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Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?

Posted by Patrick Haynes (2)  
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 08:24AM
    
this is a good example seen from near

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avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 08:42AM
    
Has anybody thought about the possibility of fabricating these with a dentist's drill ?
Very precise and would allow for modifying numerous crystals on a specimen from different directions without taking too much time ...
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 10:21AM
    
to much work for a drill, the price come to much high for a fake

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avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 12:34PM
I'm not sure what you mean Matteo, but at the prices these specimens are selling for it should be very economical for someone to use a small drill (such as a Dremel) and spend some time sculpting them.

Maybe someone can do an experiment to try this?

Jolyon
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 02:41PM
    
the piece I have take the photo its sale for 400 euro, few if a person lost time with a drill for build a fake

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avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 03:14PM
    
I agree, 400 euros would not be worth the time of someone in Western Europe of North America, but there are plenty of places on earth where that price (or half of it) is well worth a solid week of someone's time.

Best regards,
Jonathan
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 10:41PM
    
I still think they are not fake.
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 24, 2010 11:16PM
If they're genuine why hasn't someone done an article somewhere about their unique form? I'm not using that as evidence that they're fake, but it would really go some great way to convincing me that they aren't.

I'm not convinced they are fake, but I would like to be convinced they are genuine, and nothing I've seen so far has done this.

Unfortunately nowdays you have to learn to be VERY suspicious. I just saw some photos that show a tourmaline crystal in albite matrix, the hole for the crystal was carved based on laser measurements of the crystal so it's a near-perfect fit. From the photos you could never tell it was faked. When there is serious money involved the temptation for criminal activities is sometimes too strong.

Jolyon
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 25, 2010 01:52AM
    
I do not have any doubt that the one I featured is natural but it does also not show the extreme skeletal structures noted in some photos.

So likely scenario is that naturally forming hollow/skeletal growth was noted within the deposit and an opportunity to enhance the financial returns for the specimens available was understood and a faking procedure was implemented that ended with highly enhanced skeletal galena specimens. This likely means that that there will be both natural and enhanced (fake) specimens from the same deposit within the marketplace. A real problem for buyers which really means that extra care must be applied before purchase due to very acceptable levels of suspicion.

For interest, I also ask the question is it a true fake ( mineralogy not from a location) or an enhancement similar to polishing the face of quartz crystal or cutting a new termination to remove an imperfection. The Galena crystals clearly occur naturally on the matrix provided with associated Quartz, Chalcopyrite and or Sphalerite but are provided with man made changes.

This might be the very problematic issue for the future, where specimens are "touched up" to maximise the level of perfection to obtain the highest financial return rather than blatant fakes of manufactured specimens. This might mean we have to carefully look at every termination for damage if the specimen is too perfect. With improved technology and increased mineral prices, the chances of "enhanced" specimens being in our collections increases in the future.

The result this situation is that we again appreciate and will accept a few chips and marks as this level of "imperfection" may guarantee authenticity as it is not perfect a perfect specimen. (Food for thought and another thread!!!).

The enhancement issue may become a bigger problem and provide a greater level of fraudulent activity that the obvious faking we see now.

Andrew T
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 25, 2010 04:37AM
    
fo build a fake tourmaline you have to take few time, a hole in the matrix, some glue et voilà, I have seen many Elba tourmaline sell for original when the crystal its from pakistan and the matrix from Elba or viceversa, nicest is you find this material actual in the Elba mineral shops if you go in the island.

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avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 25, 2010 04:47AM
    
Jolyon Ralph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If they're genuine why hasn't someone done an
> article somewhere about their unique form? I'm not
> using that as evidence that they're fake, but it
> would really go some great way to convincing me
> that they aren't.
>

Radostina Atanassova (2005) PhD Thesis: Hydrothermal minerals in highly non-equilibrium conditions: Morphology and crystal growth of hydrothermal sulphides far from the equilibrium. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Geological Institute.
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 25, 2010 12:24PM
Stuart - Does this PhD thesis SPECIFICALLY discuss the hollow cube forms we are talking about? I checked previously papers from her and others in Bulgaria relating to galena forms and although there are many disucssions about the other weird forms of Galena, there was no specific mention of these holllowed cubes.

Carl Sagan was fond of saying extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. These hollowed cubes are certainly extraordinary. It's just scientifically WRONG for us to assume these are natural until proven false. Aren't we meant to be sceptical in science?

