Thursday, February 24, 2011

All About Bixbyites

Bixbyite is Manganese Oxide and forms black cubes or modified cubes.  The Maynard Claim is the type locality for bixbyite (where it was first discovered ).  Until recently most crystals were 5-12mm with the largest on record a whopping 15/16ths.  This large bixbyite was the pride of the species and is housed in the Smithsonian Institute.  About 3 years ago a mineral dealer made a discovery a few miles away from the Maynard Claim where he was finding bixbyite crystals over an inch.  One was 1.5 inches!  These crystals immediately became a hit with major collectors with some of the larger examples rumored to sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
At this new location on the north end of the Thomas Range, bixbyite is found with topaz, pseudobrookite, red beryl, and garnet.  Often the bixbyite has a topaz crystal growing right through it.  The topaz from this location starts out like the brown topaz from the south end of the range (Topaz Mountain), but when left in the sun it doesn’t fade to a clear crystal.  It turns pink, a very dusty/rosy pink.
Now the claim is gone now because the bixbyite and topaz have been mined to exhaustion.  This location is destined to become one of the legendary “classic” locations in the chronicles of the mineral world!

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