Our newest dig resulted from a mineral inspection Bob did on a ranch in southern Arizona. La Fluorita Dulcita means "Sweet little fluorite" in Spanish, an apt description of what you'll find on this dig. Tho perhaps we should have named it Grande Fluorita, as the specimens do come BIG as well! The fluorite occurs here in shades of purple: from grape to lilac to pinkish. Specimens were introduced at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, February 2013.
The deposit is a vein system in limestone. Specimens are abundant, as the limestone was karst (had solution caverns), so fluorite crystallized in large vugs and seams. Like our Rock Candy adventures, you'll be standing on specimens while you collect others!
The fluorite crystallized in three distinct forms:
1. Octohedrons to 1.5 inches, with sharp purple and white faces. 2. As small octohedrons and cube-octohedrons, to 3/8 inch, coating or partially coating quartz epimorphs after calcite, to 4 inches, often on a matrix of bubbly lilac fluorite. Epimorphs are surface coatings of an earlier crystal, from which the earlier crystal has dissolved. Another term is hollow casts. Epimorphs occur here as bright white massive to drusy quartz, which are then either coated or filled with another generation of fluorite crystals. Sometimes both. 3. As "ochsenauge", German for eye of ox. We think it looks more like the decorative oranges you see at breakfast buffets ... an orange that has been quartered but not cut all they way through, then opened up to resemble a flower. Whether you think these look like ox eyes or oranges, this form is extremely rare, mostly occuring a a couple small European localities. It appears that La Fluorita Dulcita could produce more ochsenauge crystals than all the other localities combined. All the above forms occur on a matrix of sparkling druzy quartz, which makes a great contrast with the purple fluorite.
Specimens of all these forms will soon be for sale on our Fresh Sheet. For more locality info and photos: see my article in the Mar/Apr 2013 Rocks and Minerals magazine, or
The logistics: we meet you in Benson, Arizona. We recommend the Best Western there as a place to stay. The dig is about an hour's drive from Benson. We drive several miles inside a locked ranch gate, so we cannot accommodate late arrivals or early departures. As on many of our trips, you are welcome to keep everything you find, but you may have to pay an additional charge to keep specimens valued over $500/each. The vast majority of specimens found so far were valued under $500 each, but a few dandies reached in excess of $2,000.
Dates: October 5 & 6, 2013. You can book for one day, all the days, or anything in between. We will expose fresh rock each evening for the next day's digging. Dig runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. We'll depart Benson about 8 a.m. A maximum of 6 collectors will be allowed on site each day. Email us to book.
Price: $400 per person. Kids 12 and up welcome, but will be charged full price.