Cascandite & Thortveitite

$150.00

Some bright, clear Cascandite crystals on pink Orthoclase with blue spheres of Thortveitite
Collected in 2020 from the Seula Mine, in Piedmont, Italy
4.9 × 2.1 × 1.5 cm

1 in stock

Description

Cascandite has a hardness of 4½ – 5½ and a calculated specific gravity of 3.03, while Thortveitite has a slightly higher specific gravity at 3.27 – 3.58 and a hardness of 6 – 7.

Cascandite was only just approved by the IMA as a mineral in 1982, so it’s still relatively new. Named due to its 12.64% CAlcium and 10.64% SCANDium content, it also contains 4.4% Iron, 26.58% Silicon, 45.42% Oxygen, and 0.32% Hydrogen. To date, Cascandite has only been discovered in only 8 known locations – specifically in Italy, Poland, and Norway, but there may be more of this near to you just waiting to be discovered!

There’s only 23 known and named minerals which contain Scandium, and Scandium seems to currently be trading at around $8,000/kg, or ~1/10th as much as gold, but within the last decade the prices have been nearly thrice as high, and with its specialized applications and importance in the industry, it’s not going to be getting exceptionally cheap and dropping in price anytime soon! Scandium is supposedly produced on the order of around 15-20 tons per year, and mostly by Ukraine, Russia, and China, according to Wikipedia. The main application of scandium by weight “is in aluminium-scandium alloys for minor aerospace industry components… Some items of sports equipment, which rely on lightweight high-performance materials, have been made with scandium-aluminium alloys, including baseball bats, tent poles and bicycle frames and components. Lacrosse sticks are also made with scandium. Smith & Wesson produces semi-automatic pistols and revolvers with frames of scandium alloy and cylinders of titanium or carbon steel.”

There’s not very much more known or published about this mineral yet, as it’s still so young. There’s no Wikipedia page, and both Mindat and WebMineral fail to include the type of geologic setting in which one may find such a mineral, but assuming it’s anything like Thortveitite (which might be a pretty safe assumption as these minerals are obviously found together on this rock), you might just able to find more in granitic pegmatites, so be sure to keep an eye out for a mineral like this if you find yourself hiking near any!

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