Wessels Mine, Kalahari manganese field, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Small Cabinet, 8.2 x 5.1 x 2.4 cm
When these Hematites were first discovered at the Wessels mine, they immediately became instant classics (mid 1980's, I believe). Their large size and association with red Andradite Garnets made them highly collectible. This particular specimen is one gigantic Hematite crystal. It is tabular in habit, with tiered faces, complex sides, and a contact along the bottom edge. One side is covered with fine, gemmy, lustrous, red Andradites, and on the lustrous exposed side there is a heart-shaped Calcite (thusly so because of a small chip, but it is so exposed I am glad it is there at all - it adds much to the piece). This robust and sharp textbook Hematite crystal has mirror-bright, metallic luster. These are amazing Hematites, and the find is today considered one of the major non-Rhodochrosite finds for the manganese district. Wessels is renowned for this apparently unique combination, justifiably.
Thumbnail, 1.6 x 1.2 x 0.9 cm (Crystal), 0.17 ct (Gem)
1.6 x 1.2 x 0.9 cm (Specimen); 0.17 carats; 3.24 mm (Gem) - A wonderful rough and cut set of Topazolite Garnet (Andradite) from a classic locality in California. The crystal is a very sharp, and highly lustrous, gemmy, golden color dodecahedron with an accompanying "Round Brilliant" cut stone with nearly eye clean clarity and a bright yellow-gold hue. Hard to find on the market even for a common Garnet species.
Kohse mine, Tenkawa village, Nara Prefecture, Kinki Region, Honshu Island, Japan
Thumbnail, 1.8 x 1.4 x 1.4 cm
Mined out of a small metamorphic skarn, these iridescent "rainbow garnet" Andradites came on the market in 2002 and have not been equaled since. They are unique in all the world! Their look is unmistakable - superb, electric luster and mahogany color with razor sharp dodecahedral form. The largest crystal is 1.4 cm, accompanied by numerous smaller ones. Sadly, collecting is now prohibited at this Magnetite mine, so these are seldom seen and rarely available. A wonderfully aesthetic thumbnail. This was the finest that Jim Houran could obtain in a decade of building his collection of thumbnail gem crystals, which had a strong suite of garnets. It is contacted on back, complete on display face, and far better than any other I have seen for sale in many years.
Pampa Blanca, Castrovirreyna Province, Huancavelica Dept., Peru
Cabinet, 11.8 x 8.5 x 8.0 cm
A rare locality piece! This is a hefty cabinet specimen rich in Andradites, all partially encased in drusy Quartz. The Andradite dodecahedrons, which are a deep clove brown with olive highlights, are quite lustrous. The largest is 3.1 cm across. There is a little bit of wear in a few places, but overall this is a good, representative Andradite specimen for the locality.
A remarkable, complex and elongated garnet crystal measuring just under an inch, that looks like a small handgun when laid on its side. It is complete all around, front and sides, except only the bottom edge as stood here. I was able to obtain access to a small private collection of a longtime French-Canadian field collector, which was quietly dispersed at Tucson of 2014. In that collection were two superb gem green andradite garnets from the famous Black Lake district, of which this is one. Small prehnite or perhaps adularia crystals dot the surface. The crystal is unusual in that it is "flattish," constrained in its development on one axis only.
I was able to obtain access to a small private collection of a longtime French-Canadian field collector, which was quietly dispersed at Tucson of 2014. In that collection were two superb gem green andradite garnets from the famous Black Lake district, of which this is one. It is a complete floater, terminated all around. Small prehnite or perhaps adularia crystals dot the surface. The crystal is unusual in that it is "flattish," constrained in its development on one axis only.
Huanggang mines, Keshiketeng, Inner Mongolia A.R., China
Cabinet, 13.5 x 13.2 x 9.5 cm
This unusual specimen features a hedenbergite matrix with vertical crystal laths, to 4.5 cm in length, which are smothered by intergrown, lustrous, olive-green andradite garnets to 6 mm across. The whole specimen exhibits a mountainous landscape with valleys in between. I purchased this in China in 2011, as Huanggang was really opening up. It was in my collection for several years, as I kept a systematic suite of display quality material from this mine for exhibition in Tucson (University of Arizona Museum exhibition: Crystalline Treasures - the Mineral Heritage of China) during the 2012 year. It is a fine piece that is more pristine and more 3-dimensionally interesting than others of this material I saw at the time.
