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Calcite, Belgium

Posted by Harjo Neutkens  
Harjo Neutkens May 06, 2011 09:32PM
Yes Rock, that's a very good point you just made!
I'll try to add some info about availability and the likes wherever I can.
Pierre Rondelez May 07, 2011 09:30AM
Hi Rock, Harjo, Mario, others......
About the calcites from Namur / Beez / Gralex Quarry.
Calcites of the quality of those collected in the 1980's are today very hard to come by, no serious collector who has some in his cabinet is willing to sell or trade.
Large pockets always were very scarce and as you can imagine most of those large calcites (maximum size that I have seen was about 15 cm.) were destroyed during quarrying operations.
Even the intact ones were very hard to extract out of the compact blue limestone without breaking them.......
And yes, in my opinion -but of course I am prejudiced- the best cognac/whiskey coloured specimens could be compared with Elmwood or other top class calcites.
The productive areas are long since inundated and the areas where the quarry is operating now produces almost colourless calcites, much smaller and by far not so attractive.
Thing is: I have not been collecting in Belgian quarries for the past 15 years but all I have seen since then can not compare with those outstanding 1980's Beez calcites.

Pierre Rondelez
Spencer Ivan Mather May 07, 2011 11:14AM
What about the excellent calcite specimens that come from the quarries around Antwerp/Boom!
Pierre Rondelez May 07, 2011 01:26PM
Ok Spencer,
Now you got me curious:
Quarries around Antwerp / Boom that produced good calcites????
Clay pits yes with calcite / aragonite septaria that produced very poor calcite specimens that can hardly be called crystals or did I miss something those past 35 years.......
Could you please enlighten me (us) and give some more details about location of those quarries but most of all I am curious to see photo's of good calcite specimens from the Antwerp regio.
Looking forward to you solving this mystery .
Sebastian Mueller May 08, 2011 06:50AM
Hi Rock,
die Belgischen Calcite sind für Europa von einer vorzüglichen Qualität, einige Fundstellen lieferten und liefern mit die besten Calcite Europas. Aber der Punkt ist dass die Mengen die an sehr guter Qualität dort herauskommen einfach zu gering sind und meist noch nicht einmal die Grenzen Belgiens verlassen. So wird es auch in Beez gewesen sein, die Menge an guten Stufen war einfach zu gering und auch die Geologie hat es nicht zugelassen öfters sehr große Hohlräume zu bilden. Das war sicher in Elmwood anders, dort traf man öfters auf große (gigantische) Hohlräume gefüllt mit Calcit, Fluorit und andere Mineralien. Schon allein die Geologie der Lagerstätte Elmwood hat diese Möglichkeit zugelassen. Das ist der unterschied von Belgien zu Elmwood. Somit bleiben Calcite aus Belgien in Sammlungen außerhalb Belgiens immer eine Seltenheit, egal wo her sie kommen ob Beez, Loverval, Landelies, MsM usw.

Harjo Neutkens May 09, 2011 06:56AM
Here's a translation of Ingo's reply in English:

Hi Rock,
The Belgian Calcites are of outstanding quality on a European scale, some localities produced and are producing some of the best Calcites in Europe. The point is, however, that the amount of these outstanding specimens coming out of the quarries is simply too small, and specimens usually don't leave Belgium. That's how it must have been in Beez too, too little really excellent specimens, and the geology didn't allow for large pockets to be encountered on a regular basis. That was surely different in Elmwood, the geology allowed for large (gigantic) pockets filled with Calcite, Fluorite and other minerals to be encountered regularly. That's the difference between Belgium and Elmwood. Therefore the Calcites from belgium will remain a rarity in collection outside of Belgium, wherever they're from; Beez, Loverval, Landelies, Mon-sur-Marchienne etc.

Rock Currier May 09, 2011 01:05PM
That sounds just exactly like the kind of information that should go into the Belgium calcite article.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Harjo Neutkens May 09, 2011 02:30PM
It will ;-)
Harjo Neutkens May 10, 2011 08:50PM
And now it is ;-)
Rock Currier May 10, 2011 09:05PM
It is almost like Harjo is apologizing that perhaps the abundance and quality of the the calcite crystals from Belgium are not quite up to those from Elmwood. The kind of information we want to capture here in best minerals is how good do they get, and how abundant they are and when they were found. This helps answer the main questions that that any collector worth his salt wants to know: "Can I get one? How good is this one compared to others? If the people supplying this kind of information can compare them to standard known bench marks of quality like Elmwood, so much the better. When I started collecting, English calcites and those from the Tristate lead district were the benchmarks but kicking and screaming they gave way to Elmwood as the new quality standard. I wonder what new locality will blow away the Elmwood crystals. But without Harjo and others to tell us about the calcites from Belgium we would know little about them.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
croisez michel May 11, 2011 08:16AM

I write a book about the calcite of the Landelies quarry in Belgium.

A exemple is provide in attachment.

I search a publication :

1943 C.Palache: Calcite, an Angle Table and Critical List. Harvard Univ. Dept. Mineralogy and Petrography Contr. 259. 27 pp., planograph.

Is somebody can provide me this publication in electronic format ?


Michel Croisez
Rue de la Pauche 15
6200 Bouffioulx
open | download - 4.18-1.pdf (284.9 KB)
Harjo Neutkens May 11, 2011 12:24PM
Salut Michel!

Le seul article que j'ai trouve est: (sur les nouveau formes des Calcites de la region de Lake Superior)


Valere Berlage May 11, 2011 03:01PM

Thank you for this great work and sharing your expertise about Belgian minerals!

