willemite & calcite under visible light willemite & calcite under SW-UV
Above (left): Willemite and calcite from Sterling Hill. Photo taken in normal light.
{short description of image}The willemite occurs as pinkish to tan, rough crystal grains up to 1 cm across, in a matrix of white calcite. This material was abundant at the Sterling Hill mine, but even the seasoned collector finds it hard to resist picking up a few pieces here and there, thanks to its striking fluorescence in short-wave ultraviolet.

I'm pretty sure I took these two pictures with a 35mm camera and Shop-Rite film.  I don't think it was a digital I used.  Serious photographers used to get all bent out of shape when I told them what brand of film I used in the 35.  Then again, I never claimed to be a serious photographer. 

The biggest problem when using the 35mm to photograph the minerals was lighting.  No such thing as white balance!  Usually the pictures came out looking too yellow.
Above (right): The same specimen photographed in short-wave UV light.
{short description of image}Note the pinkish fluorescence of the calcite. The filter of my old Mineralight made the calcite glow this peculiar color. The Raytech and newer lamps tend to make the calcite glow more of an orange-red color, which is more what I'm used to seeing.  I remember talking to Nick Zipco one day years back and he told me the same thing-- he noticed the newer lamps made the calcite glow more of an orange-red.  I wasn't sure if he liked that fact or not.  He did have an old Mineralight for sale one day, just like mine, which I should have bought.  I do wish I could get this pink color back, but now I don't have any lamps that bring it out.

I think these newer lamps use Hoya filters. I'm not sure what brand was used in the old Mineralight filter. It was badly solarized when I got it, so pretty much the only thing that showed up well was... willemite and calcite.

Photo index

Site content and photos are copyright 2007-2009, njminerals.org