Jolyon
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 25, 2010 04:23PM
And of course PhD theses have been faked, as well. Several famous cases here in the US.
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 26, 2010 05:36AM
    
All I have heard from Bulgarian academia is that these galenas are OK and one chapter of the thesis deals with it.
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 26, 2010 08:35AM
    
Thanks Stuart for that info,

This might be one of the most anticipated pieces of mineral literature for some time.

Stuart, are you able to ask your contact if this PHD thesis will be released in an english version and when it will be available.

I get very interested when the unusual mineralogical environment produces weird specimens, must be from having a few oddities in my backyard of Western Tasmania.

Andrew t
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 26, 2010 03:17PM
    
It was done 5 years ago so I'm guessing it won't be.
Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 26, 2010 03:43PM
I agree with Stuart. As well as many russians who saw these samples in person - we are pretty sure they are true.
At Munich show last year I saw several samples with tiny quartz clusters attached to a hollow galena
cubes in their interior walls. Apart that they looked absolutely natural (we carefully studied them under the scope), I can also hardly
imagine someone who would need to fabricate the hollow and then glue quartz on the walls. I discussed this with many bulgarians at
the show whom (this is important) were not so friendly towards Ivan Pojarevski who was the only dealer to sell these so their
opinion is certainly not prejudiced. Nevertheless, they were sure these are not fakes though the real locality of these samples
was a real enigma for them either.
Yesterday we looked at these again with Igor Pekov and he is sure they are natural either.
Weird, unusual and (often) very aesthetic doesn't necessarily mean a fake.
Also I don't see any direct relation between the existence of something mineralogically interesting and the absence (maybe temporary) of its description in the scientific litterature. Zvyagintsevite at Kondyor is unique, not really described so far but it's not a fake (even if Pavel successfully built one in his lab!).
Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 26, 2010 05:44PM
    
I have followed this thread with great interest and have some questions.

Is a specimen considered fake until proven natural?

If a specimen has an unusual morphology does that place it in a category of suspicion?

If a specimen can be created by human hands does that prove similar specimens to be fake?

Does the stated country of origin, the price or quantity on the market, and or the dealer/seller's origin have a bearing on the "validity" of a specimen?

Lyla
avatar Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 26, 2010 05:58PM
Hi lyla, I'll give you my answers

> Is a specimen considered fake until proven natural?

Everything should be considered fake until you have convinced yourself otherwise. In many cases a cursory glance will tell you that it's genuine. But even then first looks can be deceptive. Should we regard everything uploaded to mindat as a fake unless we've personally examined them? No, probably not. But it's healthy to have a certain level of distrust, especially with specimens of value.

> If a specimen has an unusual morphology does that place it in a category of suspicion?

Not on it's own, but it can lead to doubt and the need to investigate things a little more thoroughly.

> If a specimen can be created by human hands does that prove similar specimens to be fake?

No, it doesn't. Human processes can replicate natural processes (hydrothermal quartz crystals, for example). But we do have to use common sense. Most copper sulphate ("chalcanthite") crystalline specimens are artificially made. That doesn't mean that every chalcanthite crystal out there is fake, but when you are examining these crystals you are automatically assuming they are fake and needing to convince yourself otherwise.


> Does the stated country of origin, the price or quantity on the market,
> and or the dealer/seller's origin have a bearing on the "validity" of a specimen?

As with everything criminal it comes down to a motive. Most of the time it will be financial, but not always, the great Kingsbury frauds in the UK last century were not financially motivated at all, the best we can guess is that he was after respect, either that or he just enjoyed the fact that he was deceiving so many people. But for financial motivations then yes, it's going to be higher value specimens that are affected primarily. Everyone has been caught out by frauds in the past - collectors, dealers, it's not just a matter of only buying from "honest" dealers or not, because we all make mistakes. I've bought things that have proven to be fake even though I've examined them and convinced myself they were genuine. Dealers who deal with hundreds of new specimens a day really shouldn't be blamed when something slips past them.

Jolyon
Re: Have the reverse-skeletal Madan galenas been faked?
April 26, 2010 09:39PM
    
Hi Jolyon, thanks for your opinion.

In my opinion, these beautiful Madan galenas, if proven to be fake, would require a high degree of skill to construct. However, where money is involved and time is cheap, anything can happen.

Off topic here, through the years I have seen my share of faked gold specimens, and am typically quite skeptical at first glance. Last year I deliberately purchased a fake gold specimen so I could take it apart and prove that it was manufactured....as shown here on mindat. Unfortunately the manufacturer is still in business, and likely still selling his "wares", though I haven't heard of them showing up at any more major shows.

Lyla
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