I’d heard they have a solid collection of trilobites & the massive cut blue sapphire Siren of Serendip is a special exhibit.
But with the clock ticking down, I raced up the stairs & tumbled into Cullen Hall of Gems & Minerals.
Despite being named for colour-matching saffron, lead makes it firmly “Do Not Lick.”
This particular spikefren is from Adelaide Mine, Tasmania, sticking with “everything cute in Australia can secretly kill you” theme.
No UV light to see if it’d fluoresce pretty colours for me.
From Nikolaevskiy Mine in Russia where hot sulfide solutions crystallized in limestone caverns.
Considering it’s usually an iconic shape (cube, rarely octa or dodeca) & freaking FLUORESCES so it’s easy ID, lickability is “You could, but why bother?”
But it does usually grow in sharp chiclet-tabs. Although sometimes it’s round or pyramids.
It’s usually shiiiiny tiny hexes, although it can occasionally be wee rounded barrels & globs (like this).
Pyromirphite & mimetite are the ends of a continuous series of oxidized lead-chloride sibling-minerals.
It can be clear, white, grey, brown, blue, or green; shiny to pearly to earthy
It’s clear/yellow & grows in splays.
Proton transfer tunnels down the crystal axis. Go go quantum teleportation!
Notice the pretty rainbow in the bottom right — the mineral is a dispersive prism refracting light by wavelength to split it into a spectrum.
I took so many pix that all turned out “eh” at best, but I love this unpopular cousin of emerald. It’s always great colours (shiny green to blue), streaks green (eee!), has freaking perfect cleavage (breaks pretty)
I mean, we’ve ID’d ~3800 minerals with another +30-50 added & -1-2 discredited per year. It’s a mess.
Meta: of course it’s part of the apatite mineral group whose namesake translates as “to be deceptive.”
It’s hydrated calcium vanadium silicate (ca-van-si*te, a name that embeds its composition) that grows as tabs-to-nobs. Hydration means it’s soft.
Totally squealed over it.
Just one quick lick to taste-test? it can be a source of calcium! (...that’s a bad idea.)
See that bit of red wire in the lower right? That’s a bit of scrap forgotten in Naica mine that seeded the growth of this entire spectacular #Selenite crystal.
It can be pretty much any colour (clear, white, grey, brown, yellow green, blue, pink, or purple) but is usually a pastel blob. It sometimes fluoresces, but more importantly, it bubbles if you dump acid on it.
It’d only take a few drops of dilute hydrochloric acid to get the characteristic bubbling (effervescence) or carbonates, but... look at it!
Poor blobbfren. Don’t worry, safe from acid in your display case
Still lots of lead. Still a terrible idea to lick. But look at those delicate thin chips! Unfair for a mineral to look that much like candy.
It’s a hydrated copper uranium (?!) silicate hydroxide, so, uh, despite being relatively soft & silky don’t lick. Or pet
It’s a clay used since at least Sumerians, named by 13th century Yuan (Mongol), formerly described in 1637 China.
Kaolinite forms when feldspar weathers, which means it’s stable at surface conditions (resists more weathering).
Iron-rich is blues, blacks, & browns
Magnesium-rich is yellows, oranges, reds, & browns
Lithium-rich is a freaking free-for-all of any colour at all
‘cause I will always stop to admire cheerful doom-needles of red lead.
For ID tests I have no desire to run, crocoite dissolves in hydrochloric acid
This is a beautifully-preserved mineral; rhodochrosite oxidizes to grubby black under surface conditions.
It seems so unread something this sharp, this geometric, & this vibrantly pink is a totally natural mineral that just kinda... grows, doin’ its own thang.
It’s as pettable as it looks — roughly as hard as glass so it won’t crumble, with silky-smooth texture.
It’s named for acting like a worm under a blowtorch’s flame, which. Uh. Seems mean?
Quartz is a silicate (kinda like natural glass).
It’s pretty much the most common mineral on the crust of the Earth. Pick up the nearest rock. Odds are it has quartz in it.
Like a lot more — @hmns has over 450 minerals on display, not counting their temporary special exhibit of tourmalines I didn’t even get a chance to see before I had to leave. Bah, humbug!