How do we know our Phenakites are real?

Find a link to an identification by our favorite Gemologist Karen Fox MSc, FCGmA, FGA of Waterloo, Ontario here and read the story below: 

Phenakite Identification Documentation

We met at the Bancroft Rockhound Gemboree, Canada's biggest Gem Show. She sat at the Stump the Expert  booth by the bar in the curling club. The other parts of the show are in a hockey rink and a gravel parking lot. Truly Canadian!

One of the most important issues as a dealer selling gems and minerals is making sure that we have the correct names for the crystals. 

When I am cruising around the web or watch an IG live I occasionally hear wrong information. Sometimes I send a gentle note of correction, most of the times I don't. 

There have been questions that put us on to a mission. One of the important questions is: How do you know that this mineral is real? Further to that, how do we know it is what we say it is?

There are a number of way's to confirm. We use field guides in Africa. 

The best for our purposes is the Field Guide to Rocks & Minerals of Southern Africa by the eminent Bruce Cairncross

Almost 10 years ago to the day I sit to write this blog post, I wrote an Amazon Review of the book. The top, and possibly only, review of the book in Canada. Hopefully this small effort lead to the sale of many extra copies. 5 star reviews matter. 

Over time, you can come to understand certain associations between certain minerals. For example, it is common to find associations of aquamarine, smoky quartz, feldspar and black schorl tourmaline from the Erongo Mountain pegmatites. Brandberg quartz with can be differentiated from those at Xoboxobos (Gobosobeb) by the matrix on which they grow. 

Another helpful tool is which has the definitive listing of mines and the minerals that come from each. It has thousands of photos and a helpful discussion forum. 

This brings us to our phenakite ID document linked above. Late at night I was pondering Nigerian phenakite. How did I know they were phenakites? After all: "Phenakite is so similar to that of quartz that the name “phenakite” is derived from the Greek word for “to cheat” (Webster & Anderson, 1983)" as footnoted in the report.

I reached out Karen to commission a lab report and the result was beyond what I was expecting. We are keen to share this document as proof that the phenakite we are marketing is real but also as a very readable scientific document full of twists and turns and amazing photographs. Please indulge yourself and read it. 

Phenakite Identification Documentation

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