Shades of Blue



In recognition of the 2016 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®, we are proud to present "Shades of Blue," a compilation of photos of some of the most well-known blue minerals. "Shades of Blue" is the theme this year at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®, which will feature public showcase exhibits of some of the best blue minerals of the world from museums and private collections. Some of the blue minerals in the mineral kingdom are truly fascinating in color, and this years show theme is sure to dazzle. A special thank you goes to John Betts for supplying us with the exceptional photos for this compilation.



Apatite (Fluorapatite)
Antsongombato, Madagascar



Azurite
Copper Queen Mine
Bisbee, Arizona



Barite
Stoneham, Colorado



Benitoite
San Benito County,
California



Beryl var. Aquamarine
Erongo Mountains,
Namibia



Boleite
Amelia Mine
Boleo, Mexico



Carletonite
Mont Saint Hilaire,
Quebec



Celestine
Sankoany,
Madagascar



Chalcanthite
Planet Mine
La Paz Co., Arizona



Chrysocolla
Lubumbashi,
Katanga, Zaire



Corundum var. Sapphire
Ratnapura
Sri Lanka



Cyanotrichite
Grandview Mine,
Grand Canyon,
Arizona



Fluorite
Minerva Mine,
Cave-in-Rock,
illinois



Halite
Carlsbad
New Mexico



Kyanite
Barra de Salinas,
Minas Gerais, Brazil



Lazulite
Graves Mountain,
Georgia



Lazurite (Lapis Lazuli)
Sar-e-Sang, Afghanistan



Linarite
Blanchard Mine
New Mexico



Pectolite var. Larimar
Filipinas Mine
Barahona,
Dominican Republic



Shattuckite
Kandesi, Kaokoveld
Namibia



Sodalite
Princess Mine, Bancroft
Ontario



Topaz
Mursinka, Urals
Russia



Elbaite var. Indicolite
(Paraiba Tourmaline)
Sao Jose da Batalha,
Paraiba, Brazil



Turquoise
Kingman,
Arizona



Zoisite var. Tanzanite
Merelani Hills,
Arusha, Tanzania


Chromite Mining History in Maryland

The Baltimore area lies within an important Serpentine region, stretching all the way from Baltimore and over the Maryland state line into Pennsylvania. Many important Serpentine deposits lie within this area, which is also the source of the discovery of Chromite. The Cylburn Arboretum is a park with gardens and a preserved mansion in Baltimore. The mansion, known as the Cylburn Mansion, belonged the Tyson family, the owners of the Baltimore Chrome Works. In the mansion lies a specimen of Chromite with a nice description of the history of Chromite and its mining in the area. A picture of this with the plaque can be seen below.

Cylburn Mansion Chromite

Here is the text of the plaque:

This sample of chromite, also know as Iron Chromate (FeCr2O4) is from a lens of ore in the Arundel Corporations's Delight Serpentine Quarry, located in Reisterstown, Maryland. The Calhoun chromite mine of the Tyson Mining Company was located on the quarry site and last operated around 1880.

Chromite was first discovered in the United States in Bare Hills, Baltimore County, circa 1808 by Isaac Tyson, Jr. Later discoveries were made in the Serpentine Barrens of Soldiers Delight, Harford County, Cecil County, and Southeastern Pennsylvania. This region provided most of the world's chromite until discoveries were made in Turkey in the 1850's. Isaac Tyson, Jr. virtually monopolized the supply and exported chromite to Europe in barrels via Baltimore clipper ships via Fells Point.

In 1845, he established Baltimore Chrome Works, the first chromium chemicals plant in the United States, after developing and patenting a process to manufacture potassium bichromate. Chromium chemicals were primarily used to manufacture paint pigments, dyes, and mordant for tanning leather. Isaac's son, Jesse Tyson, followed in his father's footsteps, serving as president of Baltimore Chrome Works in Fells Point. Jesse built Cylburn Mansion with his fortune. Isaac's other, son, James Wood Tyson, ovresaw the Tyson Mining Company, which mined chromite in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and California. James, like his father, also was involved in a number of copper mines and iron furnaces in both Maryland and Vermont.

The renowned Tyson mining family dominated the chrome industry and contributed significantly to the copper and iron mining and smelting industry during the nineteenth century.

