Rare Collectible Pyrite Crystals on Matrix from Navajun, Spain #150005 (03:27)
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The Victoria Mine of Navajún , Spain
In 1965 a deposit of pyrite was found near the village of Navajún in Spain. Pyrite from the Victoria mine occurs abundantly in large, perfect cubic crystals. The crystal habit is almost exclusively cubic, customarily attaining a geometric perfection found almost nowhere else in the world. Pyrite from Navajún has been appreciated by and highly sought after by mineral collectors for its unique, highly aesthetic, exquisitely sharp, brightly lustrous, near-perfect single cubic crystals, clusters of interpenetrating crystals, and crystals embedded in matrix. Some of the finest cubic pyrite crystals in the world come from Navajún. Due to its beauty and perfection, Navajún pyrite has become the icon of Spanish mineralogy since its discovery. The Victoria mine, is operated only for pyrite specimens, it is owned by Piritas de Navajún S.L., which is jointly held by Pedro Ansorena Conde, José Chaver Atanasio, and Néstor López Ogalde.
The name Pyrite derives from the Greek pyr or pyros, meaning “fire” for its ability to emit sparks when pieces are struck together or against a hard surface. The first report of these specimens appeared in the Mineralogical Record in an article by Wilson in 1976. Since then many thousands of pyrites have been collected and sold , world-class pieces can now be found in museums and private collections around the globe. Today, specimens are offered for sale at all the major mineral shows, including Tucson, Munich, Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Denver, and Changsha.
The origin of the pyrite crystals at Navajún has been tied to deposits of sulfate minerals found in the metasediments of the Cameros Basin. These veins are hosted by lake evaporates made up of alternating dolomite and gypsum. Pyrite, with the chemical formula FeS2, contains roughly 47 percent iron and 53 percent sulfur. Crystal faces are typically mirror smooth with a brilliant, mirror-like luster. They may also show growth hillocks in swirling patterns or oscillation striations. The color is characteristically a pale, brassy, golden yellow. And although pyrite from many worldwide locations is unstable, Navajún pyrite appears to be perfectly stable. The cause of the formation of such perfect cubes is of great interest to collectors and scientists. This morphology is believed to be the result of the particular temperature, pressure, acidity, and saturation of the fluids from which the crystals formed.