ex. Peter Megaw
Dr Peter Megaw (a collector and part time dealer in the silver exploration biz in Mexico) brought out several of the best of these so far as I have been able to track, which he got at the minehead. The other ones I obtained came through Mike New, whose agents bought for him in Mexico and then took to him. I got most of BOTH LOTS from them and had control thus of much of the pocket but for the pieces they kept for themselves...and they valued their few keepers a premium. There were only 3 that Megaw kept. He is a Mexican collector, after all. It took me a special piece to pry this out of him in exchange. This is his "big one" and it is pristine, more so than most. It has SHARP pristine crystals that stick out nicely and dont have all the contacts so many others did! It is, in fact, damage free on the display face and has aurichalcite in free growth (right side) as well as in inclusions. It is a cabinet piece, and displays phenomenally.
ex. Carl Bosch
The piece is stunningly beautiful, with a rich, natural, bright silver patina and robust crystal form. Such 3-dimensional and robust crystals are EXTREMELY uncommon from any locale, including Kongsberg as rich and ancient as it was. The crystal atop measures just over 2 cm in height, and looks "twisted in the middle." It is spinel-twinned, very clearly and dramatically. AND, IT SITS on a tiny knob of calcite matrix so it is not just a loose single crystal, but has context. As a bonus accent, it has a little wire silver to the lower-right side, just to show off. Literally, everything is here to make this a WORLD CLASS thumbnail specimen. It has rare habit, desirable historic locality, beauty, robust crystal form and size, and is a FULL thumbnail. It is complete all around and pristine. Add to that the pedigree, and it gets better. This was owned by the industrialist Carl Bosch by circa 1900 (see his bio at : http://www.minrec.org/labels.asp?colid=205) . According to the Mineralogical Record biography: "In 1908 Fritz Haber told BASF of his ammonia synthesis process, and Bosch was assigned the task of developing it on an industrial scale. By the end of 1913 he had completed the the monumental job, the largest single undertaking in the history of chemical engineering. Bosch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931 for his work on high-pressure synthesis." His original handwritten label survives and is included, noting dates on both the front and the reverse (as well as some other comments I cannot make out, in shorthand). He died in 1940, but his son loaned the collection to Yale for some years, and in the end sold to the Smithsonian, in 1966. Note that this specimen was number 1265 for Bosch , an early number dating his acquisition to the 1890s (he owned over 25,000 specimens by the end). The date on the front of the label refers to , I think, the prior history of the piece or its first sale to market in 1878. On the back of the label are notes including the date of 1877, possibly its year of discovery. Also in code, is the price he paid for it. By the 1990s , the specimen had been exchanged out of the Smithsonian (label included) and was in the collection of Dr. Gene Meieran, a collector of many suites including fine silvers. I exchanged/bought it from him in about 1999-2000, and sold it immediately into a European collection. However, that person recently decided that it was his ONLY thumbnail, and he did not collect thumbnails, so out it came to me in a later exchange. This specimen is one of the finest thumbnails I have ever handled (twice now), and one of my favorite silvers of any size, period, for a number of reasons as given above. I stand on that statement!
ex. American Museum of Natural History
An exceptional miniature with robust, spiky hessite crystals shooting out from a common core. This is classic type locality material, now hard to come by in good specimens! It is from the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, and note the early accession number #831, dating it to the 1800's. Anyways, most were mined by 1900, as well. With sharp crystals to nearly 1 cm, this is a choice example for the sizer and price range. The piece also has its original patina, and is not cleaned with acid, as you can tell by the associated calcite crystals in crevasses. Ex Lawrence Conklin collection, obtained in trade from the American Museum of Natural History. You can see it displays either horizontally or vertically
This hubnerite specimen is a large beast of a crystal cluster, perched upright on quartz matrix. It is 800 grams mass. It is nearly pristine with no damage of any significance at all, and is complete all around , 360-degrees. The lustre is waxy, and metallic at the same time, really unusual. The color is a dark reddish-black, with red highlights when lit up strongly. According to Rock Currier, this is from the famous finds prior to 1980, probably from the late 1960s. These finds established Mundo Nuevo as the premier locality for the species at this time. This remarkable specimen is certainly one of the most important examples of its species from this locale (as confirmed by Rock Currier , who should know - and who brought out so many in the old days!). In fact, both he and I would go further and state that, for overall combination of textbook morphology, size and quality, this is one of the best examples of its species from ANY locality in my experience and in his far greater experience. For the textbook crystallography, and how dramatically it displays, upright like a sculpture, this is simply one of my favorite South American or "ugly black rock" specimens I have personally offered EVER on this site - even though far from the most expensive. But, here i think, you get a lot of import for the dollar.
