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A challenge for rare mineral collectors
Posted by Kevin Conroy
Kevin Conroy September 26, 2018 05:11PMI recently ran across a list of all of the minerals on Mindat that don't have photos. I wonder how many of these minerals are in the possession of folks who use this site. Let's see how many of these we can get at least one photo of by the end of this year! Please post a reply note when you add a photo so we can all see it. Here's the list: https://www.mindat.org/nophoto.php
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/26/2018 05:13PM by Kevin Conroy.
W. Richard Gunter September 26, 2018 06:21PMHi Kevin:
Bobdownsite no longer exists as a separate phase so it should not have photos. They will be posted under whitlockite. Most of these are very rare minerals and often require both high magnification and extensive testing. Some will be noted as accessory minerals to other phases, so will be posted but not as a head phase. I don't know if Mindat can sort these out.
W. Richard Gunter September 26, 2018 06:33PMAn example of my last point is wopmayite. It has been posted as an accessory to one of my Tanco apatite samples. The phase meets the physical properties of wopmayite, but it has not been XRD confirmed as wopmayite, so I did not enter it as the primary phase on the sample.
Pavel Kartashov September 26, 2018 07:20PMIridarsenite added.
Richard, Colinowensite and Bobdownsite are different matters. ;)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 09:11PM by Pavel Kartashov.
Kevin Conroy September 27, 2018 12:27AMPaul and Jolyon, thanks!
Branko and Pavel, congratulations on being the first to add photos of Colinowensite and Iridarsenite!
I know that photos of many of the species are going to be problematic due to a number of factors including their extreme rarity, but think of the fun and knowledge spread with each new entry. Challenge on!
Ronnie Van Dommelen September 27, 2018 01:35AMFor those that are more recently described, one path is to write the author(s) of the paper describing the mineral. If there is a photo in the paper, they should know the photographer, and that person may be willing to allow it to be used on MinDat. It's not a lot or work to write a nice email.
Jolyon, would it be possible to add the status to that list (approved or pending). I would expect getting a photo of a pending mineral will usually be pretty difficult.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2018 01:42AM by Ronnie Van Dommelen.
Branko Rieck September 27, 2018 06:37AMBy the way:
could somebody add:
Rieck B., Pristacz H. and Giester G. (2015): Colinowensite, BaCuSi2O6, a new mineral from the Kalahari Manganese Field, South Africa and new data on wesselsite, SrCuSi4O10. Mineral. Mag., 79(7), 1769-1778.
to the colinowensite and wesselsite pages.
Alysson Rowan September 27, 2018 09:27AMJolyon & Katya Ralph Wrote:
> It might be fun to do another ranking chart to see
> who has uploaded the most first photos of mineral
> Simply done by taking every photo for a species
> and seeing which has the lowest photo ID.
That would be uncommonly interesting - especially for the photographic buffs out there.
Chris Stanley September 28, 2018 01:43PMThere is a problem in that only the first named mineral (if there is more than one as is often the case) makes it and the other associated minerals don't appoear in the photos list.
Hence, some time ago I uploaded some images of palladseite and arsenopalladinite with palladinite rims but the images appear under the first named mineral only. Likewise for garutiite and zaccariniite
Jolyon & Katya Ralph October 01, 2018 08:30AM> Is there a way of referencing a second or third mineral in a string?
Not at the moment. The main reason is for performance - it would slow the queries down significantly to do this and we don't currently have the resources to manage that.
Additionally, those more common minerals (quartz, etc) would suddenly have thousands more photos added where it may just be a matrix component.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph October 01, 2018 12:32PMOk.
I have fixed it with a compromise that works pretty well.
If there are no primary photos of a mineral (where it is the first mineral listed), it then, and only then, checks the additional fields.
So, if we have a species like Hongshiite that has three photos at secondary level but no primary, it will now show all three photos.
