Ojuela! (and some mixed minerals too)

A selection of mixed minerals, with a particular focus on Ojuela. I decided to visit the mine on a whim, and was graciously offered the opportunity to go into the mine with a group of miners. After only 3 hours of sleep the night before due to travel,  I ended up going down to the water table at the 6th level with them.  Apparently I’m the only foreigner to have undertaken the task in years, and honestly, I could barely do it even when I WASN’T hauling a sack of tools or rocks. The whole trip took hours—from about 5 PM to 8 AM the next day. It is one of the most physically exhausting things I’ve done in my life-- first hiking through cacti and chollas to an entrance, then going hundreds of meters down, shifting from ladder to ladder, climbing down (and later up) 60+ degree inclines, pulling myself up ropes and walking along dusty, slippery ledges with 100 ft drops mere inches away. And that’s not even considering the way up. It goes without saying, I definitely slowed those guys down, and it took a little doing to silence the nerves after descriptions of accidents in the very spots we were passing by.  I was just a tourist that day, these guys do it on a regular basis for work-- and I have to say, the prices of $5 hemimorphites and $10 adamites that wholesalers sell *really, really* don't capture the difficulty and danger that these guys undertake.  I've been to Pegmatite mines in Madagascar and Pakistan and zeolite quarries in India, but these are by far the most insane working conditions I’ve seen yet, walking through the shafts and scaling the walls of a mine mostly abandoned 100 years ago. 


In the interest of full disclosure, I'll add that none of these were collected that day—they only found some crappy rosasite on that excursion.  Also…I lacked the skills to collect anything on my own without shattering it. (And now for the shameless self-promotion:) At the same time,  because I was able to get these things so close to the source, you'll probably find my prices to be much cheaper than elsewhere-- particularly for the austinites, which I do believe are pretty damn exceptional. And have a look at that quartz cluster! 


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AMJ01 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
14.5x 6.2x 9.0 cm
$1200

An exceptional example of austinite from a recent find at the Ojuela Mine.  Austinite is a rare calcium zinc bearing arsenate best known from Tsumeb, the Majuba Hill mine in Utah, and the Ojuela Mine.  Tsumeb was best known for the green cuproaustinites, and at the Majuba Hill most specimens contained only semi-crusty crystalline aggregates.

The richness of these new specimens certainly makes them significant for the species, and the color saturation and size of the orbs on these examples in my opinion places them ahead of many of the examples even by the generally superior standards of pieces from Ojuela.

This is probably the best example I have-- it's a large vug lined with translucent crystal aggregates.  I'd also say the price is quite cheap, compared to what I've seen other dealers asking for lesser examples....

Part of the reason for the lower price (this would easily be 3 times the price elsewhere) is that I actually went to Ojuela-- there wasn't terribly much to buy, but I did get lucky with a group of these austinites.  While this piece was not collected during that particular excursion (there was only crappy rosasite found that day), I had the privilege of down to the water table at the 6th level of the mine with a group of miners. It is without a doubt the most physically exhausting thing I have done in my life.  Between the ropes, shifting from connecting ladders, and precarious drops, and what basically amounted to mountain climbing hundreds of meters underground (all without safety equipment), I have to say that I have gained a new respect for the people who do this every day, just to bring specimens to the market.  Ojuela material is a staple of wholesalers, but the prices *really, really* don't take into account or even begin to give a sense of the risks and hard work that these people undertake in order to bring that $5 adamite or $10 hemimorphite out of the ground. 












AMJ02 Fluorite
Level 1, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
6.6x 6.3x 5.8 cm
$385

A beautiful example of fluorite from the Ojuela Mine, with two grape-jelly colored crystals on a nicely contrasting matrix.  With even a small amount of lighting the color saturation really comes through, and I thought this piece was particularly nice as the faces were particularly lustrous (they usually tend to be slightly etched and have a matte quality).











AMJ03 Malachite
Milpillas Mine, Cuitaca, Sonora, Mexico
14.5x 6.8x 7.6 cm
$285

A great example of primary malachite from the Milpillas Mine.  This mine rose to fame for its spectacular azurites, but has also been the source of a number of other minerals including cuprite, pyrite, volborthite, brochantite, and malachite.

The vast majority of the malachite examples from this locality have been pseudomorphs after azurite-- primary growth malachite has been somewhat less common.  This piece shows the typical habit, with numerous green orbs scattered on matrix.  There are a couple small scuffs, but the piece is exactly as shown.







AMJ04 Quartz
Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
7.2x 6.1x 4.0 cm
$385

As ridiculous as the may sound, this quartz is probably one of the most interesting pieces in the update. 

Quartz is the most common mineral on earth, and Ojuela has been one of the most prolific specimen producing localities, but quartz specimens have always been very rare from the locality.  While not a definitive measure of rarity, the fact that Mindat only has 4 images of crudely crystallized quartz as an accessory mineral (out of 3700 mineral photos from the locality) certainly gives some indication of its scarcity.

Whats more, it is actually rather aesthetic.  If you are a collector of Ojuela minerals or Mexican minerals in general, this is probably a pretty good one for you....







