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May-June 2011

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Connoisseur's Choice: Inesite, Wessels Mine, Northwest of Kuruman, Kalahari Manganese District, Cape Province, South Africa

It was summer when the decision for this column of Connoisseur's Choice was being made, and perhaps the frequent exposure to the luscious fruits of the season—raspberries, watermelon, cherries, and strawberries—led to the selection of inesite as a worthy candidate to feature. Four disparate parts of the world have produced fine, collector-quality inesite: Broken Hill mines, New South Wales, Australia; Hale Creek mine, Trinity County, California; Kalahari manganese district, Cape Province, South Africa; and Fengjiashan mine, Hubei Province, China. Of these, the Wessels mine within the Kalahari manganese district has yielded a sufficient number of world-class pieces to excite most connoisseurs—whether they were looking for rich, reddish hues (yes, absolutely mouth watering); distinct crystals; great associations with rare species; or exotic spherical forms. Amazingly, Kalahari inesite specimens are of such exceptional quality they are able to hold their own with the stunning rhodochrosite that came from the same district.

Janet Clifford is a geologist by training though not by profession. An avid mineral collector for forty years, she enjoys going on field trips, exhibiting at mineral shows, doing volunteer museum work, and occasionally editing or writing for the hobby.

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