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flourite scepters from Erongo Namibia?

Posted by Herman Du Plessis  
Herman Du Plessis April 23, 2012 06:50PM
hi there
I saw these recently in Namibia, I saw a few obvious fakes along the roadside stalls but then saw these in a well known shop.
any thoughts on if they might be real?

open | download - as.jpg (368.8 KB)
Tomasz Praszkier April 23, 2012 07:00PM
They are real ad quite well known. Only problem is that people call them scepters but in fact this are just etched corners - similar to this ones from Elmwood.

"Spirifer" Geological Society
Herman Du Plessis April 23, 2012 07:09PM
Hmm thanks Thomas,
so they are in the same boat as etched beryl being called scepters?

Ernst A. Schnaitmann April 28, 2012 09:06AM
Dear Herman,

I have a few issues with your post and I hope you will indulge me in sharing my points of view with you.

Firstly I have to state that I am the consulting mineral expert that has been appointed by the business that is mentioned on the specimen label.

That being said I have consulted with the management and employees of the business in question and have been able to determine that:
1) You did ask for permission to photograph the specimens
2) You however did not engage with the employees of the business to question or verify the authenticity of said specimens nor did you subsequently contact the business in question to verify the authenticity of the specimens
3) You did not ask for permission from the business in question to post onto a public site a picture denoting the name of the business as well as its offered goods

Whereas you did not directly state that the specimens on offer were fakes; the wording in your post “but then saw these in a well known shop. any thoughts on if they might be real?” could lead some people to assume that the business in question proliferates in the sale of fake mineral specimens.

I can categorically state that the business in question is held in the highest regard by people in the mineral community that have dealt with this institution.
While I appreciate your interest in regard to the authenticity of these specimens, it is a matter of common courtesy to omit publicly naming a particular business if you are questioning their ethics without any substantial proof as this may result in bringing the business’ name into ill repute.
If you had omitted the name of the business from your photo, this would be a different case entirely.

I sincerely hope that you will carefully consider the consequences of your actions in the future before posting anything onto the public domain.

Now on to a more technical explanation.
The specimens in question are indeed authentic, but it also has to be stated that a very large number of these types of specimens were indeed faked.
Generally these fluorite “scepters” were “modified” by forgers who would use sand paper and other abrading tools to shape and reduce the colorless to light yellow “stalk” of the scepters so that a more pronounced “scepter effect” would be attained.
Also some of the top terminations were reshaped into more “pleasing” forms; additionally most if not all matrix specimens have been implanted.

It is rather easy to identify if one of these specimens has been modified by the use of a strong loupe or microscope as there will be small cut marks which are clearly visible even if they have been sand papered away as they will always leave a smooth area with small indentations and white powdered fluorite which is very difficult to remove from the cracks and impact sites.

As for the name fluorite “scepters” I can advise that this has been the general sales term used for these fluorites.
Please find attached an insert which I am posting here courtesy of John Veevaert from Trinity Mineral Company.

Additionally I have the following information from John:

"They're actually not scepters ……. They are the corroded remnants of octahedrons that have been etched away leaving a stalk of fluorite with the residual corner of the original crystal mimicking a scepter. And as a strange coincidence, John White has an article on this exact phenomenon in one of the latest Rocks & Minerals issues. He features USA fluorites that show this structure, similar to the Namibian ones."

Rocks & Minerals January-February 2009
The Odd Fluorite Crystal Points
From the Elmwood Mine, Smith County, Tennessee
by John S. White
open | download - scepter fluorite tucson 2009.jpg (79.1 KB)
Herman Du Plessis May 01, 2012 05:00PM
Hi Ernst

I firstly want to thank you, for handling the matter as you did, professional.
I am really sorry for not removing the name of the shop in the photo that was a mistake from me.
And for not asking in the shop for the authenticity of the specimens, there all I can say is that normally here in S.A. people owning mineral shops close to me don't have the slightest clue, but still my mistake.
thanks for the explanation on the scepters.
I will remove the name in the photo, hope that will do it?
Ernst A. Schnaitmann May 01, 2012 06:24PM
Hi Herman,

Thank you for editing the picture and removing the name.
If you are ever are back up in Namibia and feel like a mineral related chat - don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kindest regards
James McGuire May 02, 2012 04:03AM
The response here is puzzling to me. Herman stated in his post that he saw "obvious fakes" elsewhere, but did not see them at the shop in question. Herman did not make any representations or insinuations about the shop in question. If anything, it appears that he thought the fluorite scepters there were real. He asked a completely legitimate question, and received answers from several sources (although none of the responses included enough information for an objective review).
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