Wessels Mine, Kalahari Manganese Fields, South Africa
Miniature, 5.6 x 2.1 x 1.3 cm
We had only two such specimens in the whole collection of thousands of pieces, of these strange cast pseudomorphs of minutely crystallized, sparkling, andradite garnet that have replaced twinned rhodochrosite crystals. I had only ever seen 2 others, before. These look just like the famous pseudo-triangular crystals one saw from Mt St Hilaire in Quebec, in the 1980s. But, made of garnet! This one is shaped like a shield, very tapered, with the interior completely lined with crystals of gaudefroyite that stick out to one side.
Perched aesthetically on top of the matrix are clusters of demantoid crystals to 1.5 cm in length. The crystals are glassy and gemmy and exhibit an olive green color. I really like the way each cluster is separated from the other, very 3-dimensionally, and shows many faces to maximum effect. Some incipient hopper growth is also noted on one or two crystals, which is unusual. The specimen is a large miniature or small cab, borderline in size. It showcases the crystals very well and is MUCH better in person. The color is brown-olive, as if it is in between topazolite and demantoid in hue
Intergrown crystals of glassy and gemmy, olive green colored demantoid crystals, to 2 cm in length, form a solid plate on thin matrix. The crystals are elongated, and totally gemmy! They are glassy and transparent, so you can look right through them all, like little jewels. A beautiful and unusual plate from this locale
A large thumbnail, perfect and balanced! Sitting perfectly on a matrix of metasomatized (metamorphosed from limestone) garnet, is a glassy and gemmy, jewel-like, richly green, demantoid crystal measuring 1.4 cm in length. It is complete ALL AROUND and has excellent luster and color to it! Small parts of several back faces show unusual (for garnet) incipient hoppered growth patterning. Overall, an outstanding, full-sized thumbnail specimen! There are many small specimens from the find, yes; but few with such quality and balance overall to make them more than just a small sample, and rather a great thumbnail specimen.
This is a plate of intergrown, glassy and gemmy, green to olive-green demantoid crystals. In size they reach to 1.1 cm. The matrix is limestone metasomatized to garnet. Overall this is a brilliantly sparkling, bright, and showy specimen with a lot of color appeal and flash to it! The crystals are super bright and gemmy
Nestled on a thin matrix of massive garnet is a continuous, flowing cluster of flat-lying, extraordinarily glassy and gemmy, olive-green demantoid crystals, to 1.5 cm across. The two largest crystals also exhibit clear signs of hopper growth, rare in members of the garnet family. This is a splendid example from this find with very rich coverage, and in superb condition. It displays both vertically and horizontally to equal effect. In person, it sends out flashes from the dozens of crystals and hundreds of faces present (many quite large, recall). This much topazolite on one piece, is an extreme rarity by previous standards for the species, as well
Sitting on contrasting, massive garnet matrix is a drapery of interconnected glassy and gemmy, olive-green demantoid crystals to 1 cm across. They have superb glassy luster! The large display face is very rich, and pristine except for one small ding in the middle, on a large crystal's side face. Several crystals exhibit clear evidence of hopper growth, rarely seen in the garnet family.
Topazolite is a rare variety of andradite garnet, and this specimen hosts what surely must be among the larger crystals of the species. Clustered on contrasting matrix, this superb matrix topazolite specimen features glassy and gemmy, olive-green to cognac-colored crystals, to a whopping 2.5 cm across (HUGE). The large crystal, as well as one or two others, exhibits incipient hopper growth patterning, which is rarely seen in the garnet family of minerals. All crystals on the display face are pristine and complete! Also, even in the photos you can see they are 100% transparent, so gemmy you can look right through the garnets to the underlaying matrix.
Very fine, glassy and gemmy, olive-green crystals, to 1.8 cm across, lie flat on a massive, whitish garnet matrix. Some crystals are doubly terminated and at least two exhibit clear evidence of hopper growth, rarely seen in the garnet family of minerals. The crystals are extremely large for topazolite. They have superb luster, and most are translucent enough to look through to the matrix underneath. Interestingly, this is a intermediate brown to green in color, and it is unclear whether to classify this particular hue as andradite variety demantoid, or variety topazolite.
