My Etsy Shop

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Carletonite. Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec, Canada.  Another rare but beautiful mineral.  Carletonite can be cut for a gemstone.

Here is a rare mineral from a modern world class location - Mont St. Hilaire in Quebec.  The quarry is known to have more than 370 minerals and is type locality for at least 50 minerals.  The quarry has been worked since the 1950's and in later years has been in and out of operation.  Currently the mineral and gem club of Montreal hosts 2 or 3 field trips a year to the quarry. The quarry is not being actively mined and it is difficult to find anything of quality.  An active quarry is a field collectors best friend.

Our goal for the past 10 years has been to visit at least one classic mineral locale per year.  I was unable to attend the Mont St. Hilaire trip but John did trek up there and came back with some massive serandite and a few other minerals.

Field trip information:  Excursions
Additional information about Mont St Hilaire

Mont Saint-Hilaire | Gault Nature Reserve - McGill University
ALKALI-NUTS, Mont Saint-Hilaire site, entry page

Monday, April 23, 2012

Calcite.  A Calcite Scepter from Russia and a Calcite included with Boulangerite from Romania

So how do you decide what to include in your collection.  I am a collector who enjoys the pursuit, the treasure hunt.    I attend so many shows as a dealer and as a wholesale buyer I needed to develop a strategy to develop my own collection.  I decided on thumbnails and even though there are fewer and fewer good thumbnail dealers out there my collection still was overflowing with minerals I had only purchased because they were available.  Now I focus.  I will consider all thumbnail minerals but I pursue an agenda until I have filled that space.  Currently I am collecting quartz from US locations.  I have been pursuing that goal for about 2 years.  Another strategy is to only purchase interesting examples of common minerals. So here we have two calcites - my scepter and my space ship.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bixbyite from the Maynard Pit, Thomas Range, near Delta, Utah.  I dug this one a number of years ago. I was in Utah by invitation of the claim owners.  This one sits on the pseudomorphs of hematite after garnet.

Maynard Bixby is credited with the first discovery of the red beryls of Utah and originally they were called Bixbite in his honor.  Later scientific investigation determined the Bixbites were only a variety of Beryl not a separate mineral.  Bixbyite was discovered in Utah and was named in Bixby's honor.  Bixbyite is a rare mineral and form shiny black perfect cubes.

You still can collect at Topaz Mountain. If you plan ahead and contact one of the guide services in Delta you may be able to plan a dig to some more productive claims in the Thomas Range.  Start by contacting West Desert Rock Shop in Delta and they can point you in the right direction.  While you are in Delta be sure to visit the rock shop.

Utah Rockhounding - Resources - Articles - Maynard Bixby
Rocks and Minerals - Utah Geological Survey

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

3 Beryls.  2 Red Beryls from Utah, sometimes called Bixbite in the jewelry community and a "sapphire colored" beryl from Pakistan.  I am not going to wade into the treacherous territory of what causes color in minerals so here is an article from a reliable source: Colors in Minerals - Eastern New Mexico University
What I do caution collectors is not to rely on color to determine the identity of minerals.  The beryls below are examples of unusual color for beryl and if one would use color only you might never come to the correct mineral identification.

Beryl is a wonderful mineral.  It comes in a wonderful variety of colors and is so loved historically many of the colors have their own varietal terms.
Greenish Blue and Blue Beryls are called Aquamarine.  I really think the blue beryls need their own name.
"chrome" Green Beryls are name Emerald.
Yellow beryls are called Heliodor.
Red Beryl as indicated above are sometimes called Bixbite.
Colorless beryls are call Goshenite
Pink to pinkish orange beryls are called Morganite.
Raspberry Colored beryls are called Pezzottaite

Read more about beryl:  Mineral Photos - Beryllium | Mineral Information Institute

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blue Barite from Sterling, Colorado.  Barite is a wonderful mineral these blues being highly prized as well as the amber yellow crystals.  

