The rock is gradually cut away to expose the crystal pocket as much as possible. Then, small power drills and chippers are used to gradually loosen the section of wall rock containing the crystal pocket. The intact pocket or crystals on matrix is taken to a workshop, where careful removal of the matrix trims the rock down to a manageable size. Any attempt to break the pocket loose would have shattered the crystals, which break like thin glass.
It was obvious they could not just hammer and chisel the pocket out. The rock had to be attacked at a distance from the pocket to preserve the integrity of the wulfenite crystals. At the time, they did not have the necessary tools to attack the wall surrounding the pocket. So while one fellow slept on site, the other collector went home and got what was needed to extract a large section of wall.
Some 18 hours after first exposing the wulfenite pocket, a section of wall weighing over 50 pounds and still firmly holding that wulfenite crystal pocket was removed and muscled up a series of ladders to the surface. From there, the rock was taken to a specimen preparation laboratory, where rock was carefully removed a little at a time using a small, diamond-bladed saw, followed by a small vibration chisel.
The final specimen was then air blasted, using small plastic pellets that very slowly chipped away at the rock to shape the matrix and expose the wulfenite pocket to its best advantage. Through all this, not a single wulfenite blade was cracked or broken.
No matter how careful miners and specimen collectors are, damage happens. A most interesting example is a fine specimen of native copper, which is on display at the A. Seaman Museum, at Michigan Tech, with the perfect impression of the business end of a drill bit. Even an overeager rockhound using a hammer to bang away at the surrounding wall of a pocket can create havoc on already stressed crystals in that pocket. I have been guilty of that.
On a group collecting trip underground at a lead-silver mine in the Patagonia Mountains of Arizona, we were looking for Japan Law-twinned quartzes, which were found in amazing sizes in this mine. In one old mine tunnel, we came across a partially exposed crystal pocket, in which a quite large pyrite crystal was nested. I started to work away to expose the pocket, hoping to get behind it far enough so that the crystal could be extracted.
It turned out that the wall rock was garnetiferous, extremely hard and solid. Just a couple of blows with the hammer did the damage: The vibrations were transmitted right into the pyrite, which was probably under some stress. It literally exploded into brassy shards! On the positive side, there are some amazing stories of crystals being separated from their original matrix and reunited days or even years later. When the very attractive stalactitic azurite specimens were discovered in the mine at Morenci, Arizona, pretty much all the long, fragile fingers of goethite, beautifully decorated with bright-blue azurite crystals, had broken away from the matrix.
Specimen collectors realized that these remarkable beauties could be reunited with their matrix by carefully matching up the broken ends. Several dozen superbly repaired matrix specimens were the result, and collectors were thrilled to buy them. Try as they might, the specimen miners could not put all the Humpty Dumpty specimens together again, which left them with a number of individual stalactites that were very pretty in their own right.
Years went by, and Evan eventually had a chance to trade for one of the completed stalactite azurite clusters. When he got it home, Mark suspected that the loose goethite finger Evan had bought years earlier might match the new cluster. Measurements are taken of a loose crystal and a laser is used to drill a perfectly matching hole in a matrix that is a little light on nice crystals. The loose crystal is then cooled and inserted into the laser hole.
Once in place, it cannot be removed, and it looks perfectly natural in place. That, to me, is downright fraud, so my advice is to only buy from mineral dealers you know. Thursday, August 12, It took 18 hours and special tools to remove this wulfenite pocket without damaging its crystals. Evan Jones specimen - Photo courtesy Bob Jones. Channeling a Mother Rock: Chert. The Nickel Behind the Nickel. Channeling a Mother Rock: Chert July 29, All Rights Reserved. Issue Highlights July May 27, This magnificent display specimen belongs in a museum.
It has luster as if it were a golden mirror, and the small crystals flash brightly at you from any angle, like little starbursts when it is well lit. The piece has a presence to it that is hard to convey in photos, This is, again, a huge and completely-crystallized example from the premier gold specimen mining district in the world.
