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petroleum included quartz

Posted by Elizabeth McRorie  
Elizabeth McRorie March 23, 2007 02:41PM
I received a parcel of this by a rough dealer my husband works with. He knows I have a "thing" for inclusions :) It is petroleum included quartz (or herkimer) from pakistan. From the research I have done on the web, it's pretty rare. But then, that might just be their marketing technique. I am trying to confirm that the black stuff is anthraxolite? I am not even sure how to give more information on it. Anyway, I thought I would share it with you all and see if anyone has seen this before and has information they can share.

This particular stone has a three phase fluid inclusion..gas bubble, black stuff (anthraxolite?) and petroleum. Both the bubble and the black stuff move, and there is another moving bubble on the back side, and several smaller bubbles with in the stone. All of it easily seen without the aid of a loupe.

It's about 20mm x 15 mm x 15mm
open | download - threephase1.jpg (22.5 KB)
Elizabeth McRorie March 23, 2007 02:43PM
and with the bubbles on the other side...
open | download - threephase3.jpg (26 KB)
Pete Nancarrow March 23, 2007 03:08PM
One of the ways of getting some data from such inclusions (without breaking into the crystal to extract material for analysis such as chromatography) is to warm the crystal up, and determine the temperatures at which any changes happen. This is more sensitive with smaller pieces, where the mass is small enough for factors such as conductivity and specific heat variations to be insignificant. The inclusion may melt, or change colour or phase (e.g. the solid component of in a 3-phase inclusion may go into solution). It's not really a viable technique for home use; it needs specialised equipment and quite a bit of experience and the relevant data sets to interpret the results, and there is also some risk of bursting the crystal.

As to positively identifying whether you have "anthraxolite", even if you extract some of it, I suspect there are few reliable techniques available outdside organic chemistry laboratories.

Pete N.
Alan Plante March 23, 2007 04:08PM
Hi Elizabeth

Just as a "heads up" to you, double-terminated short prismatic quartz crystals from localities other than the Herkimer area of New York should not be called "Herkimers." It is a localized nickname, not a general term for such crystals. You could say that such crystals from elsewhere are "Herkimer-like"; but it will only cause confusion if such crystals are called "Herkimers" or "Herks".

A collector (miner?) from Pakistan or Afghanistan came to this board some months ago to ask about this, and it was pretty clear people here did not think it was correct to use the term "Herkimer" for the crystals he was finding in his area.

The current issue of Rocks And Minerals magazine has an interesting article on the mis-use of localized or regional terms for similar materials from other areas. I don't fully agree with everything said in the article, but I agree with the general idea the author is trying to get across: Local nicknames should not be turned into more generic varietal names. (Species named after localities are, of course, a different story.)

Finally, while I can't claim any particular expertise regarding bituminous inclusions in Herks and other Herk-like crystals, I have collected a few over the years and seen the inclusions "up close and personal." The "anthraxolite" found in Herks is a bituminous, tar-like, substance - not a liquid. While it is hard to tell for sure in your photo, the inclusion in your specimen looks like a liquid bubble to me, and would therefore not be "anthraxolite."


Elizabeth McRorie March 23, 2007 06:10PM
Thank you for the information on mis-using the name Herkimer. That's how the seller described it to me, so I wanted to include the term in case it helped anyone recognize it.

Right.. the anthraxolite would be the dark solid, not the liquid. The liquid is petroleum. At least that is what I was told it was. There is both liquid and solid in the inclusion.
Peter Andresen March 23, 2007 08:40PM
Hi Elizabeth,

I got some quartz crystals from Berbes, Spain, which have inclusions of gas, oil and bitumen. That is what I put on the label - since it's all probably complex hydrocarbones, and not minerals... All samples are put in the "quartz drawer"...

Spencer I. Mather March 26, 2007 03:23PM
Hi Elizabeth. As a gemmologist as well as a mineralogist I too am interested in inclusions, but here is the e-mail address of a man who is one of the worlds experts on Quartz, his name is Jan Sibtsen and he lives in Holland: Spencer.
Alan Plante March 26, 2007 05:26PM
Hi Again, Elizabeth

I hadn't realized, looking at the photo, that there was any solid material in the bubble. In that event, the only way you can be sure of its identity is to have it analyzed. (I seriously doubt if even the tar-oil experts can visually distinguish between different bituminous materials. They'd need to do lab work to know what they have at hand.)

