Elk Creek, Dalzell, Meade Co., South Dakota, USA
11 cm tall x 13 cm wide
Barite from South Dakota has often been spoken of as the best for the species. Its auspicious beginnings make it all the more fascinating. These cognac crystals are found inside hard septarian concretions (rounded masses of sediment with hollow interiors). When cracked open, the elongated, gem-quality barite crystals reveal themselves. Less than 10% contain barite and even fewer contain a yellow calcite matrix. Barite on calcite, with the quality of this example, is found in less than one percent of all finds.
Highly transparent barite on a backdrop of opaque calcite is a distinct contrast between two opposing types of transparency.