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N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?
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bob kerr




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 11:57    Post subject: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

I finally got a chance to read the MR Volume 1 for 2017 that focused on N'Chwaning. It's a wonderful and comprehensive article on the subject - as is almost always the case for MR articles.

Something kinda bugged me though - on page 13 - "this article will confine it's attention to the occurrences of the N'Chwaning 1, 2 and 3 mines, the better to help collectors sort their specimens between the three".

Really? does it matter? or - does it matter if the source is the Wessels or Hotazel? Although they are different mine shafts and produced somewhat different crystal forms and species, they are in the same ore body - The Kalahari Manganese Field.

Do I care if my Red Cloud wulfenites came from the north stope/shaft or the south stope/shaft?

Just looking for other thoughts from fellow FMFers - is this level of detail important to you? or is just Kalahari Manganese Field enough.

Similarly, is the mine level all that important? Some of my specimens - especially from Mapimi - come with this level of detail. Who is to validate these data?

thanks,
bob
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John Betts




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 12:11    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

Yes, I care.
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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 12:20    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

For me, the more information about a specimen that I have, the better, as in many cases it can provide context with respect to things like typical crystal formations, species and associations. That being said, it isn't critical for me, and not having more detailed locality information wouldn't prevent me from adding a specimen to my collection, nor would it decrease the value of a specimen to me.
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bob kerr




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 12:40    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

John Betts wrote:
Yes, I care.


john - do you care enough that you would devalue or not purchase a specimen marked as simply "N"Chwaning" or "Kalahari Manganese Field"??

bob
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Jesse Fisher




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 12:44    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

For people who simply want a collection of pretty rocks that level of detail may not be important. However, if one considers mineral specimens to be items of geological/scientific importance, then the more detail that accompanies the specimen the more value the specimen potentially has as a scientific or historical document. Once that information is separated from the specimen it becomes difficult, if not impossible to recreate it with any certainty. This has the knock-on effect of causing many people to make "best guess" attributions to poorly located specimens. If the guess is wrong, and it ends up on a label accompanying the specimen, then a disservice is done to both the collector and scientific communities.
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John Betts




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 13:01    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

bob kerr wrote:
John Betts wrote:
Yes, I care.


do you care enough that you would devalue or not purchase a specimen marked as simply "N"Chwaning" or "Kalahari Manganese Field"??

bob


No, the desire for information is not about establishing value.

You asked if I care. I do.

The better question to ask is why do I care.

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Tobi




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 13:15    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

bob kerr wrote:
[...] the occurrences of the N'Chwaning 1, 2 and 3 mines, the better to help collectors sort their specimens between the three". Really? does it matter? or - does it matter if ithe source is the Wessels or Hotazel? [...] Do I care if my Red Cloud wulfenites came from the north stope/shaft or the south stope/shaft? [...] Just looking for other thoughts from fellow FMFers - is this level of detail important to you? [...] Similarly, is the mine level all that important? [...]
Hi Bob,

this is an interesting topic that will provoke very different opinions. Besides the individual point of view whether this is important or not, I guess it depends on how much a collector is connected with a locality. Someone like me, who collects worldwide material, does not necessarily need all that information. I have only one N'Chwaning specimen in my collection, an ettringite, and I don't even know from which of the mines or its levels it comes. But this does not make the specimen less interesting or valuable for me.

The same with my other specimens, I don't have many minerals in my collection where I know a certain level or stope. It may sound "barbaric" as a mineral collector, but I don't really care about that detailed information because I do not specialize in any locality. I love many minerals from many classic locailties, and holding a fine classic specimen in my hand knowing it's from Elmwood Mine or Grube Beihilfe is enough, I do not need to know on which level it was mined.

I think it's different when someone specializes on a certain locality like N'chwaning, Tsumeb or Dal'Negorsk, those collectors will always appreciate detailed information - or even devalue or refuse specimens without those information.

