ex. Will Larson
The photos say it well, here! This large thumbnail is a stunning, display-quality piece with a 2 cm GEM proustite, perched on a natural pedestal of proustite. The major crystals are not only gemmy and deep red, but they are pristine. The piece is complete all around, and displays nicely from either side. With even the most minimal backlighting, you can see its ruby-red transparency. What i love about this most, as a competition-level thumbnail, is that the crystal habit is so distinct there is no thought that this is a Chanarcillo proustite, which is relatively more common and less valuable if the same size. The habit here is distinctive, and seldom seen in such quality. Although likely a very old specimen, it has been preserved well. ex Will Larson collection
This beautiful matrix piece hosts gem-cranberry-red tourmalines to just over 3 cm , on geometric bladed cleavelandite matrix. One rarely sees Jonas tourmalines for sale today anyhow, and this overall aspect is unusual. It features 5 crystals of substantial display value, all poking out from and contrasting to the crystallized matrix. This is certainly one of the 2 or 3 most famous pockets of tourmaline ever found, and dates from a single discovery in 1978. Most collectors will never own a matrix piece - so few are available. The gem crystals on this one are really of high quality, and set off so starkly on the blades of snow white matrix. Comes with a base for custom display.
I have seen only a very few blue topaz in matrix from Brazil, and not another such as this, with a sharp blue gem perched on a large quartz crystal! At 8 x 7.5 x 4 cm, the topaz is a good size and significant on its own, and it is literally stuck in a crevasse between two intergrown quartz points. The quartz is terminated, thought etched in back. It is even nearly pristine - just a few very trivial dings mar the large quartz. The topaz itself is pristine and complete all around except for a few very nearly invisible contact points where it attached to another bit of quartz. Even its underside is floating free and clear of the quartz and is roughly terminated, making it a "floater". The top termination is SHARP and has a broad chisel-point termination, leading to razor-sharp, etched side faces. Small bits of sparkling, micaceous-looking lepidolite cling to the center of the topaz and run down its front in a vein , to the quartz. Overall, this is a unique specimen, large and impactful as it sets the topaz high up and easily lit. In fact, the photos do not do it justice. When backlit, the light goes through the quartz and topaz both, and the piece glows. I have not seen another like this, and certainly I feel at the price point, another is unlikely. It could as easily be twice the price, but that I got it reasonably myself in a large specimen, in need of a trim. So we took off a big chunk of massive quartz at the bottom, and now the piece stands quite nicely on its own, and is more balanced.
ex. Desmond Sacco
This rhodochrosite forms a 3-dimensional, velvety, translucent, thick mass of jelly-like color around an opaque pink rhodochrosite core. It is botryoidal at first glance, but actually it IS crystallized, just with crystals in such a flattened habit that they blend together seamlessly at first glance...rather, more like flows together. It is a very unusual style, characteristic of early find shere prior to 1980 and the major finds of other habits at the nearby NChwaning mines. The lustre on this is difficult to describe or convey in photos. Silky and shimmering are two adjectives that come close. ex. Desmond Sacco collection (whose family controls the mines and manganese deposits there) . This is a distinctly darker red color than most South African rhodo, more maroon than pure red.
This is a VERY robust, large, exceptional example of the species, way beyond the norm in size and sharpness. The crystal is complete all around, and seems to be twinned. We have all seen a huge number of small kesterites, often clustered like grapes on matrix, but isolated large crystals such as this are very uncommonly mined. This single locality has produced the world's best of this rare species by several orders of magnitude.
A bizarre, squarish crystal of DANBURITE, believe it or not. A few small examples of this material came out in 2007-2008, and were sold as scapolite at first. I recall a few fine thumbnails, and some facet rough, with several dealers. They sold for very high prices, actually. But I had not seen such a fat crystal at that time. This turned up at the Munich show, and has now been confirmed by analysis at CalTech in the lab of Dr. George Rossman. I have not seen others at Munich or Tucson, or from my own direct sources, and so I can only presume this is the same older material, and not a new find. An interesting addition to any Afghani/Pakistani suite of specimens!
Here is an extraordinarily GEMMY, completely transparent epidote crystal, from this classic district. The specimen has classic olive-green color; perfect , textbook form and terminations; and is pristine.Personally, I MUCH prefer the Italian epidotes of such clarity and gemminess to the darker, slender, and generally opaque-looking Knappenwald pieces that go for so much more money. This piece needs no backlighting. It is not just gemmy, but quite literally transparent as glass. And, it�s a rare cluster - all combining to make for a superb competition-quality miniature specimen of unusual calibre. The small sparkly white crystals accenting the lower termination in the cluster are microxls of albite. I found this at the Munich 09 show, and it comes with two older European labels.
