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Cleaning hard scale off ajoite included quartz from Messina

Posted by penney file (2)  
penney file (2) March 02, 2018 04:28AM
Hello - I have several specimens of quartz included with ajoite and papagoite from Messina. Most, in particular one large cluster - about 8 inches x 10 inches x 6 inches high - have many included crystals including (no pun intended) the large primary crystals, showing slight to excellent ajoite color intensity. The faces of crystals with ajoite are typically NOT the faces coated with scale. Any thoughts or guidance or opinions would be appreciated. Images of the large cluster are provided.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2018 04:29AM by penney file (2).
Jolyon & Katya Ralph March 02, 2018 10:35AM
Without knowing what the 'scale' is it's impossible to say.

But, I would strongly suggest you send it to professional mineral preparation lab for cleaning as any chemical/abrasive attempts you try might ruin the piece.
Dale Foster March 13, 2018 11:17AM
Personally I would not attempt to remove it.

That 'scale' is part of the paragenesis of the specimen and to my eye it shows a growth indicating a flow direction of a mineralising fluid.

Also the likelihood is that if it was removed the faces of the quartz under it are apt to be less attractive.

I would just limit cleaning to removing any dirt and accept the rest as part and parcel of the material, it isn't like the scale is some sort of dump growth muck on the piece.
Debbie Woolf March 13, 2018 05:37PM
Most likely sericite (mica) with epidote giving it a pale green tinge.
Reiner Mielke March 13, 2018 10:17PM
The coating looks loose so I would try a water gun on it. It is not likely you will be able to do any damage with that.
Doug Daniels March 13, 2018 10:26PM
Could also be a later generation of quartz, which then would be....good luck.
Scott Rider March 13, 2018 11:03PM
I'd not try to remove the coatings at all. From my experience cleaning quartz specimens with coatings here in Colorado, I find that the luster is just terrible after I remove the stains. The coatings are typically iron-oxides, much different from what is coating yours but the end result may be the same. I understand the specimen comes from a mine very different from many of Colorado quartz locations but I've learned that some coatings can really kill a quartz crystal's luster and appeal.

But, removing minerals from quartz sometimes can have bad results, like broken crystals, a muted luster, and may actually be a detriment to the value of the specimen. Maybe a professional could do a much, much better job than I could, but that could be expensive.
Doug Daniels March 14, 2018 01:52AM
The other option is what's done with single crystals - grind the faces and polish them. Looking back at the photos of your specimen, I'd say that's not an option. Best to leave it as is. Don't do anything to mess up its value.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2018 01:53AM by Doug Daniels.
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