Located approximately 90 miles southwest of St. Louis, the Missouri Lead Belt is among the oldest mining centers in the US, with operations commencing in 1720 while the area was under French control. By the 1820’s, additional exploration and the advent of railroad technology allowed an expansion of mining activities, and the locality operated continuously for over a hundred years, until the late 1920’s. The mines have remained active since, though with cycles of openings and closures. Today they account for over 70% of the United States lead supply, the majority of which goes into car batteries used by millions of Americans. In the course of their daily work, miners occasionally encounter specimens such as this one, bi-products of the same geological forces that created the vast lead-zinc deposits. Although not industrially valuable, the miners recognize the beauty of such pieces and on the scarce occasions when their work permits, take the time to preserve specimens.
This piece is particularly large and double terminated, with minor damage to both tips. Without this damage the piece would be of collector quality, but as is, this calcite is a perfect specimen for interior decoration. The markings, as well as the radiant golden coloring make the piece exceptionally captivating.