Granite crystals


Baveno is well-known in the world of mineralogy, not just for its pink granite but also for some rarities found since the beginning of the 1700s during the process of quarrying.

The best crystallizations are found in geodes cavities within the granite which formed inside the cooling magma, that are generally spherical and come in different sizes. Because of the extremely slow cooling process, various minerals were deposited in an orderly way to form crystals which developed on the internal walls of the cavities. The rarest and most precious minerals were discovered through microscope observation of the smallest cavities.

In the Baveno quarries, over 60 different species of minerals have been found and these are considered to be true “mineralogical treasures” for their rarity, including Bavenite, an extremely rare mineral discovered for the very first time precisely in Baveno in 1901.

Amongst the more “classic” crystals there are orthoclase, quartz and fluorite.

Five of the nine scandium minerals known to date can be found in Baveno. In fact, four of these were discovered here for the very first time in the world. The most exceptional of is Bazzite, discovered in 1915, with its minute, pale blue, hexagonal crystals.


Mineral Collecting

The history of collecting minerals from Baveno starts in the 18th century with the work of Ermenegildo Pini, a Barnabite priest from Milan and a significant figure in the field of mineralogy. The samples collected by Pini are still part of the excellent mineral collections of the Natural History Museum in Milan, founded in 1838, together with the Borromeo family collections and those of the many different rock hunters of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

At the beginning of the 1700s, the Borromeo family started to send Baveno crystals to France to be examined by the first crystallographers, who brought Baveno minerals to international attention.

It was Ettore Artini, the curator of the Milan Museum from 1893, who was responsible for finding other extraordinary examples in the Baveno quarries and discovered the new minerals of Bavenite and Bazzite, named in honour of Eugenio Bazzi the other keen and famous mineral collector in the area.

Over the last few decades, the number of private collectors out looking for Baveno mineral samples has been increasing and new research projects in collaboration with the museum in Milan have been developed especially for the study of rare minerals.

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