FrOg On-Line #1998-07

>From  Sun Nov  8 03:21:40 1998
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 03:21:01 -0500
From: Gary Grenier <>
To: Earl Verbeek <>,
        George Elling <>,
        Jay Linninger <>,
        Jim Chenard <>,
        John Jaszczak <>, Mark Leger <>,
        Pete Modreski <>,
        Peter Chin <Peter.Chin@USPTO.GOV>, Tema Hecht <>,
        Dick Bostwick <>, Van King <>,
        "William C. Mattison" <>,
        UVSYSTEMS <>, Herb Yeates <>
CC: excalmin <>
Subject: FrOg 7

Welcome to the FrOg #7 (Franklin-Ogdensburg) News Group

Well, here is the last FrOg for 1998.  The Franklin Show has come and
gone, the news of the super combined show in the Spring is still be
digested, and Ultraviolation was a success.  Dr. Steve Kuitems is now
President elect of the FOMS and has many plans for keeping the FOMS
fresh, vibrant, and active.  Jim Chenard married Donna and Earl Verbeek
moved back to New Jersey and married Maureen.

Judging from conversations that I have had with non-Franklin collectors'
fluorescent mineral collecting is continuing to evoke greater interest
among the new collectors and inspire advanced collectors.  Digital
photography is improving and prices are coming down on this type of
equipment. Hope you are trying it on your specimens?

Did you know Alex Mann went missing for over two weeks?  He was found in
a hospital recovering from an automobile accident.  Let's hope he makes
a speedy recovery.

The Franklin and Sterling Hill Mineral Species List

By now everyone has seen the current Picking Table in which Dr. Dunn
announced his relinquishment of the "Keeper of the List" job. While I
know that a number of names have been discussed, I have not heard that
anyone has been selected to replace Dr. Dunn.  So if you hear who is
selected let me know?


Franklin Mineral Museum Update

Has anyone stopped into the museum lately?  How about giving us a report
on the museum?  You know, how are things going, what's new, etc?

New Fluorescent Display at Sterling Hill

Dick Bostwick Wrote
Subject: World-wide Fluorescent Display at Sterling Hill
Date:     3 November, 1998

There is a movement underfoot to 1) establish a world-wide fluorescent
mineral exhibit at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, and 2) name it for
Tom Warren. FMS members who know Tom, and appreciate what he has done
over the years for collectors of fluorescent minerals, can
recognize that this is the ideal place for such an exhibit, and the
right time.  Tom turned 95 earlier this year, and it would be nice if
the somewhat hazy notion of a large, permanent fluorescent mineral
display with Tom's name on it could be made reality while he is still
around to appreciate this well-deserved honor.

Anyone in favor of this project is invited to express support by writing
Dick Hauck at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, 30 Plant St., Ogdensburg
NJ 07439, or e-mailing Steve Misiur, SHMM Curator, at

First and foremost, support of the idea itself is needed.  Even a letter
or e-mail saying "RE:  a fluorescent mineral display honoring Tom
Warren.  JUST DO IT!" will be helpful in establishing that there are
others besides me, Earl Verbeek, and Don who would like to see this
happen. If it becomes clear that this project is endorsed by the FMS,
officers and members alike, I think its success is assured.  Rod, I
would appreciate your mentioning this to the board at the earliest
opportunity.  At this stage letters of endorsement from you and other
FMS officers would help a great deal.

As with any undertaking at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, moral
support is helpful, but not the whole story.  While there is not yet a
fund to build, supply, and support such an exhibit, I am sure there will
be one eventually.  I know that several of us have already promised
whatever we can give to help this along: specimens, UV lamps, manpower,
and funds.  More of all these will be needed.

This idea was first suggested in two parts (the exhibit first, then the
naming of it) by several people, as it became known that the museum was
excavating the basement of the old Sterling Hill mill, where there are
several large rooms.  Much of this space will be occupied by an already
funded Geo-Tech Center;  however, it occurred to a number of people that
one of these bunkers would be an ideal spot for a world-class
fluorescent mineral exhibit of world-wide minerals.  Tom Warren had been
urging Dick and Bob Hauck to emphasize mineral fluorescence ever since
they bought the property, and as many FMS members are aware, the SHMM
already has two remarkable underground exhibits of fluorescent ore in
place, and, in the change house, a small display (70-some pieces )of the
area's fluorescent minerals.  There is, however, a good deal of
potential left at the site, particularly with those mill-basement rooms
being developed.

Initial suggestions focused on a "killer" display of Franklin-Sterling
Hill minerals, but (as the Haucks pointed out repeatedly) there is
already one of those at the Franklin Mineral Museum.  The underground
displays of ore in place at Sterling Hill are unique and special, and
there is no need to duplicate them, either, even if you could. However,
there is presently NO exhibit of worldwide fluorescent minerals anywhere
around Franklin, "The Fluorescent Mineral Capital
of the World."   Perhaps now is the time.

