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GeneralYour favorite "one time find" minerals/locations

29th Aug 2019 04:36 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

A recent discussion about a mineral's site of origin sparked a thought about all of the "one time find" minerals that I've seen.   For instance, I'm talking about truly exceptional specimens of a species that were found in a single find at a locality not known for producing pieces of great quality.   Perhaps a certain species being found for the first time at a locality, only never to be found there again.   I can think of quite a few of these, but what's your favorite?

I'll start off with a favorite one of mine from Missouri, USA.   Two of these specimens were just offered in the Rock Currier auction: Leadhillite from the Beer Cellar Mine, Granby, Missouri:

29th Aug 2019 06:16 BSTBob Harman

Shown once previously and displayed several times is this extraordinary 2014 self-collected example from private land in Washington County Indiana. The area of calcite is nearly 20cm in a large, nearly 27cm pristine quartz geode with very interesting quartz formations as well. Very little of this size and quality had ever been seen from any site in Indiana

I was collecting at a favorite Washington County Indiana road cut site when a local stopped. Usually I am a bit anxious when locals stop while I collect, but this fellow was nice, saying he had some land that I could look thru for specimens. These offers, while appreciated, almost always result in nothing. But this was very different. This was the first  find in a previously unknown location; the very first of about 12 hi quality and 2 extraordinary quality finds.

As I still collect on the private land locality a few times each winter and spring, the  location remains just "Washington County".    CHEERS......BOB

29th Aug 2019 16:04 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

I know this grouping is not quite as the specimens you already posted but one thing that fits is that it is a one time find in a very small area, no place else did I ever come across these pseudomorphs in all of the St. David, Arizona area.  I have had questions about going to the place to collect some but I went with my niece this Spring and found next to nothing at all.  The whole place these were found is about the size of space our house takes up, no more.  I just posted these on other threads but to me these little guys were a real find.

29th Aug 2019 21:33 BSTErin Delventhal Manager

What are these, Rolf?  Quartz after gypsum?

31st Aug 2019 16:02 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

Those are calcite after gypsum.  The calcite formed a complete shell on the outside and then grew crystals toward the insides.  The pieces are almost all hollow with the in facing crystals.
One thing odd with the new messageboard, the old one used to have the script with the photo that was transfered to the post but now it no longer does this and I have to remember to write it in the message.

2nd Sep 2019 02:32 BSTDonald B Peck Expert


I seem to remember very similar pieces from Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona, AZ.  I think there were two different compositions that looked pretty much identical.  Maybe someone else remembers this too.


6th Sep 2019 00:16 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

Do you mean the calcite, gypsum and aragonite pseudos after glauberite?  Those came from South of Sedona in the Verde Valley.   My folks lived in Sedona for years and I had not heard of any calcite after gypsum from North of Sedona or anything like it in Oak Creek Canyon.  Maybe I missed something there and would love to hear anything about it.

6th Sep 2019 16:21 BSTDonald B Peck Expert


At my age, my memory is not great.  But I seem to remember them near the stream bed in Oak Creek Canyon.; I may be mistaken, though.


29th Aug 2019 16:29 BSTJobe Giles

To me, this is a once in a lifetime find, I realize that blue colored feldspars are not super rare or anything. However for me, the aesthetic me of the color contrasts, the double terminated smoky quartz and the terminated tourmaline just make this a really special piece for me! Collected at an undisclosed location in El Dorado Co., California. 

31st Aug 2019 13:59 BSTJamison K. Brizendine Expert

Since Kevin introduced this thread, its only fair I get to pick on him.

When I was a geology student, one of the places our petrology class went to was Elephant Rocks State Park in Graniteville, Missouri. This fluorite specimen from Kevin Conroy's collection, is from the Sheahan Quarry, which isn't too far from Elephant Rocks State Park. Fluorite is very rare from this quarry and this is probably the best example from the quarry. To date, I've only seen two specimens total from here, the other one is in Kelly Nash's collection.


31st Aug 2019 16:15 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Thanks Jamison, those fluorites are pretty scarce.   In 50-plus years of collecting Missouri minerals I've probably only seen a dozen or so of these.

