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May-June 2010

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Let's Get It Right: Lepidocrocite—It Just Won't Go Away!

Unfortunately, at some unrecorded moment many years ago, someone decided that the wispy blood-red inclusions in quartz (variety amethyst, mostly) were the quite rare mineral lepidocrocite. If this first misidentification was actually published somewhere, I have been unable to locate that reference after an extensive search. I had hoped to demonstrate the inaccuracy of the report and have lepidocrocite removed from the list of minerals found in quartz by virtue of an article I published about strawberry quartz (White 2000). In that article I pointed out that, as far as I know, there is no published “evidence” that lepidocrocite has ever been found as an inclusion in quartz. In every report of its occurrence as an inclusion that I am familiar with up until recently, the inclusions, when tested, were shown to be hematite.

John S. White, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, operates Kustos, a museum/collector consulting business. Now retired, he is the former curator-in-charge of the National Mineral and Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

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