Gold – Day 24 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

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

We are coming to the end of our Mineral Advent Calendar, and if you are of Christian faith (or attended ANY school where a Nativity play was performed at Christmas) you will recognise the significance of today’s mineral as one that apparently a wise man headed out carrying to celebrate the birth of a baby – Jesus – the relious reason behind the celebration of Christmas. Though to be honest all of the new mums I know would prefer food (especially fresh veggies!) to Gold (or Frankincense or Myrrh), it’s still a great mineral for today’s advent! But whatever your religion, I hope you are enjoying the season!

Gold comes in many form but these dendritic crystals are one of my favourites. Image from Wikipedia.

Gold comes in many forms but these dendritic crystals are one of my favourites. Image from Wikipedia.

Gold:
Chemical formula: Au
Colour: Gold!
System: Isometric
Hardness (Mohs): 2½ – 3
Can you find it in the UK? Yes.

 

UK Gold (specifically Welsh) has been used in the rings of the royal family for over 80 years. Image from the Telegraph.

UK Gold (specifically Welsh) has been used in the rings of the royal family for over 80 years. Image from the Telegraph.

Gold can be found in many locations across the UK, it is a common accessory mineral to lots of other minerals mined commercially including Copper, Lead and Silver and if often found near quartz minerals. Careful not to mistake it’s more common counterpart Pyrite (or Fools Gold) which also grows in similar conditons, but it actually quite a different, more brassy colour. Famously UK gold has for over 80 years been used in the production of Royal wedding rings, including the most recent wedding between Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

For more information about Gold please visit the MinDat website.

 

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Rozenite – Day 6 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

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

So it’s the first Sunday of December and if you are anything like me then you probably spent most of the day getting your tree and decorating it!!

Decorating the tree is one of my favourite parts of the season - I wish it could stay up until March!

Decorating the tree is one of my favourite parts of the season – I wish it could stay up until March!

But now that the evening is drawing in, it’s time to snuggle up with a warm cup of hot chocolate (try putting some gingerbread flavour in – it’s AMAZING!) and start writing your greetings cards. This is something that I struggle with, as I always forget at least one person or can’t find the right address, and goodness me postage stamps cost a fortune now! There is also the argument that in this day of wasteful culture we shouldn’t send paper greetings cards as it is bad for the environment, but I love getting real cards, and so try to send them as often as I can. For you my dear readers, in lieu of a card I have made a donation to the MinDat website – a brilliant website that lists all the minerals we know about and provides beautiful images as well as extremely valuable information, so if you are looking for a good cause to support this holiday season, why not make it a mineral-ly one (full disclosure: I have no connection with the MinDat website apart from knowing a few people who add data to it, I am just a huge fan and [clearly] use it a lot so I like to give back)!

 

Seasons greetings to all my lovely readers! Here is a small donation to keep the wonderful MinDat website in business!

Seasons greetings to all my lovely readers! Here is a small donation to keep the wonderful MinDat website in business!

 

So many cards to choose from!

So many cards to choose from!

If you are like me though and want to send a real card, get out your pens and get ready to get writing – but in order for your pen to work you need ink, and some of the most famous inks throughout the ages have been made by oxidsing ferrous salts with different pigments. One of these salts can be found in the mineral Rozenite and it’s gorgeous – especially under the microscope!

 

The mineral Rozenite from the MinDat website, image by Mischa Crumbach.

The mineral Rozenite from the MinDat website, image by Mischa Crumbach.

Rozenite:

Chemical formula: FeSO4 · 4H2O
Colour: Colourless to white
System: Monoclinic
Hardness (Mohs): 2 – 3
Can you find it in the UK? Yes

The location of Rozenite in the UK from the MinDat website.

The location of Rozenite in the UK from the MinDat website.

Rozenite is not common in any quantity in the UK, but it has been found in the past on Anglesea, so perhaps if you visit you may still find some – however it is difficult to identify, given its generally white powdery nature as it forms as the alteration product of other more common iron sulphides (like Pyrite).

For more information about Rozenite please visit the MinDat website.