from the TUCSON and MUNICH shows
ex. Harold Urish
A beautiful, rather large plate of intensely green conichalcite - very rich for the locality!
ex. Smithsonian Institution
This piece is a rare locality specimen, with a long history. Firstly, it has unusual, curved, flattenned disc-shaped crystals and is notable simply for the unusual habit for the species. It was reported in INTRODUCTION TO JAPANESE MINERALS (1970) that "Although the mine was closed long ago, rhodochrosite crystals found at Kuratani are worth notice. They form flat rhombohedral faces which are so curved as to form radial and somewhat petalloidal groups, in roseflower-like aggregates." We believe that this specimen was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 (at which there was a major Japanese governmental and institutional presence, for example see: http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/ogawa/ogawa_hooden.shtml) . The mineral specimens brought by Japan were then donated with ceremony to the Smithsonian Institute. This old , yellowed Smithsonian label in fact notes the date (1893) corresponding to the fair donation, and that the piece was accessioned from the Imperial Japanese Commission (if we read the label correctly). Traded out of the Smithsonian in the 1970s, this piece has since been in the private collection of Lawrence Conklin.
This is one of my favorite such combo pieces out of literally hundreds seen in the last decade or so. It is a strinkingly 3-dimensional, sparkling, jewel-like specimen with beautiful sharp spessartines of intense color, covering all but the points of glassy and gemmy, transparent smoky quartz crystals. Rarely do you get such elegance and color in both species of the combo, and in pristine condition as well. This remarkably well-trimmed specimen is pristine AND complete 360 degrees all around. Although common in principle in smaller sizes, such superb pieces in this size just are not out there. From a major dealer's personal collection, this was cherrypicked from his many years of travel in China during the heyday for this locality in about 2004-2007 (production now is much reduced). It is a stunnign specimen, and the photos simply do not fully convey its full impact in person.
ex. Scott Kleine
This is a miniature from the personal collection of Scott Kleine, who dug the best pocket of fresnoite in recent times (and supposedly one of only two very fine pockets found here, period). The matrix hosts a sharp, freestanding, 1.5 cm crystal on matrix. The back of the crystal is dusted with small analcime crystals. It is a piece with high quality and display aesthetics both. The crystal is translucent, and a a rich orangey-yellow color, translucent at its periphery to light. Although repaired cleanly to its matrix perch (you would never see it if I didn't admit to it), this is an extremely rare matrix specimen of Fresnoite, one of the very rare titanium-containing minerals found in San Benito County (the same source as for the Benitoite Mines). Relatively few specimens of quality have been recovered compared to the neptunite and benitoite nearby, and many (such as this one) were collected during an aggressive mining operation around 1999-2000 by dealer and miner Scott Kleine. The Junnila Mine, started as a benitoite recovery operation, actually turned out to have rather poor benitoite production, but in a few historic spurts yielded these superb fresnoite crystals instead as a consolation prize.
ex. John Marshall
A glistening, brilliantly lustrous plate of really good quartz, serves as matrix for a jackstraw cluster of elongated brown pyromorphite crystals on this rare locality piece. I had personally never even seen any pyro from this mine, and here is not only a rich cluster (6 cm across), but on beautiful quartz matrix?! It is an oldtime specimen from the well known collection of John Marshall.
A beautiful, rolling plate of classic dark red-pink rhodochrosite, from the famous Oppu Mine. These are noted for their association with flat, embedded pyrite crystals as you see here. Old material, seldom seen today.
This is an oddball olimiite featuring a complete-all-around, pristine, 3-cm spherical cluster of crystals perched on matrix. It is complete front and back! Its color is a pure tan hue, with no brown per se; and it is extremely translucent, with a glassy lustre uncharacteristic of olmiite in any color but red. It seems like it would be ugly if it were not the desirable red color we associate most with the species. But, in fact, the combination of glassy faces, ball shape, and color actually make it quite attractive. This is a specimen we really liked, and it stands out from the crowd - of any coloration olmiite. The little off-white balls accenting the olmiite are the rare species bultfonteinite. This is a large miniature/small cab specimen
ex. John Ydren
This is a quite respectable example of the famous spessartines from Little Three. To me, these have the purest orange color and excellent lustre that I want in a garnet. They are an American classic. Matrix examples with crystals over 1 cm are uncommon, rare, and hard to come by today (mostly having been collected from the 1960s-1970s). This specimen features a complete garnet 2.5 cm in length, a little elongated but complete and without the etching dissolution you so often see in examples from this mine. Schorl and white albite make a classic association, here. It is a fine display piece, with a big crystal atop, good enough for any County or US collection.