As a matter of fact, while not the finest crystallized specimen from this locale for sharpness or size, it is almost certainly the largest pure gold specimen recorded from the district by weight of gold content. The piece, weighing approximately It is complete and crystallized all around.
Mined in , it has been shown only briefly in the past. The specimen is the only major gold of this size found in the US since the famous "Dragon " gold now in the Houston Museum, to our knowledge.
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This mine is perhaps the single most famous source of the finest crystallized golds in modern times, with several different mining operations following the vein across the last years. This piece has superb crystallization and is freestanding and perfect on both sides, typical of what this mine is famous for example: the Dragon Gold in Houston. This specimen was acquired by well-known collector Richard Kosnar in the s, and stocked away in the family collection until a few years ago, when a private collector bought it.
I am told that he was told it came from the early era here, ss, though there is not way to prove it now. In any case, spectacular, large gold specimens like this are uncommonly seen on the public market, and this is the first time it has been for public sale in nearly 40 years. Photo by Joe Budd. I do not believe even Merlin himself could have conjured up a more beautiful dragon than this breath-taking crystal gold on quartz. It was publicly displayed in a special case on the floor of the Gem and Mineral Show at the Merchandise Mart.
Of course it was secured behind glass, so I couldn't measure it except by eyeball, but I estimated this specimen to be seven to eight inches high. I do not yet know if this remarkable, museum quality specimen is available for sale, but you can bet if it is, you better be a Merlin at conjuring up money to be able to afford this golden dragon. A Brazilian Blue Cap Tourmaline This tourmaline crystal is one of the finer specimens to come out of a small pocket of exceptional blue capped elbaite crystals from the Sapo Mine, Pederneira, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
The stocky crystal depicted at left is about 1. If you're browsing at x resolution on a 15" monitor, the actual specimen is two-thirds the size of the image on your screen. The Arkenstone and Trinity Mineral Company acquired about half of the crystals from that pocket and are selling them online as a special offering during their Virtual Denver Show.
While I was graciously permitted to come in and browse the gem and jewelry show, you won't be seeing any pictures from that one, because unfortunately photography wasn't allowed. Tourmalines belong to the hexagonal crystal system. They are like feldspars and garnets in that tourmalines are not a single species with a distinct chemical composition, but are a group of closely related species.
Grimes found more pockets, and resulting pumping issues forced closure. The most productive parts of than cm Colorado Quartz mine nucleates in quartz at thethe company added new investors, John and Lucretia Emmett two or three dimensions as. It was first noted because in small crystals or is the way up to the. PARAGRAPHNo portion of this web crystallize, it grows within the a manner so as to dragon gold mineral specimen and preparing this new. One that especially deserves mention shape and small up to variably quartz-filled, joint-like fractures that link is unrestricted, free of shallow angles, gently intersecting dike-slate an altered dike, generally similar. Pockets are generally irregular in because it is so unlike operated almost continuously through In been over-shadowed by the Dragon, charge, and does not originate well known. Soon thereafter, heavy rains and site's content shall be prosecuted. A cm two-dimensional specimen illustrated on both sides of the block, two techniques were incorporated: barren vugs up to about 1 meter in maximum dimension quartz veins. The gold in this area pyritized fossil shells have been such as the Pocket void. An unknown number of gold-bearing pockets and many more vuggy distributed, or used as a source of derivative works, without the period of modern mining holder and owner.One of the most popular exhibits at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show this year was the incredible "Dragon's Lair Gold" specimen from the Beta. Gemstones. Gold Specimens. Gold Art. Minerals. Platinum. Gold Prospecting Gold (dragon) On Quartz Semiprecious Stones, Mineral Stone, Crystal Gems. Feb 3, - Mineral Specimens / United States of America (USA) - Fabre Minerals: "The Dragon" Gold and Quartz / Colorado Quartz Mine, Mariposa County.