The only caveat on this is that as soon as a single photo is added as a primary photo for this species, those three secondary photos again become hidden, so it would then list only a single photo.
It's not perfect but it's a lot better than it was before today.
If your favourite mineral species is still showing no photos when there are secondary photos available it may just need the cache clearing - let me know if you find any.
Ronnie Van Dommelen October 09, 2018 08:39AMAdded a photo of synthetic ringwoodite, but it will not be shown on the mineral page. Should a line be added in the general description with a link to it? There is another, similar, synthetic ringwoodite photo on Wikipedia.
Frank K. Mazdab October 13, 2018 07:06AMvanadium is added... three photos: (1) thin section reflected light image, (2) same view in PPL, (3) same view in XP.
However, note the locality of this particular vanadium-bearing "rock" is under debate as to whether it's a natural occurrence or a smelter product. I suspect it may actually be a lab-made material:
Paul De Bondt October 13, 2018 08:57AMThank you Frank.
But there was an error in the measurements on the upload.
You marked 1000 mm as it must be 1000µm.
What is weird, I edited the picture and changed that but can't find the images again, even after clearing the cache.
David, do you have an explanation, please.
David Von Bargen October 13, 2018 09:41AMIf you are talking about https://www.mindat.org/photo-914222.html
It looks like it was only approved for user only (checkbox for display site wide was not checked).
If you go to Frank's page and look at the photo gallery (with the show "All images" selected) the photo showed up.
Frank K. Mazdab October 13, 2018 10:12AMHi guys,
I'll fix the measurement (unless that's already been fixed... thanks if so), and I'll go back and check any missing boxes for wider display. Guess I must have just missed that.
edit: measurement was fixed (thanks... I got it correct on the the parent image and then forgot to change it on the child images); the parent image is set to public galleries... I didn't see where one checks that for the child images. But anyone with authorization, please feel free to make them public if they're not currently set that way.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2018 10:20AM by Frank K. Mazdab.
Andreas Schloth October 29, 2018 04:19PMNot literally an ultra-rarity, but a rarity for sure. Managed to get a really good sample of the new mineral Rhabdoborite-W, though I had another one before. I'will be trying to get some good macro-shots tonight (german time) and upload.
Frank K. Mazdab November 15, 2018 08:10PMHi Pavel,
Isn't "ruthenian iridium" just iridium? :-)
Said in light-hearted jest referencing your:
Very strange question for me. Strontianite is strontianite, calcite is calcite (even strontian)
comment from the "strontianite or strontian calcite" thread.
Pavel Kartashov November 15, 2018 08:39PMHi Frank,
I'm afraid in this case, you do not understand about what I'm saying. I would advise you to look at Fig.4 in the article http://rruff.info/uploads/CM12_104.pdf if you don't remember names of minerals in the Os-Ir-Ru system by memory.
Frank K. Mazdab November 15, 2018 10:10PMHi Pavel,
Thanks for the link. Yes, I did look at Figure 4. I also looked at section h) on page 110. "Ruthenian" is an adjectival modifier, per Schaller 1930; it is not part of the mineral name. There is iridium; there is no "ruthenian iridium". Even mindat notes that "ruthenian iridium" is just a variety of iridium. So in case you don't remember the names of the minerals in the Os-Ir-Ru system by memory, here's the list of IMA-approved minerals, current as of November 2018:
I will concede, however, that adjectival modifiers seem to be formalized for the platinum-group elements and alloys, whereas they certainly are not for something like the "strontian" in "strontian calcite". However, it appears even that formalization may be depreciated. Bayliss et al., 2005 (http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.532.1379&rep=rep1&type=pdf) write:
Chemical-element adjectival modifiers are not part of the name of a mineral species. Schaller-type adjectival modifiers, which have the endings -oan or -ian, formerly recommended [my emphasis] by the CNMMN of the IMA, in many cases give erroneous information about the valence of an ion, and are therefore inappropriate [my emphasis, again].
