Monthly Archives: August 2012

Phenakite, Fluorapatite, and Smoky Quartz

Last week I received my order of three minerals from John Betts.  I placed the order primarily to get my first Phenakite  crystal and now I have one of the two applicable species for my Beryllium Suite.  The Phenakite specimen exhibits repeated twinning of the re-entrant faces on the termination, known colloquially as “drill-bit” twinning among collectors.  The crystal is from Mount Antero in Chaffee County, Colorado.

Be9.01 Phenakite
Photo by John Betts

The other two minerals were ordered as a bit of an afterthought.  I didn’t have Fluorapatite represented in my collection, so I figured it was about time to get a decent Calcium Phosphate for my Calcium Suite.  This rock hails from Emmons Quarry in Oxford County, Maine.

Ca8.3/4.01 Fluorapatite
Photo by John Betts

The last specimen is a floater crystal of Smoky Quartz, my eighth Quartz specimen overall.  The examples of this species I acquired earlier in the hobby are damaged, so I’ve been since obtaining perfect specimens.  This crystal is absolutely free of damage and doubly-terminated with that nice glassy earthen colour.  It’s from the Crystal Peak District in the Park-Teller Counties, Colorado.

Si9.4/7.08 Quartz var. Smoky
Photo by John Betts


Cadmoselite and Hafnon

Yesterday I received two more mineral specimens from Dakota Matrix.  They were ordered from the website’s Rare Mineral Specimen section where the more exotic species are periodically listed, in this case from the collection of Donald F. Phillips.  The first is Cadmoselite, a welcome addition to my cadmium minerals, it appears as a tiny amount of black metallic powder sealed in a gelatin capsule.  This  is the only cadmium selenide and I now have one third of all applicable species making up my Cadmium Suite.  No doubt it’s extremely toxic, but I only have what looks like about 1/16th of a teaspoon…

The next minuscule mineral is Hafnon, the hafnium analogue to Zircon.  According to there are only two legitimate mineral species that contain hafnium to any appreciable degree beyond “Hafnian Zircon“:  Hafnon, HfSiO4 and Zektzerite, LiNa(Zr,Ti,Hf)Si6O15.  The Hafnon appears as a very tiny amount of orangey sand sealed in a stoppered glass vial; its inclusion completes my Hafnium Suite.

Cadmoselite, Hafnon, and my beer

Sassolite, another Fluorite, Scheelite, Heazlewoodite, another Laurelite, and Ericaite

Over the last couple of weeks I received two orders of new additions to my collection.  From John Betts‘ website I ordered some Sassolite, my first piece of Scheelite, and another specimen of Fluorite.  The Sassolite is something of a rare species, I’ve never seen it posted on his Betts’ site before nor are there any other examples in his “Mineral Museum,” the archive of his sold specimens.  I now have one of the three applicable species for my Boron Suite.  The specimen consists of several flat glassy crystals resembling ice shavings or flakes of dry skin…

B6.3/3.01 Sassolite
Photo by John Betts

As I was already getting the Sassolite I decided to add the Scheelite and Fluroite to my order.  Both specimens were inexpensive; I felt it was time to get a calcium tungstate while Fluorite has been rather underrepresented in my collection.

Ca7D.01 Scheelite
Photo by John Betts

Ca3A.02 Fluorite
Photo by John Betts

The other order I had placed was from Dakota Matrix Minerals for some Heazlewoodite, Ericaite, and another specimen of Laurelite.  As Millerite is the nickel sulphide most commonly encountered for sale I was quite keen on getting the Heazlewoodite.  It is likely this specimen also contains some Awaruite.

Ni2.3/4.01 Heazelwoodite
Photo by Dakota Matrix

With the addition of Ericaite I now have both of the applicable borates for my Iron Suite.  However there seems to be some debate as to whether the formula for Ericaite is Fe3B7O13Cl or (Fe,Mg)3B7O13Cl.  The site lists Ericaite with the latter formula, citing about 4.78% magnesium as well as 3.6% manganese.  The website uses the formula of the former with magnesium and manganese listed as common impurities rather than actual compositional components.  The International Mineralogical Association Database of Mineral Properties also describes Ericaite as having the formula Fe3B7O13Cl.  If the IMA should change the accepted formula to  (Fe,Mg)3B7O13Cl then I would remove Ericaite from my list of 582 applicable species for collecting, as this mineral would be an iron magnesium borate rather than a (“pure”) iron borate.  Until then I will welcome both Ericaite and Vonsenite as the two applicable iron borates.

A year ago I jumped at the chance to obtain some Laurelite, even though it consisted of a mass of free fibrous crystals in a gelatin capsule.  This time I had the opportunity to acquire an example of this lead halide still attached to the matrix.

Pb3AB2/2.02 Laurelite
Photo by Dakota Matrix