(1920) Tetragonal system: Phosgenite
from Tsumeb, Ambo-Land, Southwest Africa.
Phosgenite was an incredibly rare and highly sought-after mineral in Wright's day.
In 1851, William Lettsom obtained by chance a clue to the whereabouts of some old phosgenite specimens in Derbyshire, said to be from the original find, and dispatched Bryce Wright in search of them.
The Bage mine phosgenite and matlockite specimens were very highly valued by Wright.
The highest individual price was a mere [pounds sterling]3.3.0 [[pounds sterling]3.15] for lot 140, "a very fine crystal of green Phosgenite, rare, from Germany."
(1992) Notes on the history of phosgenite
and matlockite from Matlock, England.
Additional species from the mine include libethenite, pseudomalachite, turquoise crystals (to 0.5 mm), and crude tiny phosgenite
crystals--all as microcrystals.
But my favorite of this Italian gathering was an inconspicuous miniature consisting of gray granular galena matrix on which rested perfectly horizontally a doubly terminated transparent brown phosgenite
crystal 4 cm long.
In the official history of the British Museum collection (Fletcher, 1904), a few specimens of particular note are mentioned: a large rubellite from Burma, an Indian (probably Ceylonese) corundum, a crystallized atacamite from South America, a datolite from Norway, a superb euclase crystal from Minas Gerais, a unique aragonite crystal group from near Glasgow, a group of twinned and simple calcites from Derbyshire, two very rare and fine "cromfordite" (phosgenite
) crystal specimens, and an extremely fine, large group of apatite crystals from Russia.
1760-1830), a Matlock mineral dealer, is known to have sold specimens of phosgenite
to Charles Greville in 1785.
We have seen that a fine Urupuca kunzite was sold to Jack Jago Trelawney, and John White has seen dozens of Ehrmann specimens in the Folch Girona Collection, including a lovely Sardinian phosgenite
from Martin that is pictured in Gem and Crystal Treasures (Bancroft, 1973).
The Urals Geological Museum showed some incredible axinite, apatite, and gwindel quartz specimens from the Dodo mine; the Natural History Museum of Milano showed six also incredible phosgenites
from Monte Poni, Sardinia; a fascinating case by the National Museums of Scotland concerned the mines and minerals of Leadhills; and two big cases put in by the Greek Association of Mineral and Fossil Collectors, Athens, showed huge specimens from Laurium and Seriphos, and expounded on how minerals were used to make pigments all over the ancient Mediterranean world.