Silver Mountain mines, Lybster Township, Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada
Miniature, 4.5 x 1.9 x 1.7 cm
This little known Canadian locality has produced little by way of specimens but here is an exceptional acanthite specimen with hopper growth crystals, to 1.5 cm in length. The crystals are lustrous and a dark gray color. Ex. Larry Conklin collection, ex. John Durkos to him (Durkos was a specialist in Candian minerals, of Onatrio silver mines in particular). In person, this does not quite "feel like" Mexican acanthite, though it may look similar from the photos. The crystals are complex and robust, somewhat "twisted," and with a nice patina. The piece is actually displayable 360 degrees, and any side up!.
These so-called "christmas trees" came out briefly in about 2008-2009 and then were gone. Only a small percentage of them were complete all around, pristine, and had a natural luster (some were bead blasted to polish them!). This is an elegant, perfect floater specimen with supremely good aesthetics, that is among the best in its size range. It was the best small cabinet specimen in a lot of several hundred pieces that a dealer friend of mine bought at the time, directly from the source, and held back as part of his private collection until now. At the time, we all thought more would come out - but sadly, the flow ended quite abruptly after a run of bigger but less lustrous and more "clunky" specimens. Joe Budd photos.
Port Radium District, Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada
Small Cabinet, 9.3 x 6.4 x 3.8 cm
This is an old-time, classic specimen of lustrous, silvery-gray Acanthite crystals on a matrix that is almost 100% Acanthite! The two isolated crystals are subhedral and the largest crystal measures a substantial 3.4 cm in length! The remainder of this very rich Silver Sulfide is mostly massive Acanthite matrix, with some crystalline development. This area was discovered in 1900 and was mined for Silver and Radium. It has been mined on and off since then, and is now closed. This is a significant Canadian Acanthite. It is also a very hefty, big piece, at 692 grams. I have not seen such a massive large specimen from this old locality, with any reliable provenance, outside of museums.
Seikoshi Mine, Toi-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture, Honshu Island, Japan
Thumbnail, 1.25 x 0.75 x 0.75 cm
Nice thumbnail of intersecting silver-gray, metallic, platy crystals of pearceite accented by <0.5mm, gray, metallic, cubo-octahedral crystals of argentite (acanthite) from a unique locality. Mineralogical Research Company and two other labels accompany the piece.
Fresnillo de Gonzalez Echeverria (Fresnillo), Mun. de Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico
Miniature, 3.7 x 2.1 x 1.8 cm
The photos say it all - this is one of the most dramatic, sculptural specimens I have ever seen, period. It has incredible, ballet-dancer-like form and a high luster. It is complete all around and perfect. I am told this was from a recent find at the end of 2013 and it was one of only 2 pieces I saw at Tucson 2014, but I simply cannot verify this. I fell in love with it immediately. The price is admittedly not a bargain, but the quality of this thing is unbelievable. Nobody in my office has ever seen the like. Joe Budd photos.
This piece, surely very old, is a major classic European silver specimen. Hefty at 283 grams, it hosts a massive cubic crystal of acanthite that is 4 cm on longest edge and in a cluster with other sharp cubes. Technically, this is acanthite ps. argentite according to some people (based on crystal shape), though often they are just labeled as acanthite. From the Eric Asselborn collection. Complete all around, 360 degrees. Joe Budd photos.
Schemnitz, Banska Stiavnica Co., Banska Bystrica Region, Slovakia
Miniature, 5.2 x 3.2 x 2.2 cm
Probably dating back to the 1800's, this old-time plate of slightly rounded Stephanite crystals is quite rich and showy for the locale. The grey crystals have a small bit of iridescence, and the visible crystal edges add character and detail. The largest crystal is 1.1 cm, and the half-dozen crystals make a nice grouping on the matrix. Perhaps not elegant, these silver minerals have an aesthetic all their own. A very good miniature. Fioravanti obtained this from the legendary British collected Richard Barstow in 1974.
