July 21-28—ARDEN, NORTH CAROLINA: 16th Annual Western North Carolina Rockhound Roundup; Mountain Area Gem and Mineral Association; Camp Stephens, daily 8:30-5
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 Post subject: Cairngorm
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:35 am 
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Hi,

Does anyone know when - about - the Cairngorm mountain was depleted from gem quality smokey quartz?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:31 am 
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Location: Eastern Europe
I'd be surprised if it were 'depleted'.... although systematic exploitation may have an end date (the Barras Quarry does: HERE).

Mindat lists several sources of rock crystal in the relevant region of Scotland:

http://www.mindat.org/show.php?id=198&ld=1


Must admit here that I never knew what color the original 'Cairngorm stones' may have been; the name is associated with all varieties of rock crystal also referring to shapes and styles rather then a definite origin (what else is new!). Admitting the type is defined by origin, then there's still trouble as there is colorless, smoky, purple and yellow facetable quartz from the Cairngorm massif.

Short of full-fledged origin ID for the stuff, the local rockhounds still deal with such all-Scottish rocks (like THIS).

... sounds like fun already! ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:44 am 
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Hi,

Interesting links, I almost thought it was the famous jeweller John Brogden who owned the Barras quarry. Was another Brogden.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:52 am 
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I go to Scotland frequently and on my first trips (decades ago) I went in search of the illusive smoky quartz in the Cairngorms. I was promptly told (at that time) I was 50 years too late.

But it was a scenic day trip, so I wasn't disappointed.

Much of the traditional Scottish jewelery available in the Highlands today contains what is referred to as Cairngorm that is quite obviously citrine from Brazil.

Also, of note...we carry several pieces of Victorian Scottish Jewelry at the shop. Although the jewels were supposed to be made out of minerals (agates and rocks and microcrystalline quartz varieties) native to the Highlands I noticed several agates that looked a lot more like those one would expect to find around Idar-Oberstein in the 1800's.
Long story short, I found that much of the cutting for the Scottish pieces was done in Idar Oberstein and many of the gem components were actually purchased in Germany and had no Scottish roots whatsoever.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:06 am 
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Hi,

Thanks. So shortly after wwII would be a reasonable timeframe when serious mining stopped?

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 Post subject: Re: Cairngorm
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:48 pm 
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In response to the various questions posed here, readers of this thread might be interested to know that I have just published what I hope will be seen as the definitive account of the minerals of the Cairngorms. The book contains much original historical research and numerous previously unpublished photos. It should be of interest to mineralogists, gemmologists, collectors of antique jewellery and auction houses, as a reference work as well as a "good read". You can find out more and see a selection of sample pages here - www.britishmineralogy.com

Happy reading!

Roy


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