from the TUCSON and MUNICH shows
This specimen was one I acquired from an engineer at the Munich show who said he worked on this project. It was removed during the famous construction of the NEAT tunnel in St. Gotthard pass (May 2nd, 2005), and is a beautiful, totally gemmy and transparent, floater crystal cluster of anhydrite. This is similar to classic material first known in the 1800s from the region, but seldom seen on the market today. This tunnelling project hit a few pockets of large crystals, now highly treasured, of this rare Alpine classic. This particular crystal is large and robust, complete all around, and attractive due to its gemminess. The crystal is a complete, total floater with crystal faces on all sides, even if it is asymettric on the bottom (you know it is fully terminated because of some minor matrix attachment on bottom). The white crystals on the side and part of the back face, seem to be stilbite. In person, it has a pale lavender color, typical of the locality. In person it is totally gemmy and you can look through it! but this is hard to convey in photos
An exquisite emerald specimen, simply "different" to my eye than so many others. It has a very castellated, complex multiple termination that to me looks like towers out of a fantasy movie made of gemmy green emerald. The color is a vivid, bright hue. Some collectors prefer darker colors, some lighter shades, and this is somewhere in between; and very vibrant for it. You can see the piece shimmering from across the room, as it also has sparkly lustre on both the calcite and the emerald associations. The piece is beautifully trimmed, to accentuate the 3-dimensionality of the emerald and of the adjacent twinned calcite, atop. The calcites are not just "matrix" here, but worthy in their own right, and the twin is particularly sharp and gemmy. Most collectors would probably go after your stereotypic emerald - a single crystal sticking out of matrix. My argument there would be that, however nice it may be (and price can be $5k-500k), the overall aesthetic is still the same, from piece to piece, on a general basis. THIS ONE, though, is subtly differrent to my eye and always stood out to me. I first owned it about 2004, and recently had a chance to exchange it back from the collectors (not for quality reasons, just simply as they broadened their tastes a bit to other species). Joe Budd photos.
ex. Robert Whitmore
This is a huge 7-pound SINGLE CRYSTAL of willemite! It would therefore rank fairly high among all the many crystals found here, I think, for its sheer size and remarkable completeness. The crystal is nestled in a bit of calcite matrix, and the fluorescence of green-on-red is , as you would expect for this material, quite impressive. I have seen many Franklin collections over the years, and only a few crystals approaching this magnitude. It is very likely an old specimen, but its impossible to say how old. from the collection of Robert Whitmore
From a find of fall in 2009, this is supposed to be the best example of a small pocket of davidite crystals from a locality near the famous ruby mines of Prislep. I saw only a few small examples at the Munich 2009 show, and then this 200-gram monster as well. It has super sharp faces for the species, and a remarkable chocolate-coloration which is not so ugly as they usually are. Impressive in person, I believe this ranks highly in aesthetics and import for this REE species.
ex. Dennis Mullane
This is a sharp single crystal, unusually blocky and isolated for the species and locality. The locality is ancient, and now an abandoned mine (I have been told specimen mining dates would be between the early 1900s and 1950s or so). It is mesmerizing for its rich iridescence, which I would have to say is the single most flashy iridescence effect I have ever seen in a covellite crystal from any locality. The sharp form combined with the play of blue and purple colors make this a stunning miniature aside from its significance for being from this historic old locality. Minor accents of golden pyrite, is a nice addition. With a 1960s label from the Bradleys (dealers), this was perhaps the best single worldwide specimen among 4000 mixed pieces in the Dennis Mullane collection. Joe Budd photo, shown.
ex. Robert Nowakowski
A very equant crystal of zircon from Tanzania, with beautiful merlot-wine red color to it when backlit.
ex. Robert Nowakowski
An old zircon, collected long ago from near-surface deposits in this remote area (now a wildlife reserve). This cluster has several sharp zircons in matrix. These have superb, waxy lustre to them
ex. Stockholm Museum of Natural History
This is a superb, aesthetic specimen of calcite from ANY locality, with a funny disjointed and 3-dimensional termination that looks like it is bending over on its base (rhombohedral modifications atop a scalenohedral pedestal). It is complete all around, 3-dimensional and as close to pristine as you can ask for (a few very tiny dings, is all). It is VERY reflective and lustrous, and so gemmy that light bounces off the back faces and thus makes the crystal look cloudier than it is. So we took the closeup photos with reduced lighting to convey more of the clarity and gemminess. I had not seen a calcite from this locality, despite 20 years of collecting calcite, until this piece came my way in the purchase of the Wilhelm Leithauser collection. And the reason I am told this, is that the find is very old, from the 1930s, and few ever came to market. Indeed, the typed accession label from the Stockholm Museum indicates a date of 1937 (which may be discovery or acquisition, I cannot say). The other label seems to be the actual museum display label.