Some superb iridescent stephanite and polybasite specimens were found in the Husky Mine at Elsa, Canada.   Pictured is a fine double terminated stephanite.

31st Aug 2019 17:19 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

Tried to add this to your photo to show how yours inspired me since I have one from New Mexico that looked like it took the form from the way yours grew.   Had never seen one like it until I saw the one you posted.  Great photos.

1st Sep 2019 22:40 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Tsumeb Mine is my favorite locality, not only for all of the amazing displayable species, but also for the number of rarities that were found there.   This specimen features both of these qualities.   The description says it all: "Andyrobertsite on Olivenite. From the collection of William Pinch. The type specimen and by several orders of magnitude the best one."

5th Sep 2019 03:36 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

In 1992 and 1993 some of the finest cubic magnetite crystals ever found were recovered from the ZCA No. 4 Mine near Balmat, New York, USA.   Although cubic magnetite crystals are known from some other worldwide locations, none rival the best from this find.

5th Sep 2019 15:20 BSTTimothy Greenland

Hello Kevin,

I hope this will correspond to what you were looking for. A long while ago (25th May 1963), I went with a friend to the Treak Cliff area of Derbyshire (England) which is quite near the "Blue John" mine. We found traces of fluorite on the rock exposures but nothing very special. After a while, I got a bit frustrated and started knocking on the rock-face with my hammer in a random way. One patch gave a sort of hollow echo and I hammered in a cold chisel which, to my amazement, suddenly shot inwards with no resistance... A few blows with a sledgehammer and I found a rounded cavity some 40 cms across (by memory) lined with small dark purple fluorite cubes and studded with a number of calcite scalenohedra - one of which was honey yellow, partially gemmy and large
(ca 8 cms). It came out with a rosette of fluorite attached at the base, which showed a radiating weakly banded structure under the crystalline surface. Interestingly, and unusually for Derbyshire, one band gives a dark red fluorescence under LW UV... I enclose a photo of the overall specimen and another of the fluorite rosette. I think this qualifies as a "one-off" because it would probably take a lot of hammering on the exposed rock walls to find another such cavity - even if the site is open to collecting nowadays...

Best wishes


5th Sep 2019 22:34 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Tim, that's a REALLY nice specimen!   I've never seen anything even close to this from the Blue John Mine (or nearby), so this specimen fits in the discussion quite well.

7th Sep 2019 14:27 BSTTimothy Greenland

Hello again Kevin,

Yes, while good calcites are to be found at, for instance, Millclose or Riber mines in Derbyshire, Treak Cliff is not reputed for them... I never found another like it. I attach a pic of the fluorite showing the radiating structure under the cubic faces at the tips. I am enjoying your thread a lot - great idea!



5th Sep 2019 04:30 BSTJon Aurich

Hello Kevin.. I feel that the specimen that I am including in this thread deserves a spot here. Many tons of this type of ore were produced at the Florence Mine at Goldfield Nevada from 1904 - 1908, today, only a few  rare specimens exist. The high grade ore from Goldfield was very rich, some tonnage exceeded over 2,800 ounces of Gold per ton !! This specimen contains Quartz, Famatinite, Alunite, Cryptocrystalline Quartz, Milltown Andesite, Bismuthinite and Native Gold.

5th Sep 2019 14:59 BSTTony Nikischer Manager

My favorite "one time find" is my namesake mineral, nikischerite. When found in 2000, the miners called it "bad ludlamite". Alfredo Petrov was working for me at the time and secured about 50 small specimens, all that his mining contacts had saved. The initial analysis in my lab suggested it was a new mineral, and the rest is history. I have checked all the shigaites (the Mn-analog), even those found in iron-rich deposits, in the hope of finding other specimens that were unrecognized, but none have turned up since that first, and only, find. Recently, I was offered specimens from a new find in Bolivia, but after analysis, I confirmed that they were chamosite, somewhat darker in color but with similar morphology. My ego lusts for more nikischerite, but it has yet to be satisfied! 

5th Sep 2019 22:37 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

What a beauty Tony!   Keep the hunt going!

5th Sep 2019 20:36 BSTJobe Giles

Incredible specimens all of you! Wow! Jon that famatanite/gold is nuts!!! And the magnetite, just wow!

