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Digital Subscriptions > Rock&Gem Magazine > March 2019 > THE STORY OF VANADINITE


The Mineral Named for a Goddess

One of the more attractive and popular lead minerals is vanadinite, a lead chloro-vanadate. Vanadinite as a collector mineral has been around for years but seldom rose to high status as a display mineral until quantities of brilliant large red crystals surfaced in Morocco. The Moroccan specimens far exceed in size, beauty, and collector appeal anything found elsewhere. Prior to the Moroccan discoveries, vanadinite tended to be just average half-inch sized crystals with uncommon examples of larger sizes. Color ranged from good red to brownish yellow and were found in many desert localities.

Vanadinite is formed as a secondary mineral in desert lead deposits oten associated with mimetite and pyromorphite. When irst found, vanadinite was recognized as a lead mineral with reference to its red or brown color, which explains why the type locality mineral for vanadium was called “plombo rojo” in Mexico.

The discovery of the new element vanadium developed into a complex story in which vanadium ended up being discovered twice in two diferent minerals in two diferent countries by two diferent scientists 30 years apart! Vanadinite most oten forms as simple hexagonal prisms of modest size as very attractive bright red to orange-red color crystals. Moroccan vanadinite makes up for its lack of crystal size by completely covering a matrix in tightly packed clusters and stacks of brilliant rich red multi-crystal heaps.

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Rock & Gem March 2019, Special Section : Tools of the Trade, Answers to Agate Questions, Prehistoric Texas : Home to Mammoths & Dinosaurs, And More.....