So in 2018, it seems that there really isn't much semantic difference between "strontian calcite" and "ruthenian iridium". The former is just calcite and the latter is just iridium, and neither adjectival modifier appears appropriate or recommended (though the value of the added information each conveys is certainly not questioned). In any case, I've used the modifiers myself and I have no genuine objection to them; I was just having a bit of fun with an inconsistency, and I don't want to hijack this thread further. I support non-discrimination for ruthenian iridium... :-)
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/15/2018 10:18PM by Frank K. Mazdab.
Pavel Kartashov December 04, 2018 05:01PMZnamenskyite
and Natrotitanite added.
Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:37AMNo 71 Anyolith, Longido, Tanzania
No. 73 Burtit, Mt. Hamman, Marokko
No 75 Calklarit, Chalkar, Kazakhstan
No 76 Chlorellestadit, crestmore Q, Riverside Co, Califonia
No 77 Ferroholmquistit, Golyg, Sayan, Russia
No 78 Hainit, Pocod de Caldas, M.G. Brasil
No 79 Hydrocabroit, South Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire, GB
No 80 Isocubanit, Cerro Palestina e Negro, East Palestina, II-Region, Chile
No 81 Jannit, ekemannit. Kovdor, Koal, Russia
No 82 Niigatait in prehnit, Itogawa, Ohmi, Niigata, Honshu Island, Japan
No 83 Lunohit, Chibine, Kola, Russia
No 84 Penzhivit. Sesfantain, Kaokoland, Namibia
No 85 Xenotim-(Yb), Mt. Ploskaya, Keivy, Kola, Russia
Paul De Bondt January 03, 2019 10:41AMHans,
Thank you for the pictures but we can not use them as they show just a piece of " mineral ".
No characteristic features are shown.
And sorry to play the devils advocates here, but have these minerals been checked.
I used to collect systhematics and after checking my specimens, not even half where right !
I hope this helps.
Keith Compton January 03, 2019 11:21AMHans
Also none of those photos are even in focus, even if correctly identified.
We really do need good quality photos of those rarer species so if you can provide photos in focus and showing the characteristics of the mineral and the basis of the ID, please resubmit.
Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 06:19PMThe basis of the ID is, that I have bought the minerals from:
No 72 Dragsted CPH
No 73 Kaiser Mineralien
No 75 Steffen Möckel
No 76, 78 and 84 Geomar
No 77, 83 and 85 Mikon
No 79 Stolze
No 80 and 82 Gunnar Färber
No 81 Dominica, Torino
If they all are not reliable, Mindat should warn us amateurs
Kevin Conroy January 03, 2019 07:00PMHello Hans,
I'm by no means an expert photographer, but it looks like a setting or two may need to be adjusted on your camera. There are some articles that helped me figure out how to take better mineral photos. Start with the basic ones, these may help you too: https://www.mindat.org/articlelist.php?frm_id=searcharticles&cform_is_valid=1&u=&t=photography&c=&f=&ca=0&d=&s=&submit_searcharticles=Search+Articles
Frank K. Mazdab January 03, 2019 07:07PMI've had a similar experience as Paul reports, although with not quite so dismal a percentage. With one well-known dealer (whom I need not identify here) I'm at about 1 out of every 2 samples as misidentifications, but perhaps more hopefully, I'm probably closer to only about 1 out of 10 misidentifications overall. In none of these cases I think the misidentifications were on purpose or meant to deceive... it's simply that rare minerals don't typically have a large pool of experts to say, "I'm so familiar with this species/locale that that's clearly mineral X". When a rare mineral is identified from somewhere, some collectors seem to label every similar looking rock from its immediate vicinity as a specimen of it. This reasoning is probably what got me a Palos Hill nybøite that was really glaucophane, an ottrélite (from Ottré in fact!) that was really just chloritoid, and a Kovdor katophorite that was really a magnesio-hastingsite (and each of these cases of mistaken identity came from a different reputable dealer).