AMJ05 Rosasite
Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
9.2x 8.0x 5.0 cm
$300

A great example of a rosasite hemisphere on matrix.  99.9% of the time these fall of the matrix while being collected.  This one sits nicely front an center.

I have stabilized this one with white glue-- unfortunately a bit of that is visible when you look underneath the hemisphere from behind.  I took pictures before stabilizing, lest anyone doubt its authenticity-- there is a reason why these fall off so easily, and in this case I could see so much light between the rosasite and the friable matrix that I could barely make out the point of attachment. 









AMJ06 Scheelite n Muscovite with Albite
Huya Village, Mt. Xuebaoding, Sichuan Prov., China
10.7x 6.9x 3.7 cm
$465

A nice cabinet sized sample of scheelite on muscovite, from the locality that has arguably produced the world's best scheelites.  This one has mid-range color, and particularly well arranged crystals. The largest one ends sort of abruptly on the right side.  A good (and sizeable) example for the price.







AMJ07 Cuprian austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
15.8x 12.0x 7.5 cm
$750

A large and exceptionally rich plate of greenish cuprian austinite-- the color seems a bit more saturated toward the center of the specimen, as the "cuprian" bit seems to increase.  By the standards of austinite from anywhere, this piece is very, very rich.







AMJ08 Prehnite
Merelani, Arusha, Tanzania
4.6x 4.3x 3.6 cm
$195

A beautiful example of translucent prehnite crystals from Merelani.  These recently discovered examples are probably the finest prehintes ever found, particularly given their translucency and incredible color.  These display a degree of color shift, being at their most vivid in indirect sunlight or equivalent lighting.







AMJ09 Fluorite on Quartz
Level 1, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
6.2x 4.9x 3.6 cm
$185

A nice example of a cubic fluorite crystal nicely centered on a limonite matrix, from Level 1 of the Ojuela Mine. 







RESERVED
AMJ10 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
7.0x 5.0x 2.5 cm

An excellent example from a new find of austinite.  There are always one or two pieces that your eye naturally gravitates to as you are scanning a lot, and for me this was definitely the main one.  It is not the largest, but I particularly liked the balance, richness and arrangement of the piece. 

Austinite is a rare calcium zinc bearing arsenate best known from Tsumeb, the Majuba Hill mine in Utah, and the Ojuela Mine.  Tsumeb was best known for the green cuproaustinites, and at the Majuba Hill most specimens contained only semi-crusty crystalline aggregates.

The richness of these new specimens certainly makes them significant for the species, and the color saturation and size of the orbs on these examples in my opinion places them ahead of many of the examples even by the generally superior standards of pieces from Ojuela.







AMJ11 Quartz var. Amethyst
Kingston Range, San Bernardino Co., California
15.3x 8.4x 5.4 cm
$285

A beautiful and seldom seen example of Amethyst from a locality in southeastern California.







AMJ12 Cuproaustinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
6.5x 4.0x 2.9 cm
$195

A very nice example of green cuproaustinite from the Ojuela Mine.  There were only a few of these found along with the "regular" austinites.







AMJ13 Manganadamite
Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
6.8x 3.4x 3.6 cm
$165

A beautiful example of the highly coveted purple variety of adamite, manganadamite, with a couple clusters on matrix.  The crystals aren't the largest, but the color is pretty good.







AMJ14 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
10.4x 6.7x 9.3 cm
$565

An great example of austinite from a recent find at the Ojuela Mine.  Austinite is a rare calcium zinc bearing arsenate best known from Tsumeb, the Majuba Hill mine in Utah, and the Ojuela Mine.  Tsumeb was best known for the green cuproaustinites, and at the Majuba Hill most specimens contained only semi-crusty crystalline aggregates.

The richness of these new specimens certainly makes them significant for the species, and the color saturation and size of the orbs on these examples in my opinion places them ahead of many of the examples even by the generally superior standards of pieces from Ojuela.

I'd also say the price is quite cheap, compared to what I've seen other dealers asking for lesser examples.... on other sites this would be somewhere between 3 and 4 times the price










AMJ15 Zircon
Morogoro Region, Tanzania
3.6x 1.5x 1.4 cm
$235

A large and somewhat rare zircon crystal from Tanzania.







AMJ16 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
7.4x 3.8x 3.8 cm
$465

An great example of austinite from a recent find at the Ojuela Mine.  Austinite is a rare calcium zinc bearing arsenate best known from Tsumeb, the Majuba Hill mine in Utah, and the Ojuela Mine.  Tsumeb was best known for the green cuproaustinites, and at the Majuba Hill most specimens contained only semi-crusty crystalline aggregates.

The richness of these new specimens certainly makes them significant for the species, and the color saturation and size of the orbs on these examples in my opinion places them ahead of many of the examples even by the generally superior standards of pieces from Ojuela.

This is one of my favorite examples from the lot--I'd also say the price is quite cheap, compared to what I've seen other dealers asking for lesser examples....










AMJ17 Adamite
Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
3.8x 3.6x 2.2 cm
$265

A very nice example of globular adamite crystal aggregates-- these days most of what goes to the market are crystals scattered on a limonite matrix, and it's unusual to see such rich or large single growths.  There is a bit of included limonite that gives it an orangish tinge in places.







