Getchellite with Orpiment and Realgar

South Pit, Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

7.1 X 6.5 X 3.3 cm

A mustard-yellow matrix of massive to cleaved Orpiment gives way to open-space growths that appear as earlier reddish-brown, with small yellow highlights, inter growths and or pseudomorphs of Getchellite with or after Orpiment. The latest stage appears to consist entirely of reddish-purple pure Getchellite crystals to at least 1 cm in length. There are a few small reddish orange crystals of Realgar scattered amongst the Getchellite. Despite being dominated by cleavage faces, there are numerous partial to complete Getchellite crystals that are quite distinct, and this ranks as the third-best type-locality Getchellite I've ever seen or handled! Collected between 1988 and 1989.

                                             #GETCH-011       $1,500

Getchell Mine Realgar, etc.

Photo 1, Main Pit at Getchell, looking north, 2002

Getchellite with Orpiment and Realgar

South Pit, Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

5.3 X 2.6 X 2.0 cm

A mustard-yellow matrix of massive to cleaved Orpiment intermixed with gray sulfides matrix gives way to a bug filled with what appears to be  earlier reddish-brown, with small yellow highlights, inter growths and or pseudomorphs of Getchellite with or after Orpiment. The latest stage appears to consist entirely of reddish-purple pure Getchellite crystals to at least 4 mm in length. Nearly all the crystals have at least minor cleaves exposed, but are distinct and obvious without any visual aid. Collected between 1988 and 1989.

                                              #GETCH-012       $200

​In the 2004 case, I mostly traded the lower quality specimens to a Nevada dealer, and this group went on to be a "What's New in Tucson" feature, and all sold quickly to Collectors and Museums, including the Smithsonian. I used the same approach with all the Nevada pieces I acquired, as they formed the core of my Personal Collection until I decided to spend more time as a Mineral Dealer, now keeping only gifts and self-collected pieces. As a result, this Gallery features some of the best samples I collected and purchased over the last 20 years, all from this venerable but sadly defunct locality.

Note: I have a number of other photos I plan to share from a trip I took to Getchell in 2003, but prefer to save them for a full Collecting Story for one of my single best days ever...

Second note: all of the specimens in this update (except the matrix-less Calcite crystal) contain the heavy metal arsenic. Despite being stable in sulfide/sulfosalt form (like all of those below), it is recommended to wash hands after handling any such pieces. Also, most arsenic-bearing minerals are light-sensitive and care should be taken to avoid any direct exposure to sunlight, and even indirect sunlight will harm them over time. Some of the pieces in this update (especially the Getchellites and Galkhaites) have been on display for years with little to no notable alteration. All of my Realgar, on the other hand, has been kept in complete darkness since I acquired, cleaned, and stabilized them, and why the majority (excepting those purchased from older collections) look as bright and fresh as the day they were collected, most between 15 and 25 years ago!!!

Realgar

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

9.0 X 5.6 X 4.0 cm

An elongate shard of silicified matrix, covered in glowing, mostly gemmy-red Realgar crystals to 1.3 cm. On the freshly broken surfaces, the Realgar looks typically reddish-orange. The unbroken crystals have a deeper, purplish-red outer zone.

Based on earlier analyses of other specimens, I believe the darker outer parts of the crystals likely include elevated antimony values, which would indicate possible thin epimorphs of Getchellite. 

I have a few individual "Realgar" crystals that share the same appearance, and which were called something like "light-proof Realgars" by a local dealer nearly 20-years ago! I hope to get to the analyses eventually, but am happier to pass them along to someone else in the meantime...

​                                                                         #GETCH-004       $195

Calcite and Stilbite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

4.2 X 4.2 X 2.8 cm

Handsome specimen dominated by two golden-yellow Calcite crystals, each with brownish- to grayish-yellow cores, on a scrap of gray matrix with micro crystals of clear Calcite and Stilbite. The larger Calcite measures 2.4 cm on longest edge and 3.1 cm on longest axis, and the smaller measures 1.8 cm on longest edge and 2.3 cm on longest axis. The smaller crystals is complete save  few micro-bruises, easily seen in the photos, and the larger crystal is partly incomplete on its backside, and cleaved on its base. Still, a nice, hard-to-find miniature from this closed locality, with a 1-mm-long Stilbite crystal on the back as a bonus!

