New Books on the Mineralogy of Ogdensburg & Franklin, NJ

by Peter Chin, Member

The book is, for a lack of an appropriate word, a STUPENDIUM, 1400 page, 3 volume photographic compilation of the almost every known mineral species and more from Franklin and Sterling Hill. The mineralogy and geology of Franklin and Sterling Hill have been intensely studied and written about in hundreds of publications for about two centuries.

While commercial mining activities ceased decades ago, thousands, if not tens of thousands of mineral specimens, have been collected and scattered to the four corners of the Earth. A portion of Franklin and Sterling Hill mineralogical legacy has been fortunately preserved in the museums and private collections of the world. But, many mineral specimens, including type specimens, are locked away in drawers collecting dust. This book blows away some of that dust and reveals the significance and magnificence of the minerals from the two deposits.

Since at least the 1970s, efforts to produce a picture book of Franklin and Sterling Hill minerals have failed. That all changed when the Franklin Mineral Museum in 2012 initiated a photographic treatise of Franklin and Sterling Hill minerals book project. It was envisioned to be the photographic complement to Pete Dunn’s 1995 monograph, “Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey: The World’s Most Magnificent Mineral Deposits.” The project has since expanded to include new minerals discovered since the publication of the monograph, and thus updating it.

The project was backed financially by numerous donors, especially the Hauck family. A band of volunteers led by Van King worked tirelessly to bring the project to fruition, the successful culmination of a 9-year cooperative endeavor involving international institutions, universities, analytical services and individual collectors spanning two continents, North America and Europe.

The book is not merely a compendium of stunning photogenic mineral specimens, although there are quite a number of those in the book. It also serves as an important visual resource to aid in mineral species identification especially of rare species. To achieve this end, thousands of specimens and photographs including photomicrographs were carefully reviewed and then selected to best represent the species and as well to show important assemblages that contained them. To realize this objective, specimens, especially of rare species, had to be as accurately identified.

Van King and the editorial staff tried their best to avoid the rare species syndrome, “so rare as to be not on the rock” by selecting specimens of species with proven pedigree/provenance or confirmed by EDS, XRD, Raman, and EMP analyses and even in one case, synchrotron single crystal XRD. During the course of analytical work, species new to the deposit and at least one mineral new to science were discovered. In fact, scientific work is still ongoing on a number of unknowns identified and depicted in the book.

Distribution date for the three volume work is set for some time in January with tentative target price of $150 for the 3 volume set. To reserve and order your copy of this monumental work, please contact Van King at