Spectacular Jaspers

Spectacular Jaspers

by Barry Taylor

Jaspers are a silica rich, dense, opaque and cryptocrystalline variety of textural Chalcedony, the technical name for this is a tectosilicate, a type of quartz rich rock. Jaspers often exhibit a unique and amazing ornamental pattern, as you may expect there is a slight overlap with Agate. Some Jaspers are in fact sometimes also called Agate, the Death Valley Plume Agate/Jasper is an example. The colours are often strikingly vivid or they have amazing colour combinations, each piece will differ slightly, and every piece is therefore unique. With a hardness of between 6.5 and 7, all Jaspers are basically a silica

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petrified wood

A stone that once grew organically could be a description of just a few minerals, petrified wood is one of them, also known as fossil wood, agatised wood...

Although found in several locations around the world, USA, Europe, Japan, Australia our story is about petrified wood from Madagascar which is often prized as the source of the better colour examples with popular vivid reds and greens.

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zeolites and associated minerals part 1

This very attractive mineral can often look similar to crystals of quartz, the crystals are found in association with Zeolites which are a confusing group that I will be looking at in detail later. Crystals of Apophyllite ...

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rhodium minerals

Rhodium, Rh, is quite a rare member of the platinum-group of metals with an average crustal value of 0.2 ppb. Most economic rhodium comes from as a by-product of certain copper-nickel ores. The world's major producers are South Africa, Russia and Canada. Annual production stands at a...

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Mexican Opal

by Dave Gibson
Opal was known to the Aztecs by the name Vitzitziltecpa which means hummingbird stone, due to its similarity to the bright iridescent colours of the birds plumage. The original mining locations were lost during the Spanish conquest. They were rediscovered sometime in the early 1800's in the state of Queretaro, some 130 miles North West of the Mexico City.

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pyrite or fools gold


Pyrite is a wonderful common mineral, it is composed of Iron Fe and Sulphur S with the chemical formula of FeS2.  

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Iridium, Osmium, & Ruthenium Minerals

Iridium, Osmium, & Ruthenium Minerals

by John Betterton

Iridium, Ir, osmium, Os and ruthenium, Ru are among the rarest of the elements and thus they produce few minerals. Hence we treat them together.

Iridium is one of least common metals...

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amazing zeolites from india

by Barry Taylor

My all time favourite minerals are the spectacular Zeolites from the Deccan Plateau region in India, this is a flood Basalt deposit that formed... over several million years.
This is one of the largest volcanic features on earth and covers 163,000 square miles to a depth of 6,500 ft, the area covered by lava incorporates eight seperate states of India and covers a large part of the country.

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Iridium, Osmium, & Ruthenium Minerals

by John Betterton

Iridium, Ir, osmium, Os and ruthenium, Ru are among the rarest of the elements and thus they produce few minerals. Hence we treat them together.

Iridium is one of least common metals with a crustal abundance of about 3 parts per trillion. Most of this metal is extracted from the by-product of nickel refining. Canada is the main producer along with South Africa and Russia. About 3 tonnes are produced each year.

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Chlorine Minerals

Chlorine Minerals
by John Betterton

Chlorine, Cl, is a well-known non-metallic element that has a crustal abundance of about 130 ppm. World production stands at over 250 million tonnes per year that is produced by most countries. The main suppliers are China, USA, India, Canada, Brazil and Australia. Planetary servers ...

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irish minerals

by Patrick Gaffikin

Go, my sons, buy stout shoes, climb the mountains, search the valleys, the deserts, the sea shores, and the deep recesses of the earth. Mark well the various kind of minerals, note their properties and their mode of origin....
Petrus Severinus, a Danish physician. (1542-1602)

What are minerals?
A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic solid with a definite chemical composition.

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agates in sedimentary environments

agates in sedimentary environments

Pseudo-Sedimentary Agates

Let us start by dispelling the myth, there is no such a thing as a sedimentary Agate, they do not exist as such, look-alike agates in a sedimentary environment form by different processes.

The rocks that appear on casual glance to have Agate like features are just look-alikes, certain ...

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hydrogen minerals

Hydrogen Minerals

by John Betterton

Hydrogen is the fist element of the periodic Table and is the most plentiful element in the Universe. Its crustal abundance is 0.15% and is mainly present as water. World production is around 40 million tonnes per annum with almost limitless reserves...

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silica minerals

by John Betterton

The plentiful cryptocrystalline/microcrystalline varieties of quartz are described in this article. Cryptocrystalline/microcrystalline quartz is composed of minute crystals that are made up of twisted, very fine intergrown crystals of quartz with a variable fibre-like morphology. They also contain microscopic pores, fluids and or...

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the opal

 the opal

by Ruby Loveridge

“October’s child is born for woe, And life’s vicissitudes must know, But lay an opal on her breast, And hope will lull those woes to rest.”

The first recorded name of the Opal was given by the Ancient Romans, who referred to the stone as ‘Opalus’, which means, ‘precious stone’. Later on the Greeks soon renamed the stone ‘Opallos’, meaning ‘to see a change (of colour)’.

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Turquoise is a very special gemstone

probably the most fascinating of gems. It has a long history with lore, myths and superstitions surrounding it that goes way back into prehistoric times. It was much prized and revered by the ancient Egyptians and in the Americas by the Pueblo people, Aztecs, Toltecs and other ancient cultures of the America's.

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the wonder of quartz inclusions

by Barry Taylor

I have written various articles over the years about the beauty to be found in Quartz Crystals as well as the wonderful magical inclusions that have so captivated my mind, here I revisit a few of my all time favourites together with some new images.

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rubidium and gallium minerals

rubidium and gallium minerals

By John Betterton
Rubidium and Gallium are among the rarest of metals in the Earth’s crust

Rubidium (Rb) and gallium (Ga) are among the rarest of metals in the Earth’s crust with elemental abundances of about ...

