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Mineral PhotographyBest photographs of specimens larger than 1cm (reborn)

19th Nov 2019 18:33 UTCAntoine Barthélemy

Since the original topic (that was fun to follow) is now closed,  here is a new one to share our best photographs of specimens larger than 1cm!

19th Nov 2019 18:35 UTCAntoine Barthélemy


I recently commissioned Louis Verschuren to take photogrpahs of my best pieces, and I must say I am very pleased by the result. Here is a sweet pyromorphite from Bad Ems. 

19th Nov 2019 18:48 UTCKevin Conroy Expert


This fluorite crystal from Minerva #1 Mine, Hardin County, Illinois, USA is 5.7 cm across.   Several phantom layers are easily visible in this gemmy matrixless crystal. Note the cleaved corner on the upper left of the crystal. It shows rehealing, crystal growth after it was broken in the pocket. Many fluorite specimens in the Southern Illinois fluorite mines exhibit rehealing, both on the crystal corners and on their backs where there should be matrix. I wonder if a very strong earthquake eons ago broke/dislodged the specimens, then enough time passed that allowed regrowth. New Madrid, Missouri (site of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains) is less than 100 miles away.

19th Nov 2019 20:31 UTCEric He

Just started taking pics - I like this one - a self-collected amethyst cluster.

19th Nov 2019 20:52 UTCGareth Evans

Above are a few shots of my large cabinet specimen of Wulfenite with Mimetite on a limonitic matrix. It comes from the Ojuela Mine, Mapimí, Mapimí Municipality, Durango, Mexico. It is 140 mm x 100 mm x 75 mm, and the largest Wulfenite crystal is 15 mm. Close up shots are below the main photo.

I am just an amateur photography and most of my photos are taken on my office desk using a CoolPix A100 digital camera.

19th Nov 2019 21:21 UTCBranko Rieck Expert

...also amateurish, but I really like the color of this smithsonite!

19th Nov 2019 21:59 UTCGareth Evans

Shown are two aspects of a very attractive Berthierite specimen from Baia Mare, Maramures, Romania. It has a superb lustre that shimmers like fine silk. It is 90 mm x 35 mm x 35 mm. Also photographed on my office desk using a CoolPix A100 Digital camera.

20th Nov 2019 21:35 UTCGareth Evans

Shown is a classic botryoidal Malachite recovered sometime in the period 1850-65 from the Burra Burra Copper Mine, Burra, North Mt Lofty Ranges, South Australia, Australia.

This piece was also photographed with my CoolPix A100 digital camera. To get the reflection I placed the specimen on a sheet of glass that was placed on a mouse pad.

21st Nov 2019 00:38 UTCGareth Evans

Shown is a large cabinet specimen (160 mm x 160 mm x 80 mm) of ‘ruby jack’ Sphalerite from China. The largest Sphalerite crystal group is about 50 mm wide. The colour is a deep red but ruby red when back lit. It comes from the Kangjiawan Pb-Zn-Ag-Au deposit, Shuikoushan ore field, Changning Co., Hengyang, Hunan, China.

The photo was taken with a Canon 10 MP camera - I cannot remember the model.

21st Nov 2019 05:16 UTCAM Mizunaka Expert

Vibrant cluster of amethyst from the Ellis-Jones Mine, South Carolina (11.8 x 9.4 cm).

21st Nov 2019 12:50 UTCChris Rayburn

Mike, I've been enjoying your photos on Mindat and other sites for years.  You have an excellent eye for aesthetics and great skill with a camera.  This specimen and photo are simply outstanding.  Beautiful!  Thank you for sharing.

21st Nov 2019 19:19 UTCAM Mizunaka Expert

Thanks Chris!  The color of the piece really pops with the flash lighting.

21st Nov 2019 22:57 UTCScott Rider

I agree, I am jealous of your skills LOL!!!  And your specimens!!  Keep them coming!!!  

21st Nov 2019 06:28 UTCGareth Evans

A beautiful small cabinet (150 mm x 40 mm x 20 mm) specimen of Chinese Goethite in the form of a stalagmite with outstanding botryoidal features – along with a very high lustre. The thickest section is about 40 mm wide, and it tapers to about 20 mm at the base.

