Arqueana mine, Coronel Murta, Jequitinhonha valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Small Cabinet, 6.5 x 3.4 x 3.3 cm
This choice, two-tone green Tourmaline is from an uncommon Minas Gerais pegmatite, the Arqueana Mine in Governador Valadares. The 6.5 cm main crystal has a very gemmy, 1.5 cm termination and a superb, striated luster. The flat termination is good, and the smaller sidecars are also of good quality. The Tourmaline is adorned with Lepidolite and sugary Albite, but the Tourmaline is the true star of this specimen From a small, and very unique find of the mid 1990's, as I recall - because I sold this to Art back at the time.
Pederneira Mine, Sao Jose da Safira, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Small Cabinet, 7.1 x 2.2 x 1.4 cm
Many people picture multi-colored Elbaites such as this when they think of a modern Pederneira Tourmaline. The majority of this crystal is a teal blue (many are green-dominant) with a red core - the classic 'watermelon' look. This lustrous and striated Elbaite is mostly gemmy, with a whisp of translucence throughout. The bottom portion is adorned with lustrous, sparkly, mm-size purple Lepidolites, and there is a small amount of white Albite mixed in. The aesthetics of this representative Pederneira specimen are very good. Probably from the early 1990s era here.
Poudrette quarry, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada
Small Cabinet, 5.7 x 2.2 x 1.6 cm
The alkali massif of Mont Saint-Hilaire has produced the finest Serandite crystals anywhere in the world, and when in combo with other species, they are amazing pieces. This specimen features prismatic, salmon-colored Serandite crystals up to 1.5 cm long. They are perched beautifully near the terminations of slender and lustrous 5.4 cm Aegerine crystals. And if that wasn't enough, the Aegerines are decorated with numerous, bladed Albites, many of which are combined into lovely radial clusters. Just an outstanding combo piece with aesthetics that are second to none! Serandite only occurs in good crystals at this classic Canadian locality and they are incredibly rare on the market today! A unique combo.
Pederneira Mine, Sao Jose da Safira, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Miniature, 4.8 x 3.9 x 2.6 cm
This matrix specimen came out of Brazil more than twenty-five years ago, and is classic for the Pederneira mine with its dark green termination on a chatoyant, gemmy green prism. The very lustrous Elbaite is 3.1 cm tall, and it contrasts nicely with the bladed, white Albite matrix. Very good aesthetics.
Sahatany Valley, Sahatany pegmatite field, Antananarivo Province, Madagascar
Thumbnail, 2.7 x 2.6 x 1.3 cm
A rare matrix specimen showcasing a gemmy, prismatic 2.8cm crystal of hambergite perched on an albite shard. A sharp, transparent to translucent (at the base) crystal with well developed prism faces and a good termination! You rarely see matrix specimens of Malagasy hambergites and the faces on this one have a silky to vitreous luster depending on orientation. Hambergite, a beryllium borate, is a rare accessory mineral in granite pegmatites.
Lavra da Golconda, Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Small Cabinet, 6.0 x 4.0 x 2.5 cm
Thin, black, divergent blades of tantalite-(Fe) to 3cm are juxtaposed to a grouping of platy, white, translucent albite (var. cleavelandite) crystals. Minor cassiterite is associated with the tantalite-(Fe). A great association piece from this classic pegmatite locality. A trace amount of chipping to the tantalite blades. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
A few, minute (0.2mm), gemmy, isolated, hexagonal crystals of bazzite (scandium analogue of beryl) and a single, parallel growth cluster, all with a rich light blue color in small miaroles within a granite matrix accompanied by brownish green aeschynite-(Y); colorless, transparent to translucent, bertrandite; silver-gray muscovite; and albite plates. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
Lavra do Telirio, Linopolis, Divino das Laranjeiras, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Cabinet, 7.5 x 5.0 x 3.5 cm
A nice combination specimen from the Telerio mine in Brazil consisting of lustrous, yellow-green, partly gemmy, prismatic crystals of brazilianite to 3cm hosted by off-white albite and accented with black, adamantine, subhedral to euhedral clusters of cassiterite crystals with minor muscovite. The brazilianite-cassiterite association is not commonly observed from Telirio. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
Well-formed, green-brown, octahedral crystals of fluornatromicrolite to 4mm in a granite pegmatite matrix consisting of silvery, equigranular muscovite, fleshy albite, and small, black, striated schorl crystals. Although labeled as "bismutomicrolite", the Microlite Group mineral at the Quixaba pegmatite was determined to be fluornatromicrolite as described in 1998, but not published until 2011 due to the revised nomenclature of the Microlite Group and Pyrochlore Supergroup. This specimen is from the type locality. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
Sapo mine, Conselheiro Pena, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Miniature, 4.3 x 3.5 x 2.9 cm
Excellent cluster of sharp, attractive Fluorapatite crystals nicely placed on a matrix of lustrous white Albite. The Fluorapatites are nestled together nicely, and the main, 2 cm crystal sits up above the others perfectly. These crystals have sharp, tabular form, glassy luster on the front side, and are translucent with a beautiful forest green color. Other than some etching on the back side, the Fluorapatites are in excellent condition, and their beauty and quality show through. Both species have excellent fluorescence. Very choice and aesthetic example from this famous 2007 find. I would actually say that , for my taste, with the imposing sculptural form and fantastic top luster, this is among my favorite miniatures from the find.
