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July-August 2014

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Mineral Mysteries: A Twinning Mystery in Natural Crystals

Some of the mysteries comprising this series have theories associated with them that likely come close to explaining the phenomena, so I would not be surprised if there exists in obscure references, somewhere, a reasonable explanation for at least one or two of these mysteries. Part of the purpose behind this article series is the hope that by exposing these mysteries to a wide audience, such references might surface. We know that there are vast amounts of published research from the former Soviet Union that has never been translated into English, so the rest of the world remains unaware of much of the research that the Russians and the Bulgarians have done because it is in Cyrillic script. A book that has been published in English is Crystal Habits of Minerals, by Bulgarians Ivan Kostov and Ruslan I. Kostov (1999). It has a wealth of fascinating information about the morphology of minerals, yet how many collectors are even aware of it? In any case, for many of these mineral mysteries I suspect that explanations do not exist and so will not be found.

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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