- Johnny Johnsson, March 1995

Cylburn Mansion Chromite Tyson

Trip to Suffern Agate Deposit in New York

This past November, Minerals.net sponsored a field trip for the North Jersey club to an Agate deposit in Suffern, New York. Jeff Wilson and Dave Shapiro, the field trip coordinators of the North Jersey club, had been working with me to arrange a trip to the site, and, finally, we were able to coordinate a date and time. I had to secure trespassing access from the land owner and neighbors. This was not an easy task, but we did get everything coordinated successfully.Only at the end, after a very successful collecting adventure, did we run into trouble with one of the neighbors as we were walking back to the staging area.


The Agate deposit is located in about 20 miles north of New York City, in a light suburban region with many forested areas. This deposit is wooded, and the earth was never excavated or disturbed. The mineralized zone is mostly restricted to a small basalt hill, with the Agate and Quartz found at the foot of the hill, along the slope, and along the top of the hill. The bedrock is loose with many fragmented rocks, and slight digging or overturning rocks will often lead to a quartz or agate zone within the basalt host.


I first discovered this deposit in 2009 while exploring the woods in the basalt zone and noticed an Agate lying among basalt fragments surrounding a tree. The deposit is quite unique in that it doesn't lie in an excavated quarry or dug area. The minerals are found directly in native bedrock and broken stones, especially around large trees which popped through the bedrock. One can pick any area on the hill, clear the leaves, and be likely to find an Agate or Chalcedony zone.


The host bedrock is a formation known as the Ladentown basalt. It is a small and isolated outcropping of basalt located in the northern part of Suffern, Wesley Hills, and Pomona, in Rockland County, New York. The Ladentown Basalt is actually a continuation of the Watchung Mountains of New Jersey, well-known for the famous traprock deposits such as those in Paterson and Prospect Park that have produced world-class Prehnite and zeolites. 


The primary mineral of importance at the deposit is Agate. The Agates are mostly white and gray, with nice banding zones, with occasional light blue and reddish-brown colors. Some of the Agates have an outer layer of crystalline Quartz, usually white but often also yellow. An occasional light color tint of light blue, light green, light pink, and amethystine have also been found. Recently some nice sparkly drusy Quartz plates have been extracted, with a layer of brown Jasper underneath. Translucent gray Chalcedony is also fairly prevalent, as well as botryoidal white Chalcedony. White rhombohedral Calcite is also found at the deposit, with some of the crystals dissolved leaving over empty crystal casts. Possible empty Anhydrite casts have also been found. 


Our scheduled trip visit was November 22. The weather was very seasonal for November, and conditions were dry, making for good collecting. At first, finds were very sporadic, but as everyone grouped together in different areas, some excellent Quartz and Agate specimens were found. Below are pictures from the dig. I hope to post photos of actual Agates that we found once I finish cleaning and photographing them. Click the pictures to see an enlarged pop-up.



Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club


Suffern NY Agate Trip North Jersey Club

New Photos Added to Mineral Pages

After posting the pictures of all those minerals from the Smithsonian on our news blog, we decided to add some of those pictures (as well as some additional ones from the museum) to our mineral and gemstone detail pages. The new photos are of specimens on public exhibit in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. All the new photos added an additional level of enhancement to the existing photos that were, whether by quality, habit, or a new locality. This list links to all the minerals that have the new photos:


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Part 7 - Phosphates, Molybdates, & Silicates

This final posting of items the Smithsonian gem and mineral collection features phosphates, molybdates, and silicates in the collection.


Click the pictures below for a larger version pop-up.

Two Fluorapatite Crystals with Quartz from Panasqueira, Portugal Two Fluorapatite Crystals with Quartz from Panasqueira, Portugal


Wulfenite with Mimetite from Mapimi, Durango, Mexico Wulfenite with Mimetite from Mapimi, Durango, Mexico


Sparkling Wulfenite Crystal Cluster from Tsumeb, Namibia Sparkling Wulfenite Crystal Cluster from Tsumeb, Namibia


Giant Apatite Crystals with Calcite from Otter Lake, Quebec, Canada Giant Apatite Crystals with Calcite from Otter Lake, Quebec, Canada


Turquoise Vein from Los Cerillos, New Mexico Turquoise Vein from Los Cerillos, New Mexico


Crystallized Turquoise from Lynch Station, Virginia Crystallized Turquoise from Lynch Station, Virginia


