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November-December 2009

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Connoisseur's Choice: Shattuckite

Kunene District, Kaokoveld, Namibia

Many collectors choose to specialize in different mineral suites, the members of which often share a single or common locality, similar chemistry, or some other characteristic such as single crystals or specimens of a particular size (Dunn and Francis 1990). With respect to chemistry, mineral groups such as garnet and tourmaline are popular, whereas other collectors pick elements or minerals dominated by a single element such as silver. One particularly colorful family that is popular with collectors is that of the copper minerals. This attractive and challengingly large family (more than five hundred members) has ready appeal because it exhibits a wide spectrum of bright colors, wellformed crystals, and exciting localities. Among the copper silicates are such aesthetic minerals as dioptase, plancheite, and the rare minerals apacheite, ajoite, and stringhamite as well as chrysocolla, an excellent lapidary material. Shattuckite, a copper silicate that represents all three of these attributes, has been suggested as this issue’s Connoisseur’s Choice.
Dr. Rob Bowell, a consultant geochemist in the mining industry, is an avid collector of microminerals and minerals formed in the oxide zone of mineral deposits.

Dr. Robert B. Cook, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Geography at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. He welcomes suggestions for this column and can be contacted at the addresses above.

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