Limonite on Smoky Quartz


Limonite after Siderite pseudomorph on Smoky Quartz from the Sleeping Princess Mine, in Teller County, Colorado

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Limonite is a field-term used to describe Hydroxides and Iron Oxides and are actually most commonly Goethite, which has a hardness of 5 – 5½ and a specific gravity of 4.27 – 4.29. Meanwhile, Quartz is the mineral used to determine a hardness of 7, and its specific gravity is 2.65 – 2.66, according to Mindat.

It’s not exactly clear if the Limonite is truly now Goethite, but it’s a Pseudomorph after Siderite, which, is an Iron Carbonate, so what we’re looking at here, now, is some sort of Iron Oxide on the Quartz crystal!

Siderite was “named in 1845 by Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger from the Greek ‘σίδηρος’ (sideros), ‘iron’, in allusion to its composition” while Goethite was “named in 1806 by Johann Georg Lenz in honor of the German poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher, politician, and geoscientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe” and Limonite was “named in 1813 by Johann Friedrich Ludwig Hausmann from the Greek λειμών for meadow alluding to its common occurrences in bogs” according to Mindat.

Each of those three minerals would make for a good-looking sample of Iron and Silicon and Oxygen for element collectors, but you could also probably find a cheaper sample to fill that slot, as this is likely valued a little more by crystal collectors and Colorado mineral collectors!

There’s not a whole lot on the Sleeping Princess Mine that can be found, but in addition to Limonite, it’s produced some stunning Smoky Quartz and Amazonite crystals.

It needs not be said to keep your eyes out for a cool crystal like this, as it’s almost impossible to ignore our innate and instinctive desire to pick up a shiny crystal like this, but if you just happen to find some cool rocks like this, send a message and open a mine and ColoRockCo may buy a bunch from you!


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