DescriptionHARDYSTONITE CRYSTALS IN A THREE-COLOR FLUORESCENT FRANKLIN CLASSIC
Franklin Mine, Franklin Borough, Sussex Co, New Jersey
Purple-fluorescing hardystonite might be called the Rodney Dangerfield of Franklin minerals, in that it has seldom garnered the respect it truly deserves. Named for the adjoining Hardyston Township, this is the only place on Earth where the mineral is to be found; it has not even been located elsewhere in the greater Franklin area. Hardystonite was chosen by many eminent scientists and top collectors as the mineral most likely to drop off of the Franklin area "unique list", but whilst several other of the area's minerals have been now discovered elsewhere, hardystonite remains steadfast. While much more common fluorescent species enjoy high esteem among Franklin fluorescent aficionados when found in their rarest forms and associations in this area (Wollastonite being a prime example), still the reputation of hardystonite in its rarer forms and associations has lagged behind. Finally, from the mid-1990's onwards, when the fluorescent mineral market was rapidly expanding, hardystonite specimens in their best multi-colored and vibrant associations started rising in value and esteem, first world-wide and then, as a consequence in the Franklin area, when the locals noticed how scarce true first-class specimens were becoming in the area due to the keen world-wide demand; in the past 5 or 10 years, even average to fair specimens have been sky-rocketing in value. The present example, however, is considerably above average: hardystonite crystals have been found in two exceptionally rare occurrences, possibly closely related, and this piece represents the more aesthetic fluorescent type, in red-orange fluorescent calcite, with lesser amounts of green-fluorescing willemite. The hardystonite shows a slightly rounded crystal form as is usual even in the best specimens, but it also displays strong parting planes and weak cleavages in relation to the crystal form, another rare occurrence. All these minerals fluoresce best in shortwave ultraviolet rays as do the occasional associated minerals clinohedrite (yellow-orange) and esperite (greenish-yellow), but of these two, only clinohedrite is present here in a small trace. The non-fluorescent associates include black franklinite and the unusual brown tephroite which is even more exceptional and desirable on this piece because it shows a fluorescent pattern of willemite; exsolved along the cleavage and parting planes as an attractive network of fine lines. Also uncommon is the fact that this incredible 3¾ x 3 x 1½-inch specimen has both major faces displaying well-shaped crystals in beautiful fluorescent harmony with their associates.
Provenance: Ex Ray Vajdik, Hugh Ronemus Collections
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