5.1" Purple on Yellow Gem Phantom Fluorite - Crystal Mine ex-Ross Lillie

Some of the most beautiful fluorite specimens found anywhere in the world came from the fluorite mines in Southern Illinois. Since the 1950s and 60s, mines such as the Annabel Lee, Hardin, Denton, Rosiclare, Minerva #1, and Hill-Ledford became legends in the mineral world for the outpouring of their world-class fluorite specimens into the mineral marketplace. In 1993, the mining companies announced that they were going to shut down the mines, and the last mine closed in 1995. In the mineral world, when mines close, prices usually shoot up immediately, in anticipation of short supplies in the future. In the case of Illinois fluorite, the supply pipeline of fine fluorite specimens was very full. In fact it was so full, that it wasn't until 2008 that supplies began to dry up and prices began to rise. In 2009, the price for the really good Illinois fluorite specimens rose dramatically. In the years since, prices have continued to escalate very rapidly. Today, it will cost you 10-fold what you would have spent in 1993 to get a superb specimen.

In February 2014, in the last week of the usual rush of a Tucson Show, Bob Jackson invited me to join him for a dig at the La Fluorita Dulcita claim. Bob is a well-known field collector from Washington state, perhaps best known for his work at Spruce Ridge in the Cascades and the Rock Candy Mine in British Colombia. In 2010, a rancher in Cochise Co., Arizona had invited Bob to check out a fluorite prospect on his family's property. The result was a mineral lease, and from 2011 to 2014, Bob mined the property for fluorite specimens, using an air drill and explosives. One of the conditions of the lease was that the exact location had to be kept secret, to discourage trespassers. I was duly sworn in, and made the trip without a blindfold.

Classic specimens of pink, blue and lavender smithsonite from the El Refugio Mine, Choix, Sinoloa have been reaching the mineral market since the mid 60's, brought north by a variety of dealers. In the mid 1990's, Benny Fenn did a major mining project, recovering many tons of material. Sadly, the mine closed recently, after a brief "last hurrah" of specimens was taken out from under the mine road itself. After that it was covered, and the area around the mine filled with debris. Mexican mineral expert Pete Megaw confirms this, and states that the mine is now probably all mined out and few additional finds will be made. In late 2009 and early 2010, some fearless Mexican mineral specimen miners went back into the old workings and were able to collect a few smithsonite specimens in shades of pink, blue and lavender. At Tucson 2011, we were able to purchase a number of these new specimens, as well as some older material that came out of wholesale dealers' inventory. For now, that means we have a good supply of top quality smithsonite, but when it's gone, there will be no replacements available.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the demise of the Rogerley have turned out to be greatly exaggerated.

The Rogerley Mine has been commercially mined for Fluorite specimens since the 1990's, producing exceptional green Fluorite cubes on matrix. The Rogerley Mine is located near the northern England village of Frosterley in Weardale, County Durham. It is famous for its magnificent green fluorite, and intense fluorescence, as well as its daylight fluorescence.

In Spring of 2017, Ian Bruce, owner of Crystal Classics, purchased UK Mining Ventures and took over specimen mining at the Rogerley Mine, and opened the Diana Maria Mine, named in honor of his wife, Diana Maria Bruce. The new mine has produced fluorite similar to the Rogerley Mine material, but with a slightly darker color as well as some purple examples.


11.8" blue-green fluorite specimen from Penny's Pocket at the Rogerley Mine

Blue-green fluorite specimens from the highly acclaimed Rogerley Mine in Westgate, Weardale, England are widely considered to be the world's finest. Extremely fine specimens in near-perfect condition from this famous locationare considered important additions to any collection.

by Eric Greene

INTRODUCTION

Mina Ampliación a Victoria is a pyrite deposit about 4 kilometers north-northwest of the tiny village of Navajún, in the Cervera district in La Rioja province, Spain. The surrounding area forms the headwaters of the Barranco de la Nava in the Sierra de Alcarama foothills of the Iberian Range. The deposit was discovered in 1965, and, through the years, pyrite from Navajún has been appreciated by and highly sought after by mineral collectors for its unique, highly aesthetic, exquisitely sharp, brightly lustrous, near-perfect single cubic crystals, clusters of interpenetrating crystals, and crystals embedded in matrix. Arguably the finest cubic pyrite crystals in the world come from Navajún (not Logrono, as they are sometimes mislabeled). The degree of perfection of these crystals causes many neophytes to exclaim in amazement and ask if they are manmade. Because of its beauty and perfection, Navajún pyrite has become the icon of Spanish mineralogy since its discovery.