Friday, March 11, 2011

Macro Friday










This week, I had the opportunity to take a day trip to Marion, Kentucky. What, you may be asking, is in Marion? Many things. It's a beautiful area with very hilly, yet not mountainous terrain. There are many Amish folks in the area and as a result, there are numerous little shops and stores. These aren't the reasons we traveled to Marion though. Marion is home to the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum which has a fantastic collection of minerals with an emphasis on fluorspar. Fluorspar, also known as fluorite, was mined in this part of Kentucky as well as in southern Illinois. There may not be any active mining at this time, but
there are still spar deposits in them-thar hills!

Fluorspar is used primarily in the production of steel and to a lesser extent, aluminum. It also makes some lovely jewelry.

The above is my entry in Macro Friday. It is certainly not the only macro here today.



Fluorite occurs in a wide variety of colors.

This is a lovely assortment of cut fluorite on a bed of quartz.


The next few pieces were back-lit. They sure were beautiful.


The above specimen is featured on postcards in the gift shop.
Did I forget to mention the gift shop?
They have a great gift shop.





Do you see the face in the above photo?

How about now?


Here are some carvings made from fluorite. Although it is hard like a stone, fluorite is not very hard compared to other minerals like sapphires or diamonds.
Fluorite also tends to be brittle, so much care has to be taken when carving.

Above is proof that all was not fluorite.

Above is more non-fluorite.

Visiting the museum was a wonderful treat on a rainy day. They even have a nice collection of fossils. We are already planning a return trip.

If any of you are ever in the area, I definitely recommend a trip to the Clement Mineral Museum! The only thing better than the museum is the knowledgeable staff. Friendly and extremely well informed. Afterwards, stop by the neighboring town of Mattoon and visit some of the Amish stores, greenhouses, and bakeries!

I hope you've enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them! Do you have a mineral museum in your area? Do they mine anything where you live? Is it pretty?
Under Shakerag lies coal. Although I appreciate coal and even think it's pretty, it is no where near as lovely as fluorspar.

Here is a photo of Ben E. Clement as a young man. He was a graduate of Vanderbilt University, a pilot in World War One, a schoolteacher, a fluorspar mine operator, and a serious rock hound.
The majority of the beauties in the museum were his personal collection.

As always, you can click on any of the photos for a closer look.



Don't forget to
stop by
blogging from bolivia
to link up your own Macro Friday post!

-Susan

9 comments:

  1. What gorgeous shots! My husband loves minerals. He would love to go to that museum.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting visit to the museum. Your photos are lovely.

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  3. Wow such colorful and interesting photos!

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  4. oh my....:) so stunning! great to be here. Hope you can check out my Macro entry.

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  5. WOW- those are really beautiful pieces. Also great post that I used as part of a lesson for school today- :)

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  6. What fabulous colours in the minerals. Really pretty. V

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  7. Sorry, I'm just now getting around to this post in my reader... these pics are just STUNNING! Wow. I'm in love with fluorite now.

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  8. Thanks! It was way cooler than I expected! They even had cut fluorite and polished fluorite jewelery in the gift shop! I love it, too!

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  9. Beautiful. I love this kinda stuff.

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Thanks for your comment!