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum's educational role plays a part in this,
too.  There is a teacher-training effort (the GEMS Program) there which
uses the mine and surroundings as a resource for teaching earth science
at the secondary-school level.  Fluorescent minerals are already used as
part of the curriculum, and a world-wide display of them would expand
and balance coverage of that subject, in addition to offering one more
excellent reason for the public to visit the museum.

Tom Warren has always wanted as many people as possible to enjoy,
appreciate, and marvel at fluorescent minerals, and throughout his life
he has pushed this agenda wherever and whenever he could.  His company,
Ultra-Violet Products, Inc. (now UVP, Inc.) manufactured UV hand-lamps
and UV display lamps, and had for many years the largest extant
inventory of fluorescent minerals for sale.  Tom personally attended
hundreds and hundreds of mineral shows to show
off his minerals and lamps, gave countless talks and demonstrations,
published books, supplied museum exhibits, and was absolutely tireless
in promoting the fluorescent mineral hobby.  Doubtless you are aware of
his many-sided support of the FMS in its early years;  I wonder if
all FMSers are aware how much they owe him.

Without question, Tom Warren is the most important figure in the history
of our hobby, and the godfather of all collectors of fluorescent
minerals.  It would be nice to see him honored by a
display in his name at Sterling Hill, and I cannot think of a more
appropriate tribute for the man.

I would like to see every FMS members write or e-mail the Sterling Hill
Mining Museum to support and endorse this idea.  Please!



The next item of interest is a subject that Dick Bostwick is writing
about for the next issue of the Picking Table, that is contamination.
What this is all about is the infusion of non-Franklin mineral specimens
into Franklin and collector's collections.  The following compendium of
e-mails represents Dick's and my thoughts on the subject.  Perhaps you
would like to share you experiences and thoughts with Dick.  I am sure
that he would appreciate your help.

Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject: contamination
Date:     12 October, 1998

I know I have said or written something about this subject to all of
you, but am repeating this as a last request, as I am beginning to write
the paper and would like to include as much information as possible.
Anyone who contributes will be acknowledged in the paper, which I will
send in draft form for your approval to make sure I have correctly set
down what you wrote or told me.  While it is easier for me to get your
information in written form, I am quite capable of writing things down
during a phone call.

While it would be nice to have this information in great detail, with
photographs, I am not expecting this.  Anecdotes and accounts at any
level of precision are welcome.  All I ask is that you note whether you
have SEEN the material in question, or just heard about it.  If you
happen to know how apiece or pieces acquired their dubious status,
that's gravy.  Specimens with locality labels are especially prized.

Concrete examples of what I have in mind:

The large specimen of Grenville, Quebec 'wernerite' in the Mike Massey
collection which his wife insisted had to be from Franklin because Mike
never worked in a mine outside of the F/SH area. ("It's in the
collection of a Franklin miner so it must be from

The box full of misc. lapidary material (agate, etc.,), some pieces
showing saw-cuts, found on the Franklin Mill Site by Jim Richard and
brought into the Franklin Mineral Museum for verification.
("Let's throw it here, they'll never notice another rock.")

Gore Mountain garnet on the Trotter Dump, and Paterson prehnite on the
Buckwheat Dump.  (Full trunk syndrome, variant of prior example)

Nickel minerals from Cobalt, Ontario, passed off as being from
Franklin.  ("If I put a Franklin label on it, it'll be worth Big


Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject: contamination
Date: 12 October 1998

Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to your story on
"Contamination".  I have numerous examples of species that have come
from "outside of the area" and were sold as from Franklin or Sterling

The first that comes to mind was sold out of the George Mason University
collection.  The specimen is a "Franklin nickeline with annabergite".
The nickeline is uncharacteristic for Franklin in that it is a
2"x2.5"x1" thick solid mass of nickeline elongated grains most of which
are indistinguishable in the mass.  A light coating of green annabergite
is present on half of one face.  No fluorite, calcite, sphalerite,
rammelsbergite, pararammelsbergite, or ferristilpnomelane species appear
present. This specimen is suspected to have come from Germany rather
than to have originated from Franklin.  It is also suspected that the
George Mason University collection did have a Franklin specimen,
however, which was most likely switched in the collection with the less
valuable German specimen.

Garnets and spinels have been the subject of many contamination's all of
which were deliberate misrepresentations for financial gain. From Amity,
NY to Sparta, NJ, dark well formed garnets have been recovered from the
limestone quarries and made there way to Franklin collections.  Dark to
black spinels have also been mixed into the Franklin morass and
collecting domain.  These Eastern classics were near worthless to the
owner desperate to sell a collection, but label the specimens from
Franklin and they sell.

