Words Fail Me: Psilomelane (Crown of Silver)

In case it hasn’t been made clear enough, I have a love affair with black.  If asked, I’d be more likely to say that my favorite color is purple.  But black.  I will always love it, I will always wear it, I will always die a thousand tiny little deaths when I find a new black stone to set in silver.

Named with Greek roots that mean “smooth” and “black,” psilomelane is a barium-bearing manganese oxide.  The silver-grey stripes that run through banded specimens are a similar mineral called pyrolusite (“fire wash”), which is found with psilomelane as often as azurite is found with malachite.  I don’t blame anyone for stopping at “smooth and black.”  Did I mention I am also deeply fond of stouts?  There may be a pattern here.

But these stones!  They are magnificent.  The one featured above also has a few crystal pockets, which might be quartz or, more likely, barite crystals.  This is by far the largest psilomelane I’ve acquired, with the clearest and most impressive banding–a true collector’s stone to be sure.