Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All About Variscite

Variscite is one of the most sought after minerals in the entire mineral collecting world. Utah has produced collectable specimens from 4 different localities. The most sought after variscite in the world came in the form of nodules from the Little Green Monster Mine, Clay Canyon, Fairfield, Utah Co. Utah. Nodules to 3 feet in diameter were once mined, crushed, and processed for the phosphate ore. Today Clay Canyon variscite is the most valuable variscite in the world. High quality slabs a half inch thick and 8 inches in diameter sell for many thousands of dollars. Part of the appeal of Clay Canyon variscite is the other rare phosphate minerals that are associated with the variscite. Millisite, wardite, and crandallite are not only rare but add to the aesthetics.

Lucin variscite is probably the second most recognized variscite in the world. It comes from a hill near the railroad town of Lucin, Box Elder County, Utah. This deposit is owned by Union Pacific Railroad and is currently not being work. Many field collectors have high graded this mine for decades. Even though many old stashes are just waiting to come to light out there, it is still highly prized by mineral collectors, jewelers, carvers and sphere makers. With no such little material reaching the market the price has risen steeply recently.
Box Elder County also hosts another deposit of variscite, known as variquoise, because it so closely resembles turquoise. It comes from the Utah-Idaho border near Snowville. It is prized for it’s dark spider-web matrix and darker green to blue color.
The fourth location is in Tooele County at Ametrice Hill. Here the variscite is pale green, similar to Lucin variscite. It formed in a gray chert and unfortunately the gray color tends to carry into the variscite. Of the four locations in Utah this is the least known and least valuable. 
Unfortunately, all these locations are now closed and the prospect for new material coming from them any time soon is very unlikely.


See Our Online Selection of Variscite For Sale Here

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