Edenite is another misrepresented species.  Not only is not clearly
understood in the collecting community, that is, visual identifications
are often guess work only, but any pale green blocky crystal in
limestone from anywhere is called edenite from Franklin.  I have an
ex-Harvard verified edenite collected at the turn of the century that is
weathered gray in an iron stained limestone matrix that is unlike
anything I have collected in the last 30 years called edenite.
Fortunately, the crystal form is identical to Palache's drawings or I
would doubt Harvard.

Azurite is another species that has infiltrated from Bisbee and points
west.  As long as the matrix is a rotten ochre colored indistinguishable
gossen and the azurite crystals are small and drusey the specimen could
have come from Franklin or Sterling Hill.  I have a lovely well
crystallized azurite with a Franklin label from the Lee Areson
collection that must be one of the best of the Franklin weathered find
that I could easily doubt since I only have Palache to confirm it and
what I have been able to see in the display collections at Franklin.

There are many more obvious Franklin fakes as you have mentioned in your
e-mail, but as I said they are even obvious sitting on the dump.
Speaking of the dump, I will share this with you.  Every time I went to
the Trotter to dig in the early '70s there was Nick Zipco sitting in
front of his table with a bench on which he had lined up specimens of
minerals found on the dump.  It served to fire us up to dig deeper and
work harder, but some times I just came away with dull rhodonite masses
or microcline.  During one of the last Trotter digs a couple of years
ago I had about the same luck, but others fared well and left with
hundreds of pounds of material.  Left behind was what they could not
carry.  Walking back to my truck I caught a glimpse of a flash from the
edge of the parking lot.  Investigating, I found where some one had
dumped Paterson zeolite specimens by the flat, quartz crystal specimens,
and, agates by the pound.  The key word is by the "pound".  It was
obvious this material had to be jettisoned to make room for the new and
obviously more important Trotter Dump minerals.

While I and Dan Russell collected "foreign rock" by the flat from the
"Trotter Dump", we both were smart enough to know the origin of the
material we collected was not Franklin.  Of course, giving nature time
to cover and disperse the discarded material and then have someone who
is less informed find the specimens and we have new species, forms, and
associations found at Franklin, first hand accounts and all.

Species that have contaminated collections:
Quartz crystals from Arkansas
Sulfur from Sicily
Rhodonite - I have Broken Hills, Australia specimen of the gemmest mass
of bright red rhodonite, absent galena, in a dark green fine grained
matrix that fluoresces green and red like willemite and calcite.  That
if it came from Franklin is a visual treat and a killer specimen for
non-crystallized rhodonite.  But, it is unlike any rhodonite specimen
that I have seen come from Franklin, so I doubt its authenticity.
Magnetite - from Amity and other NY locales formed isometric crystals to
2" and were sold as Franklinites when a simple magnet test would
dispelled the identification.

There are others I am sure...


Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject: contamination
Date: 13 October 1998

Thank you very much for your reply.

I remember browsing through the drawers of uncataloged specimens in the
basement at Yale when I was an undergraduate, and I was amazed how few
labels there were, and how mixed up things got. (I have a feeling that
it was the same at other institutional collections, and has only changed
in the last two decades when curators finally became aware how much some
of their neglected classics were worth.) It is so easy to imagine how a
specimen like that azurite was just nice enough not to throw out but not
so important that the original label was retained, and somehow got into
a drawer of Franklin material, but the piece could be quite authentic.
All the real Franklin "weathereds" I saw had a similar shopworn look,
and I wonder if a chemical analysis of the matrix would not reveal some
singularities which could be used to authenticate the material.  The
matrix looks like ordinary "gossen" but might be quite different. There
is so little Franklin weathered stuff around that as far as I know no
one has ever tried to assemble pieces in one place to see if the real
ones have something in common.

The Sterling Hill azurites are easier to authenticate because they can
occur on a matrix of zinc ore, thank goodness.  Steve Sanford had a very
nice, fairly small piece, with a cluster of excellent azurite xls.  I
don't know who got that one either, but it certainly didn't rank with
Lee's Franklin piece, assuming the latter to be "real."

Certainly it is annoying that so many "contamination" pieces are so hard
to trace.  I suppose this is true in part because if the pieces had been
considered good for their original locality, they might have been
retained with label intact.  But you're right; any scruffy second-rate
piece, which might be from Franklin, is promptly labeled so to make it


Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject:   contamination
Date:       12-October, 1998

More on "contamination" in collections and collecting sites.  First let
me say that all of my recollections are direct first hand sightings or
most likely purchases that were later discovered to be not what were
reported to be.

