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THE MINERAL PACHNOLITE

Chemistry: NaCaAlF6 - H2O, Hydrated Sodium Calcium Aluminum Fluoride.


Class: Halides
Uses: As mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pachnolite is a rare and unusual halide mineral. Chemically it is one of the most complicated halides being composed of
the positive one charged (+1) sodium, the positive two charged (+2) calcium and the positive three charged (+3)
aluminum. These six positive charges are countered by the six negative one charged (-1) fluorines. The symmetry of
pachnolite is also unusual in that it is monoclinic, not unusual for minerals in general as many minerals are monoclinic,
but unusual for halide minerals.

Pachnolite forms from the alteration of cryolite, another unusual halide mineral which by no small chance is associated
with pachnolite. Pachnolite also is found with the mineral thomsenolite which has the same chemistry as pachnolite
but has a slightly different structure. The better cleavage and softness of thomsenolite and its more obvious monoclinic
crystal habit serve to distinguish it from pachnolite. Both minerals are found as druses lining the pockets of the very
unique pegmatitic rocks at Ivigtut, Greenland.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is colorless, white or stained yellow to brown by limonite.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System: Monoclinic.
Crystal Habits include prismatic crystals with steep pyramidal terminations. Also pseudo-orthorhombic
twinned prismatic crystals are common but tabular crystals are rare.
Cleavage is very indistinct.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 3
Specific Gravity is 2.98 (average).
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include thomsenolite, cryolite, ralstonite and limonite.
Notable Occurrences are limited to Ivigtut, Greenland.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, associations, locality and lack of good cleavage.

THE MINERAL PALYGORSKITE

Chemistry: (Mg, Al)2Si4O10(OH) - 4H2O, Hydrated Magnesium Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide.


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Phyllosilicates
Group: Clays
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Palygorskite, also known as attapulgite, is an odd mineral. It forms matted felted masses that closely resemble woven
cloth. In fact, an informal name for this natural fabric is "Mountain Leather" and appears with attached calcite crystals
that look like interwoven glass beads.

Palygorskite is often classified as a clay mineral because it is present in some soils and behaves like many other clay
minerals. Unlike most other clay minerals, palygorskite can form large crystals. Palygorskite is found in hydrothermal
deposits, soils and along faults often lining the slicken sides of fault lines.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is white, gray pale lavender.
Luster is silky to dull.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include fibrous felted masses termed "Mountain Leather" as well as disseminated grains and
platy crystals.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction producing thin sheets or flakes.
Fracture is not readily observed due to cleavage, but is uneven.
Hardness is less than 2.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.2+ (well below average)
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Thin crystal sheets are flexible.
Associated Minerals include calcite, clays and serpentine.
Notable Occurrences include Pend Oreille Mine, Metaline Falls, Washington (good "Mountain Leather" source)
and Arizona, USA; Morocco; Molotov Mining District of the Ural Mountains in Russia and the Shetland Islands.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, flexible sheets, environments and associations.

THE MINERAL PAPAGOITE

Chemistry: CaCuAlSi2O6(OH)3; Calcium Copper Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Cyclosilicates
Uses: Only as a mineral specimen
Specimens

Papagoite is another rare copper silicate from the mines of Arizona, USA. It is found at only one mine in Arizona, the
New Cornelia Mine, Ajo District in Pima County. The only other world-wide location is at Messina, Transvaal, South
Africa. The Arizona mine is the type locality. Papagoite is one of only a few four membered ring silicates. These silicates
have four silicate tetrahedrons linked into a ring forming a distorted square-like structural element. Papagoite is named
for the Papago Indian tribe of Arizona. It forms as a secondary mineral on slip surfaces and in veins in altered
granodiorites.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is a dark sky blue in crystals and a paler blue in massive veins.
Luster is vitreous to dull.
Transparency: crystals are translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m.
Crystal Habits include tiny flattened, elongated crystals sometimes formed into spherical aggregates and
massive vein filling material.
Cleavage is imperfect in one direction.
Hardness is 5 - 5.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.3 (slightly above average for non-metallic minerals)
Streak is pale blue.
Associated Minerals are limited to aurichalcite, ajoite, barite, shattuckite and limonite.
Notable Occurrences include the New Cornelia Mine, Ajo District in Pima County, Arizona, USA and Messina,
Transvaal, South Africa.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, associations, color and locality.
THE MINERAL PARADAMITE

Chemistry: Zn2AsO4(OH), Zinc Arsenate Hydroxide


Class: Phosphate Class
Subclass: Arsenates
Uses: Only as mineral specimens
Specimens

Paradamite is dimorphous with a famous arsenic mineral, namely adamite. Dimorphous means that the two minerals
have the same formula, but different structures (di means two; morphous means shape). Paradamite's different
structure produces only slight differences in physical properties. Most obvious however is the difference in crystal forms.
Adamite's typical form is wedge shaped prismatic crystals with diamond-shaped cross-sections. Paradamite's form is
more tabular in character and very different from adamite's. Although their names are similar and their chemistry is the
same; paradamite and adamite are absolutely distinct minerals.

Curiously, paradamite is associated with adamite as well as other common oxidized arsenic minerals. It is curious
because often dimorphic minerals are not directly associated. The diverse conditions required to produce a different
structure from the same chemistry are often so radically different that the minerals are not found together. However if
the conditions required to produce the two minerals are only slightly different; then the two minerals can be found
together and sometimes grade into each other. What those exact conditions are, and how much they must change to
produce the dimorph is of great interest to mineralogists and petrologists.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is pale yellow
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is triclinic; bar 1.
Crystal Habits include rounded tabular crystals, usually aggregated.
Cleavage is perfect.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 3.5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.5 - 4.6 (heavy for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Some specimens are fluorescent yellow (adamite usually fluoreses green) under
shortwave UV light.
Associated Minerals include adamite, legrandite, limonite, smithsonite, austinite, mimetite and other
zinc oxidation zone minerals.
Notable Occurrence is limited to the famous mines of Mapimi, Durango, Mexico.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, density, fluorescence and associations.

THE MINERAL PARASYMPLESITE

Chemistry: Fe3(AsO4)2 - 8H2O, Hydrated Iron Arsenate


Class: PhosphateClass
Subclass: Arsenates
Group: Vivianite
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Parasymplesite is a rare iron arsenate mineral that can make nice micromounted specimens. It can form spherical
aggregates of acicular crystals with a green color. It is dimorphous with the mineral symplesite, hence its name. Both
minerals have the same exact chemistry, but they have different structures resulting in different symmetries.
Parasymplesite is monoclinic while symplesite is triclinic.

Parasymplesite is also in a solid solution series with the mineral kottigite. A solid solution series exists when two or
more elements can fill the same position within the structure of two or more minerals. In this case, iron and zinc can
occupy the same position in the kottigite/parasymplesite structure. Kottigite is the zinc rich member of the series and
parasymplesite is the iron rich member. Parasymplesite and kottigite are isostructural (meaning same structure) with all
members of the Vivianite Group of minerals. However, not all of them share elements within their structures.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is greenish blue, greenish gray or green.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic.
Crystal Habits include tabular or acicular crystals, radiating fibrous and massive crusts.
Cleavage is perfect.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 2
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.0 - 3.1 (average for translucent minerals).
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are kottigite, pyrite and symplesite
Notable Occurrences include Alsace, France and Japan.
Best Field Indicators are color, crystal habit, cleavage, softness and associations.

THE MINERAL PARAVAUXITE

Chemistry: FeAl2(PO4)2(OH)2 - 8H2O, Hydrated Iron Aluminum Phosphate Hydroxide.


Class: Phosphates
Group: Paravauxite.
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Paravauxite is closely related to its basic namesake vauxite. Paravauxite appears to be different from vauxite only in
the number of water molecules in the structure. Paravauxite has eight water molecules while vauxite has only six in its
formula. It is the presence of these water molecules that alters the structure to the point that paravauxite has perfect
cleavage while in sharp contrast, vauxite has no cleavage at all. Cleavage is one property that is undeniably tied to the
structure of a mineral. The only other strikingly different property is paravauxite's green to colorless color verses
vauxite's blue color.

Metavauxite is another closely named and closely related mineral to paravauxite. It is a dimorph of paravauxite. A
dimorph is a mineral that has the same chemistry, but a different structure. In this case, the structure of paravauxite is
triclinic while the structure of metavauxite is monoclinic in symmetry. Although one might think so, vauxite and
paravauxite are not dimorphs since they share neither the same structure (although both are triclinic) nor the same
chemistry (thanks to those water molecules). Vauxite, paravauxite and metavauxite are all found at the famous tin
oxide deposits at Llallagua, Potosi, Bolivia. All are associated with the primary tin ore, cassiterite. They form as a
result of precipitation from hydrothermal solutions.

Paravauxite is the name of a somewhat rare phosphate mineral and an obscure mineral group. The Paravauxite
Group is composed of other triclinic phosphates that have the following general formula:
XY2(PO4)2(OH)2 - 8H2O
or XY2(PO4)2(OH)3 - 7H2O
The X ion can be either iron(+2), magnesium, manganese or iron(+3) while the Y ion can be either aluminum, iron(+3)
or to a lesser extent, chromium. The second formula is used when the X ion is the iron(+3) in stead of the iron(+2) and
the additional positive charge requires the additional hydroxide and one less water molecule.
These are the members of the Paravauxite Group with their respective formula:
o Gordonite MgAl2(PO4)2(OH)2 - 8H2O
o Laueite MnAl2(PO4)2(OH)2 - 8H2O
o Paravauxite FeAl2(PO4)2(OH)2 - 8H2O
o Sigloite FeAl2(PO4)2(OH)3 - 7H2O
o Ushkovite MgFe2(PO4)2(OH)2 - 8H2O

THE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PARAVAUXITE:


Color is colorless, white or pale green.
Luster is vitreous to pearly.
Transparency: Specimens are translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is triclinic.
Crystal Habits include tabular crystals and radiating fibrous masses.
Cleavage is perfect.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 3
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.4 (average).
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include cassiterite, metavauxite, vauxite, wavellite, quartz and limonite.
Notable Occurrences are limited to the famous tin deposits at Llallagua, Potosi, Bolivia and a few minor
localities around the world.
Best Field Indicators are color, locality, crystal habit, associations and perfect cleavage.

THE MINERAL PARISITE

Chemistry: Ca(Ce, La, Nd)2(CO3)3F2 , Calcium Cerium Lanthanum Neodymium Carbonate Fluoride.
Class: Carbonates
Groups: Rare earth carbonates and Bastnasite.
Uses: As a minor ore of cerium and other rare earth metals and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Parisite, which is named for the owner of the mine (J.J. Paris) at which parisite was discovered, is one of a few rare
earth carbonate minerals. Some of the other more common rare earth carbonates are ancylite, carbocernaite,
tengerite, lanthanite, synchysite, ewaldite, burbankite, donnayite and bastnasite. Parisite has cerium,
neodymium and lanthanum in its generalized formula but officially the mineral is divided into two minerals based on the
respective predominant rare earth element. There is the more common parisite-(Ce) with a more accurate formula of
Ca(Ce, La)2(CO3)3F2. And there is the rarer parisite-(Nd) with a formula of Ca(Nd, Ce, La)2(CO3)3F2. There is little
difference in the two in terms of physical properties and most Parisite is actually Parisite-(Ce).

Parisite is closely related to three other distinct minerals; synchysite, bastnasite and rontgenite-(Ce) The four are
all Bastnasite Group minerals of similar formulas and occurrence. In Fact the four are often intergrown and a single
crystal of any of these minerals probably contains at least one of the other minerals and possibly all four. As expected
they can be difficult to distinguish from one another. One unique method involves the dissolvability of the four minerals
in acids. Bastnasite is nearly indissolvable in cold nitric acid followed by parisite's slow dissolution, while rontgenite
readily dissolves and synchysite dissolves the quickest. With a practiced hand, identification of samples can be made by
gauging the rates of dissolution. Differing dissolution rates within a single crystal can also confirm the multiple phases
or species that exist within the crystal, but this also tends to ruin the specimen. The zoning of different phases is not
generally visible in untested specimens. Crystals often will show a zoning of inclusions but these do not indicate the
boundaries of phases.

Parisite is only found as small crystals and can be used for micromounts. Some crystals have been reported to have
been cut as gems, but normally the crystals of parisite are too small and cloudy to make good gemstones. Parisite
crystals are found in carbonatites, granite pegmatites and alkaline syenites and the hydrothermal deposits associated
with them. Parisite is a significant ore at the bastnasite mines of Mountain Pass, California.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is white, tan, yellow-brown, reddish-brown, brown, yellow and pale pink.
Luster is vitreous, resinous to dull.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent to more rarely transparent.
Crystal System is trigonal.
Crystal Habits include small acicular, platy or thin tabular crystals that form rosettes. Also known to form
double hexagonal pyramids and rhombohedrons. Often intergrown in a lamellar fashion with synchysite,
rontgenite and bastnasite.
Cleavage is fair to good in one direction (basal).
Fracture is subconchoidal to splintery.
Hardness is typically around 4.5 but will vary from 4 to 5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.2 to 4.3 (well above average)
Streak is white to yellowish white.
Other Characteristics: Only slightly soluble in nitric acid, a strong basal parting is also sometimes seen and
crystals are typically striated parallel to the basal face.
Associated Minerals are extensive and include bastnasite, rontgenite-(Ce), synchysite, gold, fluorite,
sahamalite-(Ce), dolomite, barite, allanite, aegirine, calcite, ancylite, albite, pectolite, microcline,
riebeckite, cerite, rhodochrosite, sphene, ankerite, biotite, monazite and xenotime.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality in the Muzo emerald deposit in the Muzo district, Bogota,
Colombia. Other localities include the Mountain Pass, San Bernardino, California; Quincy, Mass.; Mohave
County, Arizona and Mineral and Ravelli Counties, Montana, USA; Narsarsuk, Greenland; the mines of Mont
Saint-Hilaire, St. Honore and Gatineau, Quebec and the Thor Lake deposits, Northwest Territories, Canada;
langesundsfjord area, Norway and the Weishan deposit, Weishan Lake district, Shandong Province, China
and the type locality for parisite-(Nd) that being Bayan Obo, inner Mongolia, China.
Best Field Indicators: crystal habit, color, cleavage, density, luster, low solubility in nitric acid and locality.

THE MINERAL PECTOLITE

Chemistry: NaCa2Si3O8(OH), Sodium Calcium Silicate Hydroxide


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Inosilicates
Group: Pyroxenoid
Uses: mineral specimens and as a semi-precious stone.
Specimens
Also see variety specimens:
o Lorimar Specimens

Pectolite is a mineral that can be confused with several other similar appearing minerals. These include okenite,
wollastonite, artinite and a few others. Fortunately, most of these minerals do not form with zeolites as pectolite is so
apt to do. Okenite is one of those that does, but is soft and bendable, unlike pectolite.

Pectolite is a nice specimen type mineral, meaning that it can form interesting specimens from time to time. However it
was not all that well-regarded until a variety was discovered in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. It has been
given the trade name Lorimar and has enjoyed success in the semi-precious stone market.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is white, colorless or gray and also pale to sky blue in Lorimar.
Luster is vitreous to silky.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is triclinic; bar 1
Crystal Habits include fibrous tufts, radiating acicular crystal clusters and compact or botryoidal masses.
Cleavage is perfect in two direction at close to right angles.
Fracture is splintery due to the cleavage.
Hardness is 4.5 - 5
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.7 - 2.9 (average)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are various zeolites, prehnite, calcite, datolite and serpentine.
Other Characteristics: Splinters of pectolite do not bend and are brittle. They are also sharp and can easily
puncture the skin if not handled properly. Also some specimens can be triboluminescent.
Notable Occurrences include Lake Co., California and Paterson and Franklin, New Jersey, USA; Bahamas,
Dominican Republic; Italy and England.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, association with zeolites, brittleness and cleavage.

THE MINERAL PENTLANDITE

Chemistry: (Fe, Ni)9S8, Iron Nickel Sulfide.


Class: Sulfides
Group: Pentlandite
Uses: As the principle ore of nickel, a minor ore of iron and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pentlandite is an important ore of nickel. However, it does not produce good crystals and is generally only found in
massive form. It is commonly associated with other sulfides such as pyrite, chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite in basic igneous
rock intrusions. These sulfide ore bodies are probably produced through magmatic segregation. As the hot liquid of the
magma cools, crystals of high-density minerals such as metal sulfides fall to the bottom of the magma chamber and
collect into one large metal-rich bonanza for mining companies.

Pentlandite's close association with the mineral pyrrhotite (Fe1-xS) is believed to be the result of exsolution that occurs
after magmatic segregation. At higher temperatures and pressures, the chemicals that make up the two minerals are
compatible in a more or less semi-solid form. But as the temperature and pressure lower, the two chemistries become
incompatible and they separate into two different minerals. The two are difficult to differentiate when pyrrhotite is in a
massive form. Both are brassy yellow, dense and metallic with a hardness around 4 and a similar streak. Pyrrhotite is
usually magnetic, although weakly so, and lacks the octahedral parting of pentlandite which provides the only good field
tests for differentiation. But the two are so often and intimately associated that if you have a sample of pentlandite, you
can be assured that you also have pyrrhotite!

Pentlandite's formula is believed to be composed of equal amounts of nickel and iron, but does show variation in tests,
probably as a result of pyrrhotite inclusions in test samples. The structure of pentlandite is rather complex, with a face
centered cubic arrangement and the metal ions in tetrahedral and octahedral coordination with the sulfurs. Coordination
refers to the number and position of the sulfurs surrounding the metal ions. In the case of tetrahedral coordination,
there are four sulfurs surrounding one metal ion and they are positioned at the four points of a tetrahedron. In the case
of octahedral coordination, there are six sulfurs at the six points of an octahedron with a metal ion inside.

Pentlandite lends its name and structure to a group of minerals called the Pentlandite Group. It is a group of rather
rare minerals, save for pentlandite, that all have the same structure and somewhat similar chemistries. The general
formula is AB8(S, Se)8 where silver, manganese, cadmium or lead can be found in the A position. While the B position
can be occupied by copper. More versatile metals such as iron, nickel and cobalt can occupy either the A or B positions.

These are the members of the Pentlandite Group:


o Argentopentlandite (Silver Iron Nickel Sulfide)
o Cobalt pentlandite (Cobalt Iron Nickel Sulfide)
o Geffroyite (Copper Iron Silver Lead Selenide Sulfide)
o Manganese-shadlunite (Iron Copper Manganese Lead Sulfide)
o Pentlandite (Iron Nickel Sulfide)
o Shadlunite (Iron Copper Lead Cadmium Sulfide)

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PENTLANDITE:


Color is muted brassy to bronze yellow.
Luster is metallic.
Transparency crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits are limited to mostly massive rock forming formations and as granular components of massive
sulfide rocks.
Hardness is 3.5 - 4
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.6 - 5.0 (average for metallic minerals)
Streak is light brown to light bronze.
Other Characteristics: Octahedral parting is generally evident as odd cracks or fractures in the massive
material and the lack of any magnetism helps differentiate it from the similar and often associated pyrrhotite.
Associated Minerals include pyrrhotite, niccolite, biotite, millerite, pyrite and chalcopyrite
Notable Occurrences include a large deposit at Sudbury, Ontario and smaller deposits at Lynn Lake and
Moak Lake, Manitoba and Malartic, Quebec, Canada; Ducktown, Tennessee and San Diego County, California,
USA; Russia; Bushveld, Transvaal, South Africa and Lillehammer, Norway.
Best Field Indicators are parting, associations, lack of magnetism, streak and color.