Barite is a very common mineral in the earth's crust.  It is the crystals which are rarer.  Well formed macroscopic crystals, in the geological perspective, are rare indeed.  Think about it, how often do you walk about and come across a euhedral crystal (Euhedral crystals are those that are well-formed with sharp, easily-recognised faces.)  
Usually all you come upon are rocks and sediments. Without a bit of effort you will not turn up a crystal, even with a bit of effort you may not find a crystal.  

I did once, while going through a large purchase of Pakistani minerals, come across a 5 inch blue aquamarine crystal entwined with roots.  It would be a happy day indeed if I were to walk out in the yard and find a fine blue aquamarine crystal nestled in the tree roots.

For more information on geological and mineralogical terms start here:     Geology Definitions - Geological Dictionary - Earth Science

Friday, April 13, 2012

Azurite is a very popular mineral to collect. Azurite is found world wide associated with copper deposits. Very fine large azurites can command a king's ransom.  The Smithsonian Institution's mineral collection is now available online.  It is a little hard to maneuver but start on the Azurite page ( and you will quickly learn their system.  Be sure to go to the gem galleries (gems).  The gemstones are incredible, after all they do have the Hope Diamond.

Well here is my meager,yet cute, little Blue Jay Pit, La Sal, Utah Azurite on Malachite thumbnail specimen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Proceeding down the alphabet (I did skip quite a few that were just not very photogenic) we come to a rare but beautiful mineral cuprian Austinite from Mina Ojuela.  I like this mineral enough to also own 3 other specimens in the cabinet sizes.  Rare and pretty is a mineral collector and a mineral dealer's grail.

You can read more about austinite at webmineral, Austinite Mineral Data.  I particularly like webmineral's audio feature which gives the proper pronunciation of the mineral name.  Of course the pronunciations are the accepted American version.  There are regional differences in pronunciation and some minerals or mineral terms have more than one accepted pronunciation - like chalcedony and rutile.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Aurichalcite - Kelly Mine, Socorro County, New Mexico.  Kelly Mine is famous for its blue green smithsonites.  Pictured below the auri is a smithsonite from the Mineralogical Museum on the campus of New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico. The museum has been displaying minerals since 1899 and is well worth a visit if you are traveling in central New Mexico.  In November the museum hosts a mineral symposium with a well attended satellite rock swap.  Socorro county is also home to Bosque del Apache a conservation area along the Rio Grande and one of the few places in the states that you can observe the sandhill crane.  Finally while in the area you can drive west of town and visit the VLA - the world's premier radio observatory.
Here is a link to the museum so you can plan your visit - NMBGMR Mineral Museum
Here is the link to Bosque del Apache   Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge - Southwest Region ...
and to the VLA  NRAO Very Large Array

Sunday, April 8, 2012

This is a Mina Ojuela Aurichalcite.   Ojuela  Mine has been produced for 400 years mainly for the metals copper, lead and silver.  In the past century a wide variety of common and rare collectible minerals have come from Ojuela.  There are many more "important minerals" such as legrandite, adamite and scorodite from Ojuela but there are also beautiful examples of more common minerals like this aurichalcite.  You can have an large and significant collection just collecting the minerals from Mina Ojuela.

You can read an article detailing the history and exploration of Mina Ojuela by Tom Moore of the Mineralogical Record here: The Ojuela mine: Mapimi, Durango, Mexico.(famous mineral ...

Mineralogical Record is one of the leading popular periodicals for the mineral collector.  I would also recommend Rocks and Minerals, Rock and Gem.
Links for mineral collecting periodicals
Rock & Gem -   Rock & Gem Magazine
The Mineralogical Record -     The Mineralogical Record
Rocks and Minerals -        Rocks and Minerals Magazine -- March/April 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A couple of years ago I bought this apatite from John Seibel at Tucson.  Tucson hosts the world's largest gem & mineral show each year starting in late January until the middle of February, if you count the Flagg Foundation mineral meet up and Quartzite the festivities start around January 6.  It is the pilgrimage, the Mecca for mineral, fossil and gem collectors and all of the associated fields of endeavor.

