Cavnic Mine, Maramures County, Romania

    Some areas are positively marinated in history. Cavnic is such a place. For example, one of the first recorded mine accidents was commemorated in the Voievod Gallery of the Cavnic mine, where an inscription bearing a date of 1511 states "Hier hats erschlagen Iacob Huber" ("Here was killed Jacob Huber" ). It could have been a fight, but a mine accident would a better bet. A slightly cheerier example is a monument in town that commemorates an invasion by the Tatars and their rout at the hands of the local citizenry. The mines of Cavnic have been worked since Roman times and the ore deposits still have considerable reserves left, but mining has always been sporadic, being based on fluctuating base metal prices. Sphalerite is one of the prime ore minerals these days as the demand for Zinc in die-castings continues unabated. It wasn't always so. For centuries, Sphalerite was considered waste rock until people figured out what Zinc was and then how to smelt it.

    Here we have a finely crystallized specimen of that Cinderella mineral and it is part of a nice combination. One part of that combination is a Sphalerite that is 1.69 inches (4 cm) across, showing lustrous, black faces and excellent form. The other is the 'explosion' of colorless Calcite crystals down at the base of the piece. Not so obvious are small clusters of tiny Galena crystals and a few needle Quartz prisms in crevices and corners. There seems to be an unidentified dark, acicular mineral forming the core of the Calcite, which might account for the radiating habit of the group. The Sphalerite has some cleavages and the Calcite shows signs of having grown into the other side of the fissure it was found in, otherwise good condition.
    Overall measurements: 7 x 5 x 4 inches (17.8 x 12.7 x 10.2 cm).

    Provenance: Western Minerals [Hoppel # D0093]

    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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