Monazite-Ce (butterfly twins!)

Siglo XX mine, Llallagua, Bustillo Province, Potosi Department, Bolivia
Small Cabinet, 6.1 x 5.7 x 2.6 cm
Start Time: 01/05/2012 6:45:00 pm (CST)
End Time: 01/12/2012 6:46:49 pm (CST)
Auction Closed

Item Description

Monazite gets its name from the Greek word "monazein", which means "to be alone", in allusion to its isolated crystals and their rarity when first found. Monazite is usually found in granitic pegmatites, but these crystals are found in hydrothermal tin veins where is an absolute absence of Thorium (usually a trace element in Monazite). This is a good, very well crystallized, ridiculously rare, specimen consisting of sharp, lustrous, translucent, orange-pink, twinned crystals on Monazite-Ce measuring up to 3 mm with Quartz crystals on matrix. These twins are some of the most distinct and impressive twinned Monazite crystals I have seen from Bolivia. The crystals actually perform a color change in different lighting ranging from orange-pink to a white/yellow depending upon the light source. It is very difficult to obtain any specimens of this incredibly beautiful and rare phosphate, especially with crystals like this from Bolivia. This piece is from the same mine for which this material was discovered along the Contacto and San Jose veins in this mine and was first described by Sam Gordon and Mark Bandy. It is so unbelievably rare to find matrix specimens of Monazite-Ce from any locality in Bolivia or anywhere else in the world. This species is often dark and opaque from most localities and rarely bright like these.

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