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Petalite Adventures: hunt for Castor and Pollux.

Last Updated: 13th Sep 2015

By Giuliano Bettini

Petalite is quite rare at Elba island, and mostly found as loose etched crystals.
On rearranging my Elba collection I found two specimen, with my old label, written in Italian:
“Castore, Polluce? Rosina, 96”.
I carefully examined them, and found that they were very resembling to …. to what?
Two specimens on pegmatite from Rosina vein, San Piero in Campo, Elba Island. Dimensions: about 5 cm x 4 cm x 3 cm.
Petalite? I deeply studied literature of this site & also photos literature etc. from other sites, but did not understand if they were fragments … of what?
I asked mineral experts at http://www.mindat.org/mesg-11-353821.html

With their help, I suppose I can conclude:
two (slightly colored) "chunks" of petalite with visible cleavage. Some rainbow-like effects too.
I’ve posted some photos on Mindat.

First specimen. Dimensions: 5.5 cm x 4 cm x 3 cm.

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Details.
Rainbow-like effects, good indicators for cleavage.

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Here is the second one. Dimensions: 5 cm x 4.5 cm x 3.5 cm.

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Details.
Rainbow-like effects, good indicators for cleavage.

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The hunt is proceeding. And also for the Pollucite.

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Note.
Named from Greek mythology; see Castor and Pollux.
Breithaupt applied the name Pollux to a mineral coexisting with Castor. Pollux was later modified to Pollucite by Dana (1868). Castor actual name is Petalite.

Ref: Breithaupt, J.F.A. (1846), “Neue Mineralien: Kastor und Pollux”, Poggendorff's Ann.Phys.Chem., 69, 439.




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