During my visit to London, I visited the well known Natural History Museum, Very close to Westminster, the British Parliament. At the entrance itself there was a exhibit of dazzling turquoise blue coloured crystalline stone, displayed in a glass display case. Well lit up, the crystalline stone looked magnificent. On the information plaque was written " Beautiful Cavansite from Wagholi quarry of Pune - India."
Plaque at The Natural History Museum Of London
I was dumbfounded to know that it actually comes from Wagholi near Pune. My joy knew no bounds to my new found gem of information. I vaguely knew that our mining tools division at Sandvik used to supply rock breakers, and tools to Wagholi and nearby quarries.
And every foreigner expert would visit this site to see the rare marvel. For long, quarrying was happening near city sites in Erandawane (you can see one opposite to Paud Road Dashbhuja Ganapati temple, adjacent to main road), also, quarrying used to be done in old times where today's Tilak Tank stands. Other site was Pashan, near Pashan lake.
As city grew bigger, it was impossible to do blasting in city limits, and it was decided to do stone quarrying beyond twenty kilometers away from city. The new sites were Wagholi, and Moshi (near Bhosari). Only the sites at Wagholi yeilded Cavansite, but not Moshi and other sites. Around 1980 large scale constructions necessitated the Basaltic stones for building foundations etc, and quarrying started full blast to meet the demands.
On one of the days in 1988 the Wagholi site brought a big surprise, exposing beautiful well formed crystalline formation below 6 metres of Basaltic rock. The rare mineral is called Cavansite - which is silicate form of Vanadium. Geologists made surveys to find a layer of different strata which contained this rare mineral.
Cavansite was first found in Oregon, U.S.A in 1968. There are some deposits of Cavansite in Brazil and Mexico, but the quality of the Poona one was very superior.
Wagholi quarry complex has 40 quarries, out of which only 4 have yielded this rare mineral.
A quarrying contractor called Arvind Bhale was working on this site. The landowner is Mr.Dhoot and hence the patch is known as Dhoot quarry (the quarries are known by the name of owners of quarry patches, or sometimes even by the Contractor's name.) Collectors and sellers would sit from dawn to dusk in a hope to find some pieces. The labour knowing the value of this crystal spend more time in searching and stealthily pinching the sporadic yield, rather than excavating Basaltic stone. Cavansite has great value in Gem therapy and known to bring happiness and love to the owner. A 6 x 5.5 x 3 cm well developed crystal can cost as high as 500 $.
Enclosing herewith some pictures of Cavansite to see what a marvelous piece of nature is hiding under the soil of Wagholi.
Presently it is believed that quarrying in the patches yielding Cavansite is stopped.
We have been reading a lot about Pune's heritage troves, but very few people would know about this natural wonders as part of Pune's gift to the world of Geology and Gemology.
And put Wagholi on the world geological map. No wonder, it finds a prominent place in one the most revered museum in the the world, The Natural History Museum Of London.
Disclaimer: All photographs here are not taken by me and are only for representational purposes. Original copyrights lie with the owners.