THE MINERAL PERICLASE

Chemical Formula: MgO, Magnesium Oxide


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Uses: As mineral specimens and sometimes as gemstones.
Specimens

Periclase is sometimes used as a gemstone although it lacks good hardness and is generally limited in colors. Periclase
is isostructural with halite, NaCl, which has simple cubic packing and produces cubic and octahedral crystals. Periclase
is relatively scarce and is found in marbles being formed from the dissolution of dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2 , into MgO-
periclase, CaCO3-calcite and CO2-carbon dioxide. This dissolution takes place during metamorphism. If the periclase
rich marbles are exposed to weathering the periclase easily alters to either brucite, Mg(OH)2 or hydromagnesite,
Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2 - 4H2O. The yellow brown and black colors of periclase are due to the presence of iron. Specimens of
periclase can be very attractive as brightly lustered, smoothly faceted crystals projecting out of the otherwise formless
rough marble host rock.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is colorless, white, gray, yellow to brown or black
Luster is vitreous to adamantine.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits include the typical cubes and octahedrons as well as rounded indistinct grains.
Cleavage is perfect in three directions forming cubes.
Hardness is 5.5
Specific Gravity is 3.6 (slightly above average)
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Crystals may dull in humid air.
Associated Minerals include brucite, dolomite, hydromagnesite, magnesite, spinel, chondrodite and
forsterite.
Notable Occurrences include Monte Somma, Vesuvius, Italy; Crestmore, California, USA and Nordmark,
Varmland, Sweden.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, luster, hardness, cleavage, associations and localities.

PERIDOT,
the gemstone variety of olivine
VARIETY INFORMATION:
VARIETY OF: Olivine , (Mg, Fe)2SiO4.
USES: gemstone.
BIRTHSTONE FOR: August
COLOR: shades of green usually from yellow-green to greenish yellow.
INDEX OF REFRACTION: 1.630 - 1.695
BIREFRINGENCE: 0.037
HARDNESS: 6.5 - 7
CLEAVAGE: usually not discernible
CRYSTAL SYSTEM: orthorhombic
For natural peridot mineral specimens see our For Sale or Sold lists

Peridot (pronounced pair-a-doe) is the gem variety of olivine. Olivine, which is actually not an official mineral, is
composed of two minerals: fayalite and forsterite. Fayalite is the iron rich member with a pure formula of Fe2SiO4.
Forsterite is the magnesium rich member with a pure formula of Mg2SiO4. Olivine's formula is written as (Mg, Fe)2SiO4
to show the substitution of the magnesium and iron. Peridot is usually closer to forsterite than fayalite in composition
although iron is the coloring agent for peridot. The best colored peridot has an iron percentage of less than 15% and
includes nickel and chromium as trace elements that may also contribute to the best peridot color.
Gem quality peridot comes from the ancient source of Zagbargad (Zebirget) Island in the Red Sea off the coast of
Egypt; Mogok, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma); Kohistan, Pakistan; Minas Gerais, Brazil; Eifel, Germany;
Chihuahua, Mexico; Ethiopia; Australia; Peridot Mesa, San Carlos Apache Reservation, Gila County, Arizona and Salt
Lake Crater, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. The best quality peridot has historically come either from Myanmar or Egypt. But new
sources in Pakistan are challenging that claim with some exceptional specimens. The Arizona gem material is of lesser
quality, but is far more abundant and is therefore much more affordable. An estimated 80 - 95% of all world production
of peridot comes from Arizona. The Myanmar, Pakistani and Egyptian gems are rarer and of better quality and thus
quite valuable approaching the per carat values of top gemstones. Possibly the most unusual peridot is that which
comes from iron-nickel meteorites called pallasites. Some are actually facetted and set in jewelry.

Peridot is perhaps derived from the French word peritot which means unclear, probably due to the inclusions and cloudy
nature of large stones. It could also be named from the Arabic word faridat which means gem. In either case, peridot
has been mined as a gemstone for an estimated four thousand years or better, and is mentioned in the Bible under the
Hebrew name of pitdah. Peridot gems along with other gems were probably used in the fabled Breastplates of the
Jewish High Priest, artifacts that have never been found. The Greeks and Romans referred to peridot as topazion and
topazius respectively and this name was later given to topaz, to end the confusion with the two gems. Historical legend
has it that peridot was the favorite gemstone of Cleopatra. Pliny wrote about the green stone from Zagbargad Island in
1500 B.C.. Even until recently have jewelers used the term "chrysolite" (latin for golden stone) in referring to peridot
gems for some reason. This term has also been used to refer to other gemstones, of a more golden color.

Zagbargad (Zebirget) Island has been known as St John's Island and was mined for centuries. Before World War I, this
island was extensively mined and produced millions of dollars worth of gems. Since then the mining has been off and on
and at present is all but nonexistent. Still, specimens from here are available at times and it certainly is a classic
mineral locality.

Throughout time, peridot has been confused with many other gemstones, even emerald. Many "emeralds" of royal
treasures have turned out to be peridots! And although peridot is distinctly a different shade of green, many jewelers
refer to peridot as "evening emerald". Emerald is a dark green as opposed to a yellow green and always contains
inclusions. Other green gemstones confused with peridot include apatite (which is much softer); green garnets (have
no double refraction), green tourmaline and green sinhalite (both of which are strongly pleochroic), moldavites (no
double refraction) and green zircon (significantly heavier). All of these gemstones rarely have as nice a yellow
component to their green color as does most peridot, but darker green peridot can be confusing when good crystal form
is not discernible.

Peridot is a beautiful gemstone in its own right and is widely popular. Its popularity is said to be increasing yearly and
with new finds in Pakistan producing exceptionally well crystallized specimens, peridot can be fun to collect for years to
come.

THE MINERAL PEROVSKITE

Chemical Formula: CaTiO3, Calcium Titanium Oxide


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Group: Perovskite
Uses: A minor ore of titanium and rare earth metals and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Perovskite is an increasingly economically important, and in some rocks a rather common, mineral. It is sought after for
its rare earth metal content. Often perovskite is enriched in cerium, niobium, thorium, lanthanum, neodymium and
other rare earth metals. Rare earth metals are becoming rather attractive for prospectors due to their growing value to
industry. The titanium derived from perovskite is recovered as well.

Crystals of perovskite appear as cubes, but this is deceiving. Perovskite is actually pseudocubic (or "falsely shaped" in a
loose translation from the Greek). It is really orthorhombic in symmetry, but its structure is very close to isometric. The
titaniums and oxygens compose a framework structure in which TiO6 octahedrons are connected at each corner to
other TiO6 octahedrons. If the connections were at perfect 90 degree angles then the structure would be isometric.

However the large ions, such as calcium and some rare earth metals that are needed to balance the formula, are too
large to fit comfortably between the octahedrons. This causes a bending or twisting of the octahedrons and a distortion
of the structure to orthorhombic symmetry. But the structure is still close to being isometric and it can therefore create
crystals that are close to being cubes. Specimens can remind one of darkly colored cubes of galena. But galena's better
metallic luster, greater density and perfect cleavage will give nobody any trouble in permanently confusing the two.

Perovskite is named for a Russian mineralogist, Count Lev Aleksevich von Perovski. The mineral was discovered and
named by Gustav Rose in 1839 from samples found in the Ural Mountains. Now it is a well known and recognized as a
common mineral in aluminum and silica poor rock types such as nepheline syenites, carbonatites, kimberlites and
melilites as well as some contact metamorphic marbles.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is variable from black, brown, gray, orange to yellow.
Luster is submetallic to adamantine, greasy or waxy.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is Orthorhombic (pseudocubic).
Crystal Habits include commonly pseudocubic striated crystals. Also found bladed, reniform, granular and
massive.
Cleavage is imperfect in one direction.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 5.5
Specific Gravity is 4.0 (below average for metallic minerals)
Streak is white to gray.
Associated Minerals include chlorite, talc, serpentine, melilite, andradite, nepheline, sphene and
leucite.
Notable Occurrences include the Slatoust district, Ural Mountains, Russia; Sweden; Crestmore Quarries,
Riverside County and the Diablo Range, San Benito County, California; the Bearpaw Mountains, Montana and
Magnet Cove Arkansas, USA; Zermatt, Switzerland; Gardiner complex, Greenland; Jacupiranga, Sao Paulo,
Brazil; Val Malenco, Lombardy, Italy and the Eifel District, Germany.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, luster, associations, striations and locality.

THE MINERAL PHARMACOLITE

Chemistry: Ca(AsO3OH)-2H2O, Hydrated Calcium Arsenate Hydroxide.


Class: Phosphates
Subclass: Arsenates
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pharmacolite is a rather rare arsenic mineral. It is named from the Greek word for poison in allusion to its arsenic
content. Ironically it is the same word that gives us pharmacy. There are a couple of other arsenate minerals that have
similar names to pharmacolite, namely pharmacosiderite and picropharmacolite. Despite having similar names and
being arsenic mineral they are otherwise unrelated.

Pharmacolite is related to a few minerals that have a similar formula and structure. Of these only gypsum is common.
Gypsum CaSO4) - 2H2O
Ardealite Ca2(PO3OH)(SO4) - 4H2O
Brushite. Ca(PO3OH) - 2H2O

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is white, colorless or gray.
Luster is vitreous to pearly.
Transparency: Specimens are translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is monoclinic.
Crystal Habits include acicular crystals and botryoidal crusts and masses.
Cleavage is perfect.
Hardness is 2 - 2.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.7 (average).
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include erythrite and other secondary oxidation minerals.
Notable Occurrences include Wittichen, Schwarzwald, Germany; Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, Alsace, France and
San Gabriel Canyon, California, USA.
Best Field Indicators: color, crystal habit, locality and associations.

THE MINERAL PHENAKITE

Chemistry: Be2SiO4, Beryllium silicate.


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Nesosilicates
Group: Phenakite
Uses: sometimes cut as a gemstone and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Phenakite is a rare beryllium mineral, but it is found so frequently with precious gemstones that its availablity is not in
proportion to its rarity. It is found in pegmatitic pockets and is associated with gemstones such as topaz, beryl
especially emerald, chrysoberyl and smoky quartz. The name phenakite, or the alternate spelling, phenacite, is from
a Greek word meaning deceiver, an allusion to its deceptively similar look to quartz.

Phenakite is one of the few silicate minerals that have a trigonal symmetry. This symmetry is far more common among
carbonates than among silicates. Phenakite shares the same symmetry with the emerald green silicate dioptase and
the fluorescent and closely related willemite.

Fine crystals of phenakite can be perfectly clear and with good hardness, rarity and lack of good cleavage, although
somewhat lacking in color and fire, make good choices for gemstones.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is usually colorless or white but can be tinted yellow, brown and pink.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System: trigonal; bar 3
Crystal Habits include flatten rhombohedral to almost tabular and typically short prismatic crystals although
some prismatic crystals can be rather long. Also lenticular. Twinning is common and forms penetration twins
Cleavage in poor in three directions.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 7.5 - 8
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.9 - 3.0 (average for non-metallic minerals).
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Prism faces striated lengthwise and index of refraction is approximately 1.66.
Associated Minerals are topaz, cassiterite, quartz, calcite, hematite, feldspars, apatite, fluorite,
beryl especially emerald, chrysoberyl, bertrandite and some sulfides.
Notable Occurrences include sites on the Takowaja River, Ural Mountains, Russia; Minas Gerias, Brazil; Pala,
San Diego Co., California; Mt. Antero and Pikes Peak, Colorado, USA and Norway.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, striations, enviroment and hardness.

THE MINERAL PHILLIPSITE


Chemistry: KCaAl3Si5O16 - 6H2O, Hydrated potassium calcium aluminum silicate.
Class: Silicates
Subclass: Tektosilicates
Group: Zeolites
Uses: Mineral specimen and chemical filter.
Specimens

Phillipsite is one of the rarer zeolites, but is popular among zeolite collectors. It forms interesting aggregates that are
commonly clustered into bright white sphericules or balls with a rough crystalline or silky surface. Phillipsite is known to
occur as an encrusting precipitate around hot springs. However, phillipsite is more commonly found in the vesicles or
bubbles of volcanic rock as are most other zeolites.

Zeolites have an openness about their structure that allows large ions and molecules to reside and actually move
around inside the overall framework. The structure actually contains open channels that allow water and large ions to
travel into and out of the crystal structure. The size of these channels controls the size of the molecules or ions and
therefore a zeolite like phillipsite can act as a chemical sieve, allowing some ions to pass through while blocking others.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is clear, white, yellowish and reddish.
Luster is vitreous, also silky on sphericule's surfaces.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include attached crystal aggregates. Single tabular crystals are rare, more commonly twinned
into "fourlings" or more complicated groupings. Sphericules are small tight balls that have a sparkling or silky
luster in phillipsite. Aggregates can be radiating, fibrous, columnar and encrusting.
Cleavage is imperfect in one direction.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 4 - 4.5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.2 (very light)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are quartz, calcite, chabazite, natrolite, heulandite, stilbite and other zeolites.
Notable Occurrences include Siegerland, Germany; Moyle, Northern Ireland; Capo di Bove and Mt. Vesuvius,
Italy; Groschlattengruen, Bavaria; Cape Grim, Tasmania, Australia and Iceland.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, twinning, density, hardness and associations.

THE MINERAL PHLOGOPITE

Chemistry: K Mg3 AlSi3 O10 (OH)2, Potassium magnesium aluminum silicate hydroxide.
Class: Silicates
Subclass: Phyllosilicates
Group: Micas
Uses: heat and electrical insulator for industrial purposes.
Specimens

Phlogopite is a rarer member of the mica group and is not well known even by mineral collectors. It has been mined
however for its heat and electrical insulating properties which are considered superior to other micas. The typical light
brown color of phlogopite is characteristic although it is difficult to distinguish brown biotite from dark brown phlogopite.
The two are actually end members in a series that is dependent on the percentage of iron. Phlogopite is iron poor and
biotite is iron rich. The darker color and density increase with an increase in the iron content. Biotite tends to form in a
wider range of conditions than phlogopite which is limited mostly to ultramafic rocks and magnesium rich marbles and
pegmatites.

Phlogopite, like other micas, has a layered structure of magnesium aluminum silicate sheets weakly bonded together by
layers of potassium ions. These potassium ion layers produce the perfect cleavage. Phlogopite is rarely considered a
valuable mineral specimen, but well formed crystals are rare and some are now on the market showing nice crystals.
These come from the Kola Pennisula area of Russia. Single large plates or "books" of phlogopite can grow to
considerable size.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is pale brown to brown.
Luster is vitreous to pearly.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include tabular to prismatic crystals with a prominant pinacoid termination. Phlogopite's four
prism faces and two pinacoid faces form pseudo-hexagonal crystal "books". The sides of the crystal often tend
to tapper and can have a "hard candy that has been sucked on, look". Also as lamellar or granular rock forming
masses.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction producing thin sheets or flakes.
Fracture is not readily observed due to cleavage but is uneven.
Hardness is 2.5 - 3.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.9+ (average)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are dolomitic marbles, hornblende, garnets and schorl.
Other Characteristics: cleavage sheets are flexible and elastic, meaning they can be bent and will flex back
to original shape. Thin flakes show an asterism or six rayed star when a light source is viewed through the
crystal due to inclusions.
Notable Occurrences include Ontario and Quebec, Canada; Russia and at many locallities in Europe.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, cleavage, elastic sheets and associations.

THE MINERAL PHOSGENITE

Chemistry: Pb2CO3Cl2, Lead Carbonate Chloride


Class: Carbonate
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Phosgenite is a relatively rare mineral and has a rare symmetry, tetragonal, for a carbonate mineral. It has a high luster
due to its lead content, just as glass crystal sparkles more when its lead content increases. Phosgenite also fluoresces
bright yellow under UV light, adding to its desirability as a collection piece. Phosgenite forms from the oxidation of lead
bearing minerals such as when galena comes in contact with carbonated and chlorinated waters. As an interesting
footnote, phosgenite has been found in the Mediterranean Sea's slag dumps of the ancient greeks. The lead rich rocks
have reacted with the sea water over time forming phosgenite crystals.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is colorless, white, brown to yellow
Luster is adamantine to greasy.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is tetragonal; 4 2 2
Crystal Habits: Generally crystals are long slender prismatic to acicular with either a pinacoidal, a tetragonal
trapezohedral or a pyramidal termination that tappers due to multiple secondary pyramidal faces. Can also be
stubby, tabular, massive and granular. Large crystals (some up to half a foot long) are weakly striated
lengthwise.
Hardness is 2.+ - 3.0; a fingernail (hardness 2.5) will scratch a prism face parallel to the long axis, but not
across it.
Specific Gravity is 6.0+ (very heavy for translucent minerals)
Cleavage is good in two directions lengthwise (prismatic), poor basal cleavage
Fracture is conchoidal.
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include cerussite, anglesite, galena and limonite.
Other Characteristics: Usually exhibits a bright yellow fluorescence in ultraviolet light.
Notable Occurrences include Tsumeb, Namibia; Sardinia, Italy; Tiger Mine, Arizona, Inyo Co., California and
Colorado, USA; Matlock, England and Laurium, Greece.
Best Field Indicators are fluorescence, density, variable hardness, color, crystal habit and high luster.

THE MINERAL PHOSPHOPHYLLITE

Chemistry: Zn2(Fe, Mn)(PO4)2 - 4H2O , Hydrated Zinc Iron Manganese Phosphate.


Class: Phosphates
Uses: As collector's gemstone and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Phosphophyllite, whose cumbersome name means "phosphate leaf" in allusion to both its chemistry and cleavage, is a
rare zinc and manganese mineral that is found at only a few localities. It can be most appreciated when cut into
gemstones that possess a good blue-green color. Gemmy phosphophyllite comes from its Bolivian locality where it
formed as a primary precipitate in tin rich hydrothermal veins. In Germany and in New Hampshire, it is found as an
alteration product of primary phosphates such as triphylite.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is blue-green to colorless, gray or black (the latter probably from inclusions).
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m.
Crystal Habits include equant to prismatic individual crystals. Twinning is common and produces a fishtail
contact twin.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction and distinct in another.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 3 - 3.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.1 (slightly above average for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include triphylite, cassiterite, mica and sulfide ores.
Notable Occurrences are limited to San Luis Potosi, Bolivia; Palermo Mine, North Groton, New Hampshire,
USA and Hagendorf, Germany.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, cleavage, locality and color.

THE MINERAL PHOSPHURANYLITE

Chemistry: Ca(UO2)3(PO4)2(OH)2 - 6H2O , Hydrated Calcium Uranyl Phosphate Hydroxide.


Class: Phosphates
Uses: As a very minor ore of uranium and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Phosphuranylite is one of many yellow, encrusting, non-fluorescent uranium bearing minerals and is unfortunately
difficult to distinguish from the others. It has been found as an actual replacement for wood along with other uranium
minerals. The uranium requires a reducing environment in order to precipitate out of solution and rotting, buried wood
provides such an environment. Other occurrences of phosphuranylite are the result of alteration of primary uranium
minerals such as uraninite, a uranium oxide. Often some black uraninite is left as an interior core surrounded by
phosphuranylite and the fluorescent autunite. Remember this is a radioactive mineral and as such should be kept
separated from other minerals that might be damaged by the radioactivity and of course human exposure should be
limited!

