Posted by : Emily | On : May 1, 2014


Found in abundance along Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, Natrolite is a tectosilicate mineral belonging to the zeolite group. It often occurs with other zeolites in the amygdaloidal cavities of basaltic igneous rocks. The minerals name comes from natron, the Greek word for soda, and lithos the Greek word for stone. This sodium-rich, fibrous mineral tends to be white, colourless, or light gray but can also be shades of yellow, pink, orange or light brown.

Zeolites absorb toxic products and odours due to their open crystal structure and their ‘chemically sticky surfaces’. Because of these properties, zeolite minerals are used in the softening and filtering water, as well as in medicines as a blood-clotting agent.

More recently, zeolites have been gaining industrial popularity, by helping to remove heavy metals from mine waste and cleaning up radioactively contaminated areas. They are also being studied to harness the potential of precise and specific separation of gases – including the removal of H2O, CO2, SO2, Noble gases, Nitrogen, Freon and Formaldehyde.

Known to some to generate powerful stimulation of the third-eye, natrolite can be used during meditation to help recognize synchronicity and achieve higher consciousness. It is said to be a stone of optimism and hope, assisting in things like problem solving and possible outcomes, as well as providing support to those with various brain and nerve diseases/disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, and recurring strokes.

The radiating specimen pictured above is on display at the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Click here to get a little more information on Nova Scotia Zeolites.




Posted by : Emily | On : April 1, 2014

IMG_2989 outline

In the gold rush days, pyrite was nicknamed “fools gold” due to its metallic, lustrous, dark yellow colour, and it was hastily mistaken for native gold. The name is derived from the Greek pyr, meaning fire, and alludes to its property of giving off sparks when struck on one another, or with a piece of steel. The chemical formula of Pyrite is FeS(iron disulphide) and displays striated cubes, octahedrons, or pyritohedrons when in crystal form but can also occur as aggregates or concretions. Additionally, Pyrite can chemically replace organic fossil remains in the diagenesis of sedimentary rocks resulting in spectacular pyritization of objects such as nodules, sand dollars, and ammonites.


Pyrite is associated with gold in medium- to low-temperature quartz veins, has poor to no cleavage, and can be brassy yellow. The less-foolish know that unlike gold pyrite streaks black, has a hardness of 6 to 6.5, and can show a tarnish of yellow-brown film of iron oxide. Pyrite can contain small amounts of nickel, cobalt, and even gold.

Pyrite is the most common sulphur-containing mineral and it is used in the manufacture of sulphuric acid, with iron sometimes recovered as a by-product. Metaphysically, it is said to increase vitality, enhance willpower, and aid in overcoming fear and anxiety. It is also a balancing force – so if you can’t restore your energies with an afternoon nap, you mightn’t be a fool to hold some pyrite in each hand to help you through the day!





Posted by : Emily | On : March 8, 2014


Specimen purchased from ‘The Russian Stone Mineral Gallery’ at PDAC 2014. Photo taken by Emily Halle.

This soft, highly refractive, bright scarlet to brick-red mineral has been mined since the Neolithic Age for use as a pigment (vermillion) and for the ore of mercury. Because of its mercury content (86.2%), Cinnabar can be highly toxic to humans, historically causing shaking, loss of sense, and death to those working with it. Notably, artisans in the early 19th century used mercury for shaping felt hats and were often considered ‘mad’ due to the related development of tremors and mood swings – alluding to the possible origin of the infamous saying “as mad as a hatter”.

Despite its potentially toxic qualities, mercury sulphide has been used for decorative art over millennia, including that in ancient South and Central American cultures as well as in Chinese carved lacquer-wear originating in the Song dynasty. More recently, Cinnabar has been used to recover placer gold, as dental amalgams, and has also been added to candy as a colourant. Today, Cinnabar is used in the making of fluorescent lights, electrical controls, and instruments. It is also still used as an antiseptic and fungicide, as well as in many traditional medicines. Cinnabar is relatively insoluble and stable, and is therefore considered non-toxic in short-term, therapeutic doses – provided that mercury vapour is not allowed to escape through heating it in air.

