Home > Mexico I – December 15 > MS1683 Wulfenite with Willemite

Wulfenite with Willemite - Sold

Wulfenite is a simple lead molybdate with a long history. In 1785, Austrian natural historian Franz Xavier von Wulfen (1728-1805) published a monumental treatise Abhandlung vom kärnthnerischen Bleyspate on lead minerals from Bleiberg, Austria. Wulfen's work is lavishly illustrated with 21 hand-colored engravings, some of which show a yellow to red crystalline lead mineral. In his 1845 Handbuch der bestimmenden Mineralogie, Austrian mineralogist Wilhelm Haidinger (1795-1871) recognized Wulfen's contribution by renaming those yellow to red crystals as wulfenite. Wulfenite enjoys great popularity among collectors, which prompted the Mineralogical Record to publish an annotated reprint of Wulfen's work, limited to 150 copies (and itself now a collectible). A group of Arizona collectors successfully promoted House Bill 2092 of the 2017 Arizona Legislature which now recognizes wulfenite as the official state mineral.

This wulfenite specimen comes from an obscure Mexican locality. The crystals are octagonal plates to 8 mm across, scattered over a bed of radiating white willemite microcrystals. The matrix is a rather dark and robust limonite. A distinctive specimen.