I have a mineral dealer friend coming up from Georgia next week who is interested in some fluorite from southern Illinois, so I gave Gary a call Thursday on my way to work to see if he had anything new. He is a good friend in southern Illinois that mines fluorite full time these days and he had told me a few months ago, that he would keep an eye out for quartz plates for me as well…I am a big fan of quartz as many know by now, and he has shown me several smaller chunks of it that he has found while fluorite mining. He told me that they sometimes hit pockets full of plates of quartz crystals and usually where they find quartz, they also find lead cubes as well. He told me that I would want to see the quartz plates that he pulled out of a pocket on Monday at the mine, that some of the plates had big fluorite cubes nestled in amongst the quartz crsystals too…that news alone got me all excited, so I told him I would drive down there early Saturday morning again. I had picked up a few flats of smaller fluorite cubes for the mineral dealer a few weeks ago from him, but then had sold 80 percent of it a few days later, and needed to replenish my supply of those as well. I let a few close friends know that I was going to drive down, but as luck would have it, no one was available to go with me.
Onyx and I were on the road by 5 am this morning and we were halfway to Mount Vernon by the time the sun started to rise in the eastern skies….
As I drove east on I-64 just east of Fairview Heights, I was pleasantly surprised to see NO MORE construction going on…in the past year, I was used to slowing down from 65 mph to 35 mph for construction work from that scale house just west of Fairview Hts to the Mascoutah exit…ILDOT was constructing a third lane with a wall in between east and westbound lanes, and then built an overpass out in the middle of nowhere and then they were doing something else no one could figure out…and on and on and on…was beginning to think it was going to be a never ending project…but lo and behold, today was shockingly different ride wise…and pleasant to boot. I thought to myself, could it get any better than this ??? and sure enough, about 45 minutes later, I got my answer…YES it can !! At the south end of Marion, Illinois on I-57, I looked across to the north bound lanes and was amazed once again…construction crews were tearing up that bumpy and holie section of the driving lane…four miles of it south of Marion to be exact…and they were digging it out and rocking it too !! Now, I was totally AMAZED…and then thought to myself…well its only been 15 years at least that you have been driving that rough and bumpy section, returning from western Kentucky, rough enough that most people out there, myself included, would move over to the smooth left lane of that five or six mile stretch of right lane. Today it was down to one lane on the northbound side, but thankfully, they were at least replacing it finally…wow, small miracles still do occur I thought. 🙂
We arrived about 8:45 am at Gary`s house…normally when we pull into his driveway, he and his Dad, Guy, are already outside waiting on us, but I had failed to tell him what time we would get there and they both stepped outside a few minutes later. We visited a few minutes first and then he showed me the quartz plates, he had a tub full of them as well as the back of the trailer was loaded down with several too…
…if you like these crystals, click on and enlarge the photos above, and really take a look at these gemmy crystals up close…the big ones are as big as your thumb and that point at the end is razor sharp, let me tell you…but they are very gemmy crystals, kinda prism shaped and just beautiful…that gorgeous yellow color is INSIDE the crystals, too…in case you were wondering….and yes, some of those plates are actually smokey quartz….the next image shows the back end of the trailer again, this time what is covering it besides those quartz plates…take a look at the left side of the trailer, covered with some very large clusters of dark purple fluorite cubes…talking BIG cubes folks…some of them four and five inches across…
…and HEAVY too !! …and covered on both top and bottom and sides with those BIG cubes….those were in the bottom of that pocket Gary found Monday as well as several smaller clusters, from volleyball sized to baseball sized clusters…and those quartz plates were hanging down from the top of the pocket and along the walls of it…
…and this one above and below, came out of that pocket too….
…there were several in the pocket like this one above, but this one I selected because of the quartz attached to it. Gary told me Thursday about some other ones that were very neat looking too…very dark cubes… they were such a deep purple they looked black…here are several of them in a tub and yes, I purchased the entire tub when Gary made me an offer I could not refuse….
…darker image above and lighter image of them below….
Gary was also telling me that Walter, his son who helps him mine, has been receiving several inquiries about a HUGE cluster that he found a few months ago at the mine…and I mean BIG when I say HUGE…also very heavy too….so far, no one has made the right offer for it, but everyone definitely likes it….here it is up close….
…and a bit back away from it to give it better perspective on its size…..
…and here are some more of the beautiful fluorites that he found in the past few weeks since I was there last as well….
…the ones with the coating on them, were there the last time and I didnt have my camera with me to record them….and it looks like arragonite on the coating but could simply be barite or calcite too….the second image below is a close up of that one on the left center of the next image….
…and this next image, shows a good sized chunk of fluorite cubes covered by a thick coating of calcite….very pretty….
…and here are a few butterscotches that Gary still has available…from an old collection that he purchased locally earlier this year….I purchased one but not from this group….
…and this is the pile of calcite crystals, big ones and smaller ones on matrix plates, that he has for sale too…several people always ask me about this pile, so here it is…he tells me all the time, he is willing to let it all go for a good low price if anyone wants to come and get them all….
…and here are a few more pretties for ya as well…these have not been power washed as of yet….