Inesite with Apophyllite from Broken Hill, NSW, Australia Inesite with Apophyllite from Broken Hill, NSW, Australia


Pink Zoisite Spray from Spruce Pine, North Carolina Pink Zoisite Spray from Spruce Pine, North Carolina


Chondrodite with Chlorite from the Tilly Foster Mine, Brewster, New York Chondrodite with Chlorite from the Tilly Foster Mine, Brewster, New York


Meionite with Diopside from La Pachita Mine, Ayoquezezco, Oxaca, Mexico Meionite with Diopside from La Pachita Mine, Ayoquezezco, Oxaca, Mexico


Rhodonite with Calcite & Franklinite from Franklin, New Jersey Rhodonite with Calcite and Franklinite from Franklin, New Jersey


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Part 6 - Carbonates

Continuing our picture gallery of minerals and gemstones in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History collection, this post features some exceptional carbonate minerals on display in the museum.

Click the pictures below for a larger version pop-up.

Large Calcite Crystal on Calcite from Shullsberg, Wisconsin Large Calcite Crystal on Calcite from Shullsberg, Wisconsin


Calcite with Duftite Inclusions, Resulting in Green Color, From Tsumeb, Namibia Calcite with Duftite Inclusions, Resulting in Green Color, From Tsumeb, Namibia


Pink Manganoan Calcite from the Idarado Mine, Ouray, Colorado, Namibia Manganoan Calcite from the Idarado Mine, Ouray, Colorado, Namibia


Brown Calcite with Goethite Inclusions from Santa Eulalia, Chihuahhua, Mexico Brown Calcite with Goethite Inclusions from Santa Eulalia, Chihuahua, Mexico


Large Calcite Scalenohedron from Joplin, Missouri Large Calcite Scalenohedron from Joplin, Missouri


Deep Red Rhodochrosite from N'Chwaning Mine, Hotazel, South Africa Deep Red Rhodochrosite from N'Chwaning Mine, Hotazel, South Africa


Large Concentric Rhodochrosite Slab from Catamarca, Argentina Large Concentric Rhodochrosite Slab from Catamarca, Argentina


Huge botryoidal Malachite Blob from Shaba, D.R. Congo Huge botryoidal Malachite Blob from Shaba, D.R. Congo


Smithsonite Stalagmites from Tsumeb, Namibia Smithsonite Stalagmites from Tsumeb, Namibia


Nest-Shaped Malachite Formation from the Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Arizona Nest-Shaped Malachite Formation from the Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Arizona


Prismatic Azurite Crystal from the Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Arizona Prismatic Azurite Crystal from the Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Arizona


Giant Calcite Crystal Cluster from the Woodchuck Mine, Cardin, Oklahoma Giant Calcite Crystal Cluster from the Woodchuck Mine, Cardin, Oklahoma



Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Part 5 - Oxides, Sulfides, & Halides

When we made our visit to the Smithsonian gem and mineral hall, we took hundreds of photos. After going through all of them, there are over 60 we felt worthwhile to post. Instead of making one long post with all of them, we divided then into several posts of related items. We had to think of a common grouping method, so we chose to separate the posts by mineral type classification. This post shows some of the oxides, sulfides, and halides in the Smithsonian collection.


Click the pictures below for a larger version pop-up.

Cubic Halite with Calcite from Eisleben, Thuringen, Germany Cubic Halite with Calcite from Eisleben, Thuringen, Germany


Magnetite Octahedrons in Matrix from Binnantal, Valais, Switzerland Magnetite Octahedrons in Matrix from Binnantal, Valais, Switzerland


Green Fluorite Crystal and Cut Gems from Westmoreland, New Hampshire Green Fluorite Crystal and Cut Gems from Westmoreland, New Hampshire


Cumengite Crystal from the Santa Rosalia MIne, Boleo, Mexico Cumengite Crystal from the Santa Rosalia Mine, Boleo, Mexico


Etched Purple Fluorite Cubes from the Spar Mountain Mine, Cave in Rock, Illinois Etched Purple Fluorite Cubes from the Spar Mountain Mine, Cave in Rock, Illinois


Cuprite with Malachite Coating from the Onganja Mine, Seeis, Namibia Cuprite with Malachite Coating from the Onganja Mine, Seeis, Namibia


