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Posted by Rock Currier  
Rock Currier June 14, 2009 06:11AM
Click here to view Best Minerals M and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

I missed this topic last year but what I can say it is when I read
"...attached a thin copper wire to natural malachite bearing matrix.
They were next put into a copper rich solution and then by administering some form of electrostatic charge the malachite crystalized around the wire to form a stalagtite..."
I never heard about that, where are the scientific reports? I would love to read them.
Because for the 10 or 12 years ago fakes, I can tell you it was much more simple, it was crushed roughy malachite + glue on real broken stalactites or on pieces of wood" and that's it!
They had not the technic to do that (and is it possible to do that?) and it was more simple.
Now for the piece of wire inside, I confirmed I found some....but it is quite funny to read some scientific explanations of growing around and electrostatic... they just used pieces of wire to put in the hole of the stalactites broken!
When a stalactite is broken you have the hole inside and putting a wire inside just help to maintain it when you glue it.Only for that!
Now I'm maybe wrong about some scientific explanations but I just want to read the reports, I never heard about that.
So please for my knowledge, if anybody has a scientific report confirming 100% this technic, forward it to me.
Because a rumor is easy and destroying.
When I know how hard and dangerous sometime it is to travel to the sources.
I gave to Jolyon a small note to publish about my own small experience of traveller to Congo and some easy way to try to determinate if a stalactite is fake or not.
I have not the divine truth but I just try to bring my own experience to this topic.

In the past it was easy to go on the field in Congo, the mines were not working and the guys had easy access. Now for the last 5/6 years new private owners are mining and the access is closed.It will be difficult to have some photos but I will ask my guys if they can.And it is also maybe one year they didn't find any really good ones unfortunatly.
About the photos published, lets play the quizz but again it is a feeling, I can't be sure 100% on photos, I would say:
* 104633 from Debbie: should be real but maybe repaired with glue+malachite crushed on the 1/3 from the base
* Lawrie piece: can be fake
Debbie links:
*132897:no photo
*117571: real
*140554: should be real
*112: real
*89207: no photo
*97312: can be fake
Again, if you have any doubt, me I put the piece in acetone.

About the fake stalactites, there is not one locality especially because they could use a matrix from The Star of Congo Mine (SCM) and a broken stalactite from Kasompi....
But if you want a joke, one of the guys who made the 1st ones was called Baudouin and now when they show me a fake one (after yelling and explaining that they can loose more than they win...but they need money to feed the family...), I just tell them "I don't want your baudouinite....".
Baudouinite is the "official" name of the fake malachites on the local market of Lubumbashi....

In the last 2-3 years the Kasompi Mine (KM) has been the one producing most the stalactites on the market (I speak about real ones) but the quality was not as good as the ones from SCM, most of them were darker.
In the past, several mines in the Congo produced some fine stalactites: Lupoto, Luishia (fantastic velvet ones), Lukuni....

But the SCM has produced most of the best malachites, botryoidal or stalactites, in quality and in quantity.
This mine is fantastic for the diversity of shapes, colors (from light to dark), associations with chrysocollas.
Unfortunatly we don't see anymore significant pieces for the last 5-6 years because a private company is mining at the SCM and the security on the pit doesn't allow the guys to go there.

You can see on the market many pieces with a wrong label "Mashamba west Mine" (MWM) when it comes from the SCM.
The MWM has been famous in the past for its primary malachites producing some real crystal up to 6-8 cm, some great "flowers" of malachites, sometime combined to red gemmi cuprites, light green acicular malachite, orange barites...and what almost nobody knows, in 90-91's my father brought a 20 cm doble terminated crystal of azurites but completly oxydated from MWM.
Few weeks later began the civil war and since that time the mine is floatted!! But there is a pocket of azurites still waiting under a green lake of cooper water....
All the Kolwezy are has also produced the very quality of malachite rough for the carving and the jewellery.

Hope these informations from my own experience in the Congo will help you.

Christophe Gobin

Click here to view Best Minerals M and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2010 10:39AM by Rock Currier.
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