Thortveitite

$115.00

A terrific Thortveitite from Evje in Norway.
18 g, 35x24x23 mm.

Description

Thortveitite has a hardness of 6 – 7 and a specific gravity of 3.27 – 3.58. Named in 1911 by Jakob Grubbe Cock Schetelig in honor of Gunder Olaus Olsen Thortveit, a feldspar and mineral exporter from Iveland, Norway.

Thortveitite “was first found in 1903 by the Norwegian geologist Per (Peder) Elisæus Schei in Beryllbruddet (The Beryl Quarry)”, but the sample was labelled by him as ‘epidote’. Later, in 1910, Olaus Thortveit sent some samples of the mineral… to Professor Schetelig who recognized it as a new mineral” according to Mindat.

All Wikipedia has on this truly spectacular mineral is, “Thortveitite is a rare mineral consisting of scandium yttrium silicate (Sc,Y)₂Si₂O₇. It is the primary source of scandium. Occurrence is in granitic pegmatites. It was named after Olaus Thortveit, a Norwegian engineer. It is grayish-green, black or gray in color. A transparent gem quality example was found in 2004, and reported in The Journal of Gemmology… Thortveitite can contain up to 45% of scandium in the form of scandium oxide.”

According to WebMineral, a sample analyzed showed around 40% Oxygen, 24% Scandium, 20% Silicon, and 16% Yttrium. This makes for a great sample of Scandium for Element Collectors, as, despite that it’s not very rare in the Earth’s Crust, it’s one of the hardest elements to collect in natural, mineral ore form!

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. The American firearm manufacturing company Smith & Wesson produces semi-automatic pistols and revolvers with frames of scandium alloy and cylinders of titanium or carbon steel.”

While Scandium seems to currently be trading at around $8,000/kg, or ~1/10th as much as gold, 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!

Despite the rarity of this rock, it’s been found in Granite Pegmatites in around 68 known and recorded localities on Mindat on most Continents. However, given its original misidentification as Epidote, it’s quite possible there’s more Thortveitite out there just waiting to be found! So, keep your eyes out for a cool green rock like this and you might just get incredibly rich!

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