In 1989 I had the opportunity to purchase some of the Areson Collection
from Dick Hauck.  In the collection was a cute little .5" brown zircon
crystal in calcite with a smaller crystal adjacent.  It had been
overlooked so I bought it.  The zircon gave the correct fluorescent
response and the calcite gave a weaker red response, so all was well.
The zircon looked very similar to Hauck's great zircon that had been on
display at the Franklin Mineral Museum for over 30 years.  However, when
I showed the specimen to two other senior collectors they were surprised
by the texture of the calcite, but concurred that it was probably
Franklin.  Some years later I had the opportunity to upgrade the
specimen and decided t sell it.  In the process of selling the zircon,
with all of the past labels saying it was a Franklin specimen, it was
discovered that a very small
section of a pale green beryl crystal was in the calcite matrix on the
bottom of the specimen.  This was easy to miss since it took a hand lens
to even spot it, and as is often the case, small pale green prismatic
crystals are more often fluorapatite or celestine.  Since beryl is not
found in Franklin, I could definitively say the specimen was NOT from
Franklin.  Likewise, I did not sell the specimen as a Franklin specimen

Another mineral that I have seen infiltrate collections is
Friedensville, PA hemimorphite. It is virtually indistinguishable from
the Sterling Hill hemimorphite including the zinalsite-like clay
inclusions and layered growths.

Which raises another issue.  Over the past 15 years Sterling Hill has
really come into its own.  Until then, when I traveled outside of
Franklin there was only one deposit and only one mine - Franklin. It was
depressing back in the 70's when I worked at Sterling Hill to tell
friends at the University of Maryland, including my professor, that I
worked in the Sterling Hill mine which prompted everyone to say "Where
is that?" or "never heard of it", but mention the then dead and closed
Franklin mine (18 plus years) and they knew it immediately.

This trend in recognition extended to specimen material.  I found
Sterling Hill rhodonite specimens being sold as Franklin as was sea-foam
and honey yellow willemite specimens.  Friedelite from Sterling was
often labeled Franklin and sold as found "in the 40's" when clearly it
came out when I was at Sterling Hill in the 70's.  Some of the Sterling
Hill Friedelite is easily recognizable by level and date it came out to
those who mined it or picked up pieces at Palsulich's, Gerstmann's, or
Hocking's houses.

When I worked under ground at Sterling Hill one of my jobs was to slush
the fill from the fill raise, which was shored up with timbers.  I would
let fill into the stope, then slush it down to the next level.  One such
time I noticed large glassy sections in the sandy mix. Upon closer
scrutiny I discovered broken shards of green and blue what I called
"slag glass".  While that was nothing to write home about or to even
save I wondered what else we were planting in the fill, or what else I
could find, and where it came from. So, I asked and was directed to the
corner of Plant and Passaic streets to the "Fill Quarry".

I investigated the fill quarry, which was being dug out by front end
loaders and often received dump truck loads of "stuff" from unknown
origination's which included boulder sized chunks of limestone.  After
seeing the dump trucks line up ten loads on the floor of the small
pocket-quarry and the front-end loader summarily push the piles into the
mass, I did not think it was a good idea to try to collect there - who
knew where the "stuff" was coming from? I didn't...

Another species that was hard to identify as coming from Sterling Hill
is celestine. Locally, light blue granular and cryptocrystalline masses
were found attached to red hematic-like franklinite ore and saved.
However, I found an identical specimen from Ohio minus the ore matrix
that easily confused the owner.  In the late 70's I had found just such
a specimen on a miners dining room table having come from the mine
earlier that day.

Fluorapatite is another one that has been confused with Canadian
material due to the salmon colored calcite matrix.  That is to say,
lesser valuable dark reddish-brown fluorapatite crystals in salmon
calcite have upon occasion been offered as Franklin when clearly the
older cotton covered label had the material originating in Canada.

Pyroxenes and amphiboles have been contaminated over the years.
Hornblende and pargasite are found locally and are often hard to
distinguish, however, both are plentiful in Canada and have been offered
to me as Franklin.  At the last Gougher College show I was offered a
Franklin Hornblende with scapolite with roots still attached.  The roots
are a tell-tale sign.

Scapolites have long since been a source of contamination complaints as
they are found in a number of local non-Franklin settings.  The
confusion over which group of specimens is non-Franklin still prevails.
Is it the white barrel shaped clusters of scapolites or the translucent
pale green scapolites with hornblende... the jury is still out on that

The feldspar family of minerals may be the least understood and least
collected.  I have seen fledspathic minerals such as microcline come
from very old and historically significant collections that we now have
very little historical context left upon which to base a correction.
The case of the pale gray-white microcline crystal group sitting in the
Byrn Mawr College collection is such an example.  The specimen is a
classic 3"x3" perfectly terminated "Pikes Peak-like" crystal group, but
has the distinction of having been donated along with thousands of other
Franklin specimens in the very early 1900's by Mr. Vaux.  If it is in
fact a Franklin microcline, it most certainly is one of the best from

Dick Bostwick wrote:

I have gotten a few verbal comments from the Haucks, including the story
of Mark Leger's Mill Site silver, and a promise of misc. info. from

When, perhaps a decade ago, the microcline crystals from Moat Mt., NH
were available in temporary abundance, I was amazed how much some of
them looked like Franklin material I was familiar with.  Hopefully most
Franklin amazonites will have red-fl calcite or some other key
associated mineral (s) - say orange calcite, willemite, and maybe

