Articles about Gemstones, Minerals and Fossils


Fossil Hunting: Tilton Railway Cutting, Leicestershire

Fossil Hunting: Tilton Railway Cutting, Leicestershire

Tilton railway cutting is an abandoned railway cutting near the village of Tilton-on-the-hill, Leicestershire. The railway was dug in the 1870s and closed in 1965, leaving only the route of the railroad visible, alongside a bridge. It can be found relatively easily by...

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Agni Manitite

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Agni Manitite

Following on from the recent explosion in popularity of Moldavite, a new material has reared its somewhat mysterious head. There are posts on every mineral sales group I'm a member of offering "Agni Manitite". The sellers insist it is "just like Moldavite", an 'extra...

What is slag, anyway?

What is slag, anyway?

If you’re a regular on mineral identification or discussion forums or groups, you’ll have seen posts with photos of an unusual material, followed by a dozen comments of “SLAG!”. So what is it?

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Moldavite

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Moldavite

The tektite known as Moldavite has been a frequently faked item for years - and recently, the prices have risen further.To be perfectly clear - there is genuine Moldavite; it is a green tektite glass from the Czech Republic. The largest mine in Czechia is currently...

What is *inside* this Ammonite?

What is *inside* this Ammonite?

This Ammonite came to me in a lot with other Ammonites - from experience, I can say it is probably from the Inferior Oolite of Dorset or at least South England.   What jumped out was that tiny circular inclusion - I didn't have a clue what it was - a tooth from a...

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Rainbow Calsilica

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Rainbow Calsilica

Rainbow Calsilica is one of the more insidious fakes on the market today. It exists in a range of colours, shapes, and styles, and is intended to mimic genuine minerals and stones. The material was originally introduced to the public at the Tucson mineral show of 2002...

Fossil Hunting: Charmouth and Lyme Regis

Fossil Hunting: Charmouth and Lyme Regis

When I go on fossil hunting trips, I tend to try and avoid knowing too much about the location. That probably seems nonsensical, but I can buy and sell fossils all day, and the real fun is in the hunt and finding one of your own. I spent a few hours walking between...

Dangerous Minerals: Bumblebee Jasper

Dangerous Minerals: Bumblebee Jasper

'Bumblebee Jasper' / 'Mustard Jasper' An attractive orange, white, and black mineral - the contrasts of this piece make it a popular eye-catcher. However, it has a dark secret. First of all, this material is not a form of Jasper at all. Dripping acids onto the surface...

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: ‘Trapiche’ inclusions

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: ‘Trapiche’ inclusions

Another post to begin with a preface - there are genuine 'Trapiche' included stones. Trapiche stones are uncommon - and could be easily confused with 'star' stones. However, a 'Trapiche' included stone has visible inclusions formed in a radiating pattern, either from...

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Rutile or Tourmaline in Quartz

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Rutile or Tourmaline in Quartz

The first thing to point out is that genuine Rutile in Quartz and Tourmaline in Quartz are relatively common minerals. Inclusions in Quartz are hugely popular - I personally love them. Lower end pieces are not particularly expensive. However... I do like to hunt out...

Mineral Scams, Fakes, and Tricks: Calcite or Onyx?

Mineral Scams, Fakes, and Tricks: Calcite or Onyx?

This one has been coming for a while. I see it on Facebook groups on an almost daily basis... the posting of a picture, a request for identification, and the stream of "onyx" "Mexican onyx"... a misidentification and commonly used 'trade name' for banded Calcite from...

Testing and Identification: Easy Specific Gravity testing at home

Testing and Identification: Easy Specific Gravity testing at home

Specific gravity testing is a tremendously useful testing method used in mineralogy to identify the density of a material from the known density of another material, generally water. It is one of the most effective tests that can be done at home, but it does have its...

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Amethyst with Pyrite

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Amethyst with Pyrite

I'm going to preface this post by saying that this does not appear to be common - and that Pyrite does naturally occur with Amethyst.  This post is written as a reminder to look a little closer.  This could be an art piece, a one off. I just don't know. I saw it...

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: ‘Quartz Selenite Geodes’

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: ‘Quartz Selenite Geodes’

They appear if you search for 'selenite geode' on various nameless shopping channels or search engines. Now, it is possible to find genuine geodes containing gypsum selenite. They are quite rare, and almost always colourless. These geodes, however.. Well, they're dyed...

Coronavirus

Please note that until further notice, orders from Albion Fire and Ice will only be dispatched twice weekly. Orders can still be placed and your items will be reserved, but they will not be shipped until either Tuesday or Friday. I recommend washing your hands after...

Bizarre bits: Derpy Dinosaur Toys

Bizarre bits: Derpy Dinosaur Toys

Terrible dinosaur toys from museums, gift shops, etc... I started noticing these a few years back. Tacky Chinese dinosaur toys that not only look like unrealistic dinosaurs, but frankly don't really look like... anything. Some of them are really just bizarre. There...

Testing and Identification: The Mohs hardness test

Testing and Identification: The Mohs hardness test

So, what is the Mohs hardness scale? The Mohs hardness scale is, unsurprisingly, a hardness scale, invented by someone called Friedrich Mohs. Specifically, it defines hardness by the ability to scratch, or to be scratched by other minerals. This gives us a very quick...

Fossil hunting: Llandudno and the Great Orme

Fossil hunting: Llandudno and the Great Orme

Another fossil collecting post with no actual collecting, eh? I'm getting rather good at those. The Great Orme is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and collecting rocks, fossils, plants, etc is not permitted! Where these fossils are concerned, look, touch,...

Fossil hunting: a riverbed in Wales

Fossil hunting: a riverbed in Wales

You might be wondering why I would write an article about a collecting trip, and not actually tell you where. Have a look at the photos and read on to find out.  I managed to find some quality fossils, including brachiopods, bivalves, coral, and crinoids - however, I...

DON’T put crystals in your water (or your vagina…)

Please... don't put crystals in your water. Or your vagina.  Okay, so, weird post. I originally wrote this in 2019 and never got around to publishing it. It was intended to address two growing fads that I'm really not comfortable with supplying crystals for (and never...

Mineral scams, fakes, and tricks: Glass as a Gemstone

Some of these pieces are more 'fake' than others. Goldstone and Opalite are often sold as glass by trustworthy merchants - but not always.Some are easy to spot, but unfortunately, some are not. This page just lists a few common fakes. Andara AKA: "Golden Light...

Gemstones and minerals at war!

Gemstones and minerals at war!

Gemstones and Minerals and their use in wars and combatI haven't actually read a post quite like this before, so I decided to write one. It focusses on two of my favourite subjects; minerals, and military history.The information in this post is backed up by various...