Hematite, December 2012 Mineral of the Month

Thursday, Dec 6, 2012


Mineral Name: Hematite
Specimen Number: 129
Record ID: 5750
Locality Nickname: Elba, Italy
Region: Tuscany
Province: Livorno
Original Locality 1: Elba
Original Locality 2: Italy
Min Dat Locality Page: http://www.mindat.org/loc-2150.html
Online page: http://ivyserver.princeton.edu/mineralcollection/detail.php?onlypic=0&id=5750&mineral=hematite&keyword=
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About the Collection: http://www.princeton.edu/geosciences/about/mineral-collection

One goal of the project is to uncover and preserve the history of the collection from the associated documentation, such as catalogue entries, collector and dealer labels, and donation records.  Sometimes, unexpected and interesting connections are uncovered.  One such discovery was that a specimen was given to the collection by Moses Taylor Pyne, Jr. ’1908, a name familiar to just about everyone associated with Princeton.  Mr. Pyne was a tremendously wealthy businessman and financier, but his primary interest was seeing to the continued success of Princeton University, from which he graduated in 1877.  He served as an influential trustee almost all of his adult life, and his inestimable donations benefitted nearly every aspect of Princeton.

Hematite Index Card

Therefore, although it was a bit of a surprise to see his name turn up in the mineral specimen catalogue, perhaps it shouldn’t have been.  According to the old index card, Mr. Pyne donated this specimen to the collection, the only one that we know of from him.  The specimen happens to be an extremely fine hematite (iron oxide, Fe2O3) sample from the famous mines on the Island of Elba, Italy.  The locality is known for its unique, distinctive, sharp, and iridescent hematite crystals.  Truly a noteworthy specimen from an exceptional individual.

Link to picture on Wiki Commons: