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DaGuiShan mine, Hezhou city, Guangxi Prov., China
Cabinet, 11.4 x 7.7 x 6.1 cm
A dramatic fluorite specimen from an unusual locality for me, this piece has special aesthetics. The fluorites, teal blue and multicolored, are perched atop a nice quartz stalk. While flattish/rough in back, the fluorite is actually complete all around. A sparkly druse of microscopic little pyrite crystals adds a glitter effect to parts of the surface. Sharp geometry and color, combined with the quartz perch, really make this stand out. This was found in 2011.
TXI Cement Quarry, Midlothian, Texas, USA
Cabinet, 10.2 x 7.2 x 7.0 cm
I could not believe it when I saw this thing…a GIANT cluster of perfect, pristine, floater pyrite crystals, the largest to 4 cm. The surface has a beautiful, dark patina to it. While I have seen many small pyrites from the Dallas area, I have never seen such a large one in any kind of perfect condition like this. I bought it from a local collector who got it years ago. It is complete all around and, for a Texas mineral, very imposing! Joe Budd photos
La Rioja, Navajun, Spain
Small Cabinet, 6.4 x 5.1 x 4 cm
This deposit has produced thousands of pyrite specimens but, not many as nice as this piece which is outstanding. A single, equant, bright metallic cube of pyrite measuring prceisely 1 inch square sits perched on matrix (possibly stabilized or repaired after coming off in preparation as are most such specimens). This IS from top percentile material for the finds.
Gibraltar Mine, Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico
Miniature, 6.0 x 4.5 x 4.4 cm
A stunning miniature with a 3.5-cm complex crystal cluster atop. This looks like a mountain rising out of a nest of surrounding trees , I think...the single large and sharp, gemmy, cuboctohedron in the middle just risign above the surrounding minutely crystallized fluorite! All perched on a nice mound of crystallized sphalerite and complete all around.
Gibraltar Mine, Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 6.3 x 6.2 x 5.6 cm
A stunning crystal cluster of the deeper green hue from the pocket, perched against a large crystal that is nearly colorless...and both intergrown so complexly that you have to sit and stare to make sure this isn't the same continuous crystal inexplicably changing on us. In person, you can see this is a very 3-dimensional piece. It can be displayed from about 4 different angles to show green on clear or both side by side, as you wish. It is complete all around, save only a contact on the back side and some galena attachments on the back; and totally undamaged.
Gibraltar Mine, Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 8.2 x 7.6 x 4.1 cm
One of the most striking pieces in this find, that I know of, and one of my favorites of all Naicas I have seen, for the startling gemminess of the crystals which show bright pyrite inclusions floating inside; for the perfection of the display face; and the balanced aesthetics and contrast on bright, jetblack sphalerite matrix. This is a superb specimen by any standard, and shows the "classic" cuboctohedral habit of Naica at its best. The lustre and transparency are top class, by any standard. The pyrites make it, though. Also, pieces like this are VERY distinct form earlier finds which had much more prominent galena association and less of the sphalerite. The rich , killer-quality sphalerite that is more common in this pocket is really quite unusual for Naica in any quantity, and with good fluorite in association.
Lavra da Pederneira, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Miniature, 5.5 x 2.4 x 1.8 cm
From a find in 1984, this is a unique tourmaline with PYRITE in association! When do you see that?!The tourmaline is good on its own: It is a VERY impressive gem tourmaline with intense color, as you can see. The pyrite was found covering these, completely, and had to be picked away with small tools. Sometimes bits of tourmaline flake away with the pyrite cap when this is done. I did the work myself and a tiny sliver of the tourm did come off (i repaired it back on to the rear of the termination), but it is completely covered by the pyrite cap in any case...which is loose, and removeable as you wish, as you can see by comparing the top two pics. The pyrite cap itself, that covered the termination, is intact and is removeable so you can take it on and off the tourmie as you wish. A very unusual talking piece, from a single unique pocket!
Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 7.8 x 7.4 x 5.4 cm
A matrix of drusy pyrite and galena is nearly covered by frosted octahedrons of lustrous and translucent, pastel green fluorite, to 2.5 cm across. In person this is a very 3-dimensional and sparkly piece
Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 7.7 x 6.2 x 4.5 cm
Drusy,splendent, brassy yellow pyrite and intergrown, lustrous galena crystals to 6 mm across host several frosted, lustrous and translucent, apple green fluorite crystals to 3 cm acrosss. Small faces on the fluorite crystals are unfrosted and gemmy, which allow the viewer a look into their internal world and creates contrast within the crystal faces.
Small Cabinet, 9.4 x 7.4 x 4.5 cm
Bournonite is very rare at this locality. This is a solid , bright metallic mass of galena crystals to 2 cm across, with varying luster from satiny to splendent. Scattered on the galena are lustrous and translucent, light pastel-purple fluorite crystals, to 1.8 cm across. Small bournonite crystals, exhibiting the classic cog-wheel pattern so desirable, are present on some galena crystals, and reach 1 cm across. Additioinally,there are pods of splendent, brassy yellow, drusy, pyrite. A neat combo specimen, from this old classic locale !
Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 7.3 x 5.6 x 5.5 cm
A matrix of splendent, intergrown, battleship gray galena crystals to 1 cm across, along with a druse of colorless quartz crystals, is the host to tabular crystals of pyrrhotite that have been pseudomorphed to sparkling, brassy yellow pyrite. The original form of the pyrrhotite is preserved nicely! The piece overall is sparkling and bright
Santa Eulalia, Chihuahua, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 5.9 x 4.9 x 4.3 cm
Bladed , tabular crystals to 3.5 cm in length of what was once pyrrhotite, have fomed a lovely flower like arrangement. Brassy yellow pyrite has replaced the original pyrrhotite. Old classic!
Mina Maria (Vieja), Puerto de Cananea, Sonora, Mexico
Small Cabinet, 6.6 x 6.6 x 5.7 cm
This is a large, well formed, splendent, brassy yellow, cuboctahedron of pyrite. Very minor edgewear is of little consequence visually, though it is present. This is an important historical locality for many species, including such sharp pyrite crystals which were once considered among the most desirable on a worldwide basis. This is a particularly impressive single crystal , for sharpness and symmetry, for Mexico
Mina Washington, Rio Sonora Valley, Sonora, Mexico
Cabinet, 11.9 x 11.4 x 7.4 cm
Fine pyrite specimens, like this one, from this rather obscure old mine near Arizpe, are rare. This is a complete floater octahedron, with no points of attachment, of splendent, brassy yellow pyrite which exhibits dramatic skeletal growth. Every part of this pyrite is finely crystallized. This is a MAJOR, important pyrite for Mexico and something that will jsut leap out on a shelf, in any collection of Mexican minerals. Think about it - you've seen lots of small pyrites, but few of magnitude. This is an old classic, and at 1400 grams in mass, a very hefty one!
Recuerdo Vein, Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Department, Peru
Miniature, 4.7 x 3.9 x 3.5 cm
I love chalcopyrites, a species that I think many people really just ignore sometimes. But this superb, competition-level miniature, is hard to put out of mind once you see it. It is the most mesmerizing example in its size class I have seen for a chalcopyrite, and just glows with color and brilliant lustre. It is as close to pristine as you can ask, especially in a soft species. Probably from older finds in the 1980s or early 90s, as I have simply not seen anything approaching this quality in recent production here. The piece is complete all around, with the crystals perched on and hanging over a thin shard of glittery matrix, covered with minute sparkling pyrite crystals. This is a competition-level miniature worthy of any major collection, despite its "common species."
Mina Maria, Puerto de Cananea, Sonora, Mexico
Cabinet, 10.8 x 9.8 x 7.5 cm
This specimen has a metallic golden brightness to it that looks manmade-brighter and more metallic even than modern Peruvian material can be. It is an old specimen from the collection of the late Dr. Richard Heck. Displayed one way, there is a large twin to the left, and the piece balances standing up like a triangle. Displayed on its side, the large, complex chalcopyrite twin graces the bottom, and smaller crystals rise above it to form a pagoda of sharp, golden-brassy color. So bright is it, that it leaps out of a case as the most metallic mineral in the Heck collection, amongst sphalerites, pyrites, and other species. It is just vividly colorful and brilliantly lustrous. One of the highlights of this fine old Mexican mineral collection. Joe Budd photos.
Volga River, Russia
Small Cabinet, 6.3 x 5.1 x 1.2 cm
This is from a famous fossil deposit of 300-million-year-old Ammonites along the Volga River in Russia (Jurassic Callovian Stage-161 mya). After burial, the original ammonite shell material was partially converted by mineralizing fluids rich in iron and sulfur into pyrite. The sliced fossil now reveals an awesome view of living chambers of the ammonite coated with splendent brassy yellow pyrite. each piece is approx., 6.3 x 5.1 x 1.0 cm, almost similarly sized. This ammonite is Quenstedticeras species. While I do not deal in a lot of fossils per se, I have seen these over the years and this particular set was, to my eye, just incredibly appealing as a dual fossil and mineral specimen with its high quality pyritization and aesthetic balance.