Nestled aesthetically in a massive, metamorphosed garnet matrix, is a cluster of glassy and gemmy, rich, cognac-colored crystals of topazolite. In size they reach to 1.5 cm across. A few crystals exhibit clear evidence of hopper growth, rarely seen in the garnet family of minerals. The crystals are extremely large for topazolite. They have superb luster, and most are translucent enough to look through to the matrix underneath (as you can see in the photos). Interestingly.
A sinuous ribbon of glassy and gemmy, light olive-green demantoid crystals, to 1.5 cm across, is perched high on a white massive garnet matrix. A few of the crystals are also doubly terminated. The richness of the piece is good, as are the size of the crystals. The color is a little more olive than intensely green, but still at least comparable to most Italian demantoid of past finds, and pretty good by any standard. For overall aesthetics and richness in this price range, I thought this one of the better deals in the lot.
From the cherry-picked collection assembled during several years of excavation by Dr. Federico Pezzotta, discoverer of Pezzottaite and the man who handled the most of these demantoids as well, we are proud and privileged to offer this unique lot of gems cut from a modern day classic find: world-class demantoids from Madagascar. These have a slightly higher brilliance and dispersion than Russian demantoids, though slightly less green intensity. They are also, of course, a fraction of the price of the traditional Russian material which has been selling regularly for several thousand $$ per carat. Top quality demantoid crystals from the find lend themselves well for rough-and-cut arrays, so these gems are perfect complements to any mineral collection. Of course, the rarity and quality of these stones also mark them as excellent picks for investment or jewelry. This brilliant modified trilliant is one the largest of the lot. It is eye-clean (though the super high resolution photo picks up what we would see under a loupe, slight feathers). The cut is very well done, bright and gorgeous in all respects!
From the cherry-picked collection assembled during several years of excavation by Dr. Federico Pezzotta, discoverer of Pezzottaite and the man who handled the most of these demantoids as well, we are proud and privileged to offer this unique lot of gems cut from a modern day classic find: world-class demantoids from Madagascar. It is eye-clean (though the super high resolution photo picks up what we would see under a loupe, slight feathers). A brilliant modified cushion cut of nice size and excellent, appealing symmetry. Top quality in a cut stone of this type. The cut is very well done, bright and gorgeous in all respects!
A larger modified square cut (cushion cut) that is eye-clean, bright and very showy. The color on this one stone is the most apple-green (with some yellow) of any here, a very distinct shade from Russian demantoid and from others here. It stands out dramatically for this reason, even if the color is technically atypical. There were few top quality stones above 1.5 carats -- and this gem approaches the two-carat mark! A sweet stone that looks even nicer in person. From the cherry-picked collection assembled during several years of excavation by Dr. Federico Pezzotta, discoverer of Pezzottaite and the man who handled the most of these demantoids as well, we are proud and privileged to offer this unique lot of gems cut from a modern day classic find; world-class demantoids from Madagascar. The cut is very well done, bright and gorgeous.
There are two round brilliant cuts we have to offer, and these sexy looking gems are among our favorites in the array. The nature of the material gave best yield with other cuts, and few rounds were made in the attempt to maximize yields from the top percentile of the cherry picked rough over the last 2 seasons. This is the second largest stone, and this quality is exceedingly rare in this size. The cut is top rate, and the rich (but not overly dark) color makes this gem "pop" with life. It compares favorably to Russian demantoid which has been priced at over double or triple the amount. In person it is eye clean, but the high resolution photo finds inclusions the human eye misses except with a loupe, and has magnified them. It is an attention-grabber, certainly, as a wearable gem or in a rough and cut collection! From the cherry-picked collection assembled during several years of excavation by Dr. Federico Pezzotta, discoverer of Pezzottaite and the man who handled the most of these demantoids as well, we are proud and privileged to offer this unique lot of gems cut from a modern day classic find: world-class demantoids from Madagascar.
This "modified trilliant" brilliant is an important gem. It is the largest type of this quality from the stash that I was shown at Munich, and it is perfect for a display, investment or jewelry. Bright and nearly eye-clean (the camera picks up more than the eye does), and we can't emphasize enough the wonderful, almost neon-like brightness and color. Choice stone for the connoisseur. From the cherry-picked collection assembled during several years of excavation by Dr. Federico Pezzotta, discoverer of Pezzottaite and the man who handled the most of these demantoids as well, we are proud and privileged to offer this unique lot of gems cut from a modern day classic find; world-class demantoids from Madagascar.