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is deep golden to straw yellow.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency crystals are generally translucent.
Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2/m 2/m 2/m.
Crystal Habits include tiny platy crystals, crusts and fossil wood replacement masses.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction (basal).
Fracture is earthy
Hardness is 2.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.1 (well above average for translucent minerals)
Streak is yellow.
Other Characteristics:Radioactive and non-fluorescent.
Associated Minerals include torbernite, autunite, uraninite and other uranium bearing minerals.
Notable Occurrences include the Flat Rock Pegmatite and Buchanan Pegmatite, Spruce Pine, Mitchell County,
North Carolina and the Jack Daniels No. 1 Mine, Coconino County, Arizona and the Ruggles Mine of Grafton and
the Palermo Mine, North Groton, New Hampshire, USA; Spain; Republic of Congo; Bavaria, Germany; Margnac,
Haute-Vienne, France and Rio Grande de Norte, Brazil.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, non-fluorescence, associations, radioactivity and color.

THE MINERAL PICROMERITE

Chemistry: K2Mg(SO4)2 - 6H2O, Hydrated Potassium Magnesium Sulfate.


Class: Sulfates
Group: Picromerite
Uses: As a minor source of magnesium and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Picromerite, also known as "schoenite", forms in marine evaporite deposits where sea water has been concentrated and
exposed to prolonged evaporation. Other marine evaporite minerals include calcite, dolomite, gypsum, anhydrite,
halite, kieserite, polyhalite, kainite, carnallite and sylvite. Evaporite minerals are geologically important because
they clearly are related to the environmental conditions that existed at the time of their deposition, namely arid. They
also can be easily recrystallized in laboratories enabling sedimentologists to obtain their specific characteristics of
formation. Picromerite is also found as a crusty deposit around fumaroles and in some dry caves. Specimens of
picromerite in dry air will dehydrate forming the mineral langbeinite and will turn cloudy. For this reason specimens of
picromerite should be stored in sealed containers.

Picrmerite lends its name to a group of sulfates called the Picrmerite Group. These sulfates are all monoclinic, have
medium to large sized cations and have six water molecules. The general formula of this group is A2B(SO4)2 - 6H2O.
The A cation can be either potassium or ammonium, NH4. The B cation can be either iron, copper, magnesium and/or
nickel.

These are the members of the Picromerite Group:


Boussingaultite (Hydrated Ammonium Magnesium Sulfate)
Cyanochroite (Hydrated Potassium Copper Sulfate)
Mohrite (Hydrated Ammonium Iron Sulfate)
Nickel-boussingaultite (Hydrated Ammonium Nickel Magnesium Sulfate)
Picromerite (Hydrated Potassium Magnesium Sulfate)

THE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PICROMERITE:


Color is white, colorless, reddish, gray or yellowish.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency: Specimens are translucent to opaque.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m.
Crystal Habits include granular, earthy and encrusting masses. Individual short prismatic crystals are rare.
Cleavage is perfect.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 2.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.0 - 2.1 (light even for translucent minerals).
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Bitter taste.
Associated Minerals include trona, blodite, halite, alunite, thernardite, sylvite and other more rare
evaporite minerals.
Notable Occurrences include Mt. Etna, Sicily and Mt. Vesuvius, Napoli, Campania, Italy as well as Galicia,
Poland and Stassfurt, Saxony, Germany.
Best Field Indicators are associations, density, habit, fracture and environment of formation.

THE MINERAL PIRSSONITE

Chemistry: Na2Ca(CO3)2 - 2H2O , Hydrated Sodium Calcium Carbonate.


Class: Carbonates
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pirssonite is named after American geologist Louis Valentine Pirsson. Pirssonite is one of several carbonate minerals that
form in non-marine evaporite deposits. Other evaporite carbonates include trona, gaylussite, northupite, nahcolite
and thermonatrite. Evaporite minerals are geologically important because they clearly are related to the
environmental conditions that existed at the time of their deposition, namely arid. They also can be easily recrystallized
in laboratories in order to confirm their specific characteristics of formation.

Pirssonite and gaylussite, Na2Ca(CO 3)2 - 5H2O, differ only in the number of water molecules, yet their symmetries are
quite different. This is an indication of a change in their respective crystal structures. The two are best distinguished by
their crystal habits in which pirssonite has a distinctive tabular diamond-shaped crystal form. Pirssonite can lose its
water molecules and specimens should be stored in a sealed container.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is colorless, white or yellowish.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is orthorhombic.
Crystal Habits include prismatic and tabular diamond-shaped or distorted hexagon-shaped crystals, but also
massive and encrusting.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 3 - 3.5
Specific Gravity is 2.4 (slightly below average)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include gaylussite, northupite, trona, analcime and halite.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality at Searles Lake, San Bernardino County, California as well as
Deep Spring Lake, Inyo County and Borax Lake, Lake County, California, USA; Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec,
Canada and elsewhere.
Best Field Indicators: Crystal habit, environment of formation, density and locality.

THE MINERAL PLANCHEITE


Chemistry: Cu8Si8O22(OH)4 - H2O, Hydrated Copper Silicate Hydroxide
Class: Silicates
Subclass: Inosilicates
Uses: A very minor ore of copper and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Plancheite is another in the long list of secondary copper minerals.And like so many of them, this one is colorful,
attractive, has interesting crystal habits and is definitely a good collection mineral.Its almost turquoise-like color is
unique and its typical fibrous, radial habit makes for simply a one-of-a-kind mineral. It is named for J. Planche, who
first brought specimens of plancheite from the Congo region to the mineralogical community.Plancheite can be found
with other colorful secondary copper minerals such as dioptase, shattuckite, conichalcite, brochantite and
chrysocolla,making some specimens a treasure trove of rare minerals.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is commonly a pale blue, greenish blue to almost turquoise blue and dark blue in some specimens.
Luster is vitreous to silky.
Transparency specimens are translucent to opaque.
Crystal System is orthorhombic.
Growth Habits include spherulites or sprays of acicular or fibrous radial crystal clusters. Other habits include
massive, mammillary and fibrous aggregates and tiny tabular or platy crystals.
Cleavage is not discernible
Fracture is fibrous
Hardness is 5.5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.6 - 3.8 (above average for a non-metallic mineral).
Streak is pale blue.
Associated Minerals are cerussite, dioptase, limonite, melanotekite, quartz, shattuckite,
bindheimite, conichalcite, brochantite, "bisbeeite"; (a variety of chrysocolla), and other chrysocolla
varieties, and other secondary copper minerals.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Mindouli, Congo as well as Tantara and Kambowe, Shaba,
of the Democratic Republic of Congo and several copper deposits in Arizona, especially the Table Mountain
Mine.
Best Field Indicators are color, crystal habit, density, locality and associations.

NATIVE PLATINUM

Chemistry: Pt, Elemental Platinum


Class: Elements
Group: Platinum
Uses: Important ore of platinum and other rare metals. Platinum metal is used for jewelry,
chemical and other industrial uses as well as a currency stabilizer.
Specimens

Native platinum is an exotic mineral specimen and an expensive metal. Unfortunately, well formed crystals of platinum
are very rare and the common habit of platinum is nuggets and grains. Pure platinum is unknown of in nature as it
usually is alloyed with other metals such as iron, copper, gold, nickel, iridium, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium and
osmium. The presence of these other metals tends to lower the density of platinum from a pure metal specific gravity of
21.5 to as low as 14 and very rarely any higher than 19 in natural specimens. Few of these rarer metals form significant
deposits on their own and thus platinum becomes the primary ore of many of these metals. The presence of iron can
lead to a slight magnetism in platinum nuggets and is a common enough property to be considered diagnostic.

The element platinum is extremely scarce in most crustal rocks, barely seen as even a trace element in chemical
analysis of these rocks. However platinum seems to be much more concentrated in the mantle and can be enriched
through magmatic segregation. Platinum's origin in the crust is from ultra-mafic igneous rocks and therefore platinum is
associated with minerals common to these rocks such as chromite and olivine. Platinum's most common source
however is from placer deposits.

Over the ages, the platinum became weathered out of the igneous rocks and were tumbled down streams and rivers
where the extremely heavy grains and nuggets of platinum collect behind rocks and bends in the rivers and streams.
These deposits, called placers, that form behind the rocks and bends are enriched in heavy grains as lighter material is
carried further down stream. The heaviest grains are the nuggets of gold, platinum and/or other heavy minerals.

The metal platinum is a valuable metal that is gaining in importance. It is typically more expensive by weight than gold,
mostly a product of its scarcity. Platinum is very non-reactive and for this reason it is used in chemical reactions as a
catalyst. Metallic platinum can facilitate many chemical reactions without becoming altered in the process. It is also
used in many anti-pollution devices, most notable is the catalytic converter, and has been given the nick name the
"Environmental Metal". Native platinum is the primary ore of platinum, but deposits containing the rare platinum
arsenide, sperrylite of the Pyrite Group, have made a huge contribution to the world's limited supply.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is a white-gray to silver-gray, usually lighter than the platinum color of pure processed platinum.
Luster is metallic.
Transparency is opaque.
Crystal System: Isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits include nuggets, grains or flakes, rarely showing cubic forms.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is jagged.
Hardness is 4 - 4.5
Specific Gravity is 14 - 19+, pure platinum is 21.5 (extremely heavy even for metallic minerals).
Streak is steel-gray.
Other Characteristics: Does not tarnish, is sometimes weakly magnetic and is ductile, malleable and sectile,
meaning it can be pounded into other shapes, stretched into a wire and cut into slices.
Associated Minerals include chromite, olivine, enstatite, pyroxene, magnetite and occasionally gold.
Notable Occurrences includes Transvaal, South Africa; Ural Mountains, Russia; Columbia and Alaska, USA.
Best Field Indicators are color, density, weak magnetism, hardness, associations and ductility.

THE MINERAL PLATTNERITE

Chemistry: PbO2, Lead Oxide


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Group: Rutile
Uses: A very minor ore of lead and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Plattnerite is a relatively scarce mineral. It is a lead oxide of very simple formula, PbO2. The lead content makes an
appreciable impact on plattnerite's properties. First off, plattnerite has an extremely high specific gravity of 9.4 for
obvious reasons. Secondly, the luster of plattnerite is very high due to the lead content. This is not a surprise when you
consider that lead is added to fine glass crystal in order to increase its luster or sparkle. The luster of plattnerite is
adamantine to submetallic.

Typical plattnerite is massive, but occasionally relatively large prismatic crystals are seen. Most rock shop specimens
are drusy crusts of tiny black plattnerite crystals that have a nice sparkling sheen.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is black.
Luster is adamantine to submetallic.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is tetragonal; 4/m 2/m 2/m
Crystal Habits include eight sided prisms and blocky crystals terminated by a blunt four sided or complex
pyramid. Large crystals are rare and massive forms are more common. It also forms as drusy crusts with tiny
sparkling crystals.
Cleavage is good in two directions forming prisms, poor in a third (basal).
Fracture is conchoidal to uneven.
Hardness is 5 - 5.5
Specific Gravity is 9.4+ (very heavy even for a metallic mineral)
Streak is "chestnut" brown
Other Characteristics: Can be dissolved by acids.
Associated Minerals are rosasite, limonite, murdochite and other lead oxides.
Notable Occurrences include Leadhills, Lanarkshire, Scotland; Shoeshone Co., Idaho, USA and Mapimi,
Mexico.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, streak, density, color and high luster.

THE MINERAL POLYBASITE

Chemistry: (Ag, Cu)16Sb2S11, Silver Copper Antimony Sulfide


Class: Sulfides
Subclass: Sulfosalts
Uses: An ore of silver and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Polybasite is a somewhat uncommon silver bearing mineral. Although not a well known ore of silver, it is never-the-less
a locally important ore in some mines. It forms interesting crystals that have a pseudohexagonal outline with
rhombohedral striations. Although its symmetry is monoclinic, the nearly hexagonal crystals and striations suggest that
it has a higher temperature phase that is hexagonal or trigonal.

Polybasite is in what is called a solid solution series with the mineral pearceite, (Ag, Cu)16As2S11. The two minerals
can substitute the antimony for the arsenic within their structures. However, pearceite is far more rare than polybasite
possibly indication that antimony is more stable in this structure. The solid solution series is similar to the one for
pyrargyrite-proustite. Two other silver sulfosalts.

Polybasite is difficult to distinguish from the minerals hematite, an oxide, and another silver antimony sulfide,
stephanite. Hematite forms metallic steel gray platy crystals but has a blood-red streak and is considerably harder.
Stephanite lacks the rhombic striations (on the pinacoidal faces), the red flashes and the good cleavage of polybasite.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is an iron black to a "cherry" red in thin slices with slight flashes of red possibly seen on some crystal
surfaces.
Luster is metallic.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque to translucent in thin slices or at crystal edges.
Crystal System: Monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include pseudohexagonal plates or tablets, also massive.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction (basal).
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 2 - 3
Specific Gravity is approximately 6.1 - 6.3 (heavy even for metallic minerals)
Streak is a black to reddish-black.
Other Characteristics: Partially malleable, crystals will show a rhombic striation pattern at times and a dark
coating can often form after prolonged exposure to light (can be removed by ultrasonic treatment).
Associated Minerals include silver, quartz, galena, proustite, pyrargyrite, stephanite, tetrahedrite ,
acanthite and other silver sulfide minerals.
Notable Occurrences include Las Chiapas, Guanajuato and Arizpe, Sonora, Mexico; Saxony, Germany;
Colorado and Nevada, USA; Atacama, Chile; Bolivia; Australia and Sardinia.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, density, softness, cleavage, association with other silver sulfosalts
and color.
THE MINERAL POLYHALITE

Chemistry: K2Ca2Mg(SO4)4 - 2H2O, Hydrated Potassium Calcium Magnesium Sulfate.


Class: Sulfates
Uses: As a minor source of potassium and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Polyhalite is named in allusion to its many metal ions in its formula or literally translated "many salts". Polyhalite is a
potassium, calcium and magnesium sulfate salt. Although it is an evaporite mineral, polyhalite is otherwise not related
to the mineral halite. It forms in marine evaporite deposits where sea water has been concentrated and exposed to
prolonged evaporation. Polyhalite precipitates only after calcite, dolomite, gypsum, anhydrite and halite have
precipitated first. This does not occur often as it requires significant evaporation, but some extensive beds of potassium
evaporates have formed and are excavated for their potassium content. Other potassium evaporates include kainite,
picromerite, carnallite and sylvite.
Polyhalite is relatively easy to distinguish from other evaporates. Its taste is bitter, unlike halite. It does not completely
dissolve in water leaving a calcium sulfate residue, unlike sylvite. It gives a purple flame result when it is put is a gas
flame due to its potassium content, unlike kieserite and other non-potassium salts. Evaporite minerals are geologically
important because they clearly are related to the environmental conditions that existed at the time of their deposition,
namely arid. They also can be easily recrystallized in laboratories in order to postulate their specific characteristics of
formation.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is white, colorless or gray. Iron oxides may color specimens red, brick-red or pink.
Luster is vitreous to resinous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is triclinic: bar 1.
Crystal Habits include fibrous, lamellar, granular and foliated masses. Individual crystals are rare.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
Fracture is fibrous or splintery.
Hardness is 3.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.8 (average for translucent minerals).
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Does not completely dissolved in water leaving a residue, has a bitter taste and can
color a flame purple (for potassium).
Associated Minerals include halite, anhydrite, kainite, carnallite, sylvite and other more rare potassium
evaporite minerals.

THE MINERAL POLYLITHIONITE

Chemistry: KLi2AlSi4O10F2, Potassium Lithium Aluminum Silicate Fluoride.


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Phyllosilicates
Group: Micas
Division: True Micas
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Polylithionite, which is named from the Greek for having much lithium, is not a well know mineral. Yet it is an attractive
mineral that is available on the mineral markets. The best specimens arguably come from the famous quarry at Mont
Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada. Specimens there are found mostly in the altered and unaltered pegmatites with other
rare minerals. Polylithionite is found at other alkaline rich pegmatitic deposits such as the Ilimaussaq alkaline complex
in Greenland and at Langesundsfjord, Norway. Polylithionite is fluorecent lemon yellow and this makes distinguishing it
from most other micas rather easy. Its habit to form rosettes is distinctive as well. Any yellow to silvery white,
fluorescent mica like crystals attached to specimens of other Mont Saint-Hilaire specimens are probably polylithionite.

Polylithionite is certainly not one of the more well know mica minerals. It is a true mica closely related to other lithium
rich micas; lepidolite and tainiolite.Polylithionite, like other micas, has a layered structure of lithium aluminum silicate
sheets weakly bonded together by layers of potassium ions. These potassium ion layers produce the perfect cleavage.
Polylithionite's rarity, associations with other rare minerals, attractive color and fluorescent color and crystal habit make
it an ideal collection mineral.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is colorless, white, bluish, greenish, yellow, brown, pink, silvery to pearly white.
Luster is pearly to waxy.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include pseudohexagonal tabular to platy crystals forming "books" and rosettes.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction producing thin sheets or flakes.
Fracture is not readily observed due to cleavage but is uneven.
Hardness is 2 - 3.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.6 - 2.8 (average)
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Specimens are fluorecent lemon yellow under shortwave UV light.
Associated Minerals are many and include catapleiite, ilmenite, behoite, titanite, aragonite, eudialyte,
leucosphenite, fluorite, willemite, apophyllite, rhodochrosite, steacyite, leifite, sodalite, pyrochlore,
calcite, sugilite, microcline, axinite, manganbabingtonite, galena, ancylite, natrolite, serandite,
hilairite, sheldrickite and calcioancylite.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Kangerdluarsuk, Ilimaussaq alkaline complex, Greenland as
well as Langesundsfjord, Norway; Varutrask, Sweden; Washington Pass, Okanogan County, Washington;
Landsman Camp, Graham County, Arizona and Point of Rocks, New Mexico, USA; Dara-i-Poiz Massif,
Tadzhikistan and of course Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, fluorescence, color, cleavage, locality and associations.

THE MINERAL POWELLITE

Chemistry: CaMoO4, Calcium Molybdenate


Class: Sulfates
Subclass: Molybdenates
Uses: As a minor ore of molybdenum (an important industrial metal) and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Powellite is one of only a handful of relatively common molybdenum minerals. Other molybdenum minerals include
wulfenite, molybdenite, ferrimolybdite, molybdite and sidwellite. Powellite is named for the American geologist,
Major John Wesley Powell, a former director of the U. S. Geological Survey. Most of powellite's occurrences are the
result of hydrothermal reactions with the primary sulfide mineral molybdenite, with a formula of MoS2. Powellite in
fact, forms pseudomorphs after molybdenite. A pseudomorph is an atom by atom replacement of one mineral's
chemistry for another; all the while the crystal retains the outward shape of the original mineral (pseudomorph means
"false shape"). These pseudomorphs will have the shape of molybdenite crystals, but are actually made of powellite.
Powellite also is known to form as a primary mineral in quartz veins.

Powellite forms an incomplete series with the mineral scheelite, CaWO4. Scheelite differs from powellite by the
substitution of the molybdenum in powellite by the tungsten (W) in scheelite. Some tungsten is usually found in
powellite and thus sometimes the formula of powellite is written as Ca(Mo, W)O4 to reflect this substitution. Scheelite
is a popular fluorescent mineral as it typically glows a bright bluish white. Powellite is less well known for its
fluorescence, but some specimens can display a delightful golden yellow under ultraviolet light. Crystals of powellite
resemble the much more common but heavier crystals of scheelite, fortunately the difference in fluorescence is a key to
distinguishing them. Powellite, scheelite and the silicate mineral scapolite all belong to an exclusive symmetry class
called the Tetragonal Dipyramidal Class with a symmetry of 4/m.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is yellow, brown, gray, blue, white or black.
Luster is adamantine to greasy.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is tetragonal; 4/m
Crystal Habits include small four sided pyramidal crystals (pseudo-octahedral) and thin plates. Commonly as
crusts or films around altered molybdenite and as pseudomorphs after molybdenite.
Cleavage is distinct in four directions (bipyramidal).
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 3.5 - 4.
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.2 - 4.3 (heavy for nonmetallic minerals).
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Fluorescent golden yellow.
Associated Minerals are quartz, zeolites, molybdenite and lindgrenite.
Notable Occurrences include the Peacock Lode, Seven Devils district, Idaho (the type locality); Keewenaw
Peninsula, Michigan; Tungsten, Nevada; Superior, Arizona and Randsberg, California, USA; Nasik, India;
Turkey; Russia; Scotland; Clayton Quarry, Panama Canal Zone, Panama and Morocco.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, fluorescence, association with molybdenite and cleavage.