In addition, there are some famous localities in the world where we rarely get further information than a larger area, e.g. Hunza Valley in Pakistan: There may be several dozens or even hundreds of mines in these mountains (many may not even have a name), but most of the stunning fluorites, aquamarines or fluorapatites are just labeled "Hunza Valley". Nevertheless, they are appreciated by dealers, collectors and institutions all around the world, and insane prices are paid for them.

Just my two cents :-)
Tobi
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Peter Lemkin




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 13:23    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

I know I value a specimen a LOT more if it has 'extra detail' - be it exact location, person who dug it out, date it was dug out, interesting notes on habit, inclusions, associations, if it was ever in an important collection, etc. et al. I have often had to get specimens at shows or in trade with only the species and very general location, if any other than the country - but I'm not very happy when I have to - and it must be a very interesting piece, or I know the missing details. More is better. I make my own labels and catalog entries with lots of detail....I'm a collector and a scientist.
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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 13:56    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

Hi, ALL

As John, who I know personally, I also care. And I care a lot....

Anyone his manias. Mine is to be as correct as I can. A piece without location, well, is not interesting (apart the pyrope with two bad labels.... It is an "history teller".... :-))

With best wishes

Lluís
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kushmeja




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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 14:25    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

lluis wrote:
Hi, ALL

As John, who I know personally, I also care. And I care a lot....

Anyone his manias. Mine is to be as correct as I can. A piece without location, well, is not interesting (apart the pyrope with two bad labels.... It is an "history teller".... :-))

With best wishes

Lluís


Bob was asking specifically about more precise location info, as opposed to general location like mine name, city/region/country, etc...

It's important to make the distinction, because there's a big difference between having no locality info and having basic locality info. I think that most collectors would frown upon specimens with no locality information. I would think that for most, knowing the mine the specimen came from is sufficient, and that knowing things like the depth, stope, shaft, etc... are "nice to haves" as opposed to crucial elements of locality.
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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 14:32    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

Bob,

As John, Jesse and others have pointed out, it is my belief that a specimen should be accompanied by as detailed information as is available. I concur with Peter in that I value specimens where detailed information on specific locations/levels within the mine, the collector, date collected, etc. is furnished. I do not necessarily believe that they are worth a lot more monetarily, but it does make them more interesting to me.

While that level of detail is not important to every collector, keep in mind that we are only temporary custodians of the specimens in our collection. Down the line a collector who may acquire a specimen from my collection may value this information. If the information is not recorded, it will most likely be lost forever.

Michael
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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 14:35    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

In this case, having a specific mine name is an indication of when the specimen was recovered. The #2 mine did not open until 1981 and the #3 opened in 2006.

Additionally, the Hotazel Formation was faulted and offset. So while it is true that all minerals were from the Hotazel Formation, they are from different blocks of that formation at different depths.

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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 15:04    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

Hi, Kushmeja

I think that we say same....
But for me N'Chawning Mine I, II or III, is crucial info... Other would be that it is from Hotazel....
My mind. Maybe faulted, but my mind...
At the end, what means precise info depends. For some, Africa would be enough. For others, pit and depth would be important. I am in the last ones.... Again, maybe my fault (and pyrope is just for another reason... Not for locality (California is not very precise: But as history teller, well, great. Again in my mind)

With best wishes

Lluís
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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 15:51    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

I guess the fact that I spent a 6 hour train journey translating this article so as to help other people might hint at my view!

http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=17875&highlight=collada#17875

I care and like to have as much information as I can get. It helps me locate the specimen in time and space.

James
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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 16:50    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

Care? Certainly.

I care mostly that the information is honest and accurate. I don't care if the specimen comes with a wikipedia print on the mineral just that the collection information is as honest and accurate as possible.

If I have doubts about the honesty of the seller I will not purchase from them. Mostly the location itself is irrelevant, I collect specimens I like and can afford, the locatity it self has no bearing on what I'm willing to pay. That said I have one location I do specifically collect from.