7th Sep 2019 04:33 BSTJon Aurich

Thank you Jobe !!

6th Sep 2019 16:15 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

This is Hazenite, only found at Mono Lake, California.   The photo (by Dr. Robert Downs) and the following text is from the Los Angeles Times:

"Hazenite has only been found in Mono Lake in the California desert, and only on certain days of the year. When the lake has been dry for a long time, the phosphorous levels occasionally get so high that they start to poison the microbes that live on the lakebed. To deal with the excess phosphorous, these microscopic life forms excrete tiny little hazenite crystals."

6th Sep 2019 16:58 BSTAlan Pribula

You should definitely upload this photo to the hazenite page.  Yours is way prettier than the one photo now present on that page!

8th Sep 2019 03:01 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Great idea Alan!   I wrote to Dr. Robert Downs (the photographer), Director of the RRUFF Project at the University of Arizona, and he gave me permission to upload photos of this specimen.

6th Sep 2019 21:18 BSTEric He

Here's a trio of amethyst scepters from the Hansen Creek area in King County WA. I found one pocket of these last September and have never seen anything like them ever since. Usually, amethyst scepters at this locale have light color, poor clarity, and short stems.
Largest xtl in the specimen measures 5cm. 

8th Sep 2019 17:12 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Eric, congratulations on finding this exceptionally aesthetic specimen!

9th Sep 2019 20:13 BSTEric He

Thank you!

7th Sep 2019 05:50 BSTD Mike Reinke

Rolf and Jamison, thank you for those finds. I have a micro fluorite of that habit, from an old mine, of which there are many, on the west side of Turtleback mtn, T or C, NM. Do you just call that ' hoppered' or is there another description for it?

7th Sep 2019 06:14 BSTGareth Evans

A cabinet sized Cylindrite. I had been after a ‘large’ specimen of this unusual mineral for a long time, but nothing of any note was available until a few years ago. My children claim it is a very ugly specimen, but I do have a fascination with Bolivian minerals.

8th Sep 2019 00:34 BSTRobert Rothenberg

In May, 2011 several of us were collecting in the Trudeau Quarry, in Quebec, Canada.  It is well known for tiny, blue, platy, anatase crystals.  There were some boulders stacked somewhere that looked different from the normal anatase bearing rock.  Robin Tibbit and I decided to check these out and we each took several pieces home.  He found several tiny copper minerals and I found these rutile crystals.  I found a single small piece, which I was able to split in half.  Robin has the other half.  This is the best crystal group on the piece I kept.  The field of view is about 1.3mm.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the only rutile ever found in the quarry. 

Photographed with Nikon Coolpix 995 on a Meiji Techno RZ scope, and stacked with Helicon Focus.

8th Sep 2019 16:54 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

This is an obvious one that is well-known, but leaving it out of this discussion would be a disservice.   A cave was encountered in Naica Mine, Naica, Mexico that had gypsum crystals up to 12 meters long!   The heat and humidity conditions in the cave are dangerous, so I'm not sure what the guy in the photo is doing without a protective suit on.   Photo Credit: Javier Trueba/MSF/Science Source

10th Sep 2019 02:07 BSTLloyd Van Duzen

Hi Kevin, this one came from my old stomping grounds not far from home now in Burk's Falls Ontario.  In my earlier days it was a yearly get together for my dad and uncles to get together for a week of deer hunting out back in the forest behind my parents house in Chetwynd.  For 17 years I walked this forest in attempt to chase the deer out.  Most years it was a fruitless labor for myself and I say labor because I would cover 60 to 80 bush kilometers in the week of the hunt.  So part of the forest area at the north end of a huge hill, close to a km long there is a spot where this hill ends and slopes downward into the adjacent bedrock.  Like a fault, there is large broken rocks and cracks in the bedrock which I became quite familiar  with.  About four years after my dad passed away in 2005, I decided to visit my mother and make a trip back to this remote forest location and investigate for crystals.  "low and behold" after some digging and clearing leaves sticks and brush I found a large cavity lined with quartz crystals like these.  There is more there as well.
I havn't hunted deer since 2005 and have never been back there since I found this.
Good thread Kevin, love all the posts and pics.