Quartz with Rutile Needle Inclusions from Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil Quartz with Rutile Inclusions from Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil


Skull-Shaped Marcasite from Montreal, Wisconsin Skull-Shaped Marcasite from Montreal, Wisconsin


Manganese Oxide Dendritic Crystal Growths in Matrix from Solnhofen, Bayern, Germany Manganese Oxide Dendritic Crystal Growths in Matrix from Solnhofen, Bayern, Germany


Complex Pyrite Crystal in Calcite from Franklin, New Jersey Complex Pyrite Crystal in Calcite from Franklin, New Jersey


Zincite Crystals and Cut Gems from Franklin, New Jersey Zincite Crystals and Cut Gems from Franklin, New Jersey


Molybdenite Crystal in Matrix from Chelan, Washington Molybdenite Crystal in Matrix from Chelan, Washington


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Part 4 - Collection Cases

Our next post on the Smithsonian Natural History Museum gem and mineral collection features some of the exhibit cases that showcase minerals in the Smithsonian collection. There are many different types of exhibit cases in the museum, and they are are grouped by themes such as mineral type, mineral group, or locality. Our selection is by no means a full representation of all the exhibit cases; there are many more than those shown here. Our selection is just some of the more photogenic cases where our pictures came out well.


Click the pictures below for a larger version pop-up.

Wulfenite from Worldwide localities Wulfenite Exhibit Case


Calcite Exhibit Case Calcite Exhibit Case


Corundum Exhibit Case Corundum Exhibit Case


Beryl Exhibit Case Beryl Exhibit Case


Fluorite Exhibit Case Fluorite Exhibit Case


Zeolite Minerals Exhibit Case Zeolite Minerals Exhibit Case


Misc Exhibit Case Misc Exhibit Case. I am not sure what the theme for this case is.


Gypsum Exhibit Case Gypsum Exhibit Case


Crystal Twins and Other Interesting Crystal Habits Crystal Twins and Other Interesting Crystal Habits


Tourmaline Exhibit Case Tourmaline Exhibit Case


Topaz Exhibit Case Topaz Exhibit Case


Minerals from Bisbee, Arizona Minerals from Bisbee, Arizona


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Part 3 - Precious Metals and Metal Compounds

The Smithsonian gem and mineral collection contains an amazing array of Gold, Silver, and rare metal compounds. Many of the Gold and Silver specimens are among the finest for their localities, and there are also many examples from unusual localities. While not all the minerals show here are composed of precious metals, they are still rare and unusual examples of metallic compounds, especially sulfosalts.


Click the pictures below for a larger version pop-up.

Jordanite, Lengenbach Quarry, Binntal, Switzerland Jordanite, Lengenbach Quarry, Binntal, Switzerland


Jamesonite with Calcite, Cavnic, Maramures, Romania Jamesonite with Calcite, Cavnic, Maramures, Romania


Bournonite, Quiruvilca, Peru Bournonite, Quiruvilca, Peru


Dyscrasite with Stibarsen from Pribram, Czech Republic Dyscrasite with Stibarsen from Pribram, Czech Republic


Hessite with Quartz, Botes Transylvania, Romania Hessite with Quartz, Botes Transylvania, Romania


Enargite with Pyrite, Butte, Montana Enargite with Pyrite, Butte, Montana


Polybasite from the Las Chispas Mine, Arizpe, Sonoroa, Mexico Polybasite from the Las Chispas Mine, Arizpe, Sonoroa, Mexico


Exhibit Case of Silver and Copper Exhibit Case of Silver and Copper


Thick Silver Wire with Calcite, Batopilas, Chihuahua, Mexico Thick Silver Wire with Calcite, Batopilas, Chihuahua, Mexico


Silver S Wire from Dreikonigsstein, Lahr, Baden-Wurttenberg, Germany Silver "S" Wire from Dreikonigsstein, Lahr, Baden-Wurttenberg, Germany


Exhibit Case of Gold Exhibit Case of Gold


Gold Nugget, Whitehall Mine, Spotsylvania Co., Virginia Gold Nugget, Whitehall Mine, Spotsylvania Co., Virginia


Large Gold Nugget, Telegraph Mine, California Large Gold Nugget (898.4 grams), Telegraph Mine, California


Hoppered Gold Crystal, Amador Co., California Hoppered Gold Crystal, Amador Co., California