AMJ18 Adamite
Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
6.5x 4.1x 1.4 cm
$265

A very nice example of globular adamite crystal aggregates-- these days most of what goes to the market are crystals scattered on a limonite matrix, and it's unusual to see such rich or large single growths.  There is a bit of included limonite that gives it an orangish tinge in places.







AMJ19 Malachite
Milpillas Mine, Cuitaca, Sonora, Mexico
12.0x 6.9x 4.8 cm
$365

A great example of primary malachite from the Milpillas Mine.  This mine rose to fame for its spectacular azurites, but has also been the source of a number of other minerals including cuprite, pyrite, volborthite, brochantite, and malachite.

The vast majority of the malachite examples from this locality have been pseudomorphs after azurite-- primary growth malachite has been somewhat less common.  This piece shows the typical habit, with radiating clusters that have a rough-textured, pseudo-botryoidal appearance.







AMJ20 Smithsonite
Pinargozu Mine, Kozan, Adana Prov., Turkey
7.6x 7.4x 4.8 cm
$235

Here's something really unusual: a smithsonite from Turkey.  You pretty much only ever see kammererite and pyrite from the country, with the odd diaspore or amethyst.  







AMJ21 Beryl var. Aquamarine
Songea, Ruvuma Region, Tanzania
2.7x 1.5x 1.4 cm
$115

A nice thumbnail sized example of aquamarine from an unusual location in Tanzania.







AMJ22 Calcite
Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
15.3x 9.5x 7.7 cm
$200

A nice example of calcite from the Ojuela Mine. It is not rare from the mine, but somewhat unique as a specimen because these are not generally collected unless they are associated with a more colorful arsenate or carbonate mineral. Sawn on the reverse

As a side note: I heard from multiple sources around the mine that the new "kobyashevite" samples are manufactured.  Apparently Ojuela calcites like this one are taken somewhere (it seemed like it wasn't even in Ojuela, though no one knew exactly where) and the kobyashevite and selenite crystals are allowed to grow on them, probably in the wastewater from another mine.... So while they are advertised as "post mining" there is probably a bite more human-aided effort that goes into their creation.  Caveat emptor.  







AMJ23 Malachite
Milpillas Mine, Cuitaca, Sonora, Mexico
9.2x 8.2x 6.0
$185

A concave, almost geode-like formation of malachite from the Milpillas Mine. This mine rose to fame for its spectacular azurites, but has also been the source of a number of other minerals including cuprite, pyrite, volborthite, brochantite, and malachite.

The vast majority of the malachite examples from this locality have been pseudomorphs after azurite-- primary growth malachite has been somewhat less common.  Sawn on the bottom.









AMJ24 Cuproastinite with Cobaltoaustinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
3.5x 2.8x 1.9 cm
$120

One of only a few examples recovered of this very beautiful combination that combines both light green cuproaustinite, with purplish cobaltoasutinite.  







AMJ25 Cuproastinite with Cobaltoaustinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
2.9x 2.1x 1.1 cm
$85

One of only a few examples recovered of this very beautiful combination that combines both light green cuproaustinite, with purplish cobaltoasutinite.  







AMJ26 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
3.6x 1.6x 2.7 cm
$120

A beautiful and very fine little miniature specimen with a single austinite orb perched on the edge of a limonite matrix.  I liked it as a small miniature, but it could also be trimmed into a thumbnail.







AMJ27 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
2.1x 2.1x 1.2 cm
$100

A great thumbnail sized example of austinite from the Ojuela Mine, and one of the only decent thumbnails I was able to obtain. 

You don't see thumbnails of the species this good very often.







AMJ28 Apatite
Mahenge, Morogoro, Tanzania
2.6x 1.8x 1.3 cm
$95

A great example of deep blue apatite from Tanzania.  It looks a lot like the more common material from Brazil, though is actually a much rarer Tanzanian example.  This area is best known for the gem rough garnets it produces.







AMJ29 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
9.2x 5.5x 7.0 cm
$375

A vug in a limonite matrix lined with austinite crystals, and a small calcite.  Very rich for the price!







AMJ30 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
3.1x 2.6x 1.0 cm
$85

A beautiful "toenail" sized example of austinite from a recent Mexican find-- this was one of the only smaller examples I could obtain. 







AMJ31 Manganadamite
Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
6.8x 3.3x 3.4 cm
$135

A nice example of the highly sought after purplish-pink variety of adamite, manganadamite, from the Ojuela Mine. 







AMJ32 Fluorite
Level 1, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
6.6x 5.1x 3.1 cm
$175

A nice example of fluorite, with multiple purple crystals on a limonite matrix.









AMJ33 Austinite
Level 2, Mina Ojuela, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
8.8x 5.0x 3.0 cm
$295

A nice (and very rich) example of yellow austenite form he recent find, at what I would consider to be a very cheap price, compared to what other dealers ask for similar pieces.  There is some damage to the austinite on one edge, the appearance of this canoe minimized by having it face down, as in the pictures.







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