Yuno, Shigar Valley, Skardu District, Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas), Pakistan
Small Cabinet, 7.7 x 5.5 x 5.0 cm
A light sherry-colored, gemmy, transparent Topaz is the highlight of this excellent combination piece. The Topaz rises up beautifully from a matrix of large (up to 4.5 cm) books of Muscovite with sharp blades of crystalline Albite var. Cleavelandite. There is even a few crystals of blue-green Fluorite. The Topaz is 3.3 cm tall. It is pristine save for one tiny ding. In person, the Topaz leaps out at you as a 3-dimensional jewel, transparent and brilliant like glass. This is FAR better in person because it is so gemmy, with all the matrix and internal crazing showing through it. Most people consider this region to be the premier locality for colored Topaz crystals of this style. The superb luster of the Topaz, quality of the minerals, and three-dimensionality create great aesthetics for this small cabinet specimen.
Himalaya Mine, Gem Hill, Mesa Grande District, San Diego Co., California, USA
Small Cabinet, 6.3 x 2.4 x 1.5 cm
A beautiful, gemmy and lustrous pencil Tourmaline from the famous Himalaya Mine of California. The crystal is the classic Himalaya "watermelon-pink," and it is gemmy throughout. The Elbaite is well-complemented by crystals of lavender Lepidolite and bladed Cleavelandite. The upper termination is complete, and it is contacted at the bottom. As is commonly the case with pegmatite Tourmalines from San Diego, there is one crack (repaired) resulting from geologic movement in the pocket. A classic, watermelon-pink, Himalaya tourmaline, but with exceptional aesthetics because of the associations! 13 grams.
As Schorls go, this is a stunning specimen. This gleaming, striated doubly-terminated crystal of Schorl tourmaline, 6.9 cm long, rests on a series of white Feldspar crystals, themselves decorated with a sparkly 'druse' of micro Muscovites. This Schorl looks like a rocket shooting through the cloud tops. Just a wonderful, aesthetic piece. You could not design it any better.
This pegmatite has produced arguably the best and largest number of fine morganites in the world from any one small find, back about 30 years ago now. This is a HUGE specimen with so much color and impact, because of the size, that it seems fake at first! It masses/weighs just over a kilo. The crystal measures 10 x 8.5 cm, is 3.5 cm or 1.75 inches thick, and is complete all around. It has a minor indentation on the left side, that is crystallized in faces with attached albite blades over them. There are a few small spots of roughness in the front face that were filled with gap-fill epoxy (its there, but in context of size and overall impact minimal). The white spot at the base of the crystal is part of the matrix that grows up into the crystal or vice versa, and is albite as well, though massive and not crystallized. This specimen is translucent to transparent throughout, highly lustrous, and a rich pink-lavender color that is distinctly Urucum's own hue. Classically, you want these to be associated with schorl but not drowned out by the schorl - too many are actually so included they look gray or ugly. This one has just enough schorl on it to accent without taking away from the pink gemminess and transparency, the black on pink making for a better piece. More importantly, this crystal stands miraculously UPRIGHT on a matrix of solid intergrown schorl and albite! Ok, its not a miracle, but rather an excellent trim job by one of our friends. Because of its wonderful display aesthetics, this one whopper of a morganite, both literally and figuratively, for ANY locale. IT IS MUCH BETTER In PERSON! Comes with custom lucite base for easy display.
