Quartz after Calcite



Cavnic Mine, Cavnic, Maramures County, Romania

Dimensions (H x W x D)

22.25 x 25.4 cm


Description & Provenance

This specimen is an example of an epimorph. Epimorphs are a geological phenomenon that occurs when a first-generation mineral forms and is later entirely coated by a second generation of a different mineral species. Naturally occurring, geological forces (like the introduction of an acidic fluid, for example) then dissolves away the first generation of mineralization. What is left behind is a hollow cast consisting of just the second-generation mineral. Typically, the second generation is left creating a silhouette of the first mineral’s shape. In this way, epimorphs add diversity to the mineral kingdom and are a source of intrigue for geologists and mineral collectors alike. In this particular case, a cluster of scalenohedral calcite crystals formed first. Their steep peaks were then covered entirely by a later generation of druze quartz growth. Later, environmental changes caused the calcite to dissolve, leaving behind a cast of hollow points. Although quartz is known for its pointed terminations, it would not otherwise create the scalenohedral forms that can be seen in this piece. Conversely, were the piece made up of calcite alone, it would not have the tiny crystals that give this piece a snowy texture and shimmering luster. The piece is sizeable and attractive, resembling a landscape o snowy mountain peaks. Notably, the piece has been mounted upright, allowing us to see the hollow points from the back of the piece.
Alluring, sizeable, and distinctly formed, this cast has visual cues that tell us of its formation and is a wonderful conversation piece for any room.

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