Home > African Minerals – April 25 > MS1186 Alabandite


Alabandite is simple manganese sulfide, with the rock salt crystal structure. While known since the late eighteenth century from Transylvania, it was Beudant (1832) who assigned the mineral its current name. The tanzanite mines stunned the mineral collecting community first in 2009 with fist-sized geodesic pyrite crystals, and later in 2011-2013 with quantities of fine wurtzite and alabandite crystals. Just before the discovery of alabandite in the tanzanite mines, the Uchucchacua mine (Peru) was producing crystal clusters of alabandite with massive rhodochrosite. Those Peruvian specimens represented the first collector quality specimens of alabandite available since the early twentieth century, which were eclipsed by this find in Tanzania.

Large and sharp alabandite crystals from the tanzanite mines, such as this fine example, have set new world standards for the species. This specimen is a rather complete octahedral crystal with sharp faces. The crystal is about 85% complete. Unfortunately, only two corners are completely formed, and the other corners are contacted and indented, possibly impressions from other alabandite crystals. There is minor chattering along the crystal edges, likely a consequence of the mining methods. To prove its origin from the tanzanite mines, a cleavage of diopside, 8 mm long, appears in one of the octahedral faces.

Price: $1000

Item code: MS1186

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