Home > Mexico I – December 15 > MS1684 Wulfenite


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 is an especially fine thumbnail of wulfenite, consisting of one crystal of wulfenite 1.6 by 1.3 cm, perched on a knob of calcite. There is a bit of vanadinite growing on the top edge of the wulfenite crystal. This piece comes out of the collection of Gene Wright (1931-2008), a Tucson based collector specializing in calcite, and minerals from Arizona and Mexico.

Price: $450

Item code: MS1684

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