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    Chinese Mineral Specimens - Historical Review & Localities

    Updated: Mar 17

    China has thousand years of mining history, it’s been verified when the archaeologists discovered a stone age copper mine historical remains in the Daye’s Tonglushan Mine of around 5,000-year-old, what we don’t know is how mining was done but here’s a glimpse of the “miners at work” in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) where gigantic bamboo stick had been used for mining, depicted by a famous Ming Dynasty's Scientist Sung Ying Hsing (1587-1663) in his book “Exploiting the Works of Nature”:

    With China’s opening up to the West since 1978, a flood of specimens has appeared on the world market from an increasing number of localities. It is not surprising at all since China is the world’s 3rd largest country in land area and most precisely, I would use the word “mountains” to describe its landscape. Around one third of the country are mountainous for example we have the famous Mt. Xuebaoding’s Scheelite and Cassiterite in Sichuan Province, the magnificent Fluorite from Yaogangxian Mine (Nanling Mountains) in Hunan Province and Spessartine Garnets on Smoky Quartz from Wushan Mine with which two third of the Fujian Province are surrounded by mountains. The relatively “flat” lands of China like the Inner Mongolia, Tibet (Qinghai area) and the Yunnan plateaus are the results of mountain-building orogenies.

    I remember the first time my father took me to the minerals market in China there were two words I always hear – “laowai” (foreigner) and “ting bu dong” (I don't understand). That was the time when the market was still “door ajar” to the West and when the specimens were sold cheap by bargaining. It is only since 1978 the citizens have had the free time and money to engage in mineral collecting activities. Minerals shops with a wide range of fine quality specimens did not exist prior to 1978, specimens were sold on the street and back alley by the miners, that was how my father met his miner friends and to build the relationship from there.

    It is interesting and fascinating to see how the influence from the West shapes the Chinese mineral markets. Nowadays, the financial elite and intellectual of the country valued crystals as art, miners form cultural groups which honored and studied the material they are mining, and most importantly, specimens are no longer sold cheap and cannot be purchased by bargaining, ouch!!

    Below are some of the most significant finds and their representative minerals in China:

    Anhui Province

    Liufengshan Mine’s Azurite & Malachite

    Fujian Province

    Wushan Mine’s Spessartine Garnets on Smoky Quartz

    Guangdong Province

    Jinlong Mine’s Quartz with Hematite

    Guangxi Province

    Wutong Mine’s Rhodochrosite

    Daoping Mine’s Pyromorphite

    Yangshuo Mine's Plumbogummite and Pyromorphite

    Guizhou Province

    Qinglong Mine’s “QR Code” Fluorite

    Tongren Mine’s Cinnabar on Dolomite

    Hubei Province

    Fengjiashan (Daye) Mine’s Calcite, Pyrite, Amethyst & Calcite

    Hunan Province

    Yaogangxian Mine’s Fluorite, Bournonite, Wolframite var. Ferberite, Quartz

    Shangbao Mine’s Fluorite, Dolomite, Quartz, Calcite and Pyrite

    Xianghuapu (Xianghualing) Mine’s Fluorite

    Manaoshan Mine’s Calcite with Pyrite

    Jiepaiyu (Shimen) Mine’s Realgar and Orpiment

    Xikuangshan Mine’s Stibnite

    Taolin Mine’s Sphalerite

    Jiangxi Province

    Dongxiang Mine’s Quart with Red Hematite Inclusions, Pyrite, Chalcopyrite, Dolomite

    De’an Mine’s Fluorite

    Wuling (Wuning) Mine’s Stibnite

    Sichuan Province

    Pingwu Mine (Mt. Xuebaoding)’s Scheelite, Cassiterite and Beryl var. Goshenite

    Yunnan Province

    Wenshan’s Hemimorphite, Fluorite and Gibbsite

    Dayakou Mine’s Emerald

    Hongquizhen Quarry’s Prehnite with Babingtonite

    Inner Mongolia

    Huanggang Mine’s everything!! Check out my Mongolian Treasures Collection :D