Carrolite on calcite
description: LOCALITY: Kamoya South Mine, near Kambove River, Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of the Conglo 3" across I have personally handled some great matrix carrolite specimens and would rate this as the best of the lot. This may be the best matrix carrolite in existence and its greatness arises from the follow traits: (a) The carrolite crystal displays a habit which is atypical. The crystal is "complex" and not the more common cube, octahedron or cube-octahedron. (b) The faces of the carrolite crystal are as lustrous as mirrors. I have seen many specimens of carrolite which are not lustrous. (c) All of the vertices are in perfect condition. (d) Edge wear is present on the carrolite crystal but is absolutely minimal. Carrolite is an extremely brittle mineral species and considering the rigors that this piece endured during excavation by artisan miners armed with only simple equipment (but considerable ingenuity), it is surprising that more edge wear is not present. When this piece and others that I bought were extracted, hot coals were first applied to the host rock thought to contain cavities lined with carrolite crystals. The heated host rock was then quenched with cold water to cause the rock to contract and break. Although this process exposed anything within a pocket to risk, this piece survived and in very very good condition. (e) The carrolite crystal does not display contact points with any host rock or other mineral crystals. This trait is rare in carrolite specimens since most carrolite crystals become detached from host rock or other crystals during excavation from narrow cavities. Even some other elite specimens of matrix carrolite display significant contacting. (f) The carrolite crystal is centered in the middle of a well proportioned matrix which does not "overpower" the carrolite crystal and detract from it. Hence, the composition of this piece is very pleasing - especially so since over 99% of carrolite crystals are not even on a matrix. (g) The carrolite crystal is bright and metallic and it contrast in terms of color, luster and texture against the crystallized matrix of bright white, earthy textured rhombohedral calcite. Most of the finest Katanga carrolite specimens were removed during the turn of this century. Production of carrolite and other popular mineral specimens of Katanga province has since diminished partly as a result of privatization of all of the mining properties of Katanga province. The new non-government regime that controls the mining properties of Katanga province is particularly discouraging of the practice of mineral collecting by its workers. I imported this specimen into the United States directly from the Congo in 2010 and had it cleaned and trimmed by "Mile High Mineral", Denver, Colorado in the same year.
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