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A challenge for rare mineral collectors

Posted by Kevin Conroy  
Kevin Conroy September 26, 2018 05:11PM
I 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.
Branko Rieck September 26, 2018 06:18PM
Colinowensite added!

W. Richard Gunter September 26, 2018 06:21PM
Hi 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 06:33PM
An 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 07:20PM
Iridarsenite added.

Richard, Colinowensite and Bobdownsite are different matters. ;)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 09:11PM by Pavel Kartashov.
Paul Brandes September 26, 2018 07:49PM
Splendid idea, Kevin!
The current count stands at 852 species without a photo.....
Jolyon & Katya Ralph September 26, 2018 10:26PM
I've fixed the page so that it better reports only valid species!
Kevin Conroy September 27, 2018 12:27AM
Paul 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!
Jeff Weissman September 27, 2018 12:30AM
I may have some in my archives, but the quality may be poor, as they would be in slide film. Some of these have been for sale on e-rocks, maybe they can help.
Ronnie Van Dommelen September 27, 2018 01:35AM
For 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 06:37AM
By 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.


Jolyon & Katya Ralph September 27, 2018 08:34AM
It might be fun to do another ranking chart to see who has uploaded the most first photos of mineral species.

Simply done by taking every photo for a species and seeing which has the lowest photo ID.
Alysson Rowan September 27, 2018 09:27AM
Jolyon & Katya Ralph Wrote:
> It might be fun to do another ranking chart to see
> who has uploaded the most first photos of mineral
> species.
> 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.
Ronnie Van Dommelen September 27, 2018 10:05AM
Added, thanks.
Tomas Husdal September 27, 2018 11:29AM
Cayalsite-(Y) has two photos but is on the list. Both photos are uploaded as the 1O polytype - could that be the reason?
Chris Stanley September 28, 2018 01:43PM
There 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


W. Richard Gunter September 28, 2018 02:27PM
Chris's comments are the same as what I said earlier. Is there a way of referencing a second or third mineral in a string?
Erik Vercammen September 29, 2018 03:13PM
I've uploaded digital photos of a polished and mounted specimen of mertieite-1 and of the page that came with it (SEM-photo, X-ray picture): is this an acceptable way to handle the microscopic rare species?
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.
Keith Compton October 01, 2018 08:59AM

I'm not sure if it works but as a work around can a child photo be uploaded with the minerals in reverse order so as to enable both to be listed ?
I haven't tried it, but I think it would work?
Jolyon & Katya Ralph October 01, 2018 11:25AM
`There isn't a really good way to deal with it currently.

Scratch that thought, I've figured out how to do it, and I'm working on it now.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2018 12:06PM by Jolyon & Katya Ralph.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph October 01, 2018 12:32PM

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.
W. Richard Gunter October 01, 2018 02:32PM
Wopmayite is noted as a photo on the mineral page but does not occur on the header. It may be an example of the need for a cache cleaning.
David Von Bargen October 01, 2018 03:53PM
Clearing the cache took care of the problem on the mineral page.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph October 01, 2018 04:03PM
Oh also, when the minerals are not the primary species in the photo they are NOT shown as header photos on the mineral page (and these pages will have no header photos).

This is deliberate as it may be misleading.
W. Richard Gunter October 01, 2018 04:32PM
Sounds good to me. That way a photo of a rare mineral, may be without detailed analyses, can be used as an example.
Ronnie Van Dommelen October 04, 2018 01:44AM
Added meridianiite. It is not a closeup view, but an in situ photo.
Kevin Conroy October 04, 2018 02:35AM
Pavel Kartashov October 08, 2018 11:53PM
Langisite is added.

Who will add Modderite?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 09:02PM by Pavel Kartashov.
Ronnie Van Dommelen October 09, 2018 08:39AM
Added 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.

Synthetic ringwoodite
David Von Bargen October 09, 2018 09:37AM
Added it (via the head photo override on mineral edit page).
Ronnie Van Dommelen October 09, 2018 11:19PM
Thanks David.

