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Simbircite fossil cabochon

Simbircite is a kind of calcite, semitransparent stone with yellowish and reddish tints. Its glitter is like of glass, silk; it is fragile, can be easily processed and polished. Its other names are "volzhsky amber" and "simbirsky calcite".

Simbircite is embodied history of mineralogy: intricate mixture of pyrite, hematite, mother-of-pearl and marble onyx accreted to a single alloy tens of thousands years ago, when dinosaurs inhabited the Earth. Sometimes crystals germinated to air holes of seashells-ammonites so that in the Mesozoic era they filled ancient seas instead of modern fish that didn't exist in that time, forming "ammonite" simbircite, the most uncommon stone that doesn't need to be treated; but "veined" simbircite is found more often in the shape of druses and crystals.

Simbircite cabochon with pyrite druzy
click to enlarge

Orange, green, red, black, brown and white stripes and beads match with shining grains of "fools' gold", and the whole precious stone makes the impression of a living picture of autumn colors, warmth and joy. No parts of simbircite look alike, sometimes extracted stones seem to be "distant relatives". Simbircite is called "volzhsky amber" for some similarity of appearance - but the crystal of this stone looks more like creation of a cutter of real amber that took and united a lot of colorful varieties of fossil resin.

Simbircite is not widely known - this stone is rare and is extracted only in the territory of the Ulyanovsk region, in the single deposit in the world, on the bank of the Volga. It got its name due to the previous name of the city of Ulyanovsk - Simbirsk in 1985, though the gem was mentioned for the first time in the 18th century. Local residents didn't try to treat the mineral for a long time, as it was used as material for mineralogical collections - but thanks to actions of the local scientist-enthusiast V.M. Efimov simbircite turned to a sort of signature of Ulyanovsk.

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