Cinnabar is generally massive and earthy although it can be found in extraordinary, transparent crystal form displaying perfect cleavage in three directions. It typically occurs as epithermal vein infill, associated with recent volcanic activity and alkaline hot springs. Quicksilver (liquid mercury) is produced when crushed cinnabar ore is roasted in rotary furnaces, allowing the mercury to separate from the sulphur and condense into a liquid metal.

Metaphysically, mercury is said to have a positive effect on the blood and immune system. It can also stimulate psychic abilities and enhance perception as well as assist in releasing buried resentment. Cinnabar works with the lower chakras, and helps in the grounding of energies. The mineral is considered beneficial to business owners and creative types who can use it to actualize dreams and create prosperity.



Posted by : Emily | On : February 1, 2014


Photo taken by Emily Halle

Actually pronounced GUR-tite and named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (the German poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher, politician, and geoscientist whose literary works include the influential Theory of Colours published in 1810), this iron rich mineral has been used since prehistoric times in pigmentation (such as yellow ochre) as well as iron ore in the production of steel.

Goethite is a hydrous ferric oxide, forming hematite when dehydrated and limonite upon further hydration. The colour is typically brownish black to black, yellow-brown, or reddish brown with an orthorhombic crystal structure. It is a common primary mineral in the upper oxidized zone of hydrothermal deposits and forms near surface as polymorphs of minerals such as marcasite, pyrite, siderite, and gypsum. The weathering of these iron-rich substances means that goethite is often a component of soil, as well as being precipitated by groundwater or other sedimentary processes – it can even be a byproduct of certain types of bacteria. Recently goethite has been identified on Mars by NASA’s Spirit rover, indicating that water must have existed on the planet at one time!

Metaphysically goethite is said to connect one with the Earth, strengthen the blood, enhance artistic creativity, and assist in the grieving process by uncovering wounds buried deep within the unconscious. Perhaps Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was referring to this when he penned the following passage in his poem The Holy Longing:

And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.

The specimen pictured above is from Nova Scotia and is on display at the Museum of Natural History in Halifax.



Posted by : Emily | On : January 1, 2014

Photo By Craig Sheppard

A mineral is defined as a naturally occurring, inorganically formed, homogeneous solid with a definite chemical composition and an ordered atomic arrangement – therefore, snow can be considered a mineral! Given the season, and the amount of snow that has graced the eastern seaboard over the passed few weeks, we felt it was fitting to have snow as the first ‘mineral’ of the month for 2014.

Snow is composed of crystalline particles of ice (matted together or alone) forming hexagonal stars, plates, or needles. The exact six-sided shape is dependant on formation temperature and moisture and it is therefore very unlikely to find two snowflakes to appear exactly alike. A non-aggregated snowflake often exhibits beautiful six-fold radial symmetry due to the crystalline structure of ice.

Snow crystals form when tiny, supercooled, cloud droplets freeze and grow in a supersaturated environment. The droplet grows by diffusion of water molecules in the air onto the ice crystal surface where they are collected. These crystals are able to grow to hundreds of micrometres or millimetres in size at the expense of the water droplets by a process known as the Wegner-Bergeron-Findeison process. Eventually, the ice crystal will become large enough to fall through the cloud and toward the ground, possibly growing larger along the way by colliding with other ice crystals through collision coalescence, aggregation, or accretion.

The classic stellar crystals shown in the photo above had to develop between -12 and -16 degrees celsius. For more information on the different types of snowflakes and their formation, please visit

Happy New Year!

❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄ ❄



Posted by : Emily | On : December 1, 2013

silver 2

This precious metal has had a myriad of conventional and not-so-conventional uses throughout history. Today silver continues to be used as medicine, ornamentation (from jewelry to silver-bells), currency, and tableware but is also now also used in athletic clothing, solar energy, and as superconductors. Silver has the best reflectivity and the highest electrical conductivity of all metals, but is not often used due to its relatively high market value.