Srilankite, melcherite, decagonite, delhuyarite-(Ce), imayoshiite, gratianite, hitachiite added.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2018 02:28PM by Ronnie Van Dommelen.
Pavel Kartashov October 11, 2018 05:11PM
Kihlmanite-(Ce) is added.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 09:04PM by Pavel Kartashov.
Frank K. Mazdab October 13, 2018 07:06AM
vanadium 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 08:57AM
Thank 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 09:41AM
If 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 10:12AM
Hi 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.
David Von Bargen October 13, 2018 02:10PM
Public and user only are set by the photo reviewers.
Kevin Conroy October 29, 2018 02:44PM
Bump. Did anyone pick up an ultra-rarity at the Munich show?
Andreas Schloth October 29, 2018 04:19PM
Not 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.
Alfredo Petrov October 29, 2018 04:38PM
Don't know whether it qualifies as an "ultra"-rarity, but I got a currierite.
Andreas Schloth October 29, 2018 10:07PM
Here are the pictures:

Kevin Conroy October 29, 2018 11:47PM
Andreas, very nice, thank you!
Pavel Kartashov November 12, 2018 06:56PM
Batievaite-(Y) photo was added.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 09:06PM by Pavel Kartashov.
Pavel Kartashov November 15, 2018 06:10PM
Ruthenian Iridium photo was added.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 09:08PM by Pavel Kartashov.
Frank K. Mazdab November 15, 2018 08:10PM
Hi 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 08:39PM
Hi 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 10:10PM
Hi 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= 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.
Ronnie Van Dommelen November 18, 2018 07:17PM
Added zoltaiite and greenwoodite.
Pavel Kartashov November 19, 2018 12:49AM
Added rinkite-(Y).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 09:14PM by Pavel Kartashov.
Kevin Conroy December 03, 2018 08:05PM
Bump. Thanks to everyone who has posted photos! Does anyone have any others to add? As a reminder, here's the list: https://www.mindat.org/nophoto.php
Frank K. Mazdab January 01, 2019 04:33AM
oxy-chromium-dravite added:

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2019 04:41AM by Frank K. Mazdab.
Hans Kloster January 01, 2019 01:15PM
Of the 856 minerals without photos I have 144 minerals, but without photo and most of them are so small, that I can not make a good photo. Sorry.
Reiner Mielke January 01, 2019 02:22PM
Hello Hans,

Good is a relative term. If your photos are good enough to show the main characteristics then they are are good enough. How about showing us an example of one of your photos. Thank You.
Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:37AM
No 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

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:40AM

Anyolith, Longido, Tanzania
Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:41AM
Burtit, Mt. Hamman, Marokko

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:42AM
Chalklarit, Chalkar, Kazakhstan
Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:43AM
Chlorellestadit, Crestmore Q, Riverside, California.

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:44AM
Ferroholmquistit, Galyg, Sayan, _Russia

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:45AM
Hainit, Pocos de Caldas, M.G. Brasil

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:46AM
Hydrocabroit, South Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire, GB

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:47AM
Isocubanit, Cerro Palestina o Negro, East Palestina, II-Region, Chile

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:48AM
Jannit, akermannit. Kovdor, Kola, Russia

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:49AM
Niigatait in prehnit. Itogawa, Ohmi, Niigata, Honshu Island, Japan

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:50AM
Lunohit, Chibine, Kola, Russia

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:51AM
Penzhinit, Sesfantain, Kaokoland, Namibia

Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 09:52AM
Xenotim-(Yb). Mt. Ploskaya, Keivy, Kola, Russia

Paul De Bondt January 03, 2019 10:41AM

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 11:21AM

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.

Debbie Woolf January 03, 2019 11:58AM
No record of Penzhinite in Namibia either but would like to see a better photo of this piece, thank you.
Jeff Weissman January 03, 2019 12:38PM
The so called chlorellestadtite from Crestmore is either hydroxyl or fluorine dominant, would need analysis to tell which one, no Cl dominant has been proven from Crestmore.
Hans Kloster January 03, 2019 06:19PM
The 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 07:00PM
Hello 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 07:07PM
I'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 10:57AM
Another 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 12:24PM
There 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 12:54PM
To 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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