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HALITE ON SYLVITE

04384

Locality

Intrepid Potash East Mine, Carlsbad Potash District, New Mexico, USA

Dimensions

5.3 cm x 7.5 cm x 6.6 cm

Weight

186 g

Description & Provenance

Although salt is a common resource on our planet, it rarely creates well-developed crystal forms in nature. Rarer still are well-formed specimens that also exhibit the perfection and size necessary to be a part of a fine mineral collection. Halite crystals are an exceptionally large, macro-crystalline form of salt that materialized in areas that once held salt lakes and seas that existed millions of years ago that have since evaporated. Not only is halite incredibly collectible in the mineral collecting community for its relatable base of salt, but it is also prone to the spectacular quality of fluorescence.

The Carlsbad Potash District (a.k.a. Carlsbad Potash Basin) has been embraced by collectors as a contemporary classic, due to its spectacularly colored halite specimens which are an instantly recognizable blue-purple coloration. The best specimens also have excellent crystal expression, forming glassy sharp cubes along with nearly transparent clarity. Blue is among the rarer colors represented in halites and the gorgeous blue-purple tone of CPB halites has proven itself unique and exceptional. Blues and purples are not found in all halite deposits and are a product of the halite’s association with the mineral, sylvite. The bombardment of potassium within the sylvite restructures the chloride within the halite, recoloring the crystal. This radioactive process took the better part of 140 million years, and ended long before man discovered these natural wonders.

The height of halite recovery at CPD ran between 2007 and 2012, which yielded specimens of exceptional quality, that proved to be a sporadic and celebrated occurrence. Many of the finest examples were recovered and reserved by a geologist who discovered the specific vein underground that produced the beautiful crystals. Daniel Trinchillo of Fine Minerals International acquired the best half dozen of the halites of which this was one. This specimen has a sharp, cubic crystal habit with good size, luster, and is in fine condition overall. Its captivating blue color is evenly saturated yet retains enough transparency to let the crystal produce a vivid glow with just a hint of light. Accented by transparent white sylvite, the piece also has wonderful contrast and composition. With its uncommon coloring, great aesthetic appeal, and rarity in the market, this specimen is a wonderful addition to any collection.

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