I care about the integrity of my collection and where it will end up when I die and to that end Iwant it as well catalogued as I can make it, its scientific value is more important than its dollar value.
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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 17:27    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

bob kerr wrote:
snip

Really? does it matter? or - does it matter if the source is the Wessels or Hotazel? Although they are different mine shafts and produced somewhat different crystal forms and species, they are in the same ore body - The Kalahari Manganese Field.

snip

thanks,
bob


Bob, for me you have answered your own question when you say that different mine shafts produced different crystal forms. Crystal forms is what interests me. If you showed me a morphologically complex fine hematite crystal labelled "Africa", I might well buy it. But I would be really sad if I found out later that someone knew which pocket in N'Chwanning II produced it in what month in 2007, and just didn't bother to put the info on the label because "No one will care."

If a unique crystal form turns up, it is very useful to know whether it really came only from one little spot or from a wide area in a new stratum just opened, or... This information also has implications for trying to understand the relationships between crystals' forms and their environments.

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PostPosted: Feb 23, 2017 23:32    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

All CORRECT original detailed information is important now and in the future as we are hopefully only temporary custodians.

I heard a European mineralogical publisher frown upon the detail a friend had given exact details as to mine, vein, depth, date found and by whom.

He stated: Who knows when and where it ha been found.
Now, this old gentleman happened to have very good contacts with miners in his country for 6 decades and had exact details for almost every specimen. It not only can help to lineage which zones of an orebody, which veins and which periods produced what but from a geological-geochemical-mineralogical viewpoint can provide invaluable material for analyses to understand if the deposit formed under several stages/events,with current knowledge we may not even know how valuable the samples may prove to be in the future when our knowledge and understanding has improved.

Now for a collector who DO NOT care to take care of such data think about this:
The mineral specie/name can always be analyzed hopefully hundreds or thousands years from now unless crazy politicians manage to start WW3 as has been going on for some time.

What can not be determined with 100% certainty in the future is the exact details of the find. Now of course what is communicated on a label, into a database etc is limited to the information that person in that moment decides to put.
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PostPosted: Feb 25, 2017 04:23    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

My 2 cents on this.

When I started getting interested in emeralds, I thought Colombian emeralds were all coming from one locality called Muzo.
It didn’t take me long to find out there was more than just one locality producing emeralds in Colombia. I was so dumb. So it wasn’t simply Muzo, but also Coscuez, Peñas Blancas, La Pita, Chivor and Gachalá – well sort of...
I was happy with that handy list for a while, helped by the fact that there was a general consensus among the various stakeholders in Colombia and elsewhere on these locality names. Virtually all the specimens sold locally and elsewhere were labelled with one of these names!
As my collection was starting to build up, I realized that the reality was a bit more complex than what I thought.
Actually each of these “main localities” consists in many tunnels and shafts - up to several hundred - scattered sometimes over a vast area (>50 Km2 for the Chivor district).
But the good news is that each major tunnel has usually a name associated to it.
Needless to say that I was very excited the day I heard about the existence of an extra level of detail in the locality names as this would bring an added value to my collection, at least for the coming specimens.

I didn’t know that this discovery would actually mark the beginning of serious trouble in my quest for accuracy in the locality names.
Unless you hammer the specimen directly from the rock, there will always be a doubt on the exact location where it was extracted from.
Several reasons for that
1) Illegal mining is a long time tradition in Colombia and most of the specimens are actually mined by the ‘guaqueros’ (illegal miners). They won’t admit they have extracted the specimen themselves so forget about asking them for the location…
2) A strong code of silence among the mining community at large. The exact location where a specimen is found by a legal miner is considered as sensitive information. It requires time, patience and good connections before making the miner talk
3) Most of the local dealers don’t know/don’t care about the exact locality. The bad thing is that whenever asked about this, they feel they have to provide an answer
4) Lot of tunnels – even the main ones sometimes – are interconnected. Even the people operating the mine don’t necessarily know where they are (or pretend so when they are actually operating in the neighboring mine!)
5) Emerald material sold next to the mines is not necessarily locally mined. When they are not fake, they might just come from a different area. I have seen specimens from Muzo sold in the Chivor area, and vice versa.
6) Last but not least – emerald trade is all about faceted stones. Until very recently, there was never a need to disclose the exact geographical origin of the raw material. The situation might change in the future as some labs are now trying to include the origin component as part of their standards and protocols for emerald analysis.
I realize that some of these reasons are cultural and certainly not applicable everywhere.