10th Sep 2019 13:25 BSTKevin Conroy Expert


This selenite cluster would be very ordinary if it hadn't formed around a beetle! The bug's legs are trapped in one of the sand and gravel included crystals. When I found this specimen I almost picked the beetle off thinking that it was just on the selenite, not part of the specimen. Selenite crystals from this locality are REALLY common, but this is the only bug that I've ever seen that is an "inclusion".

10th Sep 2019 13:44 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

Great finds with the insects as part of the specimen.  That is one of the dung rolling scarab beetles.

10th Sep 2019 13:42 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

Just couldn't resist, after seeing your photo of cave of swords I had taken a photo of cerussites from Tynagh in Ireland and I had thought of putting a person in there since it sure reminded me of the photo you posted but only 12mm across.   Often think of what it would be like to be able to shrink down and visit one of these scenes in person.  Doesn't fit as a one time find but I am hoping it will being a smile.

17th Sep 2019 22:08 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Originally named buergerite, this is fluor-buergerite on rhyolite from Mexquitic, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.   I've heard that almost all of these specimens are from a single find in the 1960's.   Apparently the collector who found these died before telling anyone else where he found them!   Many years later a spot near Mexquitic was found that produced a few more specimens, but I'm not sure if this was the original site (the type locality) or not.

18th Sep 2019 10:46 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Tsumeb has produced more one-time finds than most localities.
Here's one of these, the green calcite from the Icecream pocket, found in June 1977.
None where found after that pocket.

18th Sep 2019 18:59 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

That's a beauty Paul!   Tsumeb was awesome.

18th Sep 2019 21:32 BSTPaul Brandes Manager

My contribution are these from the locally famous "Silver Pit" on the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. The Pit was dug into a fissure vein in the woods during the mid 1990s and was found to have abundant silver crystals (including cubes and hoppers) and prehnite, but very little copper. The Pit itself was quite small in size, but produced some of the best silvers found in recent years. The examples here are some of what was found. Sadly, the Pit was buried and the land surrounding it is now private. Truly, a "one-time" find.....

19th Sep 2019 00:54 BSTKevin Conroy Expert

Both of these are REALLY nice!   This shows that prospecting in a new area is worth the effort.

19th Sep 2019 14:07 BSTBob Harman

Millerite (NiS) is an uncommon, but highly collectible mineral in the Midwest, found in numerous locations, but only very rarely of this exceptional quality. On blue chalcedony, this large acicular spray has a few strands embedded into the adjacent calcite while most of the strands are free. The longest strands are nearly 5 cm in length.     One of the finest examples found in many years, self-collected from Monroe County Indiana in 2007.     CHEERS.....BOB

20th Sep 2019 05:35 BSTGareth Evans

A truly one time find of ‘flower’ Baryte with Pyrite from a huge cavity (Rutyna’s Pocket) in the Lubin Mine, Lower Silesia, Poland. The specimen measures 110 mm x 90 mm x 80 mm.

20th Sep 2019 12:53 BSTChris Rayburn

These were on display (and for sale of course) at Spirifer's booth at the Denver show last week.  Truly stunning in person.

20th Sep 2019 21:38 BSTGareth Evans

Above is another shot.Asia of Spirifer supplied this one (6 weeks ago), along with a few nice shots of the interior of the pocket. I do really love European minerals, especially from the Iron Mines of NW England, and from Kosovo, Bulgaria and Romania. I do not have many minerals from Poland, so the ‘flower Baryte’ was a wonderful addition.

22nd Sep 2019 17:20 BSTAlexander Ringel

My favorite one time find are the Natrolites of Alchuri in Pakistan. Despite their size and clarity they have gone almost completely unnoticed. This one is 13 cm x 1,3 cm x 1,3 cm and absolutely crystal clear along the whole length with the exception of the weathered dull surface and 2 minor internal cracks and a under loupe only visible spray of microscopic chlorite worms.

22nd Sep 2019 20:18 BSTJobe Giles

Red amethyst sceptre on a milky/smoky stem. I will replace this photo with a better one when I get the time to clean it and photograph it properly. To the best of my knowledge, nothing like this has every been found and documented in El dorado County, CA. 
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