A Different Story - celebrating Cornish Tin and other minerals with wool

Sue Blacker's picture
22 December, 2016 - 13:51 | Sue Blacker

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As with last year, we were lucky to be able to use the wonderful resources of the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro to stand alongside our new skeins of Cornish Tin II – the second version of our limited edition birthday yarn.  Next year we are planning something completely different ...

As on wanders around the bigger exhibits and photo’s, it may be easy to overlook the large glass display cases full of old rocks.  This is a shame as the samples have been lovingly collected by avid and knowledgeable people, carefully labelled and stored and then gifted to the Museum.  Some of the samples still have their original labels (as above for the sample of Blende, a zinc mineral).  Even more importantly, many are special and rare examples of local minerals with the location also identified.  And most importantly for us, the colours are astonishing and work very well in contrast with the slight lustre and fluffy texture of our Cornish Tin II yarn.

Cassiterite – Tin by another name …

We have used three different samples of this ore, which is also the principal ore of our eponymous Tin and complements the yarn beautifully!

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Iron in the mix …

Goethite is an iron-bearing hydroxide ore, named after the German poet Goethe and often described as uninteresting – but we found the perfect piece to complement the yarn!   Goethe was very interested in minerals and for those with an interest in the emotional and spiritual aspects of Goethite it is also described, interestingly (!), as having strong healing energy and able to aid emotional healing …

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Siderite is another iron mineral, this time a carbonate and its name is derived from the Greek word for iron, sideros.

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Scorodite (below) is an arsenic-iron mineral – arsenic often occurs with minerals particularly in the Tamar Valley and many have used the crushed stone residues from local mines to build a weed-resistant garden path!  Not so good when it leaches into the vegetable patch perhaps, though in previous times people in fear of assassination took small doses of arsenic to build resistance to poison.
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Copper is the “other” tin! 

Copper was found often with tin, and Cornwall also boasted the largest copper mines in the world at one time.  Langite, with tiny bright blue crystals is a rare copper sulphate mineral.   There are also amazing dendritic forms of native copper, created by dissolving away the surrounding stone to leave structures resembling corals or solid seaweeds.  

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Olivenite is a copper arsenate, here shown in a globular state. It was found in abundance in the copper mines here in our local area. 

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Common Quartz?

Although one of the most common of all minerals, the silicon oxide quartz takes on many colours and shapes from its surroundings.  It has been used as a tool since ancient times and now is used decoratively as a gemstone, structurally as sandstone and also because of its precise oscillation is found in timing devices.  The sample below is Siderite with Quartz and makes a really complementary piece to accompany a selection of  many of the Tin II colours, where the palette was designed to blend for colourwork.

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Rarer Rhodonite

Rhodonite is a manganese insolicate and the samples have often been polished to bring out the rosy colouring which gives the mineral its name and enhances its use as a gemstone.  This stone contains other minerals and rejoices in the composition formula of (Mn, Fe, Mg, Ca)SiO3 which means it also has Magnesium, Iron and Calcium along with the Manganese and Silicon oxide.

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We are leaving you to select your yarn colours ... there is still a little Tin II left and you can find it here.  Now all you need to do for your holiday puzzle is work out what our Birthday limited edition will be next year!

Comments

Submitted by Freyalyn Close-... on
<p>But I need some more of that lovely spicy ginger-gold, and there is none anywhere. ANYWHERE!!!</p>

Submitted by Ebonyhebbie on
I've got 3 skeins of the Gorland Grey in 4 ply and it's lovely, one of the nicest dyed greys I've seen, a lot of depth to it. Beautiful.

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