Benstonite on Calcite, Bethel Level (attr.), Minerva #1 Mine, Minerva Oil Company, Cave-in-Rock District, Southern Illinois 3.4 x 4 x 4.5 cm $200. Online 6/8
Bright white benstonite rhombs epitaxially oriented on steep calcite scalenohedrons. The Minerva #1 Mine is the preeminent location in southern Illinois for benstonite and arguably the top locality in the world for this complex calcium/barium carbonate. Many superlative specimens were found during the peak production years from the mid-1940s-late 1960s. This specimen was found circa late 1950s and shows the classic parallel growth that the miners called 'Christmas Tree' calcites- being unaware they were in fact benstonite. In fact, most of these were purchased as calcite and re-sold as such in the early years of collecting in the area. Crystals typically 0.5 cm on calcite to 3 cm tall. Small cleave on termination. Provenance: ex: Boodle Lane (circa 1950s); given (?) to girl friend Lois Lane December, 1963 after Mr. Lane died in calendar year 1963; sold to Verne Swanson January, 1964; acquired by North Star Minerals at Tucson Show 2017.