5.2 x 2.6 x 1.9 cm. From Keystone, SD. Ex. Chet Lemanski

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This cool Columbite-(Fe) is originally from Keystone, South Dakota, then was once in Chet Lemanski’s collection, and is now waiting to come home with you!

Columbite-(Fe) has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 5.2 – 6.65. According to Mindat, it “was named in 1801 by Charles Hatchett from a specimen collected in the mid-17th century in a place called Nautneague (now regarded as Haddam, Connecticut, USA)… From the type specimen, Hatchett named the new element columbium (now called niobium). The current species, columbite-(Fe) retains the old root name and has the suffix -(Fe) to indicate the dominance of iron in the species. Columbite was the second species named from the USA, after Celestine.” While there’s around 556 localities worldwide where this has since been found, there’s 17 in Colorado alone, so keep your eye out for a rock like this the next time you’re out on a hike!

Niobium is an incredibly important element in today’s society, and while it goes for ~$50/kg, or around $45,000/tonne, it’s a little difficult to extract and refine. However, if you’re looking for a natural Niobium sample, this rock is perfect for your collection!


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