THE MINERAL
PREHNITE

Chemistry: Ca2 Al2 Si3 O10(OH)2, Calcium Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide.


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Phyllosilicates
Uses: As mineral specimens and limited use for ornamental stone purposes.
Specimens

Prehnite was named after its discoverer; Colonel Hendrik von Prehn and is an attractive collection mineral that is
occassionally used for ornamental stone purposes. Its color is usually a pleasant green and is at times quite unique to
prehnite. Typical prehnite forms rather thick crusts with a rough or crystaline texture. Epimorphs (crystal growth over
the surface of another mineral) over laumontite crystals are interesting and attractive. Usually the laumontite has
dissolved away leaving the hollow crust of prehnite behind.

PREHNITE EPIMORPHS AFTER LAUMONTITE


Prehnite is often found with zeolites and is sometimes thought of as a zeolite. But zeolites are actually tectosilicates
and prehnite is a member the Phyllosilicates Subclass. However, like zeolites, prehnite can give off water when
heated, but can not gain the water back like they can. Like most zeolites, prehnite is formed as a result of low grade
metamorphism usually from hydrothermal solutions. Crystals can be found in cavities of mafic igneous rocks.

Minerals that can be confused with prehnite include gyrolite, smithsonite and hemimorphite. Prehnite is harder than
all of these and lacks smithsonite's unusual luster. Hemimorphite is usually blue and gyrolite is not as glassy. Prehnite
can be associated with many beautiful minerals and can make a fine specimen on its own. Its color, luster, associations
and crystal habits make it a joy to own.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is usually a pale green to a yellowish grass green, also gray, white or colorless.
Luster is vitreous to waxy or pearly.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to mostly translucent.
Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2 m m.
Crystal Habits include nodular, concretionary, radial, encrusting and stalactitic formations among other
similar types. Tabular or pyramidal individual crystals are rare but some nodular specimens show tabular
crystal protrusions. Epimorphs (crystal growth over the surface of another mineral) over laumontite are
usual, but available (see above).
Cleavage is good in one direction (pinacoidal).
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 6 - 6.5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.9+ (average).
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Lacks the luster of smithsonite and cleavage surfaces are curved and pearly.
Associated Minerals include datolite, gyrolite, fluorapophyllite, quartz, calcite, copper, pectolite,
stilbite and other zeolites.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Cape of Good Hope, South Africa as well as Connecticut;
Pennsylvania; Patterson, New Jersey and Centreville, Virginia, USA; Bombay, India; Harz Mountains, Germany;
Austria; Scotland; Copper Valley, Namibia; Jeffery Quarry, Asbestos, Canada; China; New South Wales,
Australia and France.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, cleavage, hardness and associations.

THE MINERAL PROUSTITE

Chemistry: Ag3AsS3, Silver Arsenic Sulfide


Class: Sulfides
Subclass: Sulfosalts
Uses: A minor ore of silver, as mineral specimens and as a rare gemstone.
Specimens

Proustite is one of only an few sulfides that are not metallic or opaque. In fact it is at times cut for gemstones, although
it is far too soft to wear in everyday jewelry. Its color is a bright scarlet red to reddish orange and is distinctive. The
nickname "Ruby Silver" has been applied to proustite as well as the closely related mineral pyrargyrite.

Pyrargyrite is a silver antimony sulfide and is isostructural with proustite. Isostructural means that the two minerals
have the same structure but a different chemistry. There is some substitution of the antimony and arsenic. But in both
minerals, the substitution is minor and no solid solution is believed to exist between the two minerals.

Proustite is the rarer of the two minerals and is usually found in the same ore veins with pyrargyrite, silver and other
silver sulfides. Fine crystals, with their transparency, luster and color, are very attractive mineral specimens. However,
as with other silver minerals, it is reactive to light and can form a white coating upon exposure. This coating can be
wiped off, but fine specimens should be stored in closed containers with exposure to light limited.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is a bright scarlet red to reddish orange.
Luster is adamantine.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is trigonal; 3 m
Crystal Habits: include prismatic crystals with rhombohedral and scalenohedral faces forming terminations.
There is no perpendicular mirror plane and therefore a hemimorphic crystal can be seen, in some rare
examples, with differing terminations at the top and bottom of the crystal. Also found massive.
Cleavage is sometimes distinct in three directions forming rhombohedrons.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 2 - 2.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 5.6 (very heavy for translucent minerals)
Streak is red.
Associated Minerals include pyrargyrite, silver, tetrahedrite, calcite, quartz, galena, sphalerite and
other silver vein minerals.
Other Characteristics: A white film forms on the surface of crystals upon exposure to light.
Notable Occurrences include Atacama, Chile; silver mines in Saxony Germany; Poorman Mine, Idaho and
Chihuahua, Mexico.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, density, association with pyrargyrite and color.

THE MINERAL PSEUDOBOLEITE

Chemistry: Pb5Cu4Cl10(OH)8 - 2H2O,


Hydrated Lead Copper Chloride Hydroxide
Class: Halides
Uses: A very minor ore of copper and lead and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pseudoboleite is a mineral that is often intergrown with its "false" self. It is closely related to boleite, whose
cumbersome formula is Pb26Cu24Ag10Cl62(OH) 48 - 3H2O. Pseudoboleite gets its name by being a false boleite (pseudo
means false). Boleite was named for Boleo, Santa Rosalia, Baja California, Mexico which is the type locality for both
minerals. The French colonial town of Santa Rosalia was built near the copper mines that extracted copper from the
unusual sedimentary copper deposits. Pseudoboleite and boleite specimens can still be found in these deposits although
they are scarce and not easy to find. Pseudoboleite forms tiny blocky crystals on top of the boleite's crystal faces that
are called epitaxial overgrowths. Pseudoboleite is often intergrown with boleite inside these crystals in an example of
parallel growth. The two minerals are also known to be intergrown with the mineral cumengite, (Pb21Cu20Cl42 (OH)40).

All three minerals are very rare and have very unusual chemistries. These halides and others with similar chemistries
belong to a division in the Halides Class called the Oxyhalides and Hydroxyhalides. These minerals have either oxygen
or hydroxide groups in their chemistries. The oxygen atom in their chemistries might require their classification in the
Oxides Class of minerals except that their structures are more tied to the halide elements and the oxygens and
hydroxides are kind of superfluous to the overall structure. Some other members of the Oxyhalides and Hydroxyhalides
include bideauxite, chloroxiphite, kelyanite, botallackite, laurionite, paralaurionite, mendipite, fiedlerite,
pinchite, penfieldite, yedlinite, atacamite, koenenite, diaboleite, zirklerite and paratacamite. Of these, only
atacamite and boleite are common enough to be seen at rock shows and in rock shops with regularity.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is indigo blue.
Luster is vitreous to pearly.
Transparency: Crystals are usually translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is tetragonal; 4 2 2
Crystal Habits include tiny blocky crystals on top of the boleite's crystal faces; a form of epitaxial overgrowth.
It is often intergrown with boleite in parallel growth. Crystals can be pseudocubic.
Cleavage is perfect.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 2.5
Specific Gravity is 4.9 - 5.0 (rather heavy for translucent minerals)
Streak is light green to blue.
Associated Minerals include other rare copper and lead chlorides such as boleite, cumengite,
chloroxiphite, paralaurionite, matlockite, chlorargyrite, atacamite, mendipite and diaboleite. Also
found with cerussite, smithsonite, connellite, gerhardtite, cuprite, leadhillite, clays, linarite,
phosgenite and chrysocolla.
Notable Occurrences include Boleo, Santa Rosalia, Baja California, Mexico and the Mammoth District,
Arizona, USA and most places where boleite is found.
Best Field Indicators are crystals habit, color, density, streak and locality.

THE MINERAL PSEUDOBROOKITE

Chemical Formula: Fe2TiO5, Iron Titanium Oxide


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Uses: A very minor ore of titanium and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pseudobrookite is a rare and interesting mineral for collectors. It forms needle thin, acicular, crystals that form in
sprays of several individuals. Its high luster, due to the titanium content, is rather nice and its rarity makes
pseudobrookite an appreciated mineral in most anyone's collection. Pseudobrookite is associated with many interesting
minerals such as pyroxenes, hornblende, tridymite, topaz, hematite and bixbyite. Most of the more popular of
these assortments are found in cavities in rhyolitic rock and make for attractive and much sought after mineral
specimens. Nice pseudobrookite specimens come from the Thomas Range in Utah.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is dark black.
Luster is metallic to adamantine.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include small acicular or thin prismatic crystals aggregated together in sprays of only a few
individuals or singular. Also tabular.
Cleavage is indistinct in one direction.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 6
Specific Gravity is 4.4 (average for metallic minerals)
Streak is brownish to reddish yellow.
Associated Minerals include spessartine, pyroxenes, hornblende, tridymite, hematite, bixbyite and
topaz.
Notable Occurrences are limited to the Thomas Range, Utah and Piski, Transylvania, Romania.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, streak, associations and locality.

THE MINERAL PSEUDOMALACHITE

Chemistry: Cu5(PO4)2(OH)4, Copper Phosphate Hydroxide.


Class: Phosphates
Uses: as a very minor ore of copper and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pseudomalachite, as its name implies, is not malachite, but a false malachite. It is not related to malachite at all being
a phosphate mineral and malachite being a carbonate. But there is a slight similarity in their respective formula.
PSEUDOMALACHITE - Cu5(PO4)2(OH)4
MALACHITE - Cu4(CO3)2(OH)4

Malachite's formula is usually written as Cu2CO3(OH)2 but if doubled, it will appear closer to that of pseudomalachite.
Pseudomalachite has an extra copper to balance the extra -2 charge of the two phosphate ion groups. Both minerals
have the same crystal symmetry, but different structures.

Pseudomalachite was named "false malachite" because it is visually similar in appearance to malachite. The dark green
waxy botryoidal specimens of pseudomalachite are indeed reminiscent of botryoidal malachite. Both minerals are
formed in the oxidation zone of copper ore deposits and are in fact associated with each other. But the much rarer
pseudomalachite lacks the characteristic light and dark green banding of malachite and is slightly harder and more
dense. To verify an identification, pseudomalachite will not react to warm hydrochloric acid as will malachite.

Pseudomalachite is trimorphous with the minerals ludjibaite and reichenbachite. A trimorph is a set of three minerals
that all have the same chemistry, but they have different structures.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is a consistent dark green to blackish-green.
Luster is vitreous to waxy.
Transparency: Specimens are translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include botryoidal masses and small prismatic or tabular crystals. Also found in radiating
clusters, fibrous and in crusts.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 4.5 - 5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.3 - 4.4 (above average).
Streak is green.
Other Characteristics: Does not effervesce with warm hydrochloric acid as does malachite.
Associated Minerals include quartz, malachite, chrysocolla, brochantite, antlerite, jarosite,
lepidocrocite, cornetite, atacamite and libethenite.
Notable Occurrences include Shaba, Zaire; Libethen, Slovakia; Bavaria, Germany; France; Nizhniy Tagil'sk,
Russia; Canada and several localities in Arizona, USA.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, hardness, density, localities and lack of reaction to acid.

THE MINERAL PSILOMELANE

Chemical Formula: No fixed formula, but sometimes Ba(Mn+2)(Mn+4)8O16(OH)4 is used, Barium


Manganese Oxide Hydroxide
Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Uses: an ore of manganese and as a mineral specimen
Specimens

Psilomelane is a mineral name that is losing its significance. Still in use around the world the name is applied to
hydrated barium bearing manganese specimens. It is probably a mixture of several minerals but is composed mostly of
the mineral Romanechite, Ba(Mn+2, Mn+4)5O10-H2O. The difficulty in distinguishing romanechite from other barium
manganese oxides, that are probably mixed together in the same specimen, is why the name psilomelane is still in use.

Psilomelane, although not as common as pyrolusite, is still an important ore of manganese. Manganese is a
strategically valuable metal since it is an essential ingredient in steel and other alloys. The mining term "wad" is used to
indicate ores that are a mixture of several manganese oxides such as psilomelane, pyrolusite and others that are
difficult to distinguish.

Psilomelane is often banded with gray pyrolusite and the alternating layers make an attractive polished stone with
bands of metallic gray and submetallic black. Psilomelane also forms tufts of hair-like aggregates that are similar to
those produced by pyrolusite. However, the difference in luster between the two minerals is usually sufficient to
distinguish them. Earthy specimens as well are difficult to differentiate since both minerals tend to have a dull luster
when found in this habit. Fortunately pyrolusite's softness will give it away when it leaves marks on paper and fingers.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is variable from iron-black to bluish black to steel gray.
Luster is submetallic to dull in earthy specimens.
Transparency crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is monoclinic.
Crystal Habits include massive, fibrous, botryoidal, columnar, stalactitic, concretionary, powdery and earthy.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is conchoidal to uneven.
Hardness is 5 - 5.5.
Specific Gravity is 4.4 - 4.5 (heavy for non-metallic minerals)
Streak is black or brownish black.
Other Properties: sometimes banded with the mineral pyrolusite producing alternating bands of metallic gray
and submetallic black.
Associated Minerals are barite, hematite, quartz, pyrolusite and other manganese oxide minerals.
Notable Occurances include Austinville, Wythe County., Virginia, Upper Pennisula of Michigan and Tuscon,
Arizona, USA; Schneeburg, Germany; Cornwall, England; Ouro Preto, Minas Gerias, Brazil and elsewhere.
Best Field Indicators are habits, luster, hardness, color and streak.

THE MINERAL PUCHERITE

Chemistry: BiVO4, Bismuth Vanadate.


Class: Phosphate Class
Subclass: Vanadates
Uses: Only as mineral specimens
Specimens
Pucherite, whose name comes from the actual mine shaft (Pucher Shaft) from where the first specimens were found, is
a rare bismuth vanadate mineral. Pucherite is found at the Wolfgang Mine near Schneeburg in Saxony, Germany and a
few other places. The Wolfgang Mine is the mine that contains the Pucher Shaft. The bismuth in this mineral has an
effect similar to the presence of lead in other minerals. It increases both the density and luster. Pucherite has a
significant specific gravity of around 6.5 and a bright adamantine luster.

Pucherite is trimorphous with two other minerals: dreyerite and clinobisvanite. All three minerals have the same
chemistry, BiVO4, but they all have different structures. This is reflected in the fact that pucherite is orthorhombic,
clinobisvanite is monoclinic and dreyerite is tetragonal in symmetry. The differing structures has a slight effect on the
overall yellow color of the group. Since the chemistry is the same, any change in the color of pure samples must be due
to the structural differences. Dreyerite is typically orange-yellow to brownish yellow while clinobisvanite is just yellow to
yellowish red, but pucherite is a dark reddish brown to less likely brownish yellow.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is dark reddish brown to brownish yellow.
Luster is vitreous to adamantine.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is orthorhombic.
Crystal Habits include tabular well formed crystals with curved faces and sharp angles. Also acicular crystals
and earthy masses.
Cleavage is perfect.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 4.
Specific Gravity is approximately 6.3 - 6.7 (heavy for translucent minerals)
Streak is yellow.
Associated Minerals are limonite, bismite and bismuth.
Notable Occurrences are limited to Schneeburg, Saxony, Germany and Brejauba, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Best Field Indicators are color, crystal habit, density, luster and associations.

THE MINERAL PURPURITE

Chemistry: MnPO4, Manganese Phosphate


Class: Phosphates
Uses: Only as a mineral specimens.
Specimens

Purpurite forms a series with the mineral heterosite. Purpurite is the manganese rich end member and heterosite is
the iron rich end member. Purpurite is a very rare mineral that would get much attention in the semi-precious stone
market due to its striking color, if it were not for this rarity. Purpurite is an alteration product of an equally rare mineral
called lithiophyllite, LiMnPO4. The alteration takes place atom by atom and actually forms what is called a
pseudomorph or "false shape". A pseudomorph is a mineral that has the shape of one mineral but has a different
chemistry and/or structure.

The alteration is an oxidation reaction with the manganese ion going from a positive two (+2) charge in lithiophyllite to
an ion with a positive three (+3) charge in purpurite. With the change in charge in the manganese ion, the lithium ion is
then lost. Often some of the original lithiophyllite is still present in most purpurite specimens. The purple color or
purpurite is truly unique in the mineral rainbow.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is purple (hence the name).
Luster is vitreous to sub-metallic.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent to opaque.
Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2/m2/m2/m
Crystal Habits generally are massive grains or crusts.
Cleavage is good in one and poor in another direction.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 4 - 4.5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.3 (above average)
Streak is deep red to purple.
Other Characteristics: Brown coatings can be removed by weak acid baths that can also bring out more
purple color.
Associated Minerals are lithiophyllite, heterosite, quartz and feldspars.
Notable Occurrences include Namibia; western Australia; North Carolina, USA and France.
Best Field Indicators are color, associations, lack of crystals and luster.

THE MINERAL PYRARGYRITE

Chemistry: Ag3SbS3, Silver Antimony Sulfide


Class: Sulfides
Subclass: Sulfosalts
Uses: an ore of silver and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pyrargyrite is a popular silver bearing mineral for collectors. Its color is a dark red and is most commonly so dark that it
appears black. The nickname "Ruby Silver" has been applied to pyrargyrite although it is typically applied to the related
mineral proustite.

Pyrargyrite is isostructural with proustite, a silver arsenic sulfide. Isostructural means that the two minerals have the
same structure but a different chemistry. There is some substitution of the antimony and arsenic. But in both minerals,
the substitution is minor and no solid solution is believed to exist between the two minerals.

Pyrargyrite is the more common of the two minerals and is usually found in the same ore veins with proustite, silver
and other silver sulfides. Its crystals can be striking and very attractive. However, as with other silver minerals, it is
reactive to light and can darken upon exposure, and a translucent specimen can quickly become essentially opaque.
Therefore, fine specimens should be stored in closed containers with exposure to light limited.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is a dark red to red-black.
Luster is adamantine.
Transparency crystals are translucent to nearly opaque.
Crystal System trigonal; 3m
Crystal Habits: include prismatic crystals with rhombohedral and scalenohedral faces forming terminations.
There is no perpendicular mirror plane and therefore a hemimorphic crystal can be seen, in some rare
examples, with differing terminations at the top and bottom of the crystal. Typical crystals are poorly formed
and modified heavily by secondary faces. Also found massive.
Cleavage is sometimes distinct in three directions forming rhombohedrons.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 2.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 5.8 (very heavy for translucent minerals)
Streak is a dark cherry red.
Associated Minerals include proustite, silver, tetrahedrite, calcite, argentite. quartz, galena,
sphalerite and other silver vein minerals.
Other Characteristics: darkens upon exposure to light and crystals are frequently striated.
Notable Occurances include Atacama, Chile; silver mines in Saxony Germany and in Colorado, USA and
Cobalt, Onatario, Canada.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, density, association with silver sulfides and color.

