From a series of small finds at the Lead Hill Mines in 2022, this is a glassy, sharp and vivid piece. The zoning is the classic phantoms of cubic internal boxes. Color varies from deep purple to a light violet to almost colorless. There is internal Chalcopyrite as well but very small. The base and backside have cleaves where this was in contact but most of the specimen is fine. A few from this find had zoned fluorescence, this one does and has some zones of the rare red color along with more typical blue and white zones. For several years we all have been missing new Fluorites from the great southern Illinois districts, the mines are closed and mostly exhausted. This recent trickle of nice pieces are very welcome in the mineral community. They are also a bit different from others in the region and make a nice addition for any good Fluorite suite.
From the recent find at Lead Hill, this is a highly etched cluster of stacked cubes that is crystalized on all sides with no point of attachment. The color ranges from a deep purple to almost colorless. On close exam there are some phantoms as well. The surface is highly etched but still geometric in structure. Some faces have a distinctive melted look. No obvious damage or chipping, this is a complete floater. It is great to see a few nice Fluorites are still being found in Southern Illinois.
A very choice cluster of Fluorite in zoned cubes on a Quartz matrix that has a few small Calcite crystals as well. One of the older Fluorite localities of the famed Southern Illinois region, the Deardorff Mine was both prolific and had distinctive habits. This specimen is vintage 1950 era and has small bits of adhering Petroleum on the back as was typical there. This piece has all the 4 main crystals in undamaged condition and two cubes also show excellent isolation. Quartz crystals were not very typical as matrix in the other mines of this zone, but the Deardorff was an exception.
Fluorite with Galena, Chalcopyrite etc
Denton Mine, Harris Creek Sub District, Hardin County
10.4 x 8.8 x 5.2 CM (cabinet)
Early summer 2023
From the classic Southern Illinois Fluorite district, this is both a very attractive specimen and with a style quite unusual for Southern Illinois. The Fluorite crystals are especially transparent, light purple-blue and very well zoned. This has a few tiny Galena crystals and gemmy red Sphalerites scattered with the Fluorite. The backside has much more Sphalerite but the Fluorite of the front surface is more impressive and the logical display angle. In unusually fine condition as seen, there is a little outer edge roughness but the core of this piece is in great shape. The lighter overall color with dark purple edge zoning and the stepped frosted areas in the glassy faces is especially uncommon for this famed area. Ex Charles Noll collection, late 1970 vintage.
Classic Illinois Fluorite with no matrix, mostly a cluster of sharp yellow cubes on massive Fluorite. The crystals are very slightly zoned with thin outer edge lines that are quite subtle. In very good condition overall, sharp edges, corners and good transparency. The color is mostly yellow but with a hint of orange in person. The larger crystals are over 2 CM on edge, and the luster is quite glassy. Specimens of this quality have become quite hard to get at reasonable prices if at all.
Witherite - classic USA
Minerva #1 Mine, Cave-in-Rock, Hardin County
8 x 5.6 x 5.2 CM (cabinet)
Choice, old (1960 vintage) cluster of two main Witherite crystals with minor Calcite and Fluorite on the back. The larger crystal is about 6 CM across, quite large for the specie. The front, or display side, is in good condition, the back right rear edge is cleaved but still displays well. The top crystal is more complete and even though smaller is the focal point. The larger lower crystal is less complete due to cleaves but makes a nice base for the upper. This is vividly fluorescent in all wavelengths, and the crystal terminations show the classic rounded step-type structures. The prism faces have the small stair-step structures that are classic for the specie. Witherite was fairly common in the early years of mining in the Fluorspar region, but really good specimens were rare, and since they were not colorful very few were saved. These now rank as some of the very best ever found on earth. I am told there is no longer any locality in the world where any is being found, and certainly not large fine crystals like these. A very good modern classic.
Fluorite - modern classic USA
Annabel Lee Mine, Bethel Level, North End, Hardin County
9.2 x 6.8 x 3.6 CM (cabinet)
A fine cluster of Fluorite cubes up to 4.3 CM across showing excellent translucence and honey yellow color. This has wispy purple to reddish-purple inclusions that add a nice contrast. Very lustrous and better in person, most edges and corners are sharp, undamaged, some micro chipping is present as is typical but as seen this is still in super condition. Far nicer in person too.
An excellent grape purple cluster of well-formed translucent cubes with some minor zoning. The form is unusual and delicate with very sharp cubes perched on thin crusts of Calcite in a vug-like structure. From the famed Rosiclaire zone of the Minerva #1 Mine, this is from a unique find more than 35 years ago. Displays very well from several angles and in very good condition overall. A few very tiny cleaves are present so not technically perfect but most crystals are indeed fully perfect, The cleaves are not easy to spot by naked eye, this is as fine as anything we have ever seen from this unusual find.