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January-February 2009

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Spessartine

from the Navegadora Mine
Minas Gerais, Brazil




John Sulzbach (2007) provided Mineral News readers with an excellent account of his collecting experiences at the pegmatite in Minas Gerais known as the Navegardora mine, which is about 12 kilometers from Penha do Norte, Galiléia, Brazil. A misspelling of the mine name, Navegador, accidentally came into popular use and is often more widely seen today than the correct spelling, but now that may finally be changed. Those of us who attend major mineral shows, or shop via the Internet, are quite familiar with the etched-appearing gemmy red spessartines from the Navegadora mine because they are commonly seen in dealers’ inventories. To date, thousands of them must have been mined and put into the marketplace. They range from micro-sized to relatively rare fistsized pieces, but the vast majority are small, usually in the 2–3-cm size range. Their small size and great abundance do not, however, prevent them from being moderately expensive, probably because nearly all of them are beautifully colored and transparent (i.e., gemmy).
John S. White, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, operates Kustos, a museum/collector consulting business.


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