Another specimen from the same old collection, this is a brilliantly colorful INTENSE YELLOW miniature from this famous, one-time find of 1968 . The color is as good as it gets, and the piece is very 3-dimensional, like a cluster of cauliflowers. Superb for the size class!
A brilliantly colorful INTENSE YELLOW miniature from this famous, one-time find of 1968 of very high quality . The color is as good as it gets, and even if the piece overall is small it is impactful.
A beautiful miniature with large botryoidal mimetite growths to 1.5 cm. This is complete 360-degrees, all around! It has the nice sparkling surface coating of microcrystallization that adds lustre, to the underelaying balls. While a little darker than most, the piece overall is quite aesthetic and a fine miniature from this one-time find of 1968.
ex. Marc Weill
Out of all phenakite locales, these Mogok crystals stand in a unique place because of their sharp twinning about the long axis, easily visible in the complex spoked terminations. Almost all specimens are single crystals , loose or (recently, and in small size) on matrix. This is a cluster of two superb, GEMMY, sharply twinned crystals. The larger crystal here is exceptional in size and gemminess, and comes from the first trickle out of here in late 2007. Note that this specimen was found loose in the pocket, and so the join is the site of a lock-fit contact repair. This was in fact the first piece I saw of the new higher level of quality. It was in the stock of dealer Bill Larson when it came into the country, and then the next time I saw it, it wsa illustrated in the Mineralogical Record issue on the Marc Weill collection (now partly dispersed to me and others). Since that time, a few small pockets have been hit, sparse and intermittently worked. But no major or large find has turned up; and these continue to be hard to obtain. This is a superb example, considered to be one of the very best, of this material. It is also one of the few clusters known, of any significance.
Ping Wu has produced literally tonnage value of cassiterite over the last 12 years or so. And I have seen and handled thousands of specimens from here. Most cassiterites are twinned to some degree, creating complex but beautiful crystals in cluster and singly. This is untwinned, much more rare it seems. However, I cannot recall holding a single cassiterite crystal that impressed me as much for form and symmetry as this fine miniature. It is not even super expensive - it is just super fine, so sharp it looks carved or casted. It is so jet black and so perfectly smooth that you can see hints of fingerprints in the photos, just from the quick handling of the piece, as the oils dull its natural lustre (in contrast to so many minerals where disreputable dealers add oil to enhance lustre!). If you collect Chinese minerals, I could think of no better addition for a miniature suite, than this sharp crystal.
ex. University of Arizona
This is an elongated solid silver nugget, massing 290 grams (9.35 troy ounces), and complete all around 360 degrees. It is actually very sculptural, and not so ugly as you might expect! While gold readily forms nuggets, as does platinum and other metals, for some reasons of chemistry this rarely happens with pure silver. A nugget of this size is in fact extremely uncommon! And, to make it more rare yet, it is from the old Cobalt silver deposits of Canada. A fine and odd addition to any silver or Canada suite. ex UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA MUSEUM COLLECTION.
ex. Irv Brown
Very few smaller "heart twins are available in the marketplace, compared to those that are small cabinet or larger in size and high in $$$ - we think simply fewer little guys were saved by miners back in the day, since they got more money for bigger twins. That makes it quite difficult to find a fine miniature or thumbnail example. I have seen in fact just a few thumbnails in all my years. This is a floater with most of the upper calcite faces exhibiting wonderfully visible growth striations; and it is fat and transparent as well. The lustre is glassy and gemmy. It is shockingly colorless , without distracting iron inclusions as they often have. The old german labels describe the twinning habit. ex Irv Brown thumbnail collection. Per Paul Pohwat of the Smithsonian (with thanks): the label is giving the crystal notation in the Miller and Naumann or Weiss notation, in other words the indices of the faces and the twin axis. The notation with the four numbers is the Miller notation. So while technically correct that the symbols are mathematical descriptions of the crystal the easier route would be to say that they are the crystallographic notations for the faces.
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