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Fluorite, Yaogangxian Mine

Updated: Jun 10

Yaogangxian Mine is said to be among the most important deposit ever discovered for centuries. Take a look at the fascinating collection I have, I'm sure you won’t disagree with my calling it an “underground museum”. It is so hard to say which ones are my favorite specimens as even the fluorites can vary so much with outstanding features and combinations. Can you pick one from the below? I bet you can’t! After all, we’re all greedy collectors :D

So how did Yaogangxian’s deposits form? The Yaogangxian Pluton composed mostly of granite is a complex structural belt which intruded Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks during the Late Jurassic, forming at 157 to 170 million years ago. When you are holding a Yaogangxian specimen in your hand, you are actually holding a piece of history that is as old as the dinosaurs, and many even older. Isn’t it amazing?!

And why is the Yaogangxian Mine so important? It is the oldest Tungsten mine in China with mining activities begun in 1904. Since then, more than 308 minerals have been discovered, including many new minerals discovered for the first time in the world. Miners were used to be farmers from the nearby Zixing and Yizhang counties who made a living mining on waste rocks from the mine searching for wolframite. Wolframite is highly valued as it is the main source of Tungsten which can be used for armor-piercing ammunition and electric filaments. Such primitive way of mining is now replaced by professional mining methods and manners where holes are refilled and only miner who has a valid day permit is allowed to mine in the area. Below are some photos of the Yaogangxian village, one of which was taken in 1949 alongside other current took pictures.

The Yaogangxian Mine is so important that even the Chinese government had issued in 1982 a commemorative stamp which featured the Yaogangxian’s wolframite specimen:

“A mineral collector doesn’t have fluorite unless it’s a purple fluorite.” – correct, but I’d rephrase it as “A mineral collector doesn’t have fluorite unless it’s a Yaogangxian fluorite.” :P

I have long been collecting Yaogangxian Mine specimens, what I enjoyed most is to put together my favorite specimens on a tray and to admire it for hours. Life has been uneasy these days amid coronavirus outbreak, it is changing how we live our daily lives but never let anxiety win! Find yourself a relaxing and quiet place inside your home, indulge yourself in your favorite specimens, let go of today’s stress and worries. Think positive, it’ll be over one day!

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