Native silver often forms intertwining and malleable strings of silver wire (as shown in the above photo taken at Greens Creek Mine near Juneau, Alaska). It does not tarnish easily in air or water, unless there is  the presence of ozone or hydrogen sulphide. Silver was first mined in Anatolia (modern day Turkey) around 3000BC and has been used as various forms of currency since 700BC. In the middle ages, silver was thought to deter or eliminate evil spirits and beings such as vampires and werewolves (hence the movie Silver Bullet).

Metaphysically, silver is the ‘metal of the moon’ and can have calming, balancing, and purifying effects. The belief of purification may stem from the fact that silver is antimicrobial as has been historically used to sterilize water and wine. Seasons Greetings!!



Posted by : Emily | On : November 1, 2013


Inuit legend recalls that the Aurora Borealis were once imprisoned in the rocks along the Labrador coast. In time, an Inuit warrior saw the lights and struck the earth with his spear to free them. However, not all of the lights could be freed from the ground and for this reason labradorite is camouflaged within some rocks, only to be discovered with the help of the sun and the water.

As a intermediate to calcium-rich end member of the plagioclase feldspar family, it is the reflective properties of Labradorite that make it so enchanting. Labradorescence – the play of lustrous metallic colours and tints, occurs when light is diffracted within lamellae of various composition and thickness created by exsolution or instability of high- and low-calcium phases.

Labradorite is commonly associated with igneous rocks such as anorthosites, norites, basalts and gabbros as well as metamorphic gneisses derived from basic rocks. The type locality is the town of Nain on the Labrador coast near Paul Island, where the first scientific discovery of the mineral was made by Moravian missionaries in 1770.

Most varieties of Feldspar are used for glassmaking, ceramics and glazes. However, due to it’s beauty, Labradorite is typically reserved for jewellery, sculptures, and building freestone. Spiritually, Labradorite is used to protects one’s consciousness and body from foreign influences thereby relieving anxiety and depression. Labradorite is also said to build and strengthen the immune system, including the regulation of metabolism and the digestive process.

Meyers Minerals (Pasadena Newfoundland) sells quality Labradorite specimens collected along the Labrador Coast. They have beautiful jewellery, home accessories, sculptures and more. Contact the owner and he will send you pictures of their products as well as ship your purchase anywhere in the world!




Posted by : Emily | On : October 1, 2013



This attractive copper carbonate mineral was named for it’s deep blue colour, often compared to the desert night sky. Quality crystals are crushed or cut then used for pigmentation and jewellery. Azurite is also an important indicator mineral for prospectors and exploration geologists, as it readily recognizable in the field and develops within zones of alteration in all types of hydrothermal replacement deposits as a secondary copper mineral. It often occurs with malachite, limonite and chalcopyrite. Among spiritual communities Azurite is used to gain insight, vision, intuition, and intellect. In specimen pictured above (from the Carmacks Copper Project, Yukon) Azurite is slowly being replaced by it’s more stable green cousin, Malachite.

For more history and information on Azurite click here. For more information on the Copper North Mining Carmacks Copper Project click here.



Posted by : Emily | On : September 5, 2013


Used in medicine and cosmetics (such as kohl eyeliner) as far back as 3000BC, antimony sulphide (stibnite or antimonite) is now used in pyrotechnics and fire retardants as well as in soldering for strength and to reduce friction. Metaphysically, stibnite is said to be grounding – releasing symptoms of ascension as well as assisting in transformation and shifts of energetic impacts.

It is often found in hydrothermal deposits and near geothermal hot springs, although rarely in large quantities.



Posted by : Emily | On : August 1, 2013


Fluorite is made up of calcium [Ca] and fluoride [F-] and is known for it’s ability ‘to flow‘ or melt easily making it an optimal flux in the smelting of metallic ores. It can occur in a rainbow of colours including green (shown above), violet, blue, yellow, brown, pink and colourless. In the spiritual world, Fluorite is used to obtain mental enhancement and clarity and to clear energy fields. In the industrial world fluorite is mined for it’s fluoride and used to manufacture hydrofluoric acid and teflon, and is also used in health supplements and toothpaste.