San Carlos Vein, Proano Mine, Fresnillo District, Zacatecas, Mexico
Cabinet, 10.3 x 7.5 x 6.5 cm
I purchased this specimen directly from a Mexican miner at Tucson. It is an amazing and totally unique (in my experience) blend of melted-looking acanthite crystals overlaying huge, robust polybasite crystals. The acanthites are smooth and look more like modern art, than the normal kind of acanthite crystallization we expect from here. It has crystals all around! Other than some contacting on the sides and bottom, it is mostly crystallized all around (with acanthite), although the polybasite matrix itself has some crystals that are not complete. Joe Budd photos.
This is a very unusual antique silver specimen with a coating of acanthite on the silver wires, it seems. It is a display-quality small cabinet piece, from the famous Himmelsfurst Mine in Germany. Many of the attractive, curving wires are over 3 cm in length, and their sinuous form as they twist and turn above the matrix is quite aesthetic. Little calcites add accent. A desirable display piece, complete all around, AND an important old classic! Obtained in trade from Ed David in the 1990s, and then long in the Obodda collection.
Rayas Mine, Guanajuato, Mun. de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico
Miniature, 3.4 x 3.2 x 1.7 cm
Front and back of this robust, sharply crystallized, cubic acanthite cluster are shown. It is a fat miniature with a classic arrangement of intergrown cubic crystals in a Christmas-tree-like arrangement. Complete all around! This is a fabulous example in the miniature size range, without breaking the bank. Joe Budd Photos.
Sharply developed, octahedral crystals of dark gray acanthite, make this specimen a winner. Look at the terminations atop! The largest crystal is 1.75 cm in length. 3-dimensional and better in person!!!
A large, distorted, dark gray octahedron, 2.2 cm in length, of acanthite is joined near the top of this specimen by a sharp, elegantly and unusually curving, 2 cm crystal of the same species. Add a muted metallic luster, and this specimen has it all for the find - it is one of the bets miniatures in the lot. 3-dimensional and better in person!!!
Showing off the sharp octahedral form of the original argentite, this acanthite pseudomorph has fine form and super metallic luster. The crystal is as sharp as a spear head, which it greatly resembles. Complete all around, lustrous, and Very showy!
A complete floater clustered around a pagoda-like 3-cm-tall central crystal, with no visible point of attachment, this specimen of acanthite after argentite is just incredible. It has luster, for starters. Most of the octahedral, splendent, dark gray crystals, to 1.25 cm in length, have grown on top of each other, making the specimen look very much like a cityscape of Chinese pagodas or of South African hausmannite which you could easily mistake this for (though it would be about the best imaginable hausmannite quality!). Aesthetic and mesmerizing full miniature specimen, from this new find.
This specimen of octahedral, splendent, jet-black acanthite after argentite, has individual elongated octohedral crystals to 3.5 cm in length shooting from a central cluster. The overall effect is that of a Chinese pagoda, with most of the crystals on top of each other. This new find has luster - bright sparkling luster that is hard to convey in photos and quite another world from the appearance of previous finds here. It is nearly a complete floater with no visible point of attachment, with only a small rough area near the base; which as a bonus, is a vug at the lower right edge filled with a druse of cherry red proustite. Complete all around, elegantly vertical, this is a superb acanthite by any standard from any other locality.
This specimen of acanthite after argentite features a series of stacked, octahedral, splendent, jet-black crystals, to 1.8 cm in length. the crystals literally leap out from a matrix of calcite, silver ore, and massive acanthite (few specimens have any matrix, here). This new find has luster - bright sparkling luster that is hard to convey in photos and quite another world from the appearance of previous finds here. I particularly like the angled group at the top of the specimen, which features a birdlike crystal cluster of 2.4 cm atop. This is a superb, elegant acanthite by any standard, quite different from Mexican and Chinese and German acanthites we might have seen previously.
A stunning miniature! This acanthite replacement after argentite is highlighted by the two crystals at the apex of the specimen. The one on the right is doubly terminated and measures 1.5 cm in length. The one on the left has unusually curved edges and measures 1.8 cm in length - very strange crystal, that is mesmerizing! All the crystals are octahedral, with splendent luster and a jet-black color that is hard to convey because it is lustrous. This is a superb, elegant acanthite by any standard, quite different from Mexican and Chinese and German acanthites we might have seen previously
This specimen of acanthite after argentite features two splendent, dark gray, stretched octahedral crystals, to 2.5 cm in length. The larger crystal is doubly terminated with slightly curved crystal edges. It is complete all around, has wet luster (much better in person!), and is SHARP. An aesthetic competition quality small miniature or toenail!