One of my odder ambitions was to assemble a case of Franklin minerals
which could be shown at Tucson with a reasonable expectation that they
would confuse everyone by appearing to be from somewhere else.  You know
the idea:  blow their minds by showing them how unexpectedly complicated
F/SH is.  You've already hit the highlights of such a case:  a Trotter
nickeline/fluorite;  a Franklin amazonite xl; a Sterling Hill (or
Franklin) specimen of secondary copper minerals;  and probably one of
those veins of massive blue celestine.  .  Some of the others
would have been, um, uh...   Sterling Hill zeolites, either those
heulandite-coated seams in epidote-bearing gneiss(?), or a stilbite like
John Kolic's.  Franklin fluorapophyllite AND hydroxyapophyllite, both of
which look thoroughly weird and un-Franklin-like.  Perhaps
several unconventional (NON-maggot ore) hemimorphites:  a blue-colored
crust, the smooth white crusts from the boulder in the Passaic pit,
and/or one of those strange pieces from late in the
mine's life which had a lot of individual xls.  Perhaps some marble
specimens like those nice fluorite cubes found at the "Farber" a few
years back, and of course a good old-time large pyrite xl.  Botryoidal
hematite with massive pyrite from the North Ore Body.  Jack Baum's
MVT-type fluorite-sphalerite which he collected in the north end of the
Franklin ore body.  A good sphalerite xl specimen. Must be a bunch of
others.   The reason this case never materialized is that
it would have been very difficult and expensive to find examples of
these from the Franklin area which were good enough to display as
perhaps being from somewhere else.  Very expensive for a joke.

I remember the shock I got going out of our area and discovering that
"Sterling Hill" meant nothing compared to "Franklin," either to
collectors or museums.   I think I talked to people at both the Univ. of
Colorado and the School of Mines, telling them that they had some F/SH
specimens on exhibit which were misidentified by locality and/pr
species, and I was given the brush-off.  What they had was good enough
for the locals....

Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject: Contamination
Date:	 13 October, 1998

I had a couple of other thoughts as I glanced at my collection log.  You
know the other species besides the large pyrite crystals in marble and
subsequent freed from marble crystals that could have come from almost
anywhere is sphalerite.

It is hard to distinguish a Franklin sphalerite from Sterling Hill
unless you mined or collected the NOB when it was being found.  The
current crop of collectors have no experience with Franklin sphalerite
unless it is associated with gray dolomite, calcite, and willemite.  The
most difficult sphalerite to be certain of now is the well crystallized,
un-coated, dark oily green or dark red-brown masses minus massive matrix
attachments.  I have a well crystallized dark green sphalerite that is
the best of the collection for sphalerite.  Not that the light oily
green druse of sphalerite crystals with lennilenapeite and/or blue
magnesiorieibeckite is one to throw back.  It is just that assemblage is
a "signature assemblage" for Franklin.  The Tri-state sphalerites must
have made their way into Franklin collections when so many were
recovered in incredible variety.  And, frankly, without a "signature
species" such as lennilenapeite or willemite present, distinguishing the
locality by material is dicey at best.

Some years ago the Belski collection hit the market through George
Elling and Fred Parker.  I had a chance at that time to pick up some
excess perky boxed specimens from George that were reported to be all
Sterling Hill and XRD verified.  I was excited and noted that there was
a Sterling Hill gold. The gold is a protruding globular mass measuring
some 3-4 mm in a rotten matrix of sulfides that I thought at the time
was held together with calcite.  Upon closer examination, the matrix had
been etched of all carbonate and only silicates and sulfide mixtures
remained.  The specimen was shown at the Baltimore Mineral Society and
they concluded that it was not gold, rather a very bright chalcopyrite
that had not tarnished as many from French Creek, PA do.

Which reminds me in my early days of collecting Franklin, I was 12 at
the time, I went to the Franklin show and picked up neat Franklin rocks
from the tailgaters at the pond.  I managed to get some masses of
chalcopyrite/bornite.  They were very colorful brassy-brown and handsome
to me. However, some years later while collecting to the south of
Franklin in Mine Hill outside of Dover in the Revolutionary War iron
mines I came across surface pits in which I found the exact same
material.  Needless to say, I felt a little query building as to the
specimens that I had purchased from the tailgate as Franklin
chalcopyrite.  Upon closer examination of the matrix minerals I could
find nothing that associated the chalcopyrite with Franklin.

I don't want to bore you with recanting the stories of my many trials at
securing a Franklin copper, but for me it was more difficult for me than
most it seams.  I managed to believe the first dealer who said "sure its
Franklin" even though there was no "Franklin matrix" minerals left and
the copper had been cleaned of its weathered patina to a bright shine.
Latter in my collecting career I was given some help by Dick Hauck and
am able to tell a Michigan copper from a Franklin.  The rule is; don't
buy it if you don't have Franklin matrix "signature minerals" present.