This is not to discourage one's systematic collecting; it's a challenge all collectors of uncommon minerals have, even those of us lucky enough to have access to analytical facilities. I tend to hedge my IDs and label my samples initially as "acquired for ____________" (fill in the blank with whatever mineral name you wish), and then I still have to wait until I have the time and discretionary funds to hop on the microprobe and verify questionable IDs. As such, many of my samples still remain labeled as "acquired for X" as I'm only slowly able to get to them. And as with the chloroellestadtite example noted in a previous post (and with my examples from above), the issue typically isn't something as potentially obvious as a pyroxene identified as an amphibole (although I've had one or two of those cases too)... it's more likely something much more subtle and not often easily recognizable, like too much or too little of some critical element, which potentially ultimately messes up the ID. I don't know what the easy answer is for misidentified rare minerals, as it's likely impractical for every individual specimen to be analyzed. We can only hope dealers and those who are doing the collecting are cognizant of these challenges, and that they are imparting similar wisdoms on those who may acquire their specimens.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2019 07:10PM by Frank K. Mazdab.
Erik Vercammen January 04, 2019 10:57AMAnother problem is the change in the definition of minerals, with the amphiboles as best (or worst?) exemple. Specimens may be identified according the 'old' rules, and changes in the collection or a dealer's stock occur seldom. And for ottrélite: every Mn-rich chloritoid was once called an ottrélite, but according to the actual rules you need more than 50% Mn on a certain site in the mineral's structure.
Reiner Mielke January 04, 2019 12:24PMThere are some dealers that deliberately misidentify things but these are rare and mostly confined to ebay. However since most dealers are in the business to make money they will not make a great effort to make sure everything they sell is what they say it is. For example there are still many dealers who sell heterosite as purpurite. It "looks like" is still a common "analytical technique" simply because to analyze every sample would make the samples very expensive and the vast majority of collectors would not be willing to pay for that.
Unfortunately there is the tendency for dealers to "jump on the bandwagon" when a new mineral is discovered without first confirming what they think they have. The best example of that if is the whitlockite-bobdownsite bandwagon. They look identical and at the time only expensive analysis could tell them apart. However as soon as bobdownsite was discovered all the whitelockite became bobdownsite and a new more lucrative market opened up for all the old whitelockite specimens begging for buyers. As it turned out bobdownsite was actually whitlockite as bobdownsite was discredited. Hopefully dealers will have learned from that.
An interesting aside to that is that I bought a "bobdownsite" specimen for my collection and being the cynic that I am, broke it in half and labelled one half bobdownsite and the other half whitlockite. Now I have two whitlockite specimens in my collection. LOL
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2019 12:55PM by Reiner Mielke.
Reiner Mielke January 04, 2019 12:54PMTo add to Erik's remarks. If you had to pay the cost of identifying an amphibole with complete certainty you could either not afford it or not want to pay the price. As a result in order to keep prices low a dealer will make an educated guess based on partial analysis of a sample that looks the same from the same locality and label it accordingly. Usually the dealer has no idea what the probability is of that ID being correct but assumes it is at least 51% . As a buyer you need to be at least well enough informed to understand the problems associated with identifying some groups of minerals species and take that into consideration. It is not reasonable to expect a dealer to analyze every sample and then offer them at cheap prices. If you are not well enough informed then you should not be buying or if you do buy should be willing to accept a possible misidentification. If on the other hand you pay for an analysis and find the dealer was wrong, then the dealer should happily refund your money (including shipping costs) without giving you a difficult time. If a dealer is not willing to do that, then they should not be in the business of selling minerals. I have come to the point where I will not buy something, even from a reputable dealer, unless I have some affordable way of confirming the identity of the mineral. However one plus side to this is that sometimes you discover that the error is in your favour and that the misidentified specimen is actually something much rarer.
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Copyright © mindat.org and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2019, except where stated. Mindat.org relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.