Just because "anthraxolite" has been identified in Herks does not mean that any and all bituminous materials found in similar crystals from other localities will be the same thing. Making that sort of assumption might mean that the true identity of a material could go undetermined for a long time.


Alfredo Petrov March 26, 2007 05:49PM
Has "anthraxolite" ever been defined as to which carbon/hydrocarbons it is composed of? If not, then ANY carbonacaeous inclusion in quartz might as well be called "anthraxolite", making anthraxolite a generic field term, like "wad" and "limonite".
Alan Plante March 26, 2007 09:16PM
Hi Alfredo,

That's a good point.

I'm not an expert on the bituminous inclusions found in Herks - I don't know if they have been determined to be a particular organic compound, or if the term "anthraxolite" is generic - or even just a localized nickname that the stuff got tagged with. It wouldn't hurt to know; so maybe someone who is familiar with the stuff will click in and tell us.

Jorge Dascal March 29, 2007 11:11PM
In an Lapidary Journal article (September 1973, pp. 966-976) it is written:
"Regarding the yellow color in the Herkimer area the anthraxolite inclusions can have two forms: 1. A pale yellow variety which melted at 70º to 80º C, and; 2. A brown variety which melted at 200º to 220º in contact with the yellow one". Should be the same for Pakistan Herkimer-like crystals?

In Argentina Herkimer-like quartz crystals some of the yellow fluid inclusions are hydrocarbons of an asphalt and paraffin mix base. Others are an aqueous liquid with an important methane proportion. And it comes in different yellow-amber color alone or with other inclusions.
Aymeric Longi March 30, 2007 02:40AM
there was a study on AIGS website a while ago about these, as far as I remember, yellow/orange liquid inclusions are indeed oil. unfortunately, seems it is not available anymore.

whatever, these "herk-like" quartz are called "diamond-quartz" in Pakistan (included or waterclear), and often labelled as "golden enhydro" by the few internet shops who sell them. They come from Baluchistan but I don't know from where exacty. I'll be in Pakistan next May, so I'll ask my wholesaler. but yeah, it is rather rare stuff and good pieces can fetch pretty high prices.

eheh, no Alan, me no miner, but collector and future seller from France hooked on Pakistan !

Cheers !

Jorge Dascal March 30, 2007 04:25PM
In the abstract of an article at the Geological Society of America (Year 1999, Volume 111, Issue 12, Pages 1884-1896) O`Reilly and Parnell stated that is oil.
Since I cannot read the article it seems that it is similar to the Argentina Herk-like, or vice versa?

As I see it (joking), Patagonia Minerals now need to market two kinds of "quartz crystal diamonds": Argentina Herk-like and Argentina Herk-Baluchistan/Pakistan-like.

Mr. W.D. Grimm (1962) made a study of 150 world localities of these idiomorphic crystals. So it will be nice to see in the market in the next years more Quartz Crystal Diamonds disregarding if they are from Up State New York or from other sources.
Elizabeth McRorie April 03, 2007 08:13PM
Thank you all for the help and information. Looks like I have some more reading to do. I did find a photo that I am pretty sure is the same thing that I have. It is described as: "...rock crystal from Pakistan contains yellow natural petroleum, a methane gas bubble, and small spots of opaque black bituminous material, and a small amount of water." pg 576 Photo Atlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, Vol. 2, Gubelin and Koivula.

I have more of these crystals. I will try to take some more photos to share.

Thanks again!
Bay Kilpatrick April 10, 2007 04:43AM
Hello Elizabeth,

Ive been searching for good golden included quartz as per your photo. Where did you find such a beautiful piece? May I ask what the ball park figure is for such a rare and unusual crystal?

Thanking you in advance
Robert Szep April 16, 2007 05:09PM
Regarding origins and exact composition or "CLASSIFICATION" of the carbonaceous material of which Anthraxolite is composed, some reaearchers suggest a cosmogenic origin - perhaps from the remains of an ancient cometary impact. Anthraxolite from the SUDBURY area is a good example.
Peter Haas April 16, 2007 05:21PM
Well, this is certainly nonsense. The sub-structures of organic compounds isolated from petrol, oil shales, bituminous matter, fossil resins, lignites and coals do all relate to biogenic pre-cursors.
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