Graphite – Day 21 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

This holiday season, why not get a mineral every day instead of chocolate? Today’s mineral is Graphite find out more about it below..

The second of the UK snail-mail deadines fell today and sorry, if you missed the 1st class post today, then your only option you have to get deliveries done by the 25th is Special Delivery. But in relation to Saturday’s post, you need to get your scissors flying to make the mail!!

Sharp scissors are essential for nice wrapping!

Sharp scissors are essential for nice wrapping!

But apart from iron, you need carbon to make the best steel scissors! The easiest place to get carbon, although it is a common element (an ingedient in many minerals) is Graphite. So our second Mailing Mineral is Graphite! Graphite is also helpful if you want to make sure you have sent all the seasonal cards on your list by checking them off with your pencil!

Lovely graphite crystals taken by  John Jaszczak.

Lovely graphite crystals taken by John Jaszczak.

Graphite:
Chemical formula: C
Colour: Iron black to steel-grey
System: Hexagonal
Hardness (Mohs): 1 – 2
Can you find it in the UK? Yes

The only graphote location map I could get to work! From the MinDat website.

The only graphote location map I could get to work! From the MinDat website.

Unfortunately the map showing locations you can find Graphite in the UK isn’t really working, but you can find graphite in all the places where you can find metamorphosized rocks that are rich in carbon, so check all the usual mineral rich locations (Cumbria, North Wales, Cornwall, North West Highlands).

For more information about Graphite please visit the MinDat website.

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Haematite – Day 19 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

This holiday season, why not get a mineral every day instead of chocolate? Today’s mineral is Haematite find out more about it below..

It’s the 19th of December, so you know what that means – it’s the last posting day for second class postage to reach it’s recipient before the 24th. So you have probably had those scissors out doing all your wrapping and sticking over the last couple of days. But don’t worry if you missed the 2nd class post today – you still have the first class post – until Monday!

Sharp scissors are essential for nice wrapping!

Sharp scissors are essential for nice wrapping!

However, in order for your beautifully wrapped presents to have been wrapped, you need nice scissors, preferably sharp steel ones – and for steel scissors you need iron, found in the ore Haematite (yes I know some people spell it Hematite, but I was brought up to include the ‘a’, so I look at it the same way that colour is spelt WITH a ‘u’).

A gorgeous photo of haematite by Jean-Marc Johannet from the MinDat website.

A gorgeous photo of haematite by Jean-Marc Johannet from the MinDat website.

Haematite:
Chemical formula: Fe2O3
Colour: Steel-grey to black in crystals and massively crystalline ores, dull to bright “rust-red” in in earthy, compact, fine-grained material.
System: Trigonal
Hardness (Mohs): 5 – 6
Can you find it in the UK? Yes

Unfortunately the map showing locations you can find Haematite in the UK isn’t working, but needless to say it is a fairly common mineral easily spotted by it’s rust red colour when it has been weathered.

For more information about Haematite please visit the MinDat website.