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Digital Subscriptions > Rock & Gem Magazine > February 2019 > CROCOITE

CROCOITE

ONCE RARE. NOW ABUNDANT. ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL.

One of the most beautiful minerals we can own is crocoite, a bright red lead chromate. It is also one of the more fragile minerals to mine, handle and own. But its vibrant orange-red color and long slender crystals in elongate, striated, reticulated aggregates rival just about any other mineral for display appeal.

Crocoite was first found in the Ural Mountains of Czarist Russia. Its discovery was made when gold was found in abundance within the middle Urals in about 1745. Crocoite was first found in the Tsvetnoi mine in the Uspenska Mountains, on the east side of the Urals about 1766. The nearest settlement of note to the discovery was Berescov or Beresovsk, Sverdlovsk Oblast not far from Ekaterinberg. Note it is not unusual in Russia for a locality to have more than one name and Beresov is no exception. The place has had its name changed a couple of dozen times.

CROCOITE: SPANNING SERBIA AND TAZMANIA

The vibrant red mineral once found in modest crystals seldom over an inch in length was quickly given the name red lead or Siberian Red Lead. Specimens of the mineral were set to Paris for study, where Louis Nicolas Vauquelin and another scientist worked on the mineral but mistakenly reported that it contained aluminum. Vauquelin was not satisfied with the results, and in 1797 began a long and tedious experiment to isolate the mineral’s contents. It took more than a year, but in 1798 Vauquelin did prove that Siberian Red Lead contained a new metal element he named chromium. We now know this element as the shiny metal on chrome goods and as one of the most active transition metal elements that causes colors in some gems and minerals.

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Beckett Rock & Gem February 2019, Collector Corner : Chasing Thunder Eggs & More, Favourable Fossicking : Exploring Australia's Lava Plains, WULFENITE : A Symphony of Color and Contrast, And More.....