Location: Zagi Mt., Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Size: 28 x 22 x 15 mm
Zagi Mt., Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
28 x 22 x 15 mm
Bastnäsite is generally rare, the best, most well developed and largest crystals in the best quality are from Zagi Mts. (type locality is Bastnäs Mine in Sweden – from there we know only micro-crystals and to be honest; they are ugly). This mineral exist in yellow, brown and red-brown color and crystals are hexagonal. France produced nice quality – gemmy, yellow crystals, but only 2 to 3mm. All other localities world-wide produce only micro-crystals. Only exception is Proudette Quarry in Quebec, Canada. This famous locality also produce crystals in 1cm size or even larger, but they never reach the quality of material from Zagi Mts.
Now more about the locality: Zagi Mts are also an alpino-type locality and minerals come from clefts and veins, again hand-extracted from local field-collectors. These veins and clefts are hosted in alkaline granite gneiss of the Warsak igneous complex. The area is about 15km in square, so a relatively small locality. It is easy to reach in a geographical meaning, only 40km distance to Peshawar. But the situation there is too dangerous to go there for digging and Bastnäsite is rare and difficult to find.
The particular specimen is really fine – it shows two crystals on matrix, matrix pieces are more uncommon. The crystals are sharp, both around 1cm tall (good dimension for the mineral), they show good luster and dark intense color. They are more gemmy and transparent in person! Again – Bastnäsite is usually hexagonal – also the upper main crystal shows a hexagonal diameter, but uncommon modifications at the end points. The second (lower) crystal is completely crazy. It is twinned and the habit is very complex with lot of modifications. The contrast with snowy white Adularia is very nice and finally you can find thin elongated quartz crystals in green color (caused by Chlorite inclusions). No significant damages to report.