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November-December 2014

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Connoisseur's Choice: Bornite, Dzhezkazgan Mine, Dzhezkazgan, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan

Such comments as “that specimen is rare,” or “it's a rare species,” or “that species is rare from that locality” are heard multiple times when collectors get together for a chin wag. In fact, rarity is a word often bandied about in collector circles, and it can mean anything from a species found only once (szenicsite) to an unusual color for a particular species (green diamond) or an unusual habit (faden quartz). Rarity may also apply to a mineral species whose normal habit is massive with crystals being almost unheard of; turquoise is an excellent example. Another example of a species whose occurrence as crystals is a rarity is bornite, a common mineral found in many copper deposits as massive lumps.

Paul W. Pohwat, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, is the collection manager (minerals) in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution).

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