An interesting mineral look alike was shown to by Peter Chin.  He
produced a large halved nodule of white to gray-white porceline-like
material that I immediately took for roeblingite.  To his chagrin I was
fooled.  He told me that I should get one of these Michigan datolite
nodules that cost about $40 to $100 to ease the "roeblingite fever" and
return sanity to an all to boring mineral.

Of course the tourmaline minerals have always been difficult to pin down
since they have been found in abundance and colors ranging from muddy
brown to rich green to black with regularity in the limestone up to 100
miles north or south of Franklin.  The large reddish brown uvites that
have been popped from their matrix are usually indistinguishable from
one locality to another.  The feathered black schorl crystals in tan to
brown weathered marble from Sterling Hill are rarely seen but schorl is
offered regularly from Franklin in snow-white calcite.

Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject: Contamination
Date: 	 14 Oct 1998

I think I can distinguish most F sphalerites from SH and both from
"foreign" material, but agree that the "dolomite-vein" occurrences have
enormous potential for funny business.  One of these days I should look
over more carefully what I have and see if I can detect any
ambiguities.   After reading your comments, I'll bet I do.

I bought nothing from the Howard Belsky collection but never got close
enough.  I did hear at the time that in spite of Howard's expertise and
love for the locality there were a number of ringers,
i.e. rarities without the rarity, and that sort of thing.  I have a
reputed gold from the NOB, obtained from Boymie, but I have never
prodded it to see if it is malleable. Too afraid of what I might find.

Do you know offhand any specific tourmaline/locality tie-ins for the
geographic range you mentioned?  In other words, is there any way of
distinguishing ringers?


Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject: Contamination
Date:     14 October, 1998

I have a Sterling Hill gold in a weathered franklinite, etc. ore.  It is
sitting in a cavity in a typical rounded curled mass that is larger than
the cavity opening.  There are no roughed up edges and it is clearly
embedded in the bottom of the matrix that has no push marks or abrasions
under magnified inspection. The most important feature is that there are
microscopic grains of willemite and franklinite still attached to the
surface of the free standing gold mass.

Actually, the tourmaline is easy to spot for the more educated
collector.  Not for the tourmaline itself as much as for the matrix
materials.  Maryland produces black stout and elongated single and
clustered crystals in a gray schist and calcitic matrixs.  The matrix
appears very different from Sterling Hill white calcite.  Also, PA
produces a lot of black tourmaline in white and gray calcite from Bucks
County quarries that, in small hand specimens, is hard to distinguish
from Franklin or Sterling Hill.

The most notable uvite (reddish brown crystals) came from the Franklin
-Fowler quarry along with the rare and lovely green uvites.  These have
been infiltrated from quarry finds in southern NY.  I photographed some
lovely uvites from NY that were dead ringers for the Franklin
reddish-brown stout single crystals in gray-white calcite.  The cleavage
of the calcite is identical as well.

I can not remember the exact locality in New York.  I will check the
photos of the Schuyler Alverson collection.  The specimens were on loan
to Jay Linninger for the weekend, so I had to
hustle to get the shoot done, but you should see some result in the next
issue of Matrix magazine coming out in November.  I shot 5-flats of NY
minerals that had not been shown to anyone since they were collected in
the 30's and 40's, except to the NY Museum of Natural History people
were struck speechless.

I just had a thought have you included the beta-willemites from Andover
in your discussion.  When I was collecting regularly in the 70's Mrs.
Palsulich got a couple of large weird looking dark gray-black quartz
with drusey beta-willemite and green copper carbonate specimens she
called "beta-willemites from Sterling Hill, found in the Passaic Pit,
you know around where the jeffersonite with cerrusite and mimetite were
found".  I and few other Franklin collectors were happy to pay the $10
to $25 a piece to get a real beta-willemite.  It was not until I showed
mine to Mark Leger and Dave Wellbrock did I get a resounding
confirmation that they were not Franklin.


Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject: Uvite Contamination
Date:     15 Oct 1998 03:47:05 -0400

I have recently seen masses of medium-brown yellow-FL tourmaline in
non-FL calcite, and I have seen it credited to two different
localities, one of which was the "Gomer Jones Farm."  I forget the
town, unfortunately, though if I could find the specimen I'd know.
Someone told me that the two localities were the same. I'll ask "Rocko."