Now, and since I do care, how do I label my specimens?
There is a growing number of dealers in the emerald business in Bogota who are also interested in the exact source of the merchandise they sell.
This is partly driven by a demand for more transparency and accountability from the gemstone market which requires not only a full disclosure of the treatments (still a dream…) but also the exact geographical origin.
For those who are looking for minerals, the ideal situation is when specimens of the same find hit the Bogota market. By cross-checking the information from different local sources, you get a good clue on the name of the tunnel where the pocket was found.

Gérard
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bob kerr




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PostPosted: Feb 27, 2017 13:57    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

Thanks for the replies. Seems most of you care more about getting a deeper level of specimen detail than I do but that a specimen missing this level of detail does not really impact your purchase decision one way or the other – so in reality we are not all that different in opinion – if the detail is there then all the better – as long as it’s accurate – and how do you know?

A few random thoughts:
- Although I personally do not value this higher level of detail, I do want to know either the mine or the source. Seems this is a minimum requirement – even the label “Minas Gerais, Brazil” would be of some value – but certainly not much. However a specimen with no – or clearly wrong – locality info would not scare me away from a purchase at all.
- Accuracy – do you believe the details of a label?? The vast majority of specimens come from ore mining operations – operations that do not care about specimens and actually discourage specimen recovery with fines or firings (think Milpillas). Sometimes (many times) specimens are collected by miners doing midnight raids (or even dealers like Prosper Williams as the N’Chwaning article points out). Did they take the time to note the exact details of their plunder? Or maybe they actually provided false info to conceal their efforts? Caveat Emptor!
- Concerning current or future scientific value of our specimens, I have a more pragmatic view. In most cases, our specimens are probably one of the many, many thousands – or even tens of thousands – or millions, removed from a locality. This along with the label uncertainty mentioned above makes it hard for me to see how my specimens would ever be of scientific importance – good science needs good accuracy.
- Within even the same pocket or zone there can be – and usually is – large variations in crystal form, color, luster and association. Would “location in pocket” then also be important? Is this EVER available?
- If detailed data within a locality were of importance in making a purchase, I would venture that minerals from China (especially calcites and fluorites) and India would not sell well at all. In many of these cases even the locality is in question – forget about other details. Or conversely, if a high level of label detail were important, every specimen from these localities would have all kinds of detail – but refer back to the “accuracy” point above.
- What I see in the market today has gone MUCH further towards aesthetics and less about scientific or geological value. How else can you explain the huge demand/price importance placed on “Wilbur free” specimens? I don’t think science cares that much about a small ding or two or three in a specimen – and – I don’t think the buyer of aesthetics – or an “investor” – cares about much label detail.

Again, thanks for the input.
bob
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lluis




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PostPosted: Feb 27, 2017 15:17    Post subject: Re: N'Chwaning 1, 2, 3, Hotazel, Wessels - do you really care?  

Hi, Bob

Maybe I am a "black swan" (well, I am chemist, and you know, we are treated not exactly as nice persons.... So... But I can assure you that we do not bit, not wear black robes, not wear a pointed hut and we do not make human sacrifices.... at least the ones I know....), but I care a lot for info...and I care a lot to have specimens free of Wilber's...

Yes, to me, a small, minute imperfection, man done, detracts my interest in specimen.....

Maybe odd...

With best wishes

Lluís
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