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Spessartine specimen

Garnet: An Industrial Commodity

By Steve Voynick Garnet mining is booming and not because of demand for gemstones or mineral specimens. Garnet has become a bona fide industrial commodity...
Zirconium silicate

Rock Science: Zircon, Zirconium and Zirconia

By Steve Voynick Despite similar-sounding names, zircon, zirconium, and cubic zirconia refer respectively to a mineral, an element, and a synthetic material. Zircon is the mineral...
Cavansite

Rock Science: Vanadium and Its Minerals

By Steve Voynick Of the roughly 155 vanadium-bearing minerals, many of them brightly colored, collectors are probably most familiar with vanadinite, mottramite, and cavansite. With its...

Rock Science: The Era of “Super-Large” Diamonds

By Steve Voynick Diamonds have been making big headlines this year. And that’s because mines in southern Africa are yielding some of the biggest diamonds...
Ewingite oxycarbonate

Update: The Carbon Mineral Challenge

By Steve Voynick The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) continues to recognize new carbon-bearing minerals, thanks to the work of the Deep Carbon Observatory and its...
trilithionite

Rock Science: Lithium — The Battery Metal

By Steve Voynick The lithium-bearing minerals most familiar to collectors are spodumene and trilithionite (formerly “lepidolite”). The kunzite variety of spodumene, or lithium aluminum silicate,...
Sulfur in sedimentary rocks

Rock Science: The Saga of Sulfur

By Steve Voynick With their nearly transparent, sharp-edged, bipyramidal and tabular crystals, fine specimens of sulfur are eminently collectible. But it is sulfur’s color—a pure...

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