In mid-October, over 130 mineral collectors from several northeast states and Canada converged on Walworth Quarry in upstate New York for the annual fluorite hunt. Every May, the same crowd treks to Penfield, NY when The Dolomite Group opens that quarry to folks hoping to score a nice transparent-purple fluorite or maybe some dogtooth calcite. Closer to Buffalo the prized finds are dogtooth calcite, clear selenite, and, of course, small purple fluorites when clubs visit the Lockport Quarry.
Granted the fluorite and other less common vug filling minerals like sphalerite, celestine, and honey colored dogtooth calcite are nice finds and worthy of special attention. But, there is another fine crystalline mineral hiding in the vugs of the Lockport dolostone. Yes, I speak of the carbonate mineral, dolomite, or CaMg(CO3)2 Everyone shines their flashlight into the dark vugs of car-sized boulders hoping to see a flat transparent cubic cornered, multi-inch fluorite gleaming back at them. Absent that observation, collectors move on to the next vug, the next boulder, the next quarry face.
In the next few paragraphs, I am going to try to convince you to take a second look into the vug. Pause a few seconds to evaluate the white to pink dolomite crystals that you are categorically dismissing as unworthy of your collecting attention. Are not most of the vugs lined with clean shiny dolomite crystals? Is there a floater piece in the vug that can be easily removed that displays multiple tiers of brilliantly terminated rhombohedral dolomite? If yes, just why are these not worthy of extraction?