I recently bought some Balmat sphalerite from him, and there is a chance
some of it could be confused with Franklin-area material.  Most of the
pieces, for example, have a mix of orange and blue FL LW.  Obviously
willemite and franklinite are missing from the pieces, but
that never stopped a seriously fried Franklin collector from


Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject: Contamination
Date:     15 Oct 1998 13:16:25 -0500

Somewhere I have a note about the Andover willemites, but thank you for
reminding me.  In all pieces I saw the association with copper
secondaries and quartz were indicators.  In many the willemite is
covered by drusy quartz xls, which doesn't affect the Fl at all.  (The
FL is a very bright orange-yellow, brighter than almost any SH "beta.")
However, in the 1960s (?) a lot of this material was collected by Al
Lord, and for some reason many pieces were sold locally as being from
Sterling Hill.  One hesitates to speculate on the motives of those
involved, but I would guess that greed was more important than

One of the collateral issues that interests me is how cash affects
attitude.  The more money a person has invested in a mineral, the less
likely he or she is to believe it's a ringer. If I pay $10 for a Trotter
nickeline and some Canadian says, "That's from Cobalt for certain, eh?"
I will just smile, thank him, relabel the piece and sell it for $5.
However, when prior chicanery has upped the ante, the bias against
admitting I've been fooled is much greater


Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject:  Contamination
Date:      16 Otcober, 1998

One area that you have not touched on is Fluorescence.  I know of a
couple of examples of FL specimens that came out of Arizona that
fluoresced red and green and are willemite and calcite.  I fooled a
couple of advanced collectors who had not seen the material before into
believing that the specimens ahd come from Sterling Hill.  But did so in
total darkness.  The matrix gives the material away in daylight.

Another such intrusion from the out world is that f the fluor-richterite
in calcite from Wilberforce, Ontario.  The calcite matrix FL response is
red and identical to Franklin.  The black xls have a similar age and
patina appearance to darkened tremolite and/or hornblende.  Small poorer
xld specimens are easily confused with F rocks, and the FL test is not


Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject:  Contamination
Date:      16 October, 1998

Fluorescence is what got me started on contamination, specifically the
abundance of Arizona, New Mexico, and even California localities for
willemite and calcite.  Like Chet and Steve Misiur, but in a more
half-assed way, I collect willemites from all over, but not as
systematically as I should.  Still, there have got to be dozens of
willemite/calcite localities out there, quite a few with red & green
(not to mention the material from Vrancice, Czech Republic, and Lusaka,
Zambia), and in some cases you could confuse them with F/SH even in
daylight, if you tried.  The southwestern material is horribly confusing
betwixt itselves, so to speak, and I'm not sure I
know anyone (unless it's George Polman) who actually knows how to tell
them all apart, or how many there are.  I should ask him.  The Desert
View Mine near Big Bear Lake in southern California is particularly
annoying because it has not only "red & green" but also
orange-fluorescing wollastonite with red-fl calcite, and calcite with a
pale-blue-FL secondary carbonate.  (In daylight this stuff is
unmistakable and you would not confuse it with F/SH, but I have
seen W&C from Casa Grande AZ which looked the same as Desert View W&C.)

The potential for this creeping into F/SH collections has been realized
more than once.  Ewald's fluorescent exhibit had two
willemite-calcite-fluorite specimens from Arizona, and he did not
appreciate being told about it.  I am quite sure he didn't change the
labels or pay attention to what I told him.  Cianciulli knows about the
pieces and agrees with me.  I told you about the Zambian
radiating willemite in Sunny Cook's collection.

Marble minerals?  Ugh.  Tourmaline aside, there is fluoborite from a
road cut in Canada which is visually identical to that from Hamburg, and
there are several norbergite-diopside places (one being Newcomb, NY)
which it's easy to confuse with Franklin, assuming you can tell which of
all the prospects and quarries in the Franklin Marble, inside and
outside the F/SH boundaries, any given piece is from.  Doc Standfast had
another ringer from upstate NY in his own collection.  I appreciated
your comment about Otter Lake or whatever in Canada, and am aware that
there are plenty of other potentially deceptive things around, e.g.
pargasite from Pargas, (?) Finland.  I didn't know theWilberforce
calcite fluoresced but will keep it in mind.

One of my favorite stories has to do with a guy who worked at Sterling
Hill for a while who (so they say) brought Roxbury garnet, etc., into
the mine in his lunchbox, and dragged it out at day's end to trade with
miners for what they'd found that day.  Those miners are still convinced
that the Roxbury garnet in their collections came out of Sterling Hill.

Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject:  Contamination
Date:      19 October, 1998

I had a chance to visit Jim Chenard prior to his wedding. He has some of
the Amity examples as does Dave Wellbrock who is worth touching bases
with on a number of local collecting sites with
similar materials.  He showed me Gooseberry self-collected scapolites
and Amity spinels among many others that may help your story.

Are you going to mention the dark masses of bannisterite from Australia
that have been reported to be very similar?  Dick Hauck brought back a
specimen for me when he went to Australia and while the material he
brought back is well crystallized it is not the material that could be
easily confused with Franklin.  Have you seen this bannisterite?


Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject:  Contamination
Date:      19 October, 1998

I saw Chenard's collection briefly on Saturday morning, just before the
best man got there.  We discussed the contamination problem even more

He pointed out a brown tourmaline from Gouverneur, N.Y., and scapolite
xls from Amity, Diane, and Pierrepont (all N.Y.), as being relatively
confusing, at least in the hands of someone who doesn't know about those
other localities...

The Balls Hill hornblende/magnetite specimens are also in the "could
have come from almost anywhere" category, but the trouble is finding out
if there is anything which looks like that which does in fact come from
elsewhere.  Again, no substitute for experience...

He had a large Ellenville NY quartz which reminded me about another one
in the Gerstmann collection, labeled Franklin.  Cianciulli pulled that
one out long ago, but it certainly had pride of place for a long time
when the collection was at Gerstmann's.


Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject:  Contamination
Date:      23 October 1998

I heard that wollastonite was brought down to Franklin from Willsboro,
New York to test by New Jersey Zinc.  It was reported that the
wollastonite was discarded on the property.  The FL response was not
reported to me, but a specimen was retained in the Gerstman collection.
Are you aware of this material?

Also, I saw a specimen of Chimney Rock copper in calcite that could
easily be mistaken for Franklin in the Chenard collection.  The calcite
FL pink-red SW.  The absence of franklinite and willemite helps to
correctly place the specimen as a non-Franklin, the hackly copper sure


Dick Bostwick wrote:
Subject:  Contamination
Date:      23 October 1998

>From John Ciancuilli:
Cheers, Dick
Specimen base contamination at Franklin and Sterling Hill

Collections at the Franklin Mineral Museum contain some specimens
claimed to be local but are in fact not.  The following is a list of
such specimens:
1) Quartz xls from Ellenville, NY - Spex/Gerstmann collection specimen
2) Spessartine xls from Arizona - Spex/Gerstmann collection specimen
3) Wollastonite from Wilsboro, NY Spex/Gerstmann collection specimen
4) Willemite from Arizona source unknown (fluorescent display).
5) Spinel from Amity, NY (mine replica passageway cabinet).
6) Molybdenite from Edison Mine, Sparta, NJ.

Found on the Buckwheat Dump:
1) Arkansas quartz
2) Terlingua calcite
3) Priday thundereggs
+ assorted world-wide specimens dropped by children and tourists

SHMM mine run dump finds:
1) Morenci, Az. malachite - azurite
2) Sulfur xls from Italy
3) Hackmannite from Mt. Saint Hilaire (Passaic Pit)
4) Sodalite from Mt. Saint Hilaire
5) Galena with sphalerite Tri State District
6) Assorted Limecrest stuff
7) Copper from Michigan or Canada
8) Hemimorphite from Mexico
9) Adamite from Mexico
10) Pectolite from Paterson, NJ
11) Prehnite from Paterson, NJ
12) Material from Millington, NJ
13) Scheelite from Trumbull, Ct.
14) Tiger eye
15) Various types of geodes
+ the list of species contamination from SHMM dumps is endless

Trotter Dump:
1) Gore Mountain garnet on discard pile by the shed
2) Arkansas quartz crystals

Gooseberry iron mines:
1) Monazite from Brazil (gravel dumped in piles by NJZ)
2) Monazite from Brazil dumped in piles on the Franklin Mine core house
site, Buckwheat Road.  Presently the site for United Telephone Building.

Many older local collections refer to all specimens as being from
Franklin even though specimens are either from Sterling Hill or from one
of the many marble quarries in the area.  Specimen contamination also
occurred when unsuspecting local miners would trade local specimens for
prettier foreign material.  Often these transactions took place
underground which proved authenticity" to the victim of such scams.  An
example of this is when Andrew Paganetti traded a one-inch gahnite for a
brown tourmaline in mica schist underground at Sterling Hill.  The
tourmaline was from New Hampshire.  Andy was told the specimen was
retzian, and it did vaguely fit the written description of the latter.

The mica schist was the giveaway.  Ron Riley had many such examples of
this trickery and deception in his collection, as do others.  Fred Jones
had a number of foreign Canfield specimens which were labeled as having
come from Franklin or Sterling Hill.  Spinels seemed to be the most
popular.  The Andover mine yellow fluorescing willemite with quartz
shows up in some local collection labeled from Sterling Hill.

If anything else comes to mind on this subject I'll be sure to let you
Good job John!

Gary Grenier wrote:
Subject:  Contamination
Date:      3 November, 1998

Jack Baum told me about the Willsboro wollastonite.  I have a piece of
it somewhere so I should be able to check the FL, but if memory serves
you would never assume it was from Franklin unless you'd found it
there....which is what happened.

I think JC mentions it also in an e-mail I got from him.

Thanks for the comment about the Chinney Rock copper of Chenard's.  I
had no idea the associated calcite fluoresced.  How bright is the FL? I
suppose that if such a piece had willemite dust on it as so many ringers
do, one might easily be fooled.


That's all for now?
	Have a wonderful holiday season,

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