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September-October 2016

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Who's Who in Mineral Names: Robert “Rob” Matthew Lavinsky (b. 1972)

Lavinskyite, ideally K(LiCu)Cu6(Si4O11)2(OH)4, is an unusual double-chain copper silicate discovered in the Wessels mine, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It is named in honor of Robert Matthew Lavinsky, the founder and manager of Arkenstone in Dallas, Texas. Lavinsky has donated important mineral specimens to the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Arizona, and other institutions. Lavinsky recognized that some of the specimens he was bringing back from South Africa might be new species and provided the samples on which the description of lavinskyite is based. Lavinskyite was found on multiple specimens from the central-eastern orebody of the Wessels mine; it was first thought to be effenbergerite. It is found in an assemblage of massive pectolite, richterite, and sugilite. This assemblage is likely the result of hydrothermal activity. Lavinskyite occurs as pale blue vitreous transparent crystals with a pale blue streak, has a Mohs hardness of about 5, and is associated with dark blue scottyite. Crystals to 0.5 mm are tabular on (010) with a perfect cleavage on {010} and no observed parting or twinning. Structurally, it is isotypic with plancheite, having brucite-like layers sandwiched by amphibole-type double silicate chains running along the c-axis. Copper silicates with silicate double chains are fairly rare in nature; lavinskyite joins plancheite, shattuckite, and liebauite to make what is now realized to be the plancheite group (Yang et al. 2014).

Gail Copus Spann collectors of fine minerals from worldwide localities and have immersed themselves in the hobby during the past eleven years.

Jim Spann collectors of fine minerals from worldwide localities and have immersed themselves in the hobby during the past eleven years.       

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