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Manufactured or natural?
  
  Index -> What is it? - Where is it from?
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Joseph DOliveira




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PostPosted: Apr 18, 2020 17:14    Post subject: Manufactured or natural?  

I purchased this specimen in Tucson this year and the dealer confided in me that he was unsure of the provenance of the piece. He had many more crystallized pieces that were significantly more expensive that I passed on. I decided to buy this less expensive one and add it to my collection, if I can confirm it as a natural specimen. If not, it will be a nice addition to my fake/manufactured mineral collection.

The locality was listed as Tengchong, Yunnan, China.



FMF5.JPG
 Mineral: Sulphur
 Locality:
Yunnan Province, China
 Dimensions: 8x5x5 cm
 Description:
 Viewed:  3208 Time(s)

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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Apr 18, 2020 18:00    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

Anything coming from China where there are $$$ (or Euros etc) involved should be suspect. Especially with the history of the sophisticated Sicilian Sulphurs of years ago. Very suspect!

First you need to see if Sulphur crystals, like those shown, on that specific matrix actually was found at that locality.

Next you need to see if the Sulphur isotope is the same as that actually found at that locality.

Now, how you go about making absolutely sure the locality, matrix and crystals are all truly genuine and occur together will probably really really never be ascertained.
That is why I don't collect China as I know basically nothing about the localities and their minerals. It becomes all faith and guess work. BOB
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Tobi




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PostPosted: Apr 19, 2020 02:46    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

Joseph DOliveira wrote:
Manufactured or natural?
Good question. There were lab-grown sulphurs "from Sicily" in the past, but no idea if there are other manufactured sulphur specimens on the market ...

At least, the Tengchong area is known for its sulphur occurences, but I have never seen such well-formed crystals from that area or elsewhere in China ...

(P.S. If this should be natural - really nice specimen for a non-Sicilian one!)
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Mathias




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PostPosted: Apr 19, 2020 02:49    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

I think natural because I see other minerals on top of some of the Sulphur crystals.
Way too difficult to synthesize i think.
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SteveB




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PostPosted: Apr 20, 2020 12:44    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

I completely agree with Bobs response. China = suspect is a common feeling and I guess their attitudes and history or being experts as faking anything for profit are going to take time to overcome. Remember the early 80s a “made In Japan” label meant = useless garbage. But for a long time now its really meant quality and reliability and something you want on your products. However everything Bob points out is equally applicable to every specimen. It all comes down to you trusting a stranger telling you where a specimen is from. Theres never any proof with the specimen is there? Unless you dug it out of the ground yourself then you can never be 100% certain. You can only do limited secondary observations against other identically labelled specimens to gain confidence the locale is good . Really you need element analysis and a database of elemental makeups for locations which is often done with gold and diamonds to cover ethical laws of provenence. Anybody can search online for mines anywhere that yield a specific mineral and then claim that location as the source because its basically impossible to prove for 99.99% of collectors.

As for this particular specimen, are there indictors on the other sides where it may have been attached to something else like a base matrix in manufactured specimens? Or is the matrix consistant everywhere?
I guess ultimately does it matter?
Do you want to buy hundreds of specimens claiming the same locality in order to compare crystal/matrix shapes/colours/consistancy ?
This specimen looks natural enough to me, only its location brings any doubt to my mind. Still I would love to have it in my display case with China on the label.
You dont mention what the price gap was with the other specimens the dealer had and without photos to compare which may indicate prices were due to considerable size and crystal clarity but the cliche “the deal seems too good to be true” is a cliche because its correct most of the time.

Still China is a huge landmass and spectacular geologically too and the rapid sprawling growth they have been undertaking along with their economic growth and uptake of cars in recent years there is a lot of tunneling and cutting into mountains etc so many minerals and fossils are being exposed and certainly many there are profiting on the opportunity. So just doubting the honesty of a specimen isnt that straight forward. It may take a few non-chinese dealers to travel through China to locations and make connections with locals in order to create a good trade route out of China as well as better document locations before us little collectors can gain more trust. The language and cultural barriers are a huge hinderance to this though which is why Hong Kong is so economically huge, the previous British ownership of it until recently established many tradable relationships between the east and the west, along with trade opportunities for the less than honest traders too.
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David Dinsmore




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PostPosted: Apr 20, 2020 13:21    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

I've seen a number of new and rather spectacular looking sulfurs being offered on ebay by a dealer located in China. The specimens are labeled as coming from Sicily and are relatively inexpensive considering their size and quality. These sulfurs look to me to be similar to some of the sulfurs that are labeled as coming from a new find in China. Are they both from the same Chinese find? Have some percentage of them been manufactured? Or are both valid & natural? Difficult to say just looking at a picture. Can we get any of our Chinese mineral experts to weigh in here?
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Joseph DOliveira




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PostPosted: Apr 21, 2020 08:54    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

Looks like I finally have some resolution to the issue of whether the sulphur is natural or manufactured. I contacted a Chinese mineral dealer that I frequently do business with in Tucson and he shed some light on the sulphur specimens. Here is a quote from his email: "I have just checked the data and determined that at present all the mines in China do not produce natural sulfur in this crystalline form. But in donghai county in jiangsu province, the sulfur crystals have been artificially grown in large quantities. So, if it's Chinese, it must be artificially bred"。I now have a new addition to my collection of fake or manufactured mineral specimens as I had thought at the time of purchase.

David Dinsmore wrote:
I've seen a number of new and rather spectacular looking sulfurs being offered on ebay by a dealer located in China. The specimens are labeled as coming from Sicily and are relatively inexpensive considering their size and quality. These sulfurs look to me to be similar to some of the sulfurs that are labeled as coming from a new find in China. Are they both from the same Chinese find? Have some percentage of them been manufactured? Or are both valid & natural? Difficult to say just looking at a picture. Can we get any of our Chinese mineral experts to weigh in here?

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Don Lum




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PostPosted: Apr 21, 2020 10:56    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

Joseph, it is better to know at this time than to be in doubt forever. You had said from the very start that the dealer told you there was some question of the provenance. Glad you found out.

Regards,

Don

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Joseph DOliveira




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PostPosted: Apr 21, 2020 11:08    Post subject: Re: Manufactured or natural?  

Thanks Don, I do a presentation for interested rock & mineral clubs on mineral fakes and manipulations, so I had planned to purchase that specimen for display during my presentations in any event. In all fairness to the original American dealer, he was very suspicious about the specimens and did make me aware of it at the time of purchase.

The Chinese dealer and I have a long standing professional relationship, so I trust his information to be accurate. In the end, I have a really great fake and it will help in the education of other mineral collectors.

Don Lum wrote:
Joseph, it is better to know at this time than to be in doubt forever. You had said from the very start that the dealer told you there was some question of the provenance. Glad you found out.

Regards,

Don

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