THE MINERAL PYRITE

Chemistry: FeS2, Iron Sulfide


Class: Sulfides
Group: Pyrite
Uses: A very minor ore of sulfur for sulfuric acid, used in jewelry under the trade name "marcasite"
and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pyrite is the classic "Fool's Gold". There are other shiny brassy yellow minerals, but pyrite is by far the most common
and the most often mistaken for gold. Whether it is the golden look or something else, pyrite is a favorite among rock
collectors. It can have a beautiful luster and interesting crystals. It is so common in the earth's crust that it is found in
almost every possible environment, hence it has a vast number of forms and varieties.

Bravoite is the name given to a nickel-rich iron sulfide. It is closely related to pyrite but contains up to 20% nickel.
Some mineral books treat it as a variety of pyrite.

Pyrite is a polymorph of marcasite, which means that it has the same chemistry, FeS2, as marcasite; but a different
structure and therefore different symmetry and crystal shapes. Pyrite is difficult to distinguish from marcasite when a
lack of clear indicators exists.

Pyrite's structure is analogous to galena's structure with a formula of PbS. Galena though has a higher symmetry. The
difference between the two structures is that the single sulfur of galena is replaced by a pair of sulfurs in pyrite. The
sulfur pair are covalently bonded together in essentially an elemental bond. This pair disrupts the four fold symmetry
that a single atom of sulfur would have preserved and thus gives pyrite a lower symmetry than galena.

Although pyrite is common and contains a high percentage of iron, it has never been used as a significant source of
iron. Iron oxides such as hematite and magnetite, are the primary iron ores. Pyrite is not as ecomonical as these ores
possibly due to their tendency to form larger concentrations of more easily mined material. Pyrite would be a potential
source of iron if these ores should become scarce.

Pyrite has been mined for its sulfur content though. During WWII, sulfur was in demand as a strategic chemical and
North American native sulfur mines were drying up. A sulfide deposit near Ducktown Tenn. was found to be able to
mine pyrite and other sulfides such as pyrrhotite and pentlandite and produce the needed sulfur as well as iron and
other metals. The sulfur was used in the production of sulfuric acid, an important chemical for industrial purposes. Now
most sulfur production comes from H2S gas recovered from natural gas wells.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is brassy yellow.
Luster is metallic.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is isometric; bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits include the cube, octahedron and pyritohedron (a dodecahedron with pentagonal faces) and
crystals with combinations of these forms. Good interpenetration twins called iron crosses are rare. Found
commonly in nodules. A flattened nodular variety called "Pyrite Suns" or "Pyrite Dollars" is popular in rock
shops. Also massive, reniform and replaces other minerals and fossils forming pseudomorphs or copies.
Cleavage is very indistinct.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 6 - 6.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 5.1+ (heavier than average for metallic minerals)
Streak is greenish black.
Other Characteristics: Brittle, striations on cubic faces caused by crossing of pyritohedron with cube. (note -
striations on cube faces also demonstrate pyrite's lower symmetry). Pyrite unlike gold is not malleable.
Associated Minerals are quartz, calcite, gold, sphalerite, galena, fluorite and many other minerals.
Pyrite is so common it may be quicker to name the unassociated minerals.
Notable Occurrences include Illinois and Missouri, USA; Peru; Germany; Russia; Spain; and South Africa
among many others.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, hardness, streak, luster and brittleness.

THE MINERAL PYROAURITE

Chemistry: Mg6Fe2CO3(OH)16 - 4H2O, Hydrated Magnesium Iron Carbonate Hydroxide.


Class: Carbonate.
Group: Hydrotalcite.
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pyroaurite is a rare mineral that comes mostly from the famous mines of Langban, Varmland, Sweden, but is also
found at a few other localities. It forms platy to tabular crystals. Crystals of pyroaurite can yield flashes of yellow and it
is this display that is responsible for its name; which loosely translated means golden fire. Pyroaurite is dimorphous with
the mineral sjogrenite. Dimorphs are minerals that share the same chemistry but have different structures.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is usually brownish yellow, reddish brown, yellow, white and greenish brown.
Luster is vitreous to pearly.
Transparency: Crystals are usually translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is trigonal; bar 3 2/m.
Crystal Habits include tabular, scaley to platy crystals; also found in fibrous forms.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction (basal).
Hardness is 2.5.
Specific Gravity is 2.1 (very light).
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals includes hydromagnesite, stitchite, calcite, reevesite, sjogrenite, magnetite and
lizardite.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Langban, Varmland, Sweden; Gulsen Quarry, Kraubath,
Styria, Austria; Tunnel Hill Quarry, Tasmania, Australia; Sterling Hill, New Jersey; San Francisco County,
California, USA; Half-Grunay, Shetland Islands, Scotland; Rutherglan, Ontario and the Parker Mine, Notre
Dame du Laus, Quebec, Canada.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habits, cleavage, color and locality.
THE MINERAL PYROCHLORE

Chemical Formula: (Ca, Na)2Nb2O6(O, OH, F); Calcium Sodium Niobium Oxide Hydroxide Fluoride.
Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Group: Pyrochlore
Uses: A very minor ore of niobium and rare earth metals and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pyrochlore is one of the tantalum/niobium oxides that are generally difficult to distinguish. Fortunately there are few of
them that form exquisitely shaped octahedral crystals. Pyrochlore crystallizes in the isometric symmetry class and
forms fine octahedral crystals that are typically and characteristically modified by other isometric forms. Other members
of pyrochlore's namesake group the Pyrochlore Group also form octahedrons, but can sometimes be reliably
differentiated by color, streak and other characteristics.

Pyrochlore generally contains substantial amounts of radioactive elements called rare earths and this produces the
radioactivity in this mineral. It is therefore a member of the informal group of minerals called the Rare Earth Oxides.
These minerals are generally difficult to distinguish but the octahedral crystals of pyrochlore once again are usually
sufficient indicators.

Pyrochlore is an end member of a solid-solution series between itself and the mineral microlite. The two minerals have
similar structures and properties, but microlite is the tantalum rich end member and pyrochlore is the niobium rich end
member. The generally lighter pyrochlore is found in a rather unusual igneous rock called a carbonatite (which is
composed mostly of calcite) and alkalic pegmatites called nepheline syenites. The overall more common mineral
microlite is found mostly in granitic pegmatite dikes and more rarely in the carbonatites. Pyrochlore is the more impure
mineral of the two because it is more often accepting of the inclusion of elements such as tantalum, titanium, iron and
uranium as well as the previously mentioned rare earth metals into its structure.

Some variety names of pyrochlore are known. "Hatchettolite" and "ellsworthite" both contain uranium and come from
the same general location, albeit different mines, in the Hybla area of Hastings County, Ontario, Canada.

Remember, this is a radioactive mineral and should be stored away from other minerals that are subject to damage
from radioactivity and of course human exposure should be limited !

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is yellow, reddish-brown, red or black.
Luster can vary from vitreous, adamantine, greasy to resinous.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent with darker specimens being opaque.
Crystal System is isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits typically include octahedral crystals that are modified by other isometric forms; also found
cubic, granular as disseminated grains and massive.
Cleavage is in four directions (octahedral), but is indistinct.
Fracture is conchoidal to uneven.
Hardness is 5 - 5.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.5 - 4.6 (heavy for non-metallic). Variation caused by extent of inclusion of
trace metals into the structure.
Streak is pale yellow to brown.
Other Characteristics: Generally radioactive.
Associated Minerals include calcite, feldspars, apatite, zircon and biotite.
Notable Occurrences include Veshnovorgorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia; Mbeya, Tanzania; St. Peter's
Dome, El Paso County, Colorado, USA; Brevik, Norway; Alno, Sweden; Oka, Quebec and Hastings County,
Ontario, Canada.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, luster, fracture, color, hardness, radioactivity, associations,
environment and specific gravity.
THE MINERAL PYROLUSITE

Chemical Formula: MnO2, Manganese Oxide


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Group: Rutile
Uses: a major ore of manganese and as a mineral specimen
Specimens

Pyrolusite is the most common manganese mineral and is an important ore. Manganese is a strategically valuable metal
since it is an essential ingredient in steel and other alloys. The mining term "wad" is used to indicate ores that are a
mixture of several manganese oxides such as pyrolusite, psilomelane and others that are difficult to distinguish.

Pyrolusite is an oxidation product of weathered manganese minerals and also forms from stagnant shallow marine and
freshwater bog and swamp deposits. Minerals such as rhodochrosite, rhodonite and hausmannite are often
replaced by pyrolusite.

Pyrolusite has some interesting habits dispite its common occurrence as dull, sooty, black masses and/or earthy forms.
Possibly its most popular form is its dendritic habit that forms wonderfully detailed, fern-like patterns on the surfaces of
rocks such as sandstone. These dendrites are so amazing that they have often been mistaken for fossil plants. Another
popular habit is its acicular or hair-like crystal aggregates that produce nice tufts of "hair", or meadows of shiny black
pyrolusite fibers. Often specimens of pyrolusite are very difficult to distinguish from other manganese oxides. Thus, as a
consequence of its more abundant distribution, pyrolusite is the default name for black, hair-like manganese crystals or
powdery black alteration products of manganese minerals in general.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is steel gray to a solid black in earthy specimens.
Luster is metallic to dull in weather or thinly crusted specimens.
Transparency crystals are opaque, translucent in only thin splinters.
Crystal System is tetragonal; 4/m 2/m 2/m
Crystal Habit is typically massive and compact forms, but also fibrous, acicular, columnar, concretionary,
scaly and earthy forms are well known. A thin dendritic habit is commonly seen encrusted on sandstones and
siltstones and will form wonderful fern or tree like patterns that are often mistaken for fossil plants. A variety
with large, easily visible crystals is called polianite, and occurs as minute prismatic crystals with a square or
rectangular cross-section and a wedge-shaped terminations.
Cleavage is good in two directions forming prisms, but rarely seen except in rare large crystals.
Fracture is conchoidal to uneven.
Hardness is 6 in individual crystals, but aggregates can be as soft as 4 or 5 and massive or earthy forms will
mark paper and leave powder on fingers (a hardness under 2).
Specific Gravity is 4.4 - 5.1 (average for metallic minerals)
Streak is black.
Associated Minerals are limonite, hematite, quartz, manganite, psilomelane and other manganese and
iron oxide minerals.
Notable Occurances include nice specimens from Germany; iron mines in Minnesota and Michigan and at
Lake County, New Mexico, USA. Pyrolusite is mined in many countries around the world with the most
productive countries being Georgia and Ukraine of the former USSR, India, China, South Africa, Brazil,
Australia and Gabon. Polianite occurs in abundance at the Kisenge Mine, in Zaire.
Best Field Indicators are habits, luster, softness, color and streak.

THE MINERAL PYROMORPHITE


Chemistry: Pb5(PO4)3Cl , Lead Chlorophosphate
Class: Phosphates
Group: Apatite
Uses: as a minor ore of lead and mineral specimens
Specimens

Pyromorphite shares the same structure with apatite and therefore crystals of the two will have similar shapes.
Pyromorphite also forms a chemical series with two other minerals; Mimetite (Pb5(AsO4)3Cl) and Vanadinite
(Pb5(VO4)3Cl). This series is a little different than most chemical series which involve substitution of cations such as
calcium for magnesium. Instead, this series substitutes its basic chemical units the anion groups; phosphate (PO4),
arsenate (AsO4) and vanadate (VO4). Green Mimetite or yellow Pyromorphite can make identification between the two
difficult, but usually pyromorphite is green and mimetite is yellow. Vanadinite is usually red. Pyromorphite's main
characteristic is its unique crystal habit of stacked barrel shaped crystals that branch out in a way that is reminescent of
some branching cactus varieties.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is typically green, but can also be yellow, orange and brown.
Luster is resinous to adamantine.
Transparency: Crystals are rarely transparent, but usually translucent.
Crystal System is hexagonal; 6/m
Crystal Habits include the typical barrel shaped hexagonal prism with the hexagonal pyramid and/or a
pinacoid as a termination. A classic specimen of Pyromorphite shows its arborescent habit as described above.
Also granular, reniform, encrusting and massive.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 3.5 - 4.
Specific Gravity is approximately 7.0+ (very heavy for translucent minerals)
Streak is off white.
Associated Minerals are cerussite, limonite, galena and secondary lead deposit minerals.
Other Characteristics: Index of refraction is 2.05 (typically high for lead minerals) and crystal terminations
can be hollowed out or pitted.
Notable Occurrences include Idaho and Pennsylvania, USA; Mapimi, Mexico; Germany; England and
Australia.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, lack of transparency and density.

THE MINERAL PYROPE

Chemistry: Mg3Al2(SiO4)3, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Nesosilicates
Group: Garnets
Uses: Gemstone and abrasive
Specimens

Pyrope is the only garnet that is always a shade of red. Although less common than most other garnets, pyrope is a
common gemstone. Pyrope is the only garnet whose most common source is igneous rather than metamorphic. Most
pyrope comes from ultramafic igneous rocks that contain olivine and/or diamond. Metamorphic pyrope comes from the
metamorphism of the igneous rocks previously mentioned or from magnesium rich rocks subjected to high grade
metamorphism. Almandine and pyrope form a series in which iron substitutes for the magnesium in pyrope. In fact,
pure pyrope is unknown in nature and the various proportions are referred to as pyrope-almandine mixes. one mixture
of approximately two to one (pyrope to almandine) is a variety called rhodolite which has an attractive red-lavender
color and is cut as a gemstone. Pyrope is difficult to distinguish from almandine but is usually clear and free from flaws,
at least more so than almandine.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is red to reddish purple and sometimes a deep enough red to appear black.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits include the typical rhombic dodecahedron. also seen is the 24 sided trapezohedron.
Combinations of these forms are common and sometimes the rare faces of the hexoctahedron, a 48 sided
crystal habit that rarely is seen by itself, can also combine with these other forms making very attractive,
complex and multifaceted crystals. Massive and granular occurrences are also common.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 7 - 7.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.6 (above average for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are olivine, serpentine, biotite, hornblende, augite, pyroxenes and diamond.
Other Characteristics: index of refraction is 1.73
Notable Occurrences include localities in Europe; Arizona and New Mexico, USA; South Africa and several
Australian sites.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, hardness and enviroment.

THE MINERAL PYROPHYLLITE

Chemistry: AlSi2O5OH , Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide.


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Phyllosilicates
Group: The Clays
Uses: As a refractory mineral, as a filler for rubber, paints and insecticides, as an ornamental stone,
as a component of ceramics and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Pyrophyllite is an early stage metamorphic mineral and is actually quite common although usually not very abundant as
good mineral specimens. It is found as a constituent of slate, phyllite (which is not named after pyrophyllite), some
schists and other early stage metamorphic rocks. It is most common in the phyllites were its pearly luster helps give the
phyllites their well known shiny luster. Other minerals that contribute to the luster of phyllite include the micas,
sericite, chlorite, graphite, quartz and epidote.

Pyrophyllite gets its name from the Greek words for fire and leaf as in "fire-leaf". Phyllite is named after the Greek word
for leaf as well, in allusion to its flaky fracture. But pyrophyllite gets its name from the fact that it exfoliates when water
is driven off upon heating, leaving a flaky mass. The flakes are actually the silicate sheets that are a testament to
pyrophyllite's structure.

Pyrophyllite is a member of the phyllosilicates, or "leaf" silicates, which have a sheet-like structure. The
phyllosilicates form stacks of silicate layers that are composed of SiO4 tetrahedrons. The sheets are not directly linked
above or below to the next silicate sheets.

In pyrophyllite, two silicate layers are sandwiched in between the so called gibbsite layer. Gibbsite, AL(OH)3, is its
own mineral and is composed of octahedrally coordinated aluminums surrounded by six hydroxides. The gibbsite layer
(G) in pyrophyllite is identical to gibbsite's structure except that four of the hydroxides are replaced by four oxygens
from the silicate layers (S). The overall structure of pyrophyllite can be imagined as stacked S-G-S sandwiches. The
bonding between these sandwiches is nearly nonexistent and gives rise to pyrophyllite's softness and perfect cleavage.
There are actually two pyrophyllite minerals. One is monoclinic and the other triclinic. Ordinarily they would be treated
as two distinct minerals, but their properties are identical and they are often associated and intergrown. Separating
them serves no purpose and the two minerals are often considered as one; at least for now.

Pyrophyllite is also identical in physical properties to a quite distinct mineral called talc. The two are isomorphous,
meaning they share the same monoclinic structure but have different chemistries. Talc has magnesiums instead of
aluminums and is basically indistinguishable from pyrophyllite without a chemical test for aluminum. The test for
aluminum involves applying a slight amount of cobalt nitrate solution on the specimen and then igniting the solution.
The specimen should change color; a blue color confirms pyrophyllite, a violet color confirms talc.

A variety of pyrophyllite is called "agalmatolite and is used by Chinese artisans as an ornamental stone. Although
pyrophyllite loses water and exfoliates, at higher temperatures it is quite stable up to 800 degrees C. This makes
pyrophyllite valuable as a refractory mineral and for other applications. Pyrophyllite shares many of the same purposes
as talc although it is usually considered inferior to the better grades of talc in all but one use. Pyrophyllite seems to be
best as a carrier for insecticides and is often the filler for these products.

Although an ordinary metamorphic mineral in most regards, pyrophyllite is still quite interesting and does form some
very attractive mineral specimens. The radiating stellate aggregates that come from Mariposa County, California and
North Carolina for example are quite appealing with their bright pearly luster and radiating habit.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is usually white, colorless, gray, yellow, pale green and/or blue. It can also be stained brown by iron
oxides.
Luster is greasy to dull, but pearly on cleavage surfaces.
Transparency: Crystals are mostly translucent to opaque.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m and triclinic; bar 1.
Crystal Habits include the typical fine grained, fibrous and lamellar masses, stellate aggregates and radiating
spherules. Individual crystals are rare, but usually have a tabular subhedral or distorted form.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
Fracture is uneven or splintery.
Hardness is 1 - 1.5 (soft enough to be scratched by a fingernail).
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.65 - 2.85 (average).
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Cleavage sheets are flexible, but inelastic. A distinctive greasy feel to the touch.
Associated Minerals: are numerous, but a short list would include the micas, sericite, chlorite, graphite,
quartz, albite, barite, gypsum, andalusite, kyanite, sillimanite, lazulite and epidote.
Notable Occurrences include Randolph, Guilford and Orange Counties, North Carolina, Chesterfield County,
South Carolina; Mariposa County and San Bernardino County, California, Arizona and Graves Mountain,
Georgia, USA as well as Belgium; China; Switzerland; Mexico; Minas Gerais, Brazil; Sweden; Ural Mountains,
Russia; Korea and Japan.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, cleavage, softness, aluminum test and feel.