The photo was taken with a Coolpix A100 with mouse pads as background. Might be better to use a glass plate on a black mouse pad with a black mouse pad as background.

21st Nov 2019 13:04 UTCChris Rayburn

A 1.5 cm fluorite cube perched on smoky quartz, on a bed of albite and microcline, from the Lake George, Colorado area.  Collected in 2014.

21st Nov 2019 17:48 UTCJon Aurich

Goldfield Nevada. Bonanza Gold Ore. High Grade Epithermal Gold Specimen. Mined during the early leasing period of 1906-1907, from the famous Rustler #2 Mine. The specimen contains Quartz, Alunite, Cryptocrystalline Quartz, Bismuthinite, Milltown Andesite, Famatinite and Native Gold.

21st Nov 2019 20:11 UTCGareth Evans

Shown is a small cabinet (90 mm x 50 mm x 25 mm) botryoidal fluorite from Minggang Mine, Shihe District, Xinyang, Henan, China.

I took the photo on my desk with no lighting except for a LED torch that illuminated the specimen from above. The background was a black T-shirt.

22nd Nov 2019 03:16 UTCBob Harman

Two similar self collected examples from Monroe County Indiana.    This first example has intergrown scalenohedral calcites with micromarcasite inclusions. There are multicolored dolomite groups, all upon quartz. 

The second example, below, has rhombohedral calcites along with multicolored dolomites also upon quartz.

When collected, these are very fresh so only a simple rinse off is needed.   CHEERS.....BOB

22nd Nov 2019 03:20 UTCBob Harman

This example is 12 cm x 8.5 cm. Collected about 2009

22nd Nov 2019 07:43 UTCKeith Compton Manager

Nice black T-shirt Gareth ....... oh, oh..... I mean Fluorite ((-:)

Just shows that a simple background and good lighting (no matter the source) is a major contributor to good photos.

Nice Fluorite Gareth.

22nd Nov 2019 21:55 UTCGareth Evans

Dear Keith:

Many thanks for the words of inspiration. I come across this problem when I am buying minerals on line. Some really nice specimens may look average because the photographs were not taken under optimum conditions. Before buying a specimen, I ask the vendor to send a video, showing the mineral from all angles. Those vendors that are willing to provide videos are the ones that get my patronage.


22nd Nov 2019 14:16 UTCChris Rayburn

Keep them coming everyone.  I'm really enjoying this thread, and learning some new photo tricks as well.  Here are some apatite crystals on calcite, collected in August near Tory Hill, ON.  11 cm x 15 cm; largest apatites are 6.5 cm long.

22nd Nov 2019 20:12 UTCGareth Evans

I do not collect silicates as a general rule, but Beryl is one of the few minerals that contain the element Beryllium.

Crowning this cabinet specimen (150 mm x 120 mm x 100 mm) is a group of very clear, medium-blue Aquamarine crystals and the largest measures 40 mm x 30 mm x 20 mm. In all, this specimen features a dozen or more Aquamarines, all of which have good color, clarity and interesting terminations. The Muscovite crystals on this specimen are all well-formed and provide a good contrast for the Aquamarines.

This photo was taken using my standard method;  dark room, black t-shirt background and led lighting from above.

The specimen comes from Chumar Bakhoor, Hunza Valley, Gilgit District, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The acrylic stand is home-made.

22nd Nov 2019 22:46 UTCGareth Evans

A beautiful specimen (110 mm x 60 mm x 50 mm) of pyrite from Huanzala. The crystals are complex, highly lustrous and the largest crystal is 60 mm wide.

This photo was taken with minimal natural lighting, and the background was composed of two black mouse pads.

The acrylic stand and label were home-made.

26th Nov 2019 00:39 UTCGareth Evans

Striated, lustrous, jet-black twinned Sphalerite crystals, to 3.0 cm, fill a sculptural vugh in large matrix and are surrounded by contrasting spherical clusters of oxide-tinted flattened Calcite rhombs. This is a classic, noteworthy, very rich and showy large Sphalerite combination from the historic poly-metallic mines at Cavnic. It has several fine display views. Dramatic and large, it is not usually seen in large specimens at least here in the West. Ex Zerfass collection.

Acquired 20/11/2019.
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