ex. Marc Weill
This is an outstanding, GLASSY AND GEMMY cluster of amethyst from this famous and very sparsely producing locale. It has the deepest purple, grape-juice colored amethyst cores you could want, grading to a clear zone at the very tips. The display face you can look right down into, as the glassy, transparent surfaces facing front let you look deep within. Having handled a number of these, including the famous Romero collection pieces, I can say that while not the biggest, this is among the best for quality you can ask for. It is nearly pristine, and in fact you have to look really close to find just one ding on the front at all (a tiny nick off the smaller sub-termination). Although larger amethyst crystals occur elsewhere, for my tastes the combination of the color and qualities in great Guerrero material make them the world's best of species. This is an excellent example of why I say that. It is from the Marc Weill collection, but would have been most likely mined in the 1970s or 1980s.
ex. Marc Weill
Large, attractive skutterudite specimens from here are rarely seen. This is, for my taste, one of the best i know of and is a 3-dimensional mound of solid crystals, complete all around except for a small contact on one side (the left as shown horizontally, or the bottom if this is stood upright). It can be displayed either way to equal effect, and its really just a matter of personal choice which you prefer. The crystals are VERY lustrous, sharp, and show off the style this locality is famous for. Like many such large crystals from here, there is some typical surface crackling present (somehow common to the species at this locality when they get to this size), at the crystal-crystal contacts. But, this is really not so visible on display and, in context, does not detract. Formerly in the Marc Weill collection, this is a very fine cabinet sized specimen of unusual attractiveness for this too-often clunky material, rare in such good aesthetic form. It stands on its own merits, but as a bonus also is illustrated in the Mineralogical Record book on the Weill collection. Mass is over 2 kilograms.I would judge this to be a fairly significant example of the species, way beyond the normal quality.
ex. Marc Weill
This specimen is a very robust and aesthetic cluster of RAZOR-sharp copper crystals to 1.5 cm, arranged in branchlike aggregations that twist and turn about to make this a 3-dimensional "tree-like" shape overall. The crystals are sharp, and there is remarkably no damage or rubbing to the fine, old surface patina. It is complete all around, and displays dramatically in person. Formerly in the Marc Weill collection, this is a very fine cabinet sized copper of unusual appeal for this habit and style of crystallization, rare in such good form. It stands on its own merits as a value and a fine quality; but as a bonus it also is illustrated in the Mineralogical Record book on the Weill collection. 500 grams.
This is a dramatic piece, one of my favorites in the size and price range for its unique 3-dimensional display qualities. The two aquas splay out from the central, curving cluster of sharp albite crystals. They have a porcelain look to them and contrast sharply with the gem aquas. This is NOT repaired, which is amazing given its exposed crystals. The large crystal is approximately 8 cm long sticking out from the core (though it is longer, and goes through the albite cluster to their base. The smaller crystal is 8 cm long, of which 5.5 cm sticks out freestanding. Overall, it is crazy to thikn this survived withour a break and repair...but it did. The piece is actually pristine except for one very small nick in the side of the smaller aqua...something i think allowable for the size and quality of aesthetics here. Also, I have purposefully chosen not to restore that one little ding with plsatic "fill", as its so trivial in context and the piece is more remarkable unrepaired, in my opinion. Direct from the mines to me, this was mined in 2008. I regard it highly for the aesthetics, in this size and price range.
ex. Wally Mann
NOTE IN PERSON THE COLOR IS AN EVEN , INTENSE PINK - the photos do not convey this well. This is a superbly sharp, unusually well-terminated crystal of about 370 grams, from the classic occurrence here. It is a floater, complete on the bottom, and looks equally fine from either side. For its size, it has robust color and also is completely gemmy and transparent. But it is the termination, that crazy sharp termination , that makes it a killer. Dallas-area collector Wally Mann bought this from Herb Obodda after one of his trips to Pakistan in the early 2000s and treasured it not just because it was fine; but also because it really could (and did) fool a lot of people, with its color and sharp form, into thinking that it was a turn-of-the-1900s piece from Pala, San Diego. But it was too big in size for his collection, as a whole, and so did not fit. Exchanged out to me, this is now for sale. For Afghanistan, in this size range, its one of the sharper and finer singles I have seen for my tastes.