From amazing new finds of 2009-2010, this piece features glassy and gemmy, richly green, demantoid crystals to 8 mm across. The crystals cascade nicely across the matrix for a dramatic display. They are particularly gemmy, even for this find. The white matrix was actually limestone which has been, amazingly, metamorphosed (metasomatized) into garnet in ancient geological time. Incredible origins for a matrix garnet specimen, and yet another reason to value this new deposit so highly. It is not certain at the moment that much more can come out of here, for various reasons. See here for more information on this find: http://www.irocks.com/Demantoid_Garnet_Topazolite_Garnet_Madagascar_Garnet.html.Joe Budd Photos
Demantoid garnet is among the most rare of the group, particularly in large display specimens. The few pieces recovered from Italy go for fantastic prices, and only a few have been available of a high level, in any case. They also tend not to be nearly so gemmy as those from amazing new finds of 2009-2010. This piece features glassy and gemmy, richly green, demantoid crystals to NEARLY AN INCH (2.3 cm across). The crystals run nicely across the middle of the matrix for a dramatic display. They are particularly gemmy, even for this find. Although most crystals are around 1 cm, plus some insignificant druses of smaller, that big crystal in the middle is nearly an INCH, making it one of the largest single crystals on matrix I have personally seen amidst seeing much of the top production from here. This piece came from Dr. Federico Pezzotta, a well known exploration and research mineralogist who does much work in Madagascar. He helped advise miners and was early on the scene to bring this material to market, handling most of the best pieces (perhaps, all the best). This is a significant, large, museum piece. The white matrix was actually limestone which has been, amazingly, metamorphosed (metasomatized) into garnet in ancient geological time. Incredible origins for a matrix garnet specimen, and yet another reason to value this new deposit so highly. It is not certain at the moment that much more can come out of here, for various reasons. Joe Budd Photos
This specimen is from the finds of 2009 in Madagascar, from a dangerous, mangrove-covered deposit that floods for most of the day during the collecting season there. While many came out, briefly, we feel this deposit will be short lived. This is a stunning small miniature or large thumbnail (a "toenail"), one that was held back until recently, by one of the sources. This piece features large, glassy and gemmy, grass-green demantoid crystals, measuring 1.75 cm in length, stacked together on a thin shard of matrix. This is a superb example for the size range, and features garnets of a quality that, if from the old classic locale in Italy, would be priced with another "zero" in the price. Such rich specimens were uncommon even in this find, as many as there were in the first tranches. Further production here declined in 2010 and I expect to continue at only a modest pace compared to the easier pickings of the first year. For more information, see our update from 2010, here: http://www.irocks.com/Demantoid_Garnet_Topazolite_Garnet_Madagascar_Garnet.html. Joe Budd photos
Rosario Mabel claim, Pampa Blanca, Castrovirreyna Province, Huancavelica Dept., Peru
Small Cabinet, 6.5 x 6.0 x 5.0 cm
A rather fine garnet, from an unusual locality! We have seen small, unimportant crystals, and a few big isolated crystals, but this piece is the best I have yet seen from the mine. It features sharp crystals with good luster, to 1 inch. They are isolated and contrasted on the matrix. From a small pocket found in late 2010. Joe Budd photos
This extremely rare large plate has at least 100 crystals, many exceeding 1 cm. This is flashy and bright, with incredible coverage. Out of the whole find, perhaps under a dozen specimens had so many crystals on one plate, I have been told by my own sources who are close to the material; and have seen nearly all that came out. This plate has the deepest green color for the find, with no tinge of the brown hue that infringes on the quality of some demantoids from here (those that do not cross over to the "topazolite" variety of garnet, anyhow). The matrix is heavier than you might expect because it too, is garnet - altered in a rare event called metasomatism where the limestone host rock was replaced by garnet in micro-scale. This is a dramatic example for the size range, and features garnets of a quality that, if from the old classic locale in Italy, would absolutely be priced with another "zero" in the price. Such rich specimens were uncommon even in this find, as many as there were in the first tranches found. The locality is downright dangerous, and collecting is under appalling conditions. Needless to say, the recovery of fine larger pieces is all the more difficult here. Further production here declined in 2010 and I expect to continue at only a modest pace compared to the easier pickings of the first year. For more information and location photos, see our update from 2010, here: 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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