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how to create custom mineral stands

how to create custom mineral stands

a feature article

For some time I’d had a problem. A problem which became greater as my mineral collection grew. A problem with which, I suspect, other readers may be familiar; how best to display specimens in the limited space available. Often their centres of gravity are such that...

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The Magic of Micro- Minerals

by John Pearce

Microminerals are very small mineral specimens that require some magnification and illumination to appreciate them and see the crystals in detail. Not much magnification is needed, a 10 times or 20 times hand lens could do it, but a stereomicroscope with a magnification of 10 to 60 times would be even better. Small minerals with crystals of 1 to 2mm can barely be seen with the naked eye, but can look wonderful under a microscope (see Fig. 1). Sheer magic!

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"The gleaming Ruby
should adorn all those who in July are born,
for thus they’ll be exempt and free,
from lover’s doubts and anxiety.”

A Ruby is a pink to blood red colored gemstone, and a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide), though other colours of gem quality corundum are called Sapphires.
Most texts consider Ruby to be the birthstone of July which means it falls into the Zodiac sign of Cancer or Capricorn.

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lapis lazuli a gem with history

Lapis Lazuli, commonly known as lapis. It was much prized and reverred by the people of the world’s first civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley. Also, much prized by the ancient Greeks, Persian’s and Romans. In very ancient times it was known as Sapphire, a name now of course given...

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Thorium minerals

By John Betterton

Thorium, Th, is a relatively rare metal in the Earth’s crust with an average abundance of roughly 5.6 ppm. World production currently stands at around 5000 tonnes per year with Brazil, India, Turkey, Australia and the USA the major produces. The monazite group of phosphate minerals are the current source of the world’s supply of this element. Most of the older uses for this element have been discontinued due to its radioactivity and is still used gas tungsten arc welding.

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agate translucency


agate translucency

I have always been fascinated by the beautiful natural art that is captured in polished slices of Agate. Some Agates are opaque and beautifully banded, whilst others are translucent in thin slices, occasionally some react in strange ways to transmitted light.
Stunningly beautiful natural Agates have a magical charm of their own, all the pictures ...

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indium minerals

By John Betterton
The metal indium, In, is a very rare element with an average crustal abundance of about 0.1 ppm. World production stands at around 600 tonnes per year with China, Canada, Japan and South Korea the main producers

 The metal indium, In, is a very rare element

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gypsum beauty and necessity

I have already covered the exotic Desert Roses that are crystals of Gypsum that have incorporated sand grains into their flower like structure, see issue 59, Spring 2013.

The mineral Gypsum is both a practical mineral and a beautiful one, it often forms as slender wonderful crystals in deserts and mines, we all use this mineral in our every day lives in everything from toothpaste to plaster on the walls of our homes and offices.

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flourine minerals

flourine minerals

Fluorine, F, is one of the more reactive non-metals and is quite abundant with a crustal abundance of around 950 ppm.
World production is currently about 6 million tonnes with China, Mexico, Mongolia and South Africa the major supplies.

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jasper lore

‘Who wears a Jasper, be life short or long, Will meet all dangers brave and wise and strong.’
The name Jasper itself originated from the greek for ‘spotted or speckled one’, presumably due to the natural spotted, multicolored or striped appearance the stone typically holds. Common patterns within the Jasper include interesting vein like marbling, spots, varies of streaks and flaming.

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sulphur minerals

By John Betterton

Sulfur, S, occurs at about 260 ppm in the Earth’s crust and its various minerals are very diverse and some are abundant.
World production currently stands at exceeds 70,000,000 tonnes per year. Most of it is recovered from fossil fuels from leading nations such as the USA, Canada, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia etc.
The industrial uses for sulfur are vast and range from vulcanisation of rubber, sulphuric acid, sulfur trioxide, numerous other chemical and pharmaceutical compounds, fertilizers, rust removal, explosives, fuels, paints, bleach papers, detergents, many organic compounds etc.

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tourmaline-crystal The magazine has regular featured mineral article most issues, everything from creation, abundance to crystal lattice and structure.
Rocks, stones crystals, gems all formed from minerals or the combination of, made up of atoms and electrons and formed with distinctive characteristics, shapes and structures.
Often formed by volcanic activity, magma, compression and evaporation of water.
Several known structures are seen including cubic, tetragonal,hexagonal,monoclinic, triclinic, orthorhombic.
The magazine always has a range of suppliers that stock minerals both common and hard to find.

Excerpt from report on tin minerals in issue 40







carbon minerals

carbon minerals

Carbon, C,

is present in the Earth’s crust with an average abundance of about 480 ppm. Its extraction is greater than any other element if we include the various rocks like limestone, dolomite and marble together with the many fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. World annual production of carbon in the form of graphite...

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zeolites and associated minerals part 2

Stilbite and Heulandite by Barry Taylor

This beautiful Zeolite is also known as Wheat Sheaf Ore due to its distinctive crystal shape when twinned, looking like the stooks of wheat,
fresh in the fields when hand gathered. Stlibite is commonly found ...

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Rock and Mineral Collections of the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge

 The Sedgwick Museum is part of the Department of Earth Sciences,University of Cambridge. The museum was founded in 1728 when Dr John Woodward bequeathed the geological part of his enormous collection to the university.

WOODWARD'S BEQUEST is still almost intact and can be seen in the present museum in its original walnut veneered cabinets. The main collections of the museum are divided into three: fossils, rocks and minerals. What follows is a brief history and description of the last two.
The rock collection has over 150,000 specimens from all over the world.

Read more: Rock and Mineral Collections of the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge

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issue 24 silver minerals


issue 14 zinc minerals

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