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January-February 2015

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Collecting Pyrite Crystals at Navajún, Spain

Having the chance to collect pyrite at Navajún, Spain, has been at the top of my bucket list since I first saw specimens from Mina Ampliación a Victoria. Now, after a buying trip to Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines in France, my dream was about to come true. It was the Fourth of July. My wife, Jeanne, and I were celebrating America's Independence Day by visiting the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain, and then heading south to Navajún to meet mine owner Pedro Ansorena Conde and dig for pyrite. The drive from Bilbao takes about 3.5 hours on a superhighway that passes over and around rolling hills and mountains studded with state-of-the-art windmills and field after field of wine grapes, wheat, and hops. The last 40 kilometers of the trip take more than an hour because the road winds through small villages and up, down, and around hairpin turns on the way to our destination.

Eric S. Greene is president of, an Internet mineral dealership specializing in fine mineral specimens. An avid field collector, he is a member of the Keene, New Hampshire, Mineral Club. His most recent article for Rocks & Minerals was titled “The Curious Tale of the Lost Liddicoatite Crystals” and appeared in the July/August 2013 issue (pages 322–325).

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