I agree most Belgian calcites can not compete with Elmwood, and still more difficultly with some classical Swedish, African and British speciments, when talking about luster, color, gemminess, academical perfection, associations...
However, one thing is really striking with some Belgian deposits: the veriety of crystal shapes and twins discovered in one single place, as documented in the "règne minéral" magazine a few years ago about Mont-sur-Marchienne calcite crystals.

This year however, an outstanding exhibition in a Belgian show surprised me: many calcite speciments, most of them big and nice but far from being world class, and among them, one or two worldclass speciments by all standards, with unique style, impossible to compare with anything I knew. A very few unique pieces, I saw for the first time! I just had less than an hour, without my camera, on the set up day. But these few minutes changed my opinion about the level Belgian calcite can reach!

That might be something typically Belgian, most of the best pieces are hidden in the shade, and so, we usually see only the average speciments...

All the best

Sebastian Mueller May 11, 2011 06:49PM
Hi Valére,Rock and Harjo,
Ich glaube man hat mich falsch verstanden. Bei dem Vergleich der Calcite aus Belgien mit dehnen von Elmwood, ging es mir darum Rocks Frage nach der Verfügbarkeit von Belgischen Calcit auf den internationalen Mineralien Markt zu beantworten. Seine Frage zielte doch darauf ab. Ansonsten kann man sicher nicht beide Lokalitäten miteinander vergleichen. Ich habe mich bei der Beantwortung von Rocks Frage an die Ansicht gehalten die die Lapis in ihren Sonderheft „Calcit“ vertritt, welche ich auch teile. Zu einer Weltklasse Fundstelle gehört nicht nur eine hohe Qualität und Ästhetik, sondern auch eine gewisse Menge. Und genau da würden die Belgischen Calcite aus dem Ranking der besten Calcitfundstellen der Welt herausfallen. Die Mengen an hochwertigen Calciten aus Belgien sind einfach zu gering, dies ist eine Tatsache, auch wenn sie wirklich sehr schön sind. Ich denke ein besserer Vergleich der Calcite aus Belgien währen die Calcite aus York County in Pennsylvania, Berry Materials aus Indiana oder Mashberger Stone quarry aus Indiana, auch diese sind sicher nicht in ausreichender Menge vorhanden, zumindest nicht in Europa.

Cheers Ingo
Harjo Neutkens May 11, 2011 08:49PM
Hi Ingo,

Genau so wie Du es geschrieben hast habe Ich es in English übersetzt, und dan im Artikel hinzugefügt. Danke dafür, denn Du hast ganz gut beschrieben warum wenig Belgische Calcite auf den Markt kommen. Das ist auch genau der Grund warum Rock gefragt hat dein Tekst im Artikel zu haben, denn es ist für manche Leute die sich nicht so gut auskennen mit die Belgische Fundstellen sehr hilfreich zu erfahren ob sie die möglichkeit haben welche zu kaufen.
Ich glaube Ich habe Schuld daran das die Diskussion so gelaufen ist. Ich habe anfangs im Artikel geschrieben das es Calcite von Belgien gibt die von Weltklasse sind, glaube Ich immer noch (alte Biesmeree Stufen, die alte Stufen von Beez die Pierre uns gezeigt hat, wow).
Dann haben Einige es so interpretiert als hätte Ich geschrieben das es in Belgien Fundstellen von Weltklasse gibt, aber das war nicht der Fall.
Tsja, wie gesagt, um eine Weltklasse Fundstelle zu sein braucht man halt auch die Quantität, neben die Qualität.
Ich glaube dein Tekst wird nicht misverstanden, es ist deutlich was Du meinst (Ich werde aber doch ausser Elmwood noch einige andere Fundstellen auflisten, daher es weniger ein Vergleich ähnelt)


Gérard DECLERCQ April 29, 2012 02:01PM
A new book is published ! ! !
Really THE ultimate study of this famous quarry of LANDELIES in BELGIUM
More than 100 forms of calcites in only one location.

Professional approach, serious study, well structured presentation.
many hundreds hours in investigations on place, many thousands hours in writing a relevant document.
Gorgeous pics
Only one word : S.U.P.E.R.B. ................
incredible price : only 20.00 eur ...
I love this reference book : ... a quarry of informations !!!
Congratulation to the author

Already 25 books purchase for gifts ...
open | download - Calcite.pdf (86.8 KB)
open | download - Calcite of Landelies_Cristallography.pdf (115.5 KB)
Harjo Neutkens May 13, 2012 08:10PM
Merci Gerard!
I received a copy of Michel's book about a month ago. And I can say it's a very well executed publication. Chapeau Michel!!
It's interesting for collectors of Landelies Calcites but also for collectors of Calcite in general, because Michel explains lots and lots of habits and twins illustrated by Michel's superb drawings!
Actually, apart from the Calcite collectors, this book should be on the shelves of anyone interested in crystallography!


John Nash July 06, 2012 02:56AM
This is one of my favorite Belgian calcites, an absolutely exquisite, perfect scalenohedral twin. There's a clean twinning line down the middle of this wonderful specimen. The crystal itself is 5 X 2.5 X 2.5 cm and sits on a small bit of calcite matrix. In the back there is a smaller rhomb attached, making the specimen about 3 cm wide. The ends show preferential dark etching on the termination faces. This gem was collected by Armand Stilmant from the Solvay Chemical Company limestone quarry at Loverval. Obtained courtesy of Armand's friend, Jacques Legat, with Jacques' label.
open | download - 1436full2.jpg (50.4 KB)
Rock Currier July 07, 2012 12:32PM
Thats a beautiful crystal and if you will upload it to our database rather than just as an attachment, I am pretty sure it will be include in the Best Minerals, Calcite, Belgium article.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Harjo Neutkens May 03, 2013 11:11PM
I added some very interesting and beautiful Calcites from a one off find in les Limites quarry to the article :-)
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