This beautiful matrix tourmaline has no repairs and is from a special pocket we call "electric purples" for the wild glowing color it takes, when backlit, across its termination. The color is a real purple , more evident in person, and not just a typical indicolite blue shade of color. Purple is Much more rare! At about a kilo in size, you can tell from that alone it is a large crystal - most of the mass here. The crystal is nearly fist-sized, 8 x 8 x 7 cm. It sits snugly against crystallized, very 3-dimensional, bladed cleavelandites, with a small sidecar tourmaline for accent. The termination is remarkably smooth to the touch, and has a matte finish. Except for the tiniest wear, the crystal is complete all around and is as close to pristine as you can ask for in a tourmaline of such size and exposure. In person, the color is more robust and the gemmy portion more broad than the photos show. These photos were taken with only minimal backlighting - with strong light, it glows.
ex. Lawrence Conklin
This style of rhodochrosite came out in the early 1980s and is often referred to as "wheatsheaves". The color can truly be called "cherry red." Here is a relatively large, rolling plate of the gemmy, transparent to translucent crystals on manganese matrix. The lustre is so brilliant in person, it is hard to convey in photos....but it is like glass, in real life. These are beautiful and truly unique rhodochrosite formations, not found anywhere else, and have always gone for a premium since day one. Today, such specimens, especially in this size, are hard to come by on the open market. Although there are a few small dings, this is very nearly pristine on its display face and for the size, an uncommon find. This is one of those original specimens, long in the private collection of dealer Lawrence Conklin.
This specimen is from the new pocket found in 2007 at these Alpine heights, is INTENSE color for a pink fluorite, almost red. These pieces have been priced at, and sold, for big money - the reason being obvious in person when you compare the color saturation and gemminess/transparency on one from this pocket, to previous finds or the general "Chamonix pink" style. This pocket will stand on its own merits, as one of the great Alpine finds, I believe. Pink or red fluorite is always pricey, but in context, for the quality compared to the norm, these are worth it in my opinion. This particular piece looks like it should be worth far more..it has two SHARP and totally transparent, gemmy octohedra to 3.2 cm on edge, side by side. A small bit of adularia matrix is attached at the bottom. From the front, it looks pristine and dramatically 3-dimensional. The reason it is more reasonably priced than the piece above (#338) is simply because the back here is incomplete. The crystals pulled off from the matrix, leaving a contact face and a small bit of broken fluorite at the upper-right "shoulder" behind the rightmost octohedron. The lower-right photo is shot purposefully looking down a little bit, to accentuate the view to the back of the piece and in fact show the piece at its worst angle. From head-on, all you see is actually the two razor-sharp , gemmy octos and their equally sharp, upwards-thrusting points with a small hillock in between. It is a dramatic piece that displays well and conveys all the color an dtransparency that will make this pocket a classic to remember, without quite the full price that the miners are selling all-around octohedra for.
This is a razor-sharp crystal with a termination so sharp you can literally cut yourself on it. The quartz hosts an internal phantom generation of quartz, that is richly included by deep blue papagoite. Now, often the inclusions are dispersed in the quartz , but seldom do you see a phantom within. Here, the phantom somehow concentrated the papagoite, so that the papagoite marks the entire right edge of the original phantom crystal inside. The crystal is complete all around, and shows extraordinary clarity looking through to the phantom zone within. I have seen literally hundreds of these, and in this size range, few have stood out to me as starkly as this piece, which I saw at the Munich show with a direct source (these few i offer here all apparently came from the same pocket, as they are similar in size and unusual sharpness and transparency). Moreover, it is complete and sharp, and shows off the inclusions without need of polishing.
This is a natural jewel! A 3.25-cm-across, doubly-terminated quartz is just floating on the surface of this lustrous, reflective quartz shard - the whole thing a floater! It is "just quartz " on quartz, at som elevel. But on another level, itís a very special and unique piece that really captured my attention. ex Franz Saller collection
A highly unusual specimen featuring mediocre but colorful emerald, which serves as the background for superb, sharp crystals of chamosite, the iron analogue of clinochlore. The sharpest crystal here is a doubly-terminated , razor-sharp crystal measuring 1.7 cm across. I had not seen these before from this productive emerald locality and was suspicious when first shown this piece as an "axinite" which generally would not occur with emerald. The identity was confirmed by RAMAN and XRAY analysis in the lab of Dr Robert Downs at University of Arizona. I think this is a quite good example of the species, and one wonders how many such crystals have been thrown away as rubbish in the mad search for crumpled green emeralds!
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