                                                   #GETCH-019       $95

Photo 3, Headframe for Turquoise Ridge, 2003

Getchellite with Orpiment and Realgar

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

6.5 X 4.2 X 3.3 cm

A fine example of the more common style of Getchellite from the type locality, occurring as small, micaceous, purplish-red crystal-cleavages commonly seen as "streaks" in massive Orpiment matrix. This is an exceptional specimen in that the Getchelllite occurs mostly as crystals to 2.5 mm, with a number of complete crystalline faces, strongly inter grown together and with lesser small grains of reddish-orange Realgar. The golden- to brownish-yellow Orpiment exhibits a district plumose texture that adds to the appeal, and that is fairly uncommon for this style of Getchellite. Finally, this is a very rare matrix piece, with a large fragment of the silicified, dark gray host rock comprising the base. From a different collection than those collected between 1988 and 1989.

                                             #GETCH-013       $225

Galkhaite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

6.2 X 3.8 X 2.9 cm

A relatively large shard of gray sulfidic jasperoid matrix hosts numerous Galkhaite crystals, including the super sharp, 3-mm wide crystal that shows brightly in the photo on the left. The shard is a bit of breccia matrix that has broken bases of Galkhaites all around, excepting the complete crystals on top (see bottom photos for detail). They show a transition from earlier red to silverish-purple cores with latest purplish-silver (higher thallium content) outer rinds. In general, the silver-colored Galkhaites form the sharpest crystals.                    #GETCH-008       $200

Galkhaite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

4.3 X 2.7 X 2.0 cm

Elongate bit of silicified matrix with one end liberally sprinkled with bright and lustrous, silverish-red to cherry-red, sharp cubes of Galkhaite on a microcrystalline quartz druse. The Galhaite cubes are small, reaching a maximum of only 1 mm on edge, but are remarkably sharp, with small contacts generally restricted to the edges of main concentrations.

As with other pieces in the listing, this will probably be trimmed to a thumbnail at some point by somebody, but I really like the matrix for context. This is probably from the Getchell Undergound Mine, operated out of the base of the final Main Pit.

                                                            #GETCH-010       $75

Galkhaite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

5.1 X 3.2 X 1.9 cm

Another shard of gray sulfidic jasperoid matrix hosts a half-dozen or more Galkhaite crystals, including a sharp, 2-mm wide crystal, and another bigger (3 mm) and better crystal facing the opposite from the photos. The bright reflection in the photo on the right shows a partially complete crystal face on the broken margins of the piece, which was 5 mm in maximum width. None of the Galkhiates has a fully silver-colored (higher Tl content) rind, and each has moderate to strong red internal reflections generally visible without visual aid. This would trim to a great thumbnail-sized specimen, but I like the context the larger matrix provides. Better in person...

                                                           #GETCH-009       $175

Realgar

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

9.0 X 5.6 X 4.0 cm

A mound of bright, cherry-red, glowing Realgar crystals to 1.3 X 1.1 X 0.6 cm crowns this specimen. These Realgars are pronounced, sturdy, and notably robust. If not for having been openly displayed when it was offered to me, even in a mostly dark basement, and the resulting conversion of the outer layers of the crystals to a minor frosting of reddish-orange sections of crystals, I would add another "0" to the end of the price.

​                                                                         #GETCH-003       $425

20 Specimens added August 22, 2017

Galkhaite with Stibnite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

6.2 X 3.8 X 2.9 cm

Orangish- to deep pinkish-red (lower thallium-content, I've been told), complex crystals of Galkhaite to 2.5 mm partially cover a sculptural matrix of microcrystalline Stibnite on microcrystalline quartz/jaseroid matrix. The Galkhaites are mostly undamaged, and their color and Stibnite and matrix associations provide a pronounced and unusual contrast.

