CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report: considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion; See Gemological Articles below.
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 Post subject: Large purple rock?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:35 pm 
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I picked this up in Tucson this year and have been trying to decide what it is. It was sold me as halite from India. But it doesn't look like any halite I have ever seen. I got it anyway, just because I thought it was neat. Right now, I am now leaning toward it being sylvite. (In the halide family, like halite and florite.)

Facts:
14" x 6" x 4"
weighs about 14 lbs
dissolves in water
tastes nasty/salty.. not like my other halite that just tastes salty
very fragile
scratches white
mohs - 2

I have searched the internet high and low and can't find anything like it. Maybe it's a synthetic something?
Image
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:20 pm 
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Didn't your mother teach you not to put things in your mouth when you don't know where they've been? :lol: (Or what they are :shock: )

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:26 pm 
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The things we do in the name of science ;) btw fluorite and amethst don't have taste *twitch**gag**twitch*

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:59 pm 
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It could very well be halite. I just saw a faceted one of that color yesterday.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:28 pm 
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All the mineralogical sites are listing that halite can occur in purple:
http://www.mindat.org/min-1804.html
http://www.mindat.org/gallery.php?min=1804


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:59 am 
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Thank you for the replies. I asked about it over on the minedat boards, too. They seem to think it is lab grown alum (what is being marketed as cermikite ): http://www.mindat.org/mesg-11-60830.html

At least I didn't pay anything near what people are paying for it on eBay.

I think it's the crystal structure that makes it unlikely to be halite, not the color.

I think I will have to get some more mystery rocks. I have learned more about rocks trying to figure this out than from any books I have read.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:59 am 
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I agree that the crystals don't look like normal cubes we often see in halite, but it is my understanding that halite can also occur in hex-octahedrons.

I think mindat identified your xls properly. Man-made CERMIKITE from Poland.
I think it's really an awesome cluster.
Did you try the experiment of knocking off a tiny cluster, putting it in a test tube and gently heating?

Let us know the results.

By the way, even if the xls are man-made, they are still awesome! They sure look better than any xls I ever tried to grow in the kitchen.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:51 pm 
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Man made or natural, that is one nice specimen!

Does alum taste nasty? Borax does, and they always tell you sylvite tastes salty and nasty, kinda like you describe, but both sylvite and halite always tasted the same to me.

John


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