Almost a complete floater, this acanthite specimen can be displayed on either side to equal effect. It is very 3-dimensional and treelike, and just sharper than most acanthites from here tend to be. The dark gray crystals are arborescent, with a few exhibiting incipient, hopper growth. The largest crystal is 1.1 cm in length. Some crystals have a thin coating of brassy yellow chalcopyrite, as well as the base of the cluster. Any way one views this specimen, it is really a fine example for the size and locale! MUCH BETTER In PERSON. Comes with custom lucite base already made for the specimen.
A razor-sharp, floater crystal that is complete and finely formed on both sides. It looks good from any view, upside down and vice versa! This is classic old-style Guanajuato material with fine luster, seldom seen today.
SHARP cubic acanthite crystals to 5 mm, stacked end to end wit a slight association to quartz and matrix, make this a rather elegant and display-worthy piece from the old mines here. German acanthites are generally old (100 years and more), and come out of museum collections. This is no exception, having been traded out of Harvard in the 1970s to a well known collector. In person, it is much better... very fine quality, and a good size.
This is an important specimen of Rayas acanthite for the notable crystal size and robust crystal habit. It is complete and pristine all around, actually a floater specimen. The hoppered, in-drawn faces add depth and visual interest to the normally more simple crystal habit of these acanthites. This is one of the largest single crystals, not in cluster, that I am aware of, for the locale. This is a crystal that can be stood vertically and exceeds 6 cm height, but set flat and still display as a large miniature. In person it has a bright and shiny luster, and is not "black." Ex University of Arizona collection, by donation in the past.
San Juan de Rayas Mine, Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 6.4 x 3.3 x 3.0 cm
Acanthite from the Mexican locales seldom occurs as large crystals on matrix. Here, however, we have a sharp, elongated crystal showing intricate hoppered faces, perched aesthetically on contrasting matrix. It is a superb display quality specimen, complete all around 360 degrees. Note the subtle rainbow iridescence in some faces and angles, indicating that the piece has NOT been cleaned in the usual acids and chemicals to "brighten" the acanthite and make it silvery. One can always go buy an acanthite from Mexico, sure; but this one is something special. Ex Kenneth Raab collection to Stoudt in 2002. Joe Budd photos.
This magnificent acanthite crystal is perched on a stem of more slender acanthite. It has brilliant luster, great form and a dark metallic color, and measures a whopping 2.2 cm across. It is absolutely a world-class thumbnail and a superb competition quality specimen of the species.
A gorgeous, lustrous, complex crystal cluster of acanthite forming a machinelike aggregate. It is complete all around! This historic specimen would have come out in the late 1800s or early 1900s. It comes with an old Scalisi Collection label, noting it is from the Freiberg Museum. Superb, old classic!
Stacked crystals, to 8 mm across, of splendent, dark gray acanthite, are aesthetically perched on a stem of acanthite. The acanthite crystals are superbly lustrous, making this a really fine thumbnail specimen with classic form and style for the material from this mine
Langis Mine, Casey Township, Cobalt Area, Ontario, Canada
Cabinet, 14.0 x 8.0 x 3.0 cm
A remarkable old specimen from the famous Cobalt mines, with large, flat-laying acanthites on matrix with calcite. Admittedly crude, but large crystals and overall not so ugly - and very important for the locality! It was found in 1960. From the noted collection of John Durkos, who built the best-documented and most extensive collection of silvers and silver species from the Cobalt area mines during their times of operation. His collection was particularly noted for detail such as when the specimens were collected, which he tracked down with care in buying directly from the miners. His collection passed on to Richard Hauck in the 1990s, who sold this to a silver collector at that time. It has not before been offered for public sale and is, in my opinion, an important and historic Canadian specimen.
Toenail – A “gut feeling” but often overlaps between a large thumbnail and a small miniature
Miniature – Maximum 5.0 cm
Small Cabinet – Maximum 9.4 cm
Cabinet – Maximum 18.0 cm
Large Cabinet – Over 18.0 cm
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