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Multi-Wave Calcite from the Heart of America’s Dairyland

Wisconsin is famous for its dairy production and badgers, but is not generally known as a source of fluorescent minerals. In 1826, lead ore was discovered southwestern Wisconsin, in the Shullsburg area. An influx of miners resulted, who dug into the surrounding hills in search of ore, and lived in the holes they dug. They came to be called “badgers,” and hence the origin for the nickname of Wisconsin, “The Badger State.” Now closed down, these lead mines also produced an entire suite of collectible minerals, including beautiful specimens of calcite.

This specimen is a cluster of large, modified rhombohedral calcite crystals from one of the lead mines in Schullsburg. It is a spectacular display piece under visible light, but also shows a subdued, but beautiful multi-wave fluorescent response under UV. Under short wave UV (254nm) this calcite fluoresces pastel pink/red, but shows its brightest response under mid wave (302nm), glowing a more vivid purple/magenta color. The fluorescence of this specimen is weakest under long wave (365nm), under which it glows a dim red/purple.

The size of this specimen is 8.45 x 6.72 x 6.52 cm, and it weighs 317 grams.

The brightest fluorescent response is seen under mid wave UV (upper left). The other images show the specimen under long wave UV (upper right), short wave UV (lower left), and visible light (lower right). Click on the individual images for a larger view.

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