Minerals & Fossils

Natural History Collection

Here are pictures of selected items from my mineral, fossil, and natural history collection. The majority
of these specimens came from the Gem & Mineral Show in Tucson, Arizona held annually in late
January and early February. The Gem & Mineral Show is the largest and most popular show in the
world and attracts vendors, collectors, and buyers from around the globe. Many of the specimens in
my collection came from places as far away as Brazil, India, Madagascar, China, and as near as the
foothills of the Santa Rita mountains in the beautiful high desert of southern Arizona where I use to live.

Amethyst Geode
Amethyst Cathedral Geode
This beautiful geode comes from Brazil and formed due to volcanic activity. Along with hundreds of similar geodes, both 
large and small, it was shipped to the Gem & Mineral Show in 50 gallon steel drums filled with sawdust. What a thrill it
was to watch those beautiful specimens get pulled out of a drum and have the sawdust brushed away to reveal what treasures 
they might be. It is one of the centerpieces of the collection and is over 24 inches tall and weighs over 40 lbs. It is referred
 to as a cathedral geode due to the arched or high domed shape. Some of the deep purple amethyst crystals are actually gem quality.
 Fossilzed Ammonite  Fossilzed Ammonite
Ammonite Fossil
Ammonites are a type of cephalopod that thrived from 400 million years ago to about 65.5 million years ago. This specimen is about the diameter of a basketball.
Orthoceras Cephalopods  Petrified Wood
Marbleized Cephalopods, Ostrich Egg, & Petrified Tree Section
On the left is a wonderful specimen of a marbleized mass of cephalopods polished to stand out from the natural
marble formation in which they were found. The size is about 21 inches tall by about 21 inches wide. In front of
the slab is an  ostrich egg. On the right is a large section of petrified wood, a section of a tree trunk about 11 inches
in diameter. The face is polished to a high gloss which shows tree rings and grain. This specimen weighs over 50 lbs.
Polished Ammonite  Polished Ammonite
Here are both sides of a large, polished ammonite. Note the beautiful spiral calcite formation in the center.

Concretion 1  Concretion 2
Concretion is a hard, compact mass of sedimentary rock formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the voids between the
sediment particles (i.e., the interstitial space).  Concretions are often ovoid or spherical, but irregular shapes also occur. I found this specimen.

Pyrite Sun  Rose Quartz 1  Rose Quartz 2
Pyrite Sun & Rose Quartz
A pyrite (fool's gold) sun from a coal formation. A specimen of lovely rose quartz.
Azurite & Malachite  Azurite & Malachite
Malachite and Azurite
The pictures do not do justice for this colorful specimen of ore containing traces of both malachite (green) and azurite (blue).
This is one of the center pieces of my collection of mineral specimens.  This sample has great depth,
grain, and sheen. It is about 17 inches wide. It is somewhat friable so handling is minimized.
Lapilli means "little stones" in Latin. These "little stones" are formed in the air
from ash from a volcanic eruption.  I found these specimens.

Blue Calcite

 Green Calcite
Above are two varieties of calcite - blue and green. Both are large, beautiful specimens with elements that span
the full range of their particular color variety. The marked color shift in the green specimen is particularly lovely.

Red Calcite  
This is a particularly striking sample of calcite with red and orange hues
with a burgundy seam, contrasted by white calcite that looks like icing.

Odd Formation
Unidentified Specimen
I found this unusual specimen in southern Arizona. It appears to be an agate with a deep, conical void. It reminds me of pictures of fulgurites
I have seen. Fulgurites are formed from lightning striking the earth and fusing the rock or sand material into a stone or glass-like formation.

Tourmaline in Quartz
Tourmaline in Quartz
 This is a very interesting sample of large, distinct, and well-formed
black tourmaline crystals embedded in a large specimen of quartz.

Petrified Wood   Petrified Wood 2
Petrified Wood
This is a small specimen of petrified wood I found in southern Arizona.  It is about the size of a 12 ounce can.

 Trilobite 3

Trilobite 2              Trilobite 1
This large trilobite fossil is a type of arthropod. This specimen is about 15 inches wide. Trilobites appeared  about 521 million years ago and
became extinct about 270 million years later. This is one old critter and it presents irrefutable evidence that I am not the oldest fossil in the house.
Fossilized Cephalopods  Fossilzed Cephalopods  Fossilzed Cephalopods
Cephalopod Varieties
A wonderful example of a polished cephalopod plaque. Note the many small shells and seabed
detritus in addition to the two forms of cephalopods, i.e., ammonite (spiral) and orthoceras (straight).
Chrysanthemum Stone  Chrysanthemum Stone  Chrysanthemum Stone
Chrysanthemum Stone
This is a nice specimen of chrysanthemum stone from China. The floral-appearing burst 
of reflective calcite against the contrasting, smooth, non-reflective granite is very striking.
Dendrite  Dendrite
Dendrite is a natural chemical and mineral staining on the hosting rock. This specimen is in light sandstone which 
highlights the dark staining presented as a plant or fractal-like design on both the front and back of the specimen.
Oil Painting 1
Typical Desert Foothills Scene

Painting 3  
Gambel Quail with Chicks (male standing on rock)

Oil Painting 2
High Desert Backroad

Red Rock, Arizona
Red Rock in Sedona, Arizona
Desert Scenes

The room in which the mineral collection is displayed has a southwestern theme.
These original oil and water color portraits or numbered prints are featured on the walls.

Desert Rose 1  Desert Rose 2
Desert Rosettes
The beautiful, delicate, and intricate desert rose clusters are formations of barite, gypsum, and sand. They are very fragile.
Fish Imprint  Fossilized Shark Teeth
Prehistoric Fish Imprint & Shark Teeth
Nice examples of a fossilized fish imprint and large shark teeth. The shark teeth are a bit smaller than the palm of my hand.
Fluorite 1

Fluorite 2  Fluorite 3
A nice specimen of fluorite from a mineral shop in Sedona, Arizona.
Fossilized Lake Sediment Sphere  Meteorites
Fossilized Sediment Sphere & Magnetite
A large specimen of fossilized lake bed sediment from China, shaped and polished as a sphere and set on a decorative iron
stand. It contains  many shells and other small examples of lake bed detritus. It is the size of a bowling ball. To the right are
specimens I found in the foothills of the Santa Rita mountains near Green Valley, Arizona. I had thought that they might be
meteorites, but Geoff Notkin of the TV show Meteorite Men, whom I met and showed these to after his presentation to the
Challenger Space Center in  Peoria, AZ of a piece of the meteorite that hit Russia in February 2013, thought that these were magnetite.

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