I first saw these at Munich, just a few pieces, and now had the chance to select some material direct from the mines via emailed pictures. After trimming and cleaning, we got out 3 very choice cabinet specimens of this new find of unusual "ropey" lepidolite, with a velvety texture and deep lavender color. This particular piece has a 10 cm arc of lepidolite crystals perched atop the white albite matrix, with minor tourmalines sticking out The larger one is broken off, but seems also partially rehealed). It is starkly beautiful, and displays very nicely as shown. Very pretty and unusual for the region - lepidolite specimens as a primary mineral are frankly unheard of from here and I wouldn't have thought they would make my list of desirable Afghani minerals in collectible quality, til now!
I first saw these at Munich, just a few pieces, and now had the chance to select some material direct from the mines via emailed pictures. After trimming and cleaning, we got out 3 very choice specimens of this new find of unusual "ropey" lepidolite, with a velvety texture and deep lavender color. This specimen hosts a "flowing" cluster of lepidolites that looks like it is oozing off the top, and is about 8.5 cm across. Yuo can see minor tourmalines poking out here and there, too. Very pretty and unusual for the region - lepidolite specimens as a primary mineral are frankly unheard of from here and I wouldn't have thought they would make my list of desirable Afghani minerals in collectible quality, til now!
Little Three Mine, Ramona, San Diego Co., California, USA
Cabinet, 12.3 x 7.5 x 7.4 cm
A really attractive large specimen featuring a classic Little 3 assemblage in decorative arrangement...the smoky in the middle is pristine save for one small contacted face (not damage), and is nicely accented by stark white albite and dozens of glittering little orange spessartines perched on every other species present (quartz, albite, muscovite blades) and even included within the smoky!
Dassu, Shigar Valley, Skardu District, Baltistan, Northern Areas, Pakistan
Thumbnail, 2.5 x 2.4 x 2.0 cm
PICS DO NOT DO THIS JUSTICE...THIS HAS TO BE THE FINEST Pakistan TOPAZ THUMBNAIL I HAVE EVER SEEN, with utterly limpid 100% clarity and transparency, glassy luster, and superb complex form. It is just mesmerizing, in person. I would even go so far as to say that gram per gram, this may be the finest topaz in outright quality I have handled....an award-winning piece!
Another absolutely outstanding topaz, but with just normal color, not QUITE the intense hue above, and not QUITE the luster. Still, a very high caliber, indeed, and I do feel it quite worthy of any good thumbnail collection. However, one must decide if the one above is worth double the price for the extra 10% quality. For some, its not, and this is really very close behind. As it is not strictly a thumbnail, it is paradoxically also thus lower in price since it cannot be used in official competition by Tucson rules, in the thumbnail class.
An unusual locality piece from this small tourmaline mine, featuring a 7-cm doubly-terminated quartz in a cluster of others, all perched dramatically on a knob of albite crystals. The quartz is GEM, clear and crisp, accented by a sparkling coating of minute secondary crystallization on top of some side faces. the overall effect is really striking. Sold to Hauck by Russ Behnke, for $500 in 1975...it was a premium Brazilian piece then, and I think remains so!
If I had to guess where this fluorapatite specimen originated, my answer would be Pakistan. However, it is from a pegmatite in the heart of Minas Gerais, Brazil (as I bought it from a good source down there!). Gemmy, pinkish-purple fluorapatite crystals, to 1.5 cm across are perched on white quartz and albite along with minor muscovite.
Barra das Salinas, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Small Cabinet, 8.0 x 6.5 x 3.9 cm
Stark, lustrous white albite forms the matrix for two, lustrous, translucent, lilac-colored crystals of hydroxyl-herderite, to 3.3 cm in length. The herderite crystals are perched, aesthetically, atop the canyons of albite. The contrast in colors is particularly nice! The herderites are complete save for a small contact in back. A little crackly in the photos, more so than in person, but definitely not repaired. This isa very impressive piece!
