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Safely packing fibrous minerals

Ernst A. Schnaitmann April 27, 2012 07:40PM
Does anyone have any good suggestions for safely packing fibrous minerals for shipping?
The specimen in question is a very significant biehlite which cost someone a lot of money – the specimen has already been paid for but I am having doubts about how to send it without the fine fibers being damaged.
Someone mentioned the possibility of packing it in flour; but I don’t know how you will be able to dislodge the flour without damaging the fibers.

Any ideas?
Rock Currier April 27, 2012 07:59PM
Don't ship it. If you have to you will have to wire or glue the matrix to the bottom of a box with nothing else around it and then pack that box inside another box cushioned with packing material that can absorb impacts. Some people pack such specimens in soap powder which can then be washed away with water. But I don't know if there would be an interaction between the fibers and soapy water. I would suggest hand delivering it to the person some how.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Steve Hardinger April 27, 2012 08:13PM
I second what Rock said. It is because of shipping problems that I do not sell non-shippables on my web site.
Stephen Rose April 27, 2012 08:57PM
Another method,If you must ship it, try packing it in powdered (confectioners) sugar. It is far easier to remove than soap powder and the grains are very fine and will fit between the fibers of the specimen more easily as well. The package must be firmly filled with compacted sugar so that there can be no further settling to cause shifting in the contents during shipping.


Knut Eldjarn April 27, 2012 09:21PM
If you try to ship it packaged in any type of fine grained powder (soap or suger..), I would advice to state it clearly on the package. Many years ago I passed th customs inspection in Singapore with a very fragile crocoite specimen packed in fine soap powder. With my (at the time) long black hair and a beard I really had problems convincing the customs inspector that it was just soap powder...
(But fibrous minerals like Biehleite is probably not suitable for this kind of shipment anyway ).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2012 09:22PM by Knut Eldjarn.
Bob Harman April 27, 2012 09:33PM
The Mineralogical Record, several years ago, in their Indian minerals issue told a story that years ago when a fabulous large museum sized Deccan Plateau specimen of scolecite etc etc was found and bought by the AMERICAN MUSEUM of NATURAL HISTORY (or it could have been the Harvard Museum or Smithsonian) they did not wish to ship it. A museum representative went to India and an extra seat was reserved on the return flight to the states. The specimen was secured in a box and set comfortably on the reserved but otherwise empty seat next to the museum representative. It arrived safely. If your specimen is that fabulous, you can do the same!!!! CHEERS ......BOB
Rock Currier April 28, 2012 12:48AM
The specimen that had its own seat was a mesolite with green apophyllite from Pashan and it went to the Smithsonian.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2012 12:51AM by Rock Currier.
Bob Harman April 28, 2012 06:49AM
YUP !!!! That was it; I knew I remembered something about that rock, ROCK. BOB
Ray Hill May 01, 2012 07:52PM
I know that a very long and delicate chinese calcite was flown from Prague to NYNY..hand carried and hand if the client wants it , they need to bear the cost of safe least that would be my take on it. or have them come to you and hand carry it back themselves...
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