                                            #GETCH-007       $225

Calcite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

7.0 X 4.2 X 2.1 cm

Small plate of sharp, clear to light golden-yellow Calcite crystals to 5-mm on edge cover a scrap of gray sulfides matrix. There are no large visible distractions, but very small chipping on some crystals can be seen with a loupe. I won't normally spend this much time photographing and describing a $35 specimen, but it's part of the group of 3 (including the other 2 in this Gallery) good Calcites I've kept together in a box for more than 15 years, and didn't want to leave it out of the fun!

                                                                       #GETCH-020       $35

Getchellite with Orpiment and Realgar

South Pit, Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

3.5 X 3.3 X 1.5 cm

A mustard-yellow to brownish-yellow matrix of cleaved Orpiment gives way to open-space growths that appear as earlier reddish-brown, with small yellow highlights, inter growths and or pseudomorphs of Getchellite with or after Orpiment. The latest stage appears to be dominated by small, thin, slightly reddish Getchellite cleavages. A streak of bright red grouping of Realgar cleavages provides nice contrast, as do a few occurrences of a black to silvery black unknown mineral(s), which may be Stibnite! Collected between 1988 and 1989.

                                                                      #GETCH-015       $45

Realgar

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

11.0 X 9.1 X 4.5 cm

A nearly impossibly bright and vibrant collection of truly RED crystals of Realgar to 8 mm, concentrated in two shallow vugs. There are many missing terminations and other assorted contacts where the crystals were parted from the opposite wall of each vug, but these distractions are minimized by the visual impact of the mostly gemmy, pigeon-blood red Realgars.

This is the best Getchell Realgar I've offered, and will appear just as bright and fresh for the next owner, as I will keep this piece hidden from any light!

​                                            #GETCH-005       $1,000

Photo 4, Me underground at Getchell, 2003

Galkhaite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

6.4 X 4.5 X 2.0 cm

More than 100 lustrous Galkhaite cubes and inter grown crystals are scattered across the face of a microcrystalline druse of Quartz and a later white crust of Stilbite (?) covering a gray sulfide- and silica-rich matrix. The Galkhaite crystals are up to 1.5-mm on edge, and range in color from purplish-silver to silverish-red to bright cherry red. The myriad crystal faces of the Galkhaites, etc., made this very difficult to photograph using my standard set-up, so I substituted a couple of photos taken in indirect sunlight. The colors of the Galkhaites are accurate in both light sources, but the indirect sunlight (handheld) photos show the real contrast much better (handheld poses). As per nearly every specimen of this quality from Getchell, there are many areas where the Galkhaite crystals grew across the thin vugs, and are damaged where they were separated from the opposite wall. There are many more areas that, with proper equipment, have Galkhaites worthy of a magazine cover.                           #GETCH-006       $475

Realgar

Getchell Underground Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County,     Nevada, USA

4.0 X 3.2 X 1.7 cm

Translucent, bright cherry-red Realgar on a gray matrix of silicified host rock. Terminated Realgar crystals are mostly limited to the protected center of the piece, and range up to 6-mm-long individual crystals in 1+-cm groupings. The yellowish-orange accents are small bits of Orpiment. The range in the color of the Realgar crystals, from bright and shiny, cherry-red bases, to slightly less lustrous,  slightly purplish-red outer zones may indicate a thin outer coating of Getchellite or another mineral...                                                                                            #GETCH-001       $75

The Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, may be Nevada's most famous mine for Mineral Collectors in general, as it has periodically produced specimens since 1938. Getchell is best known for Realgar, Orpiment, and rarer species such as Galkhaite, Laffittite, and Getchellite, for which the mine is the type-locality. Unfortunately, the mine complex, which included open-pit (Photo 1) and underground operations (Photo 2), closed in 2008. Current operations in the area are still commonly referred to as "Getchell," but actually comprise underground operations at a separate mine called Turquoise Ridge (Photo 3).