THE
AEGIRINE PYROXENE GROUP

OF MINERALS
AUGITE AEGIRINE

SPODUMENE

DIOPSIDE HEDENBERGITE SPODUMENE

JADEITE
The pyroxene minerals are inosilicates of the general formula XY(Si, Al)2O6. The X,
MINERALS represents ions such as calcium, sodium, iron +2 and magnesium and more rarely zinc,
manganese and lithium. The Y, represents ions of generally smaller sized such as
By Name chromium, aluminum, iron+3, magnesium, manganese, scandium, titanium, vanadium and
A list of minerals in even iron+2. Aluminum, while commonly substituting for silicon in other silicates, does not
alphabetical order often substitute for silicon in a pyroxene.
By Class The typical pyroxene structure contains chains of SiO3 tetrahedrons that every other one
Elements, Oxides, alternates from the left side to the right side of the chain. Each of the tetrahedrons has
Carbonates, etc. one flat edge that lies on the "base" of the structure as if the entire chain were a chain of
Interesting Groupings connected three sided pyramids on a flat desert. The orderliness of the tetrahedrons
Gemstones, Birthstones, means that they repeat every three tetrahedrons, ie. left-right-left. The chain structure
etc. explains the general prismatic to fibrous character of the members of this group. The
Full Text Search slope of the tetrahedral pyramids helps to determine the cleavage angle of the pyroxenes
Mineral identification by at nearly 90o degrees (actually 93o and 87o).
keyword searching The pyroxenes are closely related to a group of inosilicates called the pyroxenoids. This
Physical Properties somewhat informal group of minerals has a similar chain structure but the chains in the
Keys to identifying pyroxenoid structures are more . . . "kinked"!
minerals The pyroxenes are an important group among the single chained inosilicates. They are
common rock forming minerals and are represented in most igneous and many
metamorphic rocks. Their presence in a rock indicate a high temperature of crystallization
with a lack of water. If water were present, a double chained amphibole would most
likely have formed instead. The name pyroxene comes from the Greek words for fire and
stranger in a false allusion to their surprising presence in volcanic lavas. Pyroxenes are
sometimes seen as crystals embedded in volcanic glass and the assumption was that they
are impurities in the glass, hence the term "fire strangers". However the pyroxenes are
simply early forming minerals that crystallized before the lava erupted.
SPODUMENE
These are the members of the Pyroxene Group:
Clinopyroxenes (monoclinic)
o Aegirine (Sodium Iron Silicate)
o Augite (Calcium Sodium Magnesium Iron Aluminum Silicate)
o Clinoenstatite (Magnesium Silicate)
o Diopside (Calcium Magnesium Silicate)
o Esseneite (Calcium Iron Aluminum Silicate)
o Hedenbergite (Calcium Iron Silicate)
DIOPSIDE o Hypersthene (Magnesium Iron Silicate)
o Jadeite (Sodium Aluminum Silicate)
o Jervisite (Sodium Calcium Iron Scandium Magnesium Silicate)
o Johannsenite(Calcium Manganese Silicate)
o Kanoite (Manganese Magnesium Silicate)
o Kosmochlor (Sodium Chromium Silicate)
o Namansilite (Sodium Manganese Silicate)
SPODUMENE o Natalyite (Sodium Vanadium Chromium Silicate)
o Omphacite (Calcium Sodium Magnesium Iron Aluminum Silicate)
o Petedunnite (Calcium Zinc Manganese Iron Magnesium Silicate)
o Pigeonite (Calcium Magnesium Iron Silicate)
o Spodumene (Lithium Aluminum Silicate)
Orthopyroxenes (Orthorhombic)
o Donpeacorite (Manganese Magnesium Silicate)
o Enstatite (Magnesium Silicate)
HEDENBERGITE o Ferrosilite (Iron Magnesium Silicate)
o Nchwaningite (Hydrated Manganese Silicate)

THE MINERAL PYRRHOTITE

Chemistry: Fe1-xS (x=0 to x=0.2), Iron Sulfide


Class: Sulfides and Sulfosalts
Group: Nickeline
Uses: mineral specimens and as an ore of sulfur and iron.
Specimens

Pyrrhotite has some unusual characteristics. First, it has an unusual formula. The amount of sulfur does vary by roughly
20% or 50 to 55 atoms of sulfur per 50 atoms of iron. Or is it the iron that varies? Really the same difference. Thus the
unusual formula of Fe1-xS.
Secondly, it has two symmetries. While this should indicate that there are two minerals and not one, in the case of
pyrrhotite, mineralogists have made an exception. When pyrrhotite is low in sulfur and the formula is closer to true FeS,
then the structure is hexagonal. But when it is high in sulfur, the structure is monoclinic. Clearly two different
symmetries, two different formulae; therefore, two different minerals . . . except, that in natural pyrrhotite crystals both
phases are present in the same crystal. If you are a purist, you can think of a pyrrhotite crystal as an assemblage of
two minerals, but most minerologists treat it as one.

Thirdly, pyrrhotite is magnetic or at least weakly so. It is the next most common magnetic mineral to magnetite.
Although not all specimens will show great evidence of magnetism if any, some will attract a paperclip or needle
suspended from a string or move the needle of a compass. Massive pyrrhotite is common and magnetism is sometimes
the only way to distinguish it from other brassy colored sulfides such as chalcopyrite, pyrite, pentlandite or marcasite
Good crystals are rare and should rightly be treasured as comming from a very unusual mineral.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is bronze.
Luster is metallic.
Transparency crystals are opaque.
Crystal System hexagonal, 6/m2/m2/m and monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits: tabular or prismatic in hexagonal prisms with a pinacoidal termination, but mostly massive
rock forming beds with other sulfides.
Cleavage none but there is a strong parting tendency.
Fracture is uneven
Hardness is 3.5-4.5
Specific Gravity is 4.6
Streak gray-black
Associated Minerals pentlandite, quartz, ankerite, pyrite and other sulfides.
Other Characteristics: weakly magnetic, prism faces striated parallel to pinacoid faces and color will darken
with exposure to light.
Notable Occurances Sudbury, Ontario; Ducktown, Tennessee; Chihuahua, Mexico; Russia; Germany and
Brazil.
Best Field Indicators magnetism, crystal habit, hardness and color.

THE MINERAL
QUARTZ

Chemistry: SiO2 , Silicon dioxide


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Tectosilicates
Group: Quartz
Uses: silica for glass, electrical components, optical lenses, abrasives, gemstones, ornamental
stone, building stone, etc.
The Physical Properties of Quartz.
Specimens

Additional variety specimens include:


o Amethyst
o Citrine
o Rock Crystal
o Rose Quartz
o Smoky Quartz

Quartz is the most common mineral on the face of the Earth. It is found in nearly every geological environment and is
at least a component of almost every rock type. It frequently is the primary mineral, >98%. It is also the most varied in
terms of varieties, colors and forms. This variety comes about because of the abundance and widespread distribution of
quartz. A collector could easily have hundreds of quartz specimens and not have two that are the same due to the many
broad catagories. The specimens could be separated by answers to the following questions: color?, shade?,
pyramidal?, prismatic?, druzy?, twinned?, sceptered?, phantomed?, included?, tapered?, coated?,
microcrystalline?, stalactitic?, concretionary?, geoidal?, banded?, etc. Multiple combinations of these could produce
hundreds of unique possibilities.

Some macrocrystalline (large crystal) varieties are well known and popular as ornamental stone and as gemstones.

Amethyst is the purple gemstone variety.


Citrine is a yellow to orange gemstone variety that is rare in nature but is often created by heating Amethyst.
Milky Quartz is the cloudy white variety.
Rock crystal is the clear variety that is also used as a gemstone.
Rose quartz is a pink to reddish pink variety.
Smoky quartz is the brown to gray variety.
Cryptocrystalline (crystals too small to be seen even by a microscope) varieties are also used as semi-precious stones
and for ornamental purposes. These varieties are divided more by character than by color. Chalcedony or agate is
divided into innumeral types that have been named for locally common varieties. Some of the more beautiful types
have retained their names on a world-wide basis while other names have faded into obscurity. Some of the more
common of these types are chrysoprase (a pure green agate), sard (a yellow to brown agate), sardonyx (banded sard),
onyx (black and white agate), carnelian (a yellow to orange agate), flint (a colorful and microscopically fibrous form),
jasper (a colorful impure agate) and bloodstone (a green with red speckled agate).

Quartz is not the only mineral composed of SiO2. There are no less than eight other known structures that are
composed of SiO2. These other substances and quartz are polymorphs of silicon dioxide and belong to an informal
group called the Quartz Group or Silica Group. All members of this group, except quartz, are uncommon to extemely
rare on the surface of the earth and are stable only under high temperatures and high pressures or both. These
minerals have their own unique structures although they share the same chemistry, hence the term polymorph, which
means many forms.

Quartz has a unique structure. Actually, there is another mineral that shares quartz's structure, and it is not even a
silicate. It is a rare phosphate named berlinite, AlPO4, that is isostructural with quartz. The structure of quartz
involves corkscrewing (helix) chains of silicon tetrahedrons. The corkscrew takes four tetrahedrons in order to repeat
itself, or three turns. Each tetrahedron is essentially rotated 120 degrees. The chains are aligned along the C axis of the
crystal and interconnected to two other chains at each tetrahedron making quartz a true tectosilicate. This structure is
not like the structure of the chain silicates or inosilicates whose silicate tetrahedronal chains are not directly connected
to each other. The structure of quartz helps explain many of its physical attributes.

For one, the helix makes three turns and this helps produce the trigonal symmetry of quartz. Likewise a helix or
corkscrew lacks mirror planes of symmetry as does quartz. The corkscrew structure would also disrupt any cleavage
which requires a plane of weakness not found in quartz and breakage would result in the curved fracture, conchoidal,
that is found in quartz. Quartz can also have left and right handed crystals just as a corkscrew can screw in a left
handed way or in a right handed way. There are even some very difficult to identify crystals of quartz that are twinned
with alternating one sixths of the crystal being right handed and then left handed.

Quartz is a fun mineral to collect. Its abundance on the Earth's surface is incredible and produces some wonderful
varieties that don't even look like the same mineral. A collector must always be up on the many varieties of quartz and
it sometimes embarrasses a collector to have collected too many specimens of such a common mineral. But nearly all
collectors concede that you can never really have enough quartz specimens.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is as variable as the spectrum, but clear quartz is by far the most common color followed by white or
cloudy (milky quartz). Purple (Amethyst), pink (Rose Quartz), gray or brown to black (Smoky Quartz) are also
common. Cryptocrystalline varieties can be multicolored.
Luster is glassy to vitreous as crystals, while cryptocrystalline forms are usually waxy to dull but can be
vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent, cryptocrystalline forms can be translucent or opaque.
Crystal System is trigonal; 3 2.
Crystal Habits are again widely variable but the most common habit is hexagonal prisms terminated with a
six sided pyramid (actually two rhombohedrons). Three of the six sides of the pyramid may dominate causing
the pyramid to be or look three sided. Left and right handed crystals are possible and identifiable only if minor
trigonal pyramidal faces are present. Druse forms (crystal lined rock with just the pyramids showing) are also
common. Massive forms can be just about any type but common forms include botryoidal, globular, stalactitic,
crusts of agate such as lining the interior of a geode and many many more.
Cleavage is very weak in three directions (rhombohedral).
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 7, less in cryptocrystalline forms.
Specific Gravity is 2.65 or less if cryptocrystalline. (average)
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Striations on prism faces run perpendicular to C axis, piezoelectric (see tourmaline)
and index of refraction is 1.55.
Associated Minerals are numerous and varied but here are some of the more classic associations of quartz
(although any list of associated minerals of quartz is only a partial list): amazonite a variety of microcline,
tourmalines especially elbaite, wolframite, pyrite, rutile, zeolites, fluorite, calcite, gold, muscovite,
topaz, beryl, hematite and spodumene.
Notable Occurrences of amethyst are Brazil, Uraguay, Mexico, Russia, Thunder Bay area of Canada, and
some locallities in the USA. For Smoky Quartz; Brazil, Colorado, Scotland, Swiss Alps among many others.
Rose Quartz is also wide spread but large quantities come from brazil as do the only large find of Rose Quartz
prisms. Natural citrine is found with many amethyst deposits but in very rare quantities. Fine examples of Rock
crystal come from Brazil (again), Arkansas, many locallities in Africa, etc. Fine Agates are found in, of course,
Brazil, Lake Superior region, Montana, Mexico and Germany.
Best Field Indicators are first the fact that it is very common (always assume transparent clear crystals may
be quartz), crystal habit, hardness, striations, good conchoidal fracture and lack of good cleavage.

THE MINERAL QUETZALCOATLITE

Chemistry: Zn8Cu4(TeO3)3(OH)18, Zinc Copper Tellurite Hydroxide


Class: Sulfates
Subclass: Tellurites
Uses: A very minor ore of tellurium and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Quetzalcoatlite is a very rare and an unusual mineral from Mexico. The bright blue translucent mineral is named for the
Aztec God: Quetzalcoatl (which means "Feathered Serpent"). Another Mexican mineral named for a God is tlalocite
which is named for the Aztec Rain God: Tlaloc. Some other minerals named for gods include aegirine, after Aegir (the
Scandinavian god of the sea) and neptunite, after Neptune (the Roman god of the sea). There are no hard and fast
rules for naming minerals, except that the first name is the official name (generally). Minerals are named after their
areas of discovery (or type locality, see franklinite); their discover or a scientist of noteworthy proportions (see
smithsonite or weloganite); their typical crystal forms (see tetrahedrite) and minerals have even been named for
their chemistries (see cavansite). But few minerals have been named after gods.

Quetzalcoatlite is one of several different, but all rare tellurium minerals that come from the Moctezuma area of Sonora,
Mexico. There are three formerly prolific mines from this area that have provided science with many new tellurium
minerals. They are the Bambollita Mine, the Moctezuma Mine and the San Miguel Mine. The Bambollita Mine has also
been known as the La Oriental Mine and is the type locality for Quetzalcoatlite. The Moctezuma Mine has also been
known as the La Bambolla Mine; which is often confused with the Bambollita Mine, as one might imagine. Below is an
incomplete list of tellurium minerals from the Moctezuma area.

Tellurium Minerals From The Moctezuma Area Mines:

Mineral: Chemistry: Mineral: Chemistry:


Calcium Tellurium
Altaite Lead Telluride Mroseite
Carbonate Oxide
Bambollaite Copper Selenide Telluride Paratellurite Tellurium Oxide
Silver Antimony Arsenic
Benleonardite Poughite Hydrated Iron Tellurite Sulfate
Telluride Sulfide
Hydrated Lead Iron Manganese
Burckhardtite Quetzalcoatlite Zinc Copper Tellurite Hydroxide
Tellurium Aluminum Silicate Hydroxide
Carlfriesite Calcium Tellurite Schmitterite Uranyl Tellurite
Cervelleite Silver Telluride Sulfide Sonoraite Hydrated Iron Tellurite Hydroxide
Choloalite Hydrated Lead Copper Tellurite Spiroffite Manganese Tellurite
Cliffordite Uranium Tellurite Tellurite Tellurium Oxide
Cuzticite Hydrated Iron Tellurate Tellurium native Te
Denningite Calcium Manganese Zinc Tellurite Tetradymite Bismuth Telluride Sulfide
Hydrated Copper Zinc
Emmonsite Hydrated Iron Tellurite Tlalocite
Tellurate Chloride Hydroxide
Calcium Lead Copper
Eztlite Hydrated Iron Lead Tellurate Hydroxide Tlapallite
Zinc Sulfate Tellurate
Mackayite Iron Tellurite Hydroxide Xocomecatlite Copper Tellurate Hydroxide
Hydrated Magnesium
Moctezumite Lead Uranyl Tellurite Zemannite
Zinc Iron Tellurite

THE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF QUETZALCOATLITE:


Color is a bright blue.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent.
Crystal System is hexagonal; 6 2 2.
Crystal Habits include small granular crystals.
Cleavage is good.
Hardness is 3.
Specific Gravity is approximately 6.1 (very heavy for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include tellurium minerals such as dugganite and khinite and various other tellurates
and tellurites Also associated with gold.
Notable Occurrences are limted to the Bambollita Mine (La Oriental), Sierra La Huerta, Moctezuma, Sonora,
Mexico and at least one specimen was found at the Old Guard Mine, Tombstone, Arizona.
Best Field Indicators are locality, color, density and cleavage.

THE MINERAL RAITE

Chemistry: Na4Mn4Si8(O, OH)24 - 9H2O; Hydrated Sodium Manganese Silicate Hydroxide.


Class: Silicates
Subclass: phyllosilicates and inosilicates
Uses: Only as a mineral specimen.
Specimens

Raite is a rare and beautiful mineral. It was named in 1973 to honor the international scientific expedition of the ship
"Ra II" which was built of papyrus. The ship was captained by Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian explorer and scientist who
was determined to prove the sea worthiness of reed boats. The Ra II was successfully sailed from Safi, Morocco to
Barbados in 1970.

Raite is a bit of an oddball mineral in that its structure is hard to classify. It is classified as a phyllosilicate in the Dana
classification scheme and as a inosilicate in the Strunz classification scheme. The structure of raite is composed of
linked chains of silicates, four chains across. Dana considers this a sheet structure and therefore a phyllosilicate, while
Strunz considers this to still be a chain structure and therefore an inosilicate.

Raite is another rare and beautiful agpaitic mineral. Agpaitic minerals are those found in unusual igneous intrusive rocks
that contain alkali metals and high concentrations of unusual metals such as titanium and zirconium. These rocks are
called agpaites and there are only a few localities around the world that are identified as agpaites. At two of these, raite
is found; Mount Saint Hilaire, Quebec, Canada and Mt. Lovozero Massif, Kola Peninsula, Russia. At both sites, raite
forms beautiful acicular crystals arranged in sprays, fans, spherulites, rosettes and as crusts. The color is golden-brown
to red or even violet with a silky luster. It is associated with other rare minerals and although hard to find, it is certainly
a cool mineral to have in a collection.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is golden-brown to red or even violet.
Luster is silky to vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2 2 2
Crystal Habits include acicular crystals and aggregates are clustered into sprays, fans, spherulites, rosettes
and as crusts.
Cleavage is perfect, but rarely seen.
Hardness is 3.
Specific Gravity is 2.4
Streak is yellow.
Associated Minerals are aegirine, epididymite, analcime, albite, villiaumite, natrolite, zorite,
eudialyte, sodalite, sphalerite, ancylite, nenadkevichite, lovozerite, mangan-neptunite, penkvilksite,
serandite and other rare minerals.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Yubileinaya pegmatite, Karnasurt, Mt. Lovozero Massif, Kola
Peninsula, Russia and the famous mineral site of Mount Saint Hilaire, Quebec, Canada.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, locality, associations and color.

THE MINERAL RAMMELSBERGITE

Chemistry: NiAs2, Nickel Arsenide.


Class: Sulfides
Subclass: Arsenides
Group: Marcasite and Lollingite
Uses: As a very minor ore of nickel and arsenic and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Rammelsbergite is a difficult mineral to distinguish from other nickel sulfides and related arsenides. Its unusually high
hardness and silvery color helps, but mostly it is indistinguishable from many of them by ordinary methods. It had been
reported to have been found at Franklin, New Jersey, but this may have been a misidentification with the mineral
gersdorffite, a similar looking nickel arsenic sulfide.

Rammelsbergite is a rare mineral, but is found with other arsenides and thus it is included with them when mined for
nickel and/or arsenic. It is a member of the Lollingite Group. The namesake of the group, lollingite is closely related,
but has more iron than nickel in its chemistry. Another closely related mineral is saffloriite, which has more cobalt
than nickel. The three minerals share the same basic structure and just differ by chemistry. The lollingite group is
sometimes placed in the larger Marcasite Group.

Rammelsbergite lends it name to its dimorphic cousin, pararammelsbergite. A dimorph is a set of two minerals that
share the same chemistry, but have different structures. Pararammelsbergite has monoclinic symmetry, while
rammelsbergite's is orthorhombic, (the prefix para just means "similar to...").

