Historical information

Ilvaite has acquired its name from Ilva (Latin for Elba) Island, Greece, where Ilvaite is most commonly found. The geological setting in which Ilvaite occurs is through contact with magnetite, zinc and copper ore deposits, along with contact metamorphic deposits and zeolite zones. llvaite crystallizes in the form of black prismatic crystals and columns .

This specimen was retrieved from Broken hill, known as the world's richest and largest zinc-lead ore deposit.

Significance

This specimen is part of larger collection of significant geological specimens in the Burke Museum that was collected from around the world between 1868-1880. A large percentage of these specimens were collection as part of the Geological Survey of Victoria 1852-1974. The Geological Survey of Victoria was an organisation founded in response to the Victorian gold rush to explore the geological and mineral resources and to record a detailed map of the state. It was headed by British geologist, Alfred Richard Cecil Selwyn (1824-1902), who was responsible for issuing over 60 geological maps during his 17 years as director. These maps were all hand-drawn and coloured and became the benchmark for accuracy for geological mapping. Collecting geological specimens was an important part of mapping and understanding the scientific makeup of the earth. Many of these specimens were sent to research and collecting organisations across Australia, including the Burke Museum, to educate and encourage further study.


Because of Ilvaite's often unaesthetic crystal formations compared to other minerals, Ilvaite is uncommon in most rock collections, particularly specimens that are not well formed, such as this one. Ilvaite is also a member of the Sorosilicate subclass of the silicate minerals, which have an unusual basic unit of Si2O7, making Ilvaite a unique mineral. Given that Ilvaite is not commonly found in Australia, it marks a unique contribution to an Australian collection of minerals.

Physical description

A solid hand-sized ferrous iron analogue mineral with of black with shades of beige

Ilvaite is a brittle, opaque rock formation that has acquired its name from Ilva (Latin for Elba) Island, Greece, where Ilvaite is most commonly found. The geological setting in which Ilvaite occurs is through contact with magnetite, zinc and copper ore deposits, along with contact metamorphic deposits and zeolite zones. llvaite crystallizes in the form of black prismatic crystals and columns