This specimen, in person, looks much more complex and mesmerizing. For my taste, it is one of the better miniature sized examples of this species I have seen, because of the balance and association. It features a nearly 3-cm-long gem phenakite crystal perched on a tree-like smoky quartz, that comes to a stepped, sharp termination. The whole quartz point is complete all around. The termination is accented be small gem phenakites at its tip, and behind like bracing struts. The aesthetics are striking, and the contrast of white on dark makes the piece MUCH more appealing to my eye than the rest of these specimens I saw, which are generally white phenakite on white matrix. This exceptional miniature was cherrypicked by a European friend travelling in Burma, who has obtained and exported much of this material over the years. They only come from very tough rock, mined with hand tools, and in very small pockets.
This specimen is from a small new find in Peru, from mid-January of 2010. It produced a number of fluorites associated with sharp, accenting galena crystals. However, few of the fluorites were glassy , most having the matte faces typical of this mine. This piece is a little unusual in that it is a modified octohedron (5 cm long), with glassy side bevels and complicated octohedral faces with minute and intricate surface modifications. It is a complete crystal, even on its backside which sticks off the galena matrix plate (though it is complete around back in a technical sense, it is not a sharp termination in back, I should clarify). The color is a rich pink hue, with a slight green core seen in some lighting. For the size range, one of the best I know of from the find because of its intricate structure and nice balanced association.
I had the chance to cherrypick pieces from a small pocket of this new, pink, glassy tourmaline from a find in the fall of 2009. This is one of the largest good crystals I saw, and is 93 grams. It is transparent in its upper 80% and translucent below. It is complete all around. The termination is also complete, and decorated with a little outgrowth (not damage). It is hard to convey in photos , but the color here really is quite different than normal for other Pakistani and Afghani locales. It is a combination of color and lustre, more like Nepalese material. This is clearly from a "new " locality and visually, in person, this is more evident - we do not often see large, somewhat different tourmalines, from new locales such as this! Comes with custom lucite base for display
Sharp, HUGE crystals for the species, to 3.5 cm in length, form a clustering, 3-dimensional tower that is complete all around. This is a spectacular example for both the locale and species. It is also a display-worthy miniature, as a bonus. When I first saw this in an old European collection, I could not believe my eyes. I have seen the occasional Brazilian ludlamite over the years, but nothing that stood out an dgave other locales a real run for their money. The huge crystals on this piece, though, are highly important. Lustrous brown childrenites give some contrast to the cluster, in asssociation. As a species, ludlamite rarely forms large crystals with euhedral crystal habit. This lcoality, like Idaho and England from time to time, have produced examples...but seldom in any quantity or size.
Legrandite comes at its biggest crystal size from Ojuela, BUT this smaller, more isolated locale in another state was the type lcoale, and specimens from here are MUCH less common (though ANY good legrandite is rare). This habit is distinctive, to the mine, as is the matrix. This would thus be an old specimen, probably 1950s or earlier (it was first found here in 1932). Most Flor da Pena legrandites are blebs on a rock, or small, isolated crystals that really do not produce a specimen with display "oomph". However, this piece has the most packed, concentrated showing of crystals I have seen for the mine, all with intense lemon-yellow color. I regard this specimen highly, therefore: it merges my favorite criteria of import in a natural history and rarity sense, with display quality beauty on a shelf. The color impact is worth the price, as it would be with any Ojuela legrandite, in my opinion; but it is a more important piece overall than what you might get for the price form the more popular Ojuela locality (and, again, that mine has not produced legrandite in over 25 years anyhow).
A central 3.2 x 1.4 x 1.2 cm emerald crystal, translucent and gemmy, sits amidst a nest of stark white calcite. Importantly the calcite is crystallized - the best kind of matrix on these. The emerald has a very gemmy tip, and the rest of the crystal is quite translucent. It is a medium green in color, by gem dealer standards, but this is a color that I find very pleasing and fine for a specimen. As well, the contrast of white on green is dramatic. Long in the collection of Steven Sinotte and Rebecca Stewart, they bought this directly from one of the sources, and I agree with their feeling that this is a very special, balanced, display miniature. There are many emeralds to be had, and choosing one requires a compromise of gemminess, color, aesthetics, matrix, etc...this piece really has most qualities you would want, and for the price range I thought a very impressive specimen
This is a Ryker Mount box with approx. 20 crystals of varying shapes and sizes, of boleite. They are mostly cubic, in habit. These are from the famous late 1970s re-exploration of this prospect by Larson and Swoboda. Sizes reach 7mm, with most being very sharp
A HUGE spinel for the locale, with unusual hot pink-red color. The central crystal in the cluster is to 5 cm on edge, an dnearly pristine (just a minor amount of insignificant edge wear exists). These were found recently, in the end of 2009. This cluster is 162 grams and complete all around, very 3-dimensional. And NOTE when cut, the finest of this locality of the hot strawberry pinks bring up to $25,000 a carat! There are probably gem zones inside if you cob it, small ones anyhow. But most specimens from this find are small and partial. Large crystals like this were exceedingly rare. This is one of the largest my sources know of from the find, in complete and worthy specimen quality
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