Binn valley: Cleft minerals from the Alps most diverse valley

The Swiss Binn valley is world-renowned for its unrivaled variety of minerals, ranging from high-class specimen of all typical alpine cleft minerals to rare sulfosalt and Thallium compounds. The Binn valley is a secondary valley of the Rhone valley in the Swiss Kanton Wallis, and it is characterized by a very complex folding of geological series. The northern parts of the valley are dominated by Bündner schist and comprise the locales Turben area and Feldbach, famous for beautiful rock crystals grown in transitional/Tessin habitus and the signature variant "Binntal habitus". The Lengenbach quarry, type locality for more than 30 minerals, is situated in a dolomite formation hosting Arsenic ore mineralisations. The southern parts of the valley cut through various gneiss formations including the Lärcheltini area, renowned for anatase crystals in a unique variety of shapes and colours, as well as magnetite, rutile and hematite iron roses.

The specimen from the Lärcheltini area I am lucky to offer below are all from finds made in the 1990's - nowadays this locale becomes increasingly inaccessible because climate change yields a pronounced elevation of the vegetation limit, so that the formerly bare rock surface in this area is now covered with soil and vegetation.

PL-019 - Faden Quartz - 80 €

Turbhorn area, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 8 x 7.5 x 7.5 cm


Aggregate of multiple parallel quartz faden. The main faden lines branch into dozends of mini faden towards the bottom. 

16-167 - Scepter Quartz - 80 €

Breithorn, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 13.5 x 12 x 8 cm


Multi-head scepter quartz and a corresponding doubly terminated rock crystal of 13.5 cm. The two parts can be fittingly attached (and glued) to each other as seen in the pictures. 

Amethyst on Smoky Quartz - sold

Chummibort, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: up to 54 mm (see image captions)

Lot of doubly terminated, sceptered amethyst crystals on pale smoky quartz - all from the same cleft. The amethyst crystals on all specimen are free of significant damage, the smoky quartz crystals of specimen D-G exhibit some rather marginal damage, see the 360° videos.

Magnetite - sold

Kollergraben, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 5.6 x 4.7 x 2.6 cm

360° video

Two magnetite octahedra of mirror-luster in corroded siderite. The main magnetite crystal measures remarkable 9 mm on edge. A small rutile crystal, adularia flakes and calcite are scattered over the piece. 

Fluorite, Cafarsite & Rock Crystal - sold

Mt. Cervandone, Wanni glacier, Kriegalp valley, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland
Size: 7.7 x 6.1 x 4.5 cm

360° video

A 4.5 cm wide fluorite with a complex shape based on a rhombic dodecahedron, deep green color, transparency and greasy luster. The fluorite is free of any significant damage, the upper left part got growth-inhibited by quartz crystals whose prism faces left their indents on the fluorite. Interesting paragenesis with needle quartz and a 4-mm cafarsite crystal on the backside as the smoking gun for the locale.

Fluorite - sold

Mt. Cervandone, Wanni glacier, Kriegalp valley, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland
Size: 65 x 50 x 35 mm

Color-change fluorite appearing green in daylight, but partially purple under incandescent illumination. This color change has been named "Alexandrite effect" in analogy to the chromium-rich chrysoberyl variety. Given their abundance in the Binn Valley, the effect is supposed to stem from rare earth element doping increasing the crystals effective optical transmission in the red. The fluorite on hand measures 12 mm along its longest dimension and exhibits a rounded shape based on a rhombic dodecahedron. No significant damage.

The close-up images are each taken under daylight or candle light (white balance adjusted) respectively.

Anatase - sold

Spissen, Lärcheltini area, Binntal, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 17 x 13 x 11 mm

360° video

Honey-yellow anatase crystals on adularia. The main anatase exhibits gemstone crystal quality and is developed in distinct "Spissen habitus", i.e. in ditetragonal-dipyramidale morphology.

Anatase - sold

Lower Lärcheltini zone, Lärcheltini area, Binntal, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 cm

Intense orange, multifaceted and transparent anatase with small mica crystals on gneiss matrix. The anatase measures 3 mm. 

Titanite - sold

Hillehorn, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 4 x 3.5 x 3.5 cm

360° video

Cluster of intergrown titanite twins with a dominant front crystal of 4 cm length. The prevailing color is green, partially altered to brown-reddish and colorless zones. There is some chlorite scattered over the piece and the crystal edges are somewhat eroded/etched, but the entire specimen is free of significant damage. 

Magnetite & Rutile - sold

Kollergraben, Lärcheltini area, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 2 x 1.5 x 1 cm

360° video

Lustrous thumbnail combination of a magnetite octahedron with 5 mm edge length and a pair of rutile crystals on a bed of adularia. The magnetite has a contact at the bottom-left side.

Rock Crystal Gwindel - sold

Twingi gorge, Binn, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 8.8 x 6.3 x 4.9 cm

360° video

Gwindel represent a rarity in the Binn valley. The specimen on hand carries a clear and lustrous rock crystal gwindel of 28 mm width and up to 35 mm height. It is part of a group of rock crystals grown on strongly folded schist matrix. 

Morion - sold

Blau lake, Saflisch valley, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 8.1 x 4.3 x 3.9 cm

360° video

Black morion crystal, yet fully transparent and with a warm reddish-brown color when backlit. A number of doubly terminated side cars are grown at the backside. The top edge is a little rough, but no fresh damage.

Scepter Quartz - sold

Feldbach valley, Binn valley, Wallis, Switzerland

Size: 8.3 x 4.9 x 3.1 cm

360° video

Highly lustrous scepter quartz with many growth windows (Erkerquarz). The specimen is developed 360°, but there is a rupture at the bottom right side (see 1st image) and a nick at the tip.

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Impressum & Copyright: Jonas Norpoth, Wilhelmshöher Weg 16, D-34128 Kassel