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September-October 2015

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Connoisseur's Choice: Stottite, Tsumeb, Namibia

Very few mineral localities worldwide have produced collectible specimens of germanium minerals. In terms of abundance in the earth's crust, germanium is a middle-ranking element, with an average concentration of approximately 1.6 parts per million—scarce, but not particularly rare (Höll, Kling, and Schroll 2007). Indeed, germanium is an essential element in no less than twenty-nine mineral species approved by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA; www.mindat.org; accessed March 2015). Fifteen of these species are sulfides, seven of which are found sparingly at Tsumeb in the hypogene (sulfide) ores, although normally none of them occur in well-crystallized forms that are likely to appeal to most collectors.       

Malcolm Southwood has collected minerals for more than thirty years and has a special interest in minerals from southern Africa and the United Kingdom. His most recent article for Rocks & Minerals was coauthored with his wife, Angela, and was titled “Madagascar 2014: The Third International Mindat.org Conference”; it appeared in the November/December 2014 issue (pages 118–134).       

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