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May-June 2018

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Mineral Mysteries: Disjoined Crystals

For lack of a better term I am referring to this phenomenon as disjoined crystals, something that few collectors today are probably even familiar with because it occurs mainly with crystals embedded in plain old rocks that would not interest most collectors. The crystals are not showy, they seldom are terminated, and the matrix is no more appealing than the rocks in one's driveway. But if an example of this phenomenon should catch one's eye, how can it not arouse a bit of curiosity on the part of the viewer? I must confess that I had never been that curious about it myself until I acquired the specimen illustrated in figure 1, by far the classiest example that I believe I have ever seen.


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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