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July-August 2018

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Mineral Mysteries: Flattened Crystals in Muscovite

This article is intended to introduce collectors to a mineralogical phenomenon—flattened crystals in muscovite—that I feel is not widely recognized and also to provide new information recently gathered with the invaluable support of Dr. John Rakovan, of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. In the first case, crystals of the garnet almandine are curiosities that were once relatively abundant in rock shops in the Spruce Pine area in North Carolina. One rock shop in particular, that of Linton Green, enjoys an indelible place in my memory. It was at one end of a bridge that carried traffic into the town of Spruce Pine. In the shop was a tray of thin plates of muscovite with inclusions of tabular, intensely colored red garnets, almandine as we now know them to be, but they were then being sold as just garnet.


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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