John Seibel told me that this location in Utah, near Cedar City, is still available to collect and that there are apatites just laying around on the ground.  He says what he has not found in all of his hunting is a lost location nearby which yielded some spectacular amethyst and apatite combo specimens.  Hopefully John S. is still out there hunting.  I guess I need to get back to Utah to dig around.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Apatite is one of my favorite minerals.  It occurs in a wide range of colors, blues, greens,pinks, yellows and some not so lovely shades of brown and red.  Because of its lovely colors and clarity it is commonly faceted for jewelry.  It is not particularly hard (5 on Mohs scale) so if you are going to use it in jewelry use it for earrings or pendants (above the waist jewelry).

We have field collected apatite in Ontario and Quebec.  If you are nearby an apatite fee collecting area give it a try as it is an easy mineral to collect and generally pretty, even in the less spectacular colors.  In the right mine or pit you could easily come away with a nice 3 or 4 inch crystal, the trick is taking it out in the matrix.

Here is an apatite from Cerro De Mercado Iron Mine, Durango, Mexico, a famous and productive location for yellow to yellowish green gemmy apatites. Tomorrow I will show you a very similar apatite from Utah.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our collection, like many collections, has sub collections.  The thumbnail collection is a sub collection of our collection.  Within the thumbnail collection there is a quartz sub collection, a fluorite sub collection, a garnet sub collection and the "glove box" collection.  In the glove box collection are minerals I purchase with the intention of field collecting the location.  When traveling I will put these thumbnails in the glove box.  Here is a Quartz pseudomorphing Aragonite Cyclical Twin from Clarendon, Texas.  I would like to know more about this location, does anyone have further information?  (Sorry for the short post today, tornados in Texas)

Monday, April 2, 2012

When you first start collecting minerals you should explore all types of minerals, all localities, all sizes, colors, forms, etc...  Learn through your purchases - ownership brings knowledge.

As you gain expertise you will start to focus your collection.  Some people collect only examples of one mineral,  some collect only certain sizes, others collect single crystals with no matrix, some focus on a group of minerals (eg micas). Many collect for the beauty of the minerals - hence the term "House Jewelry".  Traditionally many collectors have focused their collection on a geographic area - be it a single mine, a single district or even a single country.  One of the popular areas to collect are the classic alpine locations of Switzerland.  Here is an example of that location -
Orthoclase variety Adularia coated with Chlorite from Burg-Fiesch Glascier Area, Fiesch, Goms, Wallis, Switzerland.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hello.  I am Maryanne Fender.  I married into a family of long time mineral collectors.  In 1996 John and I started selling minerals at shows as Fender Natural Resources.  We still sell at shows in Tucson, Denver and in Texas.  Recently I branched out selling cabochons, jewelry stones, crystals and miniature minerals on Etsy.

We are always asked "What do you collect?"  So I am starting this blog to answer that question.  John pursues collecting macro (can be seen without aid of magnification) very rare minerals ranging in size from 2 inches up to about 8 inches.  I collect just about anything as long as it is a thumbnail mineral - that is a macro mineral that can fit into a 1 inch cube.  Thumbnail mineral collectors store their prizes in small clear acrylic boxes called "perkies" which are a 1.25 inch cube.

  Thumbnail collectors traditionally have arranged their collection alphabetically so today I start with Adamite. So here is one of my many adamites.

 Adamites is a  fairly rare arsenate mineral and some of the best come from Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico - as does this specimen.  The yellow adamites fluoresce a lovely kelly green when lit with a short wave ultraviolet light. The yellow adamites range in color to a yellowish green. Adamite also comes in a violet variety called Mangan Adamite and a blue green variety called Cuprian Adamite.  You can learn more about adamite at webmineral: Adamite Mineral Data.