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is silvery white, almost reddish (tarnishes to yellow or pink).
Luster is metallic.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2/m 2/m 2/m
Crystal Habits include rare tabular to stubby crystals, sometimes in cock's comb habit. More commonly found
fibrous (radially), massive and granular.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture: Uneven.
Hardness is 5.5 - 6
Specific Gravity is approximately 6.9 - 7.1 (well above average for metallic minerals)
Streak is a gray.
Associated Minerals include niccolite, gersdorffite, quartz, annabergite, pyrite, lollingite, chloanthite,
arsenic, cobaltite, arsenopyrite and silver.
Notable Occurrences include the Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines district, France; Great Bear Lake and the Frontier
Mine, Cobalt, Ontario, Canada; Kongsberg, Norway; Binntal Switzerland; Lolling, Austria; Bou Azzer, Morocco;
Batopilas, Chihuahua, Mexico; Keweenaw, Michigan and the type locality of Schneeburg, Harz Mountains,
Germany.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habits, color (tarnish), associations, streak, hardness and density.

THE MINERAL RAMSDELLITE

Chemical Formula: MnO2, Manganese Oxide.


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Uses: A minor ore of manganese and as a mineral specimen.
Specimens

Ramsdellite is a rather uncommon mineral to be seen in mineral markets. Partly because of its rarity, partly because of
its general lack of good crystals and partly because of its difficulty in being identified. Ramsdellite is polymorphous
(meaning many shapes) with the relatively common mineral pyrolusite. The two minerals have the same chemistry,
but different structures. Pyrolusite is tetragonal and ramsdellite is orthorhombic. A third mineral, akhtenskite, is much
more rare than these two and is also a polymorph being hexagonal. The three minerals are thus referred to as
trimorphs.

Ramsdellite is an oxidation product of weathered manganese minerals, such as manganite. Ramsdellite is often a
minor constituent of "Wad". The mining term "wad" is used to indicate massive ores that are a mixture of several
manganese oxides such as pyrolusite, psilomelane, ramsdellite and others that are difficult to distinguish. Manganese
is a strategically valuable metal since it is an essential ingredient in steel and other alloys.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is black to gray.
Luster is metallic to dull.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque, translucent in only thin splinters.
Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2/m 2/m 2/m
Crystal Habit is typically massive and granular. Crystals are uncommon and tabular.
Cleavage is good , but rarely seen except in rare large crystals.
Fracture is conchoidal to uneven.
Hardness is approximately 3, but is variable.
Specific Gravity is 4.4 - 4.8 (average for metallic minerals)
Streak is black.
Associated Minerals are limonite, hematite, quartz, manganite, psilomelane, pyrolusite and other
manganese and iron oxide minerals.
Notable Occurrences include nice specimens from Germany; former Czechoslovakia; Lake Valley, New
Mexico, Minnesota, California and Montana, USA.
Best Field Indicators are habits, luster, softness, color and streak.

THE MINERAL REALGAR

Chemistry: AsS, Arsenic Sulfide


Class: Sulfides and Sulfosalts
Uses: A major ore of arsenic, formerly used for pigments, firework coloring agent and as mineral
specimens.
Specimens

Realgar is an oddball among the sulfides. It is one of only a few sulfides that are not metallic or opaque or blandly
colored. Its structure is analogous to that of sulfur and resembles sulfur in most respects except for color (the name
"ruby sulfur" has been applied to realgar). Sulfur has a structure composed of 8 sulfur atoms linked in a ring. Realgar's
structure alternates between sulfur atoms and arsenic atoms producing rings of As4S4. The arsenic atoms affect the
structure altering it from sulfur's orthorhombic symmetry to realgar's monoclinic symmetry.
Realgar occurs in hydrothermal veins with valuable metal sulfide ores and its bright red color can be an aid to
prospectors. It also can be found in hot spring deposits and as a volcanic sublimate product (crystallizing from vapors).
Realgar gets its name from the Arabic words for "powder of the mine" (rahj al ghar). Realgar is famous for some
wonderfully beautiful specimens. Some specimens can have a deep ruby red color with an amazing clarity and a high
luster. The color of realgar is truly something to appreciate and cherish. But realgar's beauty is sometimes fleeting.

It is an unstable mineral and will alter to a different mineral, pararealgar and eventually to a powder. This process
takes time and is accelerated by exposure to light. Specimens should be stored in dark, enclosed containers, and only
exposed to light for the brief enjoyment of its owner and friends. This sounds extreme, but wonderfully beautiful realgar
specimens are worth preserving for as long as possible. If you are wondering how quickly the deterioration occurs, the
answer is immediately, but fortunately very slowly. Ancient Chinese carvings of realgar are still in existence, but badly
affected by the deterioration. The deterioration of realgar was thought to produce the closely related yellow orpiment,
but this was recently proven to be false and the deterioration product is in fact yellow-orange pararealgar. In old
paintings and manuscripts, realgar was a common pigment for paints and dyes. Many of these paintings now have a
yellow or orange hue where once the color must have been an original red.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is orange to red.
Luster is resinous, adamantine to sub-metallic.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent to transparent.
Crystal System: Monoclinic; 2/m.
Crystal Habits: include prismatic striated crystals with a rounded diamond-like cross-section. They are
terminated by a wedge-like dome. Also found as grains, crusts and earthy masses.
Cleavage is good in one direction.
Fracture is subconchoidal.
Hardness is 1.5 - 2
Specific Gravity is 3.5 - 3.6
Streak is orange to orange-yellow.
Other Characteristics: Realgar is unstable in light; specimens should be stored in complete darkness, rarely
some specimens fluoresce under UV light and crystals are pleochroic between dark red and orange red.
Associated Minerals almost always include orpiment, also calcite, stibnite and other metal sulfide ores.
Notable Occurrences include most importantly Hunan Province, China; but also Switzerland; Japan;
Macedonia; Mercur, Utah, USA; Romania and many other localities.
Best Field Indicators are of course color as well as crystal habit, association with orpiment, softness and
luster.
THE MINERAL RHABDOPHANE

Chemistry: (Ce, La, Nd)PO4 - H2O, Hydrated Cerium Lanthanum Neodymium Phosphate.
Class: Phosphates
Group: Rhabdophane
Uses: As a minor ore of cerium and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Rhabdophane is one of several rare earth phosphate minerals. Xenotime - (Y), monazite, churchite - (Y),
florencite and belovite - (Ce) are a few of the more common ones. Although not very common, rhabdophane is
common enough to be considered an ore of cerium. Rhabdophane is a mineral that forms from the alteration of rare
earth igneous minerals and as a primary mineral in carbonatites and in a few rare hydrothermal veins. Its most
noticeable feature is it greasy luster and botryoidal habit. Rhabdophane was named for its spectral signature which
reveals the tell-tail spectral lines of its rare earth elements. Rhabdophane is basically Greek for "rods appearing".

Rhabdophane is actually a collection of three officially recognized minerals that are distinguished by their percentages of
rare earth elements. Each is named for the rare earth element that composes the highest percentage of rare earth
elements in that particular mineral. The three minerals are Rhabdophane - (Ce), Rhabdophane - (La),
Rhabdophane - (Nd) All are very similar and difficult to distinguish. Most rhabdophane specimens are rhabdophane -
(Ce) and this is most likely the mineral that is referred to when specimens are labeled simply as "rhabdophane".

Rhabdophane lends its name to a small group of phosphates. All members of the Rhabdophane Group are hexagonal
or pseudo-hexagonal and have a general formula of (X)PO4 - 1-2H2O. The X can be either calcium, cerium, lead,
lanthanum, neodymium, thorium, iron and uranium. Some sulfate ions, (SO4), can replace a portion of the phosphate
ions, (PO4).

These are the members of the Rhabdophane Group:


Brockite (Hydrated Calcium Thorium Cerium Phosphate)
Grayite (Hydrated Thorium Lead Calcium Phosphate)
Ningyoite (Hydrated Uranium Calcium Cerium Phosphate)
Rhabdophane - (Ce) (Hydrated Cerium Lanthanum Phosphate)
Rhabdophane - (La) (Hydrated Lanthanum Cerium Phosphate)
Rhabdophane - (Nd) (Hydrated Neodymium Cerium Lanthanum Phosphate)
Tristramite (Hydrated Calcium Uranium Iron Phosphate Sulfate)

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RHABDOPHANE:


Color is white, yellowish, pink to reddish brown.
Luster is greasy to dull.
Transparency: Specimens are translucent.
Crystal System is hexagonal; 6 2 2.
Crystal Habits include tiny hexagonal prisms but more commonly found as encrusting, massive, botryoidal
and stalactitic formations.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 3.5 - 4.
Specific Gravity is approximately 4.0 (above average for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals include limonite, serandite, amphiboles, natrolite, aegirine, astrophyllite, albite,
calcite, biotite, rhodochrosite and rare earth granitic minerals.
Notable Occurrences include Majuba Hill, Pershing County, Nevada and Salisbury, Litchfield County,
Connecticut, USA; Gakaia, Burundi: Fowey Consols, Cornwall, England; Grube Clara, Oberwolfach, Germany;
Mt Weld, Western Australia; Kola Peninsula, Russia and Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, luster and locality.
THE MINERAL RHENIITE

Chemistry: ReS2, Rhenium Sulfide


Class: Sulfides and Sulfosalts
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Rheniite is a very rare and a very new mineral on the mineral market. It is so new that it is not yet listed in mineral
indexes. It is found at the Kudriary Volcano, Iturup Island, Russia and is the only known rhenium mineral.

Rhenium has been found as a trace element in columbite, molybdenite, gadolinite and some platinum ores.
Molybdenite, MoS2, is the only real ore of rhenium, a useful and expensive metal. The rhenium is only a trace element
in the molybdenite but is found in enough concentration, up to 0.2%, and enough molybdenite is processed for
molybdenium that over 100 tons of rhenium are known to exist in the world.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is a bright metallic silver white.
Luster is metallic.
Transparency crystals are opaque.
Crystal Habits include tiny thin, platy crystals and disseminated grains and masses.
Specific Gravity is 7.5 measured (above average for metallic minerals)
Streak is black.
Notable Occurrence: Kudriary Volcano, Iturup Island, Russia.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, locality and color.

THE MINERAL RHODIZITE

Chemistry: (K, Cs)Be4Al4(B, Be)12O28, Potassium Cesium Beryllium Aluminum Borate.


Class: Carbonates
Subclass: Borates
Uses: As mineral specimens and sometimes cut as a gemstone.
Specimens

Rhodizite is a rare potassium cesium beryllium aluminum borate mineral. Just its chemistry gives away its rarity.
Specimens come from only a few areas: a couple of sites in the Ural Mountains, and a few sites in Madagascar.
Rhodizite is remarkable for not only its chemistry but its bright adamantine luster and high degree of hardness. Both
these properties lend themselves well to the fashioning of a gemstone. Rhodizite is too rare and generally lacks good
color to be used often as a gemstone however.

Do not confuse rhodizite for other similar sounding minerals such as the silicate mineral rhodonite, the carbonate
mineral rhodochrosite or the silicate mineral rhodesite. They may sound alike but they are actually very different!

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is colorless to white or gray and also with pale tints of yellow.
Luster is vitreous to adamantine or silky.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is isometric.
Crystal Habits include dodecahedral crystals and embedded grains.
Cleavage is absent.
Hardness is 8
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.3 - 3.4 (slightly above average for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Index of refraction is 1.69 .
Associated Minerals include the red tourmaline elbaite.
Notable Occurrences include Antandrokomby, the Sahatany Valley of the Antisarabe area and
Manjakandriana, Madagascar and Sarapulsk and Schaitansk, Mursinsk in the Urals Mountains of Russia.

THE MINERAL
RHODOCHROSITE

Chemistry: MnCO3, Manganese Carbonate


Class: Carbonates
Group: Calcite Group
Uses: As a minor ore of manganese, an ornamental and semi-precious gemstone and as mineral
specimens.
See our natural rhodochrosite mineral Specimens
For rhodochrosite jewelry, see our Affiliates

Rhodochrosite (whose name means rose-colored) is a very attractive mineral with an absolutely one-of-a-kind, beautiful
color. Although it can be an ore of manganese, it is its ornamental and display specimen qualities that make it a very
popular mineral. The color of a single crystal can just astound the observer with its vivid pink-rose color that seems to
be transmitted out of the crystal as if lit from within.

Individual crystals are found in well shaped rhombohedrons and more rarely scalahedrons. In a massive form its
pink and white bands are extremely attractive and are often used in semi-precious jewelry. Rhodochrosite is often
carved into figurines and tubular stalactitic forms are sliced into circles with concentric bands that are truly unique in
the mineral kingdom. Fine crystals are sometimes cut into gemstones, but rhodochrosite's softness and brittleness limit
it as a gemstone for everyday use.

Identification of rhodochrosite is fairly easy despite a few similarly colored minerals such as rhodonite. Rhodonite is
harder and has different cleavage; but perhaps the best distinguishing factor is its lack of reaction to acids.
Rhodochrosite will easily with show some reaction to cold acids which demonstrates its carbonate chemistry. Basically,
any rose-pink carbonate is considered rhodochrosite; however some calcites with a small amount of manganese
impurities can be pink in color. The manganese replaces some of the calciums in calcite but a complete series between
calcite and rhodochrosite is not established. Differentiating pink calcite from rhodochrosite may require a fluorescence
test as rhodochrosite is distinctly non-fluorescent and manganese is a fluorescent activator in calcite.
There are many localities for rhodochrosite that are of great reknown. Beyond a doubt, the best locality for
rhodochrosite is the Sweet Home Mine in Colorado. It is unmatched for its superb rhodochrosite crystals that exhibit the
best features of the species; a fine bright rose color and sharp well formed crystals. Some specimens from here are
quite large and of world class distinction.

Other localities have produced some fine specimens as well. Catamarca, Argentina has an old inca silver mine that has
produced fine stalatitic examples of rhodochrosite that are unique and very attractive. Cut cross-sections reveal
concentric bands of light and dark rose colored layers. These specimens are carved and used for many ornamental
purposes.

Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada has produced many fine rare minerals but it also produces some nice
rhodochrosite specimens as well. Specimens from here are generally small, but have a good color and are associated
with rarer minerals.

There are many Peruvian rhodochrosite localities that have produced a number of good specimens. These crystals are
usually paler in color than other specimens, but are accented by interesting metal sulfide minerals.
N'Chwanging Mine, Hotazel, South Africa has produced possibly the best examples of scalahedral crystals of
rhodochrosite. The unusual crystal habit is due in part to this being one of a few sedimentary crystallizing environments
for the species. Most other localities are the result of metamorphism, late stage igneous intrusion or more commonly
hydrothermal precipitation.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is red to pink, sometimes almost white, yellow and brown.
Luster is vitreous to resinous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is trigonal; bar 3 2/m.
Crystal Habits include the rhombohedrons and scalahedrons with rounded or curved faces that can obscure
the crystal shape. Some crystals can be flattened to a bladed habit and these are sometimes aggregated into
rosettes or minute crystals into spherules. Also botryoidal, globular, stalactitic, layered, nodular, vein-filling
and granular. Twinning is somewhat common forming penetration twins and contact twins similar to calcite's
twins.
Cleavage is perfect in three directions forming rhombohedrons.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 3.5 - 4.
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.5 (above average)
Streak is white.
Other Characteristics: Pink and white banding in massive forms, non-fluorescence and specimens effervesce
easily with dilute acids.
Associated Minerals include calcite, ankerite, alabandite, rhodonite, bementite, spessartine, fluorite,
manganite, quartz and many metal sulfides.
Notable Occurrences are numerous and include the famous Sweet Home Mine, Alma, Park County and
American Tunnel, Silverton, Colorado; Butte, Montana; the mines of Franklin, New Jersey; Humboldt Mine,
Cochise County, Arizona and many sites in California, USA. Also found in Catamarca, Argentine; Huaron Mine
and several mines in Ancash Department, Peru; Kara oba, Kazakhatan; Sacrimb, Transylvania, Romania;
Cornwall, England; Harz Mountains, Germany; Tsumeb, Otavi, Namibia; Santa Eulalia and Magdalena,
Mexico; N'Chwanging Mine, Hotazel, South Africa; Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada and many other
localities from around the world.
Best Field Indicators are color, crystal habit, reaction to acid, non-fluorescence and perfect cleavage.

THE MINERAL RHODONITE

Chemistry: (Mn, Fe, Mg, Ca)5(SiO3)5 , Manganese Iron Magnesium Calcium Silicate.
Class: Silicates
Subclass: Inosilicates
Group: Pyroxenoid
Uses: ornamental and semi-precious stone and as a minor ore of manganese
Specimens

Rhodonite is an attractive mineral that is often carved and used in jewelry. It is named after the Greek word for rose,
rhodon. Its rose-pink color is distinctive and can only be confused with rhodochrosite and the rare mineral,
pyroxmangite, MnSiO3. Rhodochrosite however is streaked with white minerals such as calcite and is reactive to acids.
While rhodonite does not react to acids and is usually associated with black manganese minerals and pyrite.
Pyroxmangite is a little harder to distinguish because the two minerals are closely related and x-ray studies are usually
needed when found massive. Crystals of pyroxmangite are often twinned as is not the case with rhodochrosite crystals.
Crystals of rhodonite, while not in nearly the same abundance as massive rhodonite, are still found and distributed on
the mineral markets. They come from a few notable localities and are considered classics by collectors.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is typically pink to red or orange and even black.
Luster is vitreous to dull to pearly on polished surfaces.
Transparency: Crystals are generally translucent and rarely transparent.
Crystal System is triclinic; bar 1
Crystal Habits include crystals that have a blocky prismatic habit, however crystals are rare. More typically
massive, coarse and fine granular aggregates.
Cleavage is perfect in two directions forming prisms with a rectangular cross-section.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 5.5 - 6.5.
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.4 - 3.7+ (above average for translucent minerals)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are calcite, pyrite, microcline, spessartine, pyroxmangite and other manganese
minerals.
Other Characteristics: May tarnish to a brown or black color upon exposure.
Notable Occurrences include Ural Mountains, Russia; Broken Hill, Australia; Langban, Sweden, Menas Gerais,
Brazil and Massachusetts and Franklin, New Jersey, USA.
Best Field Indicators are color, black inclusions, lack of reaction to acid and hardness.

THE MINERAL RICHTERITE

Chemistry: Na2Ca(Mg, Fe)5 Si8O22(OH)2, Sodium Calcium Magnesium Iron Silicate Hydroxide.
Class: Silicates
Subclass: Inosilicates
Group: Amphibole
Uses: Only as mineral specimens
Specimens

Richterite, which is sometimes called soda tremolite, is closely related to tremolite. It basically is the sodium rich
version of tremolite which is calcium rich. Another closely related mineral is ferrorichterite, which has replaced
richterite's magnesium with iron. Yet another related mineral is fluororichterite and it is enriched in fluorine by
replacing some or all of the hydroxides in richterite. Fluororichterite is also spelled fluorrichterite.

Richterite, ferrorichterite, fluororichterite and tremolite belong to the Amphibole Group of minerals. This is a large
group of double chained silicates where chains of silicates are held together by the metal ions sodium, calcium, iron,
magnesium, aluminum and sometimes other metals such as manganese, titanium, potassium and lithium. Richterite
often contains some manganese, fluorine and potassium and these are sometimes included in its formula or referred to
as a variety such as K-richterite or fluor-magnesio richterite. All these similar sounding variety names and related
species make for some confusion.