A very attractive, complex cluster of glassy, totally gemmy, aquamarine crystals from this classic modern locale. It is pristine and complete except one small ding in the top termination. It is 360-degrees-complete all around and very 3-dimensional, conveying a great impact for a moderate price. Comes with custome lucite base
Manganite is one of those species you normally dismiss as "trophy worthy", but these old finds from the late 1800s, in Germany, really set their own standard. To this day, in fact, they remain by far the best examples of the species, and the most desirable to collectors (see Bancroft's book Gem & Crystal Treasures for more on this famous find of the late 1880s). This dramatic display specimen has a straight-up crystal of about 3 cm, and provides a superb quality for the price in that it is both rich and aesthetic, and most such examples are priced quite higher. Comes with an old late 1800s or early 1900s handwritten antique label, on which was overwritten the date 1948 by a previous collector. I hav eseen and sold many manganites of this style and, for a price point under $10,000, this is one of my overall favorites for both style and pricing.
This is a sugary, sparkling knob of the subtle pastel-green calcite that came out once in the 1980s, and is often referred to as cuprian calcite or "daiquiri calcite" for its color. It is pristine, and very aesthetic.Pieces like this are highly desired, and turn up now only in old collections with Tsumeb suites. In person, it is much brighter. The color is soft, subtle, but not boring...it really is a quite unique color that is hard to describe in photos.
ex. Marc Weill
Diopside from Pakistan seldom reaches this kind of size, gemminess, and quality level. Normally they are just thin, bladed, rocks of moderate interest only. This stunning gem crystal is , in fact to my eye, the best I have seen for several reasons: its olive-green color, superb sharp habit, broad termination, and size. It is totally unique from the fine diopside being produced in Tanzania, which are the only ones I think even remotely compare, at this level of gemminess.It is actually complete all around, though having very minor edge wear on a few minor back edges. It is big, dramatic, and has glassy lustre....extremely impressive in person! For a Pakistani or rare gem crystals suite, this is a major addition.
ex. Bill Pinch
A shimmering, almost metallic, and just plain lovely crystal of the very rare zinc arsenate, Warikahnite. This attractive amber crystal is well-terminated, has superb luster, and is very gemmy. It is exceptional for the species. It is from the Pinch collection, and thus verified (many sold on the market are simply yellow willemite lookalikes). Ex. William Pinch Collection
ex. American Museum of Natural History
The specimen comprises half a nodule of basalt containing elemental iron. It may not be pretty, but this is an important specimen for the species, element, and for historic geology. Native iron is extremely rare in igneous rocks, even though it forms the majority of the earth's core. Here we have an extremely rare mass of terrestrial native iron in rock from the remote Disko Island. Much native iron on the earths surface is in fact extra-terrestrial in origin. This is from the Type Locality occurrence for native terrestrial iron (according to MINDAT), remote Disko Island in Greenland, and is richly speckled with bright, metallic native iron in basalt matrix. This is old, rare, and seldom seen material. Beyond that, this particular specimen has a fascinating history: it has old, yellowed labels glued to it which match the numbering on the associated AE Foote (1846-1895) label and reflect his penchant for cutting out and gluing label strips to specimens (see link for more information) . The style of this label dates it to approx. the late 1880s thru 1895 period of his business. The back of the old company specimen label has typed notes indicating this piece was obtained in purchase (P) by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in 1910. The next line indicates that the source was discovered in 1870. The third line of type states that the museum obtained the specimen from R.E. Peary. Robert Edwin Peary (1856 �1920) was an American explorer who claimed to have been the first person, on April 6, 1909, to reach the geographic North Pole. Again, pedigree aside, most native iron is extra-terrestrial. This one, however, is from some of the oldest crustal elements humans will ever access, and is a rare find to make it into the hands of specimen collections....with good history as a bonus! Traded out of the Museum in the 1980s, this piece has since been in the private collection of Lawrence Conklin.
Butte rhodochrosites are certainly important US classics, but we can admit that, much as they may be important they seldom hold their own on a worldwide scale. However, this superb miniature from an old collection is highly lustrous and sharper , more strawberry-red in color, than other Butte pieces I have seen. The piece is very aesthetic, and is an interlocking cluster of large crystals. On the back, it has traces of the sulfides characteristic of the locality. An old piece, probably from the mid-1900s, I am told, this is for my taste the best Butte rhodo I have seen in this size range.
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