This is a stunning, unusually large crystal of spessartine for the locality which is miraculously NOT etched all to heck like so many are. It sits on a pedestal of cleavelandite matrix, and is exceptional for its display quality. The crystal is complete all around, though shows a contact on the back where it grew in the pocket against a schorl that left an impression. The crystal, at 1 inch, is as large as all but the few biggest specimens from here ever reached and is remarkable for its pristine form. Most large garnets from this mine were etched in situ and turn into spongy but sparkly masses that are absolutely gorgeous, but retain few of the natural garnet crystal faces the crystal started with. To get a crystal surviving in this condition, so sharp and lustrous, and completely un-etched at all, is almost unheard of. If this were on a bigger matrix, it would be triple the price. As is, it is a fine miniature worthy of competition in any collection showcasing US classics or garnet. Within the San Diego collecting community, owning a garnet of this caliber is one of the highlights of any collection. Few can be had, though. This one Bill Larson obtained in the early 1980s from mine owner Louis Spalding Sr.'s collection.
ex. Dr. Mark Feinglos Collection An excellent example of both of these species from an important find brought to market by Carlos Barbosa before he passed away, in the late 1990s. I recall when these came out, it was almost impossible to find even a single specimen with both the Stokesite (the sharp white crystals) and the stannomicrolite (brown crystal) on the same specimen - let alone in close proximity. This is an aesthetic representation of both species, in unusual association, on a well trimmed matrix of bladed albite so it displays nicely. Both crystals are of unusually good size for the find, as well.
Cryo-Genie Mine, Warner Springs, San Diego County, California, USA
Miniature, 4.6 x 2.8 x 2.8 cm
An unusual goshenite specimen from this briefly-mined claim, now sadly exhausted (at least for practical purposes, and without a lot of dynamite). The CG produced a huge variety of gem crystals in its brief lifetime in the late 90s and early 2000s, among them this fine miniature from the "goshenite pocket." A stoudt single crystal is accented by schorl tourmalines here. Unusual!
A gorgeous peachy-pink morganite crystal with INTENSE color (unusually deep hued!), perched on a natural pedestal of albite. The crystal is 7 cm and complete, not repaired, and is fairly translucent. This is a piece that looks impressive, yet does not break the bank to own. Few morganites are coming out anymore, from Afghanistan, and fewer still that are any kind of quality can be had in this price range. Luckily, we got it as a trimmer/fixer and were able to expose the crystal ourselves, from the confining matrix, to create a more aesthetic piece.
Little 3 Mine, near Ramona, San Diego County, California, USA
Miniature, 4.3 x 2.7 x 2.0 cm
Spessartine from this small mine in rural San Diego County has mesmerized the world for years and is, by many, considered to be the world's best of species for combination of sharpness, color, luster, and association. The best, like this piece, look like fake golf balls made of leaded orange glass. Pieces like this were mined by Louis Spaulding Sr., perhaps through the early 1970s. This quality has not been found since despite much effort and cost. This matrix of albite has formed like soft hands holding in their middle a sharp single crystal measuring 2.5 x 2 cm. The crystal is 1.5 cm thick in places. Although remarkably pristine and complete on the front display face, it is admittedly contacted/damaged on the backside. However, for this deposit, not only is the crystal of large size, but it miraculously does not have the fractures and solution-etching erosion so commonly seen on garnets from the mine. As with nearly all such combo specimens from here, the schorl is more a color association than anything, and I do not mind here some damage (it is not terminated) to the schorl. Most larger garnets of this size have one or the other, or both, problems, due to the active environment here which fractured and then crushed many specimen pockets. The cracking mars the color and luster, and makes truly beautiful specimens (not just representative) all the more uncommon. This crystal is breath-taking in its fiery color and intensity. I can say this fairly confidently, having seen 5 of what are thought to be the best of them in the Smithsonian and in several private California collections (and one nice Colorado collector's, as well!). This miniature is STUNNING. It literally glows with color. but more than that, the sharp form and luster make it world class, for a locality occurrence. Joe Budd photos
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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