A splendid falsification: a double story

Raymond Dedeyne and Rik Dillen (Belgium) This is a story in two parts about two fake mineral specimens of a double salt, written by two authors with the same initials… You can find fake mineral specimens all the time at mineral shows, but also on location. A good example is Morocco, where unbelievable quantities of fake amethyst and other geodes are sold along the roadside. Any collector, who knows something about minerals, will easily recognise such fakes and may, on somewhat closer inspection, discover lots of glue, even with the naked eye. Two years ago in Gent, the first of our two authors (Raymond) bought, at a show, an attractive specimen consisting of several, very well-formed crystals (up to 2.5cm wide) on a matrix of gypsum crystals. At first sight, the crystals looked black, but, on closer examination, they appeared deep red-violet because octahedrical crystals of this sort are “penetration-twins” (crystals that have the appearance of passing through each other in a symmetrical manner). The seller claimed that the locality where it was “found” was Rudna in Poland. It is difficult to blame the man too much, as he told Raymond from the beginning that the crystals were man-made. He explained that he had found the piece himself in a Polish salt-mine that, after exploitation, had been filled with liquid waste from an alum mine. Therefore, the crystals would have been formed by the evaporation of water, which lead him to label the specimen as “alum”, based on the origin … Read More

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