Between 1997 and 2007 I had the opportunity to visit Getchell numerous times, as a Student working on my Ph.D., as an Exploration Geologist working with Newmont Mining Corp., and finally, as a Collector. I've had access to the open pits, the underground workings (Photo 4), and the stockpiles. Equally importantly, I had access to a number collections of Miners who had worked at Getchell at one point or another in their careers. As a result, I have handled hundreds of specimens, including the lot of Getchellites dispersed in 2004 from the collection of the Mine Geologist who was responsible for providing the samples for analyses that would confirm this arsenic-antimony-sulfide as a new mineral.

Getchellite with Orpiment

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

7.0 X 3.0 X 1.8 cm

Another example of the more common style of Getchellite from the type locality, occurring as small, micaceous, purplish-red crystal-cleavages to 3 mm that occur commonly seen as "streaks" and masses in the matrix of Orpiment cleavage faces. The large patch of Getchellite on the upper-right in the photo to the right is 2-cm across, and a small fragment of light-gray host rock provides a bit of context. From a different collection than those collected between 1988 and 1989.

                                                                #GETCH-014       $100

Photo 2, Portal to the Getchell Underground Mine, 2003

Realgar

Getchell Underground Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County,       Nevada, USA

4.2 X 2.8 X 2.6 cm

Vibrant, gemmy to translucent, brilliant red Realgar crystals, line a small vug in a gray, silicified matrix. The vug includes a small spray of terminated Quartz crystals slightly more than 2.5 mm in total length, and the largest terminated Realgar crystals are 1.0 and 1.3 cm in length.

​                                                              #GETCH-002       $125

Orpiment

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

6.2 X 4.2 X 3.8 cm

A very good example of Orpiment from Getchell, with an earlier generation of nearly entirely complete, bright orange Orpiment crystals to 1.1 cm. These have moderate to small areas of glassy luster, and local flashes of translucency; there is no light damage to this light-sensitive species. This piece would rival the best Orpiments produced from the nearby Twin Creeks mine, except that it has unique overgrowths of microcrystalline, crustiform, bright yellow Orpiment with an unknown greenish yellow association. Although the later generation of Orpiment partially obscures the earlier generation, this association helps to distinguish it from anything I've seen from Twin Creeks (Nevada, USA),  Quiruvilca (Peru), Allchar (Republic of Macedonia), etc. Despite several cleavages on the backside, this is the best example I've owned, and the last one I have.

                                                                     #GETCH-016       $175

Calcite

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

4.8 X 2.3 X 2.0 cm

Calcite specimens from Getchell are fairly scarce, and this is a top-tier single crystal! The damage is minimal, confined to a very few micro-abrasions and a small cleave group at the base where it was attached to the matrix. A deep honey-yellow colored crystal with strongly developed secondary faces, strong luster, and a deep internal glow in any light, this is the best single calcite I've owned from Getchell. If one of the micro-abrasions wasn't the tip (less than 1mm cleave), I'd price this a good bit higher given the locality and quality of the piece.

                                                   #GETCH-018       $135

Orpiment and Realgar

Getchell Mine, Potosi District, Humboldt County, Nevada, USA

10.5 X 7.8 X 3.5 cm

A novelty from Getchell, this large piece of large (up to a whopping 6.5 cm in length!), plumose crystals of bright yellow, to golden yellow, to pure gold Orpiment crystals, with thin veinlets of cherry red Realgar. We found these in 2003 in old sample bags tossed onto a discard pile from an older building that was being demolished on site.

I have a couple more of these, but this is my favorite. The price reflects the lack of any crystal terminations coupled with the fact I found it "in the trash." Regardless, it is very colorful, and will brighten any collection! It should also be noted that, relative to other arsenic-bearing species like Realgar, Orpiment is much more stable, but should still never be exposed to direct sunlight.

                                                                     #GETCH-017       $45