Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stalking Those Pennsylvania Minerals

The six inch long Pennsylvania opal that's pictured above is from the Dyer Quarry in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It was one of my purchases this past Saturday, April 4, at the Franklin County Rock and Mineral Club's annual show at the Shalom Christian Academy in Chambersburg, PA. From the same show, I also picked up the piece in the photograph at left (field of view 7 mm.) of cerussite needles in front of galena appearing to be altering to anglesite. That specimen is from the New Southwest Chester Mine dumps in Phoenixville. These beauties were but a couple of the several dozen minerals I purchased at this show. All were collected in Pennsylvania, and all were fairly priced.

The Franklin County Rock and Mineral Club's show was a true pleasure to attend. It happened as the Philadelphia Mineralogical Society's annual extravaganza was taking place just two hours away. Somehow, word only reached me a week before when mentioned by a collector at the Atlantic Micromount Conference in Elkdridge, MD. Word that Joe and Jeanne Dague would be selling was all I needed to hear.

To me, their presence means a diverse selection of Pennsylvania minerals and the opportunity to peruse, learn about, and purchase them at prices I'm happy to pay. Among the new species that transferred from the Dague's to my Pennsylvania suite last Saturday were lazulite from Peach Bottom in Lancaster County, tennantite from the Billmeyer Quarry also in Lancaster County, variscite from Flint Valley in Snyder County, anatase with brookite in Hopkins phyllite from Kline's Quarry in Hellam, York County; uranophane from the C.K Williams Quarry in Northampton County; and the most exquisite miniature cabinet cluster of hydromagnesite crystals I've ever seen. They are from the Cedar Hill Quarry in Lancaster County and pictured at right.

As the Dagues carefully wrapped all of them and more, I wondered across the aisle to Kerry Matt's table, only to be overwhelmed by even more fantastic Pennsylvania minerals. The opal pictured atop this feature and the cerussite needles below it were two of my purchases from Kerry, along with at least a dozen other specimens. One of those was a second Dyer Quarry Opal that ranked a glossy half page in Pennsylvania's Rainbow Underground, of which he is author, photographer, and publisher. About half of its 442 pages are on heavy glossy paper, the other half on an accompanying compact disk. All told, I would estimate the number of vivid and colorful images of minerals (and microcrystals) collected in Pennsylvania to be well over 2,000. I purchased my copy of Pennsylvania's Rainbow Underground from Kerry shortly after he published it in 2007 and continue to be dazzled and amazed every time I pick it up. You can purchase one as well by contacting him via Email ( At $75, this book is not just a serious bargain, but an obvious and absolute must have for anyone with interest in Pennsylvania's remarkable wealth of collectable minerals.

After filling a flat with Kerry's minerals until the last dollar in my wallet had disappeared, it was back to the Dague's table to write a check. While settling up with Jeanne, I observed a gentleman at the other end of the table showing an album of mineral photographs to Joe. Within moments, the Dagues had introduced me to collector and serious mineral photographer John Passaneau. His remarkable work speaks for itself.

Two hours at this show provided me with nearly as many minerals as purchased over the course of two weeks in Tucson. It also awakened me to possibilities for additional Mineral Bliss features for down the road. Hopefully the Dagues, Kerry Matt, and John Passaneau will help me put some of them together.

1 comment:

  1. Great post about Pennsylvania minerals. Keep 'em coming!