim that to be "true" hiddenite, it must come from the Hiddenite area of North Carolina, where it was first discovered.


9¾" 7500 carat emerald green gem hiddenite crystal, from Afghanistan

  • Created By : 13-Dec-2014
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Is this gorgeous mineral the same one the Vikings called their "magical sunstone"?

Iceland spar is a clear, transparent, colorless crystallized variety of calcite (calcium carbonate, CaCO3). Large pieces are split along natural cleavage planes to form natural rhombs. Iceland spar is probably best known for exhibiting the optical property of double refraction - so, anything viewed through the crystal appears double. It has many uses, in everything from precision optical instruments to LCD screens, and was even used during WWII to make bombsights. The perfect, flawless, colorless Iceland spar that is used in optical instruments sells for more than $1000 per kg. Historically, the first, best quality, and most abundant source of this clear calcite was in Iceland, which is where it got its name. Recently, Iceland spar has been in the news because of new research that shows that this mineral was almost certainly used by the Vikings for navigation.