Ricterite is not a common mineral, but is found world wide as a small constituent in unusual rocks. Richterite is found in
contact metamorphosed limestones, ultramafic igneous extrusives, metasomatic deposits and alkaline igneous rocks. Its
type locality of Langban Mine and Pajsberg, Varmland, Sweden and Kipawa, Quebec, Canada are richterite's only
consistent sources of good crystals. When crystals are seen they usually are slender and prismatic with typical
amphibole diamond-shaped cross sections. Some richterite has been found in the meteorite debris at Canyon Diablo in
Arizona.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is brown, reddish brown, yellow and light to dark green.
Luster is vitreous to dull.
Transparency: Crystals are generally translucent, but some specimens are translucent.
Crystal System is Monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include long prismatic crystals. Crystals can have a diamond-shaped cross-section although
rarely symmetrical. Also found granular, massive and occasionally in radial aggregates.
Cleavage is imperfect in two directions at 56 and 124 degrees.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 5 - 6.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.9 - 3.3 (average for translucent minerals).
Streak is brown.
Other Characteristics: pleochroic in translucent specimens. Large crystals have an almost striated or grainy
appearance.
Associated Minerals are quartz, feldspars, aegirine, arfvedsonite, diopside, pectolite, phlogopite,
chromite, Iron-nickel, roedderite, kosmochlor, krinovite, tainiolite, calcite, fluorite, svabite, sodalite
and eudialyte.
Notable Occurrences include the type locality of Langban Mine and Pajsberg, Varmland, Sweden as well as
Mont Saint-Hilaire and Kipawa, Quebec, Canada; Myanmar; Madagascar and Leucite Hills, Wyoming and in
the meteorite at Canyon Diablo, Arizona.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit (especially cross-section), color and cleavage.

THE MINERAL RIEBECKITE

Chemistry: Na2(Fe, Mg)3Fe2Si8O22(OH)2 , Sodium Iron Magnesium Silicate Hydroxide.


Class: Silicates
Subclass: Inosilicates
Group: Amphibole
Uses: As asbestos and as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Riebeckite is not a well known mineral although most people have probably seen stones that at one time were
composed of riebeckite crystals. The typically dark blue mineral was named after a famous eighteenth century German
explorer and minerologist, Emil Riebeck. Riebeckite is an important mineral for two main reasons: one for when it is
there and one for when it isn't.

First, some forms of riebeckite are asbestiform and can be used as asbestos. Asbestos has many industrial uses despite
some health risks and is made of different minerals all with a fibrous habit. Serpentine and tremolite form most of
the asbestos that is used for industrial purposes. But riebeckite has a variety called "crocidolite" that is asbestiform in
habit and is a significant percentage of the total tonage of asbestos that is mined annually. The largest deposit of
crocidolite occurs in South Africa and is mined there in large quantities. A second deposit in Australia is significantly
smaller but is still productive. Crocidolite is also known as "blue asbestos" and "riebeckite asbestos".

Secondly, crocidolite is often found pseudomorphed by quartz into an attractive ornamental stone. The stone is
extremely popular as a semi-precious stone and is known by many trade names such as Tiger's Eye, Hawk's Eye,
Falcon's Eye, etc. A pseudomorph is an atom by atom replacement of one mineral for another, without significant
destruction of the original mineral's outward shape. The pseudomorphing of riebeckite's asbestos fibers does two
things; it preserves the beauty of the fibers and their lustrous light effects and it produces a much more durable stone
that is now, thanks to the silicification, suitable for carving and jewelry. Blue tiger's eye has preserved the original blue
color of the riebeckite while the more common brown color is the result of some oxidation of the iron into limonite
inclusions. Although it is improper to refer to tiger's eye as being a form of riebeckite because there is no riebeckite
present in the stone, credit must be given to this mineral for the aid in producing this wonderfully beautiful ornamental
stone.

The chemistry of riebeckite is odd in that it includes two different iron atoms. One is ferric (with a plus 3 charge) and
one is ferrous (with a plus 2 charge). The ferrous iron occupies the same position as and substitutes with the plus 2
manganese because both ions are of nearly the same size. The formula is written the way it is to show the different iron
ions.

Riebeckite is a part of several solid solution series. A solid solution series is where two or more elements can substitute
for each other without changing the structure of the mineral. In the case of riebeckite, there exists two such series. The
easiest to explain series exists with a mineral called magnesioriebeckite. Riebeckite is the ferrous iron rich member of
the series and as the name implies, magnesioriebeckite is the magnesium rich member. Magnesioriebeckite formula,
Na2(Mg, Fe)3Fe2Si8O22(OH)2, is nearly identical to riebeckite and so are the properties of the two minerals. Can
you spot the difference in the formula?

The other solid solution series is incomplete, meaning there are gaps in the percentages between the minerals. The
other members of this series include one that is much more well know than magnesioriebeckite and one that is almost
as obscure. The common mineral is glaucophane and its formula is Na2(Mg, Fe)3Al2Si8O22(OH)2. Glaucophane is
the magnesium and aluminum rich member and riebeckite is the ferrous and ferric iron rich member. The obscure
mineral crossite is the intermediate member of the series. This series is really a series between two series; the
Riebeckite Series and the Glaucophane Series. Glaucophane is really the same as magnesioriebeckite, except with
aluminums, and riebeckite is the the same as glaucophane's own series partner ferroglaucophane, except with iron.
The formulas in the table below are representing the pure state of each mineral for clearity.

THE RIEBECKITE/GLAUCOPHANE SERIES


FERROUS IRON [Fe(+2)] RICH MAGNESIUM (Mg) RICH
FERRIC IRON [Fe(+3)] RIEBECKITE MAGNESIORIEBECKITE
RICH Na2Fe(+2)3Fe(+3)2Si8O22(OH)2 Na2Mg3Fe(+3)2Si8O22(OH)2
CROSSITE
intermediate none defined Na2(Mg, Fe(+2))3(Fe(+3),
Al)2Si8O22(OH)2
FERROGLAUCOPHANE GLAUCOPHANE
ALUMINUM (Al) RICH
Na2Fe(+2)3Al2Si8O22(OH)2 Na2Mg3Al2Si8O22(OH)2

All the members of this series have the same structure and similar properties. However, with a increase in iron
percentages the color darkens, the streak is bluer, the density increases and the luster increases. Riebeckite is found in
alkaline granites, syenites, schists and metamorphosed banded iron formations (BIF). Its presence in igneous rocks is
quite different from glaucophane which is restricted for some reason to metamorphic rocks. Asbestos riebeckite is only
found in metamorphic rocks, however.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is usually dark blue to black.
Luster is vitreous or silky in fibrous forms.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m.
Crystal Habits include slender prismatic to acicular, often aggregated crystals, columnar, granular and
fibrous, asbestiform masses. A moss-like aggregate habit has been described when found in some igneous
rocks.
Cleavage: is perfect in two directions at 56 and 124 degree angles.
Fracture is splintery to uneven.
Hardness is 5 - 6.
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.2 - 3.4 (average to slightly above average).
Streak is blue-gray.
Other Characteristics: Weakly pleochroic and crystals are striated lengthwise.
Associated Minerals are nepheline, quartz, almandine, aegirine, feldspars, micas and hematite.
Notable Occurrences include Socotra Island, South Yemen; Transvaal, South Africa; Schirmeck, Germany;
Langesund, Norway; Krivoi Rog, Ukraine; Hamersley Range in Western Australia; Scotland; Madagascar;
Quincy, Massachusetts; St Peter's Dome, El Paso County, Colorado; California; Oregon and Cumberland Hill,
Rhode Island, USA.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, streak, cleavage and hardness.
THE MINERAL ROCKBRIDGEITE

Chemistry: (Fe, Mn)Fe4(PO4)3(OH)5, Iron Manganese Phosphate Hydroxide.


Class: Phosphates
Uses: Only as mineral specimens.
Specimens

Rockbridgeite is one of the more oddly named and yet interesting phosphate minerals. It has a general green color but
that changes with oxidation to a dark brown or black. Never-the-less, rockbridgeite shows classic botryoidal form similar
to specimens of limonite. In fact, it produces a nice backdrop to the more colorful minerals that may be attached to
the rounded botryoidal landscape, such as the sphericules of the lovely pink phosphate mineral strengite.

Rockbridgeite forms from the alteration (oxidation) of primary iron and manganese phosphates. The chemistry of
rockbridgeite is odd in that it includes two different iron atoms. One is ferric (with a plus 3 charge) and one is ferrous
(with a plus 2 charge). The ferrous iron occupies the same position as and substitutes with the plus 2 manganese. It is
this reason that the formula is written the way it is to show the different irons. Geologist and petrologists are very
interested in minerals that contain elements with two different oxidation states. It represents a mineral that formed as
the oxidation of the original material was taking place and its temperature and pressure of formation can then give
clues to the conditions that were present during oxidation.

Rockbridgeite forms a series with the mineral frondelite. A series occurs when two or more elements can freely
substitute for each other without significant alteration of the structure. In this case, rockbridgeite is a ferrous iron rich
mineral and frondelite is the manganese rich member of the series.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is brown, dark green, yellow-brown or black.
Luster is varied from vitreous to dull or earthy.
Transparency: Specimens are translucent to transparent.
Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2/m 2/m 2/m
Crystal Habits include prismatic to tabular crystals, but often botryoidal, reniform, encrusting, massive and
fibrous.
Cleavage is poor.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 4.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.4 (slightly above average).
Streak is green or brown.
Associated Minerals include strengite, beraunite, dufrenite and limonite.
Notable Occurrences include Cornwall, England; Siegerland, Germany; Svappavaara, Norrbotten, Sweden;
Black Hills, Custer County, South Dakota and South Mountain, Midvale, Rockbridge County (hence the name),
Virginia, USA and Brazil.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, associations and streak.

THE MINERAL ROMANECHITE

Chemical Formula: Ba(Mn+2, Mn+4)5O10-H2O , Hydrated Barium Manganese Oxide


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Uses: an ore of manganese and as a mineral specimen
Specimens

Romanechite is not a well known mineral, but is probably a part of most well rounded mineral collections. It is the
primary constituent of psilomelane which is sometimes treated as a mineral and sometimes treated as a mixture of
minerals or as a rock. Psilomelane is a mineral name that is losing its significance and romanechite is being used as the
name for specimens previously known as psilomelane. However, this might be just as inaccurate since most specimens
of psilomelane are not exclusively romanechite. Some mineral books consider romanechite and psilomelane to be
synonyms for the same mineral. Here, romanechite is considered the pure form of Ba(Mn+2, Mn+4)5O10-H2O. It
therefore differs from psilomelane in density and hardness, both of which are somewhat diminished in the mixture that
is psilomelane.

Romanechite is an important ore of manganese. Manganese is a strategically valuable metal since it is an essential
ingredient in steel and other alloys. The mining term "wad" is used to indicate ores that are a mixture of several
manganese oxides such as psilomelane (romanechite), pyrolusite and others that are difficult to distinguish.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is variable from iron-black to bluish black to steel gray.
Luster is submetallic to dull.
Transparency crystals are opaque.
Crystal System is monoclinic.
Crystal Habits include massive, fibrous, botryoidal, columnar, stalactitic, concretionary, powdery and earthy.
Cleavage is absent.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 6.
Specific Gravity is 4.7 - 5 (heavy for non-metallic minerals)
Streak is brownish black.
Associated Minerals are barite, hematite, quartz, pyrolusite and other manganese oxide minerals.
Notable Occurances include Austinville, Wythe County., Virginia, Upper Pennisula of Michigan and Tuscon,
Arizona, USA; Saxony, Germany; Saone et Loire, France; Cornwall, England; Ouro Preto, Minas Gerias, Brazil
and elsewhere.
Best Field Indicators are habits, luster, hardness, color and streak.

THE MINERAL ROSASITE

Chemistry: (Cu, Zn)2CO3(OH)2 , Copper Zinc Carbonate Hydroxide


Class: Carbonates
Group: Rosasite
Uses: very minor ore of zinc and copper and as a mineral specimen
Specimens

Rosasite forms in the oxidation zones of zinc-copper deposits. It typically is found as crusts and botryoidal masses or
nodules. Crystals are fibrous and found in tufted aggregates. The color is an attractive bluish green. Rosasite is
associated with red limonite and other such colorful minerals as aurichalcite, smithsonite and hemimorphite. Nodules of
rosasite certainly add color to what are termed "landscape" specimens.

Rosasite can be confused with Aurichalcite, (Zn, Cu)5 (CO 3 )2(OH)6 . However rosasite is usually more massive but
not lamellar. Rosasite crystals are harder than aurichalcite; 4 versus 1 - 2 respectively.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is usually a bluish-green to green.
Luster is silky to vitreous to dull for massive specimens.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include radiating tufts of fibrous crystals. It typically is found as crusts and botryoidal masses
or nodules.
Hardness is 4
Specific Gravity is approximately 4 (somewhat heavy for non-metallic minerals)
Cleavage is perfect in one direction but not usually noticed because of fibrous crystal habit.
Fracture is fibrous.
Streak is pale shades of bluish green or green.
Associated Minerals include limonite, smithsonite, hemimorphite, malachite, aurichalcite and calcite.
Other Characteristics: Effervesceses easily in cold dilute hydrochloric acid.
Notable Occurrences include Arizona, New Mexico and Inyo Co., California, USA; Rosas Mine, Sardinia, Italy;
Tsumeb, Namibia and Mapimi, Durango, Mexico.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habits, color, associations, hardness and reaction to acid.

THE MINERAL ROSELITE

Chemistry: Ca2(Co, Mg)(AsO4)2 - 2H2O, Hydrated Calcium Cobalt Magnesium Arsenate


Class: Phosphate Class
Subclass: Arsenates
Group: Roselite
Uses: Only as mineral specimens
Specimens

Roselite is a beautifully colored mineral and varies from rose-red to pink. It would be a misguided assumption that its
name came from its color. In fact it is named for a Germany eighteenth century mineralogist, Gustav Rose. The color of
roselite comes from the same coloring agent of many different colorful minerals, namely cobalt. Erythrite, of whom
roselite is often associated, is also a rose-colored cobalt arsenate and is easily confused with roselite except for the
micaceous cleavage of erythrite. Roselite is a popular, although scarce, collection mineral. Its color and small, complex
crystals are attractive and make roselite a nice thumbnail mineral.

Roselite is in a solid solution series with the mineral wendwilsonite, (Hydrated Calcium Magnesium Cobalt Arsenate).
A solid solution series is a situation in which two or more elements are able to occupy the same position in the
structures of two or more minerals. In this case, the two elements are cobalt and magnesium and they can replace each
other in the roselite/wendwilsonite structure. If the particular crystal is rich in cobalt, then the mineral is roselite; if the
crystal is rich in magnesium, then the mineral is wendwilsonite.

Roselite is dimorphous with the much rarer, but sometimes associated mineral beta-roselite. Beta-roselite is triclinic
instead of monoclinic in symmetry like roselite. The symmetry difference is due to a different structure, yet the two
minerals have the same formula. This is why they are called dimorphous (di means two; morph means shape).

Roselite lends its name to a small group of rather obscure minerals called the Roselite Group. The Roselite Group is a
group of monoclinic, hydrated calcium arsenates with a general formula of Ca2X(AsO4)2 - 2H2O The X in the formula
can be either cobalt, manganese, magnesium and/or zinc.
These are the members of the Roselite Group:
Brandtite (Hydrated Calcium Manganese Magnesium Cobalt Arsenate)
Roselite (Hydrated Calcium Cobalt Magnesium Arsenate)
Wendwilsonite (Hydrated Calcium Magnesium Cobalt Arsenate)
Zincroselite (Hydrated Calcium Zinc Arsenate)

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is rose-red to dark pink (lighter shades with decreasing cobalt content).
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m.
Crystal Habits include small prismatic to tabular, often complex, crystals and spherical aggregates and
massive crusts. Twinning is the norm and just adds to the complexity of the crystals.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 3.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.5 - 3.7 (above average for translucent minerals).
Streak is light red.
Associated Minerals are erythrite, beta-roselite and limonite.
Notable Occurrences include Rappold Mine, Schneeberg, Saxony and Shapbach, Germany and Bou Azzer,
Morocco.
Best Field Indicators are color, crystal habit, streak, cleavage, density and associations with cobalt ores.

RUBY, the red variety of corundum


VARIETY INFORMATION:
VARIETY OF: Corundum , Al2O3 .
USES: Gemstone.
BIRTHSTONE FOR: July
COLOR: various shades of red.
INDEX OF REFRACTION: 1.76 - 1.78
BIREFRINGENCE: 0.009
HARDNESS: 9
CLEAVAGE: none, although there is a rhombic parting
CRYSTAL SYSTEM: trigonal
PLEOCHROIC: strongly
For natural ruby mineral specimens see our For Sale or Sold lists
Ruby is the red variety of corundum, the second hardest natural mineral known to mankind. The non-red variety of
corundum is Sapphire Sapphires are well known among the general public as being blue, but can be nearly any color.
The red color in ruby is caused by trace amounts of the element chromium. The best shade of red for ruby is often
given the name "pigeon blood red", but ruby can be any shade of red up to almost pink.

Oriented rutile crystal inclusions cause a six-rayed-star light effect (called asterism) to form the popular Star Ruby.
Rubies come from all over the world but good gemstones are found at Thailand, India, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, North
Carolina in the U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Kampuchea, and perhaps most notably, Burma.
Rubies have a famous place in science - the first lasers were made from artificial ruby crystals. They still are used for
this purpose although other materials offer improved efficiency. Some ruby crystals show the fluorescence (actually
very short term phosphorescence) that makes a laser possible.

THE MINERAL RUTILE

Chemistry: TiO2, Titanium Oxide


Class: Oxides and Hydroxides
Group: Rutile
Uses: Ore of titanium, pigment and as an ornamental stone when in clear quartz
Specimens

Rutile is an interesting, varied and important mineral. Rutile is a major ore of titanium, a metal used for high tech alloys
because of its light weight, high strength and resistance to corrosion. Rutile is also unwittingly of major importance to
the gemstone markets. It also forms its own interesting and beautiful mineral specimens.

Microscopic inclusions of rutile in quartz, tourmaline, ruby, sapphire and other gemstones, produces light effects
such as cat's eye and asterisms (stars). A beautiful stone produced by large inclusions of golden rutile needles in clear
quartz is called rutilated quartz. Rutilated quartz is sometimes used as a semi-precious stone and/or for carvings. This
stone is produced because at high temperatures and pressure, n(SiO2)-n(TiO2) is in a stable state but as temperatures
cool and pressure eases the two separate with rutile crystals trapped inside the quartz crystals.
Twinning is common in rutile crystals, with a cyclic twin forming that is comprised of six or even eight "twins" arranged
in a circle. A Rutile Star is a formation of crystals of rutile in a six rayed orientation. The crystals grow off of a hematite
crystal and the orientation is caused by its six rhombic faces.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Color is black or reddish brown in large thick crystals or golden yellow or rusty yellow as inclusions or in thin
crystals.
Luster is adamantine to submetallic.
Transparency: Crystals are transparent in rather thin crystals otherwise opaque.
Crystal System is tetragonal; 4/m 2/m 2/m
Crystal Habits include eight sided prisms and blocky crystals terminated by a blunt four sided or complex
pyramid. The prisms are composed of two four sided prisms with one of the prisms being dominant. Crystals
with some twins forming hexagonal or octahedral circles. A very common habit is thin acicular needles
(especially as inclusions in other minerals) or as blades.
Cleavage is good in two directions forming prisms, poor in a third (basal).
Fracture is conchoidal to uneven.
Hardness is 6 - 6.5
Specific Gravity is 4.2+ (slightly heavy)
Streak is brown
Other Characteristics: Striations lengthwise on crystals, high refractive index (2.63) gives it a sparkle
greater than diamond (2.42).
Associated Minerals are quartz, tourmaline, barite, hematite and other oxides and silicates.
Notable Occurrences include Minas Gerias, Brazil; Swiss Alps; Arkansas, USA and some African locallities.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, streak, hardness, color and high index of refraction (luster).