In the photo above, green crystalline fluorite is contrasted by massive white calcite as well as metallic chalcopyrite and pyrite. This specimen is from the five-element veins found near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

For more information on Fluorite click here. For more information on Five-element veins click here.



Posted by : Emily | On : July 2, 2013


A girl’s best friend? Perhaps, due to the sparkle and significance when cut for jewelry or better yet, due to it’s simple and strong nature in rough crystal form. Produced from carbon affected by extremely high pressure and temperature at depths of 150 kilometres or more, diamonds display extraordinary optical properties and are colourless when in their purist form. Minor impurities will provide an array of colours including yellow to brown (nitrogen), blue (boron), green, black, pink, orange, purple, and red.

Diamonds are transported toward the Earth’s surface as xenoliths via volcanic pipes of kimberlite or lamproite. These pipes can be subsequently eroded and deposited various places by wind and water. Large deposits are found in Central and Southern Africa, Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, and Australia.

When considering purchasing a diamond, it is important to be sure the specimen is conflict-free, meaning it has not been mined to fund civil war and insurgent activity against legitimate governments – placing the miners, communities, and environment at risk. For example, diamonds mined and cut in Canada follow strict regulations and come with a unique inscription and authentication certificate to prove they are conflict-free. For more information on Canadian diamonds visit the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct. For more information on alleviating natural-resource related conflict and corruption, please visit Amnesty International and Global Witness.



Posted by : Emily | On : June 4, 2013

Native Cu caption

Copper…what would we do without it?

Native Copper was one of the first metals ever taken from the ground to benefit society. It was originally used in tools and ornaments (as far back as 8000 BC) and over many millennia the quality, reliability, and versatility of copper has been proven irreplaceable. It is said that each human uses 12 pounds of copper per year for things like building construction and plumbing, power generation and transmission, electronics, and microorganism destruction. Copper has many unique qualities such as its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, resistance to corrosion and oxidation, and ductility. It is also non-magnetic, combines well with other metals, is antimicrobial, and easily recycled.

Native Copper can be found in contact basalt rocks as well as in hydrothermal replacement deposits and in the oxide zone of sulphide deposits. However, copper is more commonly extracted from minerals, such as chalcopyrite and bornite, related to porphyry copper deposits.

The lack of good substitutes will ensure that exploration and mining (both traditional and urban) for copper will continue – especially to supply the one billion people estimated to enter the global consuming class by 2025.

Click here for some interesting information of the future of copper.



Posted by : Emily | On : May 1, 2013


This hard mineral is the main source of beryllium for the nuclear and aircraft industries. It is also used in fluorescent lighting and x-ray tubes, but the highest quality specimens are kept as prized gemstones. In its pure state beryl is colourless but due to impurities it can be yellow, brown, pink, red, purple, or the most sought-after hues of deep-green (emerald), and blue-green (aquamarine). The different varieties of beryl are also popular among those indulging in the metaphysical side of stones and minerals. For example aquamarine is said to be calming, cooling, and aids in communication while emerald emanates compassion, courage, love and prosperity. Happy May!




Posted by : Emily | On : April 9, 2013

17.7 troy ounce NS gold Specimen

17.7 troy ounce specimen of Nova Scotia gold (photo taken by Roger Lloyd )

Currently sitting around $1600 Canadian, gold has not lost it’s lustre the same way other minerals have this year. Maybe this has something to do with humanity’s obsession with this mysterious and captivating precious metal – as far back as 3100 BC.

From 1879 to 1987, approximately 1.2 million troy ounces of gold were produced in Nova Scotia. If you are in Nova Scotia between now and September 2014 – check out GOLD | A Nova Scotia Treasure. The facts, photos, and samples will blow your mind and might just spark your fever for some old-fashioned gold exploration in this lovely province! If you are not in Nova Scotia check out the virtual museum.

Click here to learn a little bit more about Gold. Click here to learn A LOT more about Gold.