Merelani Mine, Arusha, Tanzania
Miniature, 41 x 37 x 18mm
Pyrite from this mine is extremely rare, and seldom seen. This is the biggest pyrite I have seen , to date, myself. It is crested by a delicate flowering of disclike calcites atop, and is fairly aesthetic. Some minor damage, but still in context a displayable specimen. For the systematic collector of minerals from this mine, or of unusual African minerals, I think this was quite interesting. Sorry about the seemingly high price for a little pyrite...they just ask a lot for these over there, when found! I paid $450 for it myself just to have it. And for that matter, why do we not see many pyrites from Africa, anyhow?
Elba Island, Livorno Province, Tuscany, Italy
Cabinet, 12.5 x 9.2 x 6 cm
Elba is famous for fine Tourmalines, but over the years it has also produced large, very impressive Pyrites associated with Galena. They are highly desired, especially pieces with the combination to sparkling blades of hematite such as this one (found in the 1970s, if I recall). There are three distinct pyritohedrons on Galena matrix. The largest is about 6 cm, and the others between 5-6 cm. Incredible size and quality! The specimen is contacted in the back, but the presentation side is superb. The great form and luster of the Pyrites is dazzling and contrasts with hematite. The pics are good, but Pyrites are hard to shoot. It is even better in person. An amazing specimen for what it is and I usually see these at much higher prices
San José Mine, Oruro City, Cercado Province, Oruro Department, Bolivia
Miniature, 3.9 x 2.8 x 1.5 cm
This specimen is stunning for the species, with unusually distinct, well-formed crystals to 1.5 cm arrayed in an (also unusual) radial cluster on minimal matrix. Usually these are blocky crystals on massive rock, not so displayable. This fine piece, though, is one of the more display-worthy examples of the species I have seen. The leftmost crystal was loose, wiggling, and then came off in handling so is now repaired (as a lock-fit repair perfectly to its original site). The crystals are textbook-sharp in form, and have (as you can see in the photos) translucent golden-colored terminations.
Spruce Claim (Spruce Ridge), Goldmyer Hot Springs, King Co., Washington, USA
Small Cabinet, 6.3 x 3.6 x 3.2 cm
This superb large miniature/small cab specimen features a central pyrite of 2.7 cm on edge, perched in between beautiful gem quartz points. It is a classic combo, and in extremely balanced proportion. There is some very minor wear to the back of the pyrite, but overall it is in fine shape, particularly considering how difficult these are to collect. Dick Jones, a well known collector and dealer, bought this from the mining partnership that ran this remote, difficult to access claim. My own mentor Neal Pfaff collected this as part of a partnership with the Bob Jackson team, probably in the 1980s.
Merelani Mines, Arusha, Tanzania
Small Cabinet, 6.0 x 5.5 x 1.8 cm
This unsual specimen wsa purchased at the Munich show from late 2011 finds, and was the only good example I saw with sharp white, acicular crystals of what was at the time, unidentified. On a hunch, I bought the piece to test it. It was analysed at the University of Arizona and found to be mesolite. Minor diopside and graphite matrix underlays the mesolite clusters. Unusual find for the locality!
Sweet Home Mine, Alma, Park County, Colorado, USA
Small Cabinet, 8.4 x 6.5 x 3.1 cm
At the time of the mining of the Rhodochrosite from this now-closed mine, other species were only seldom encountered. Many collectors at the time, in the mid-1990s, snapped up pyrite and tetrahedrite and the rare apatite when found. This was a piece I bought back in the mid-1990s and sold at that time. It is a brilliant, lustrous plate with sharp 1 cm pyrites on quartz, and a tiny decoration by a small rhodochrosite crystal. Rare for the locality, in this quality and size of specimen. Joe Budd photos.
Terranera Mine, Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Livorno Province, Tuscany, Italy
Miniature, 4.1 x 4.0 x 2.6 cm
A sharp single crystal showing the dramatic and rare twinning in pyrite known as "iron cross." This is a large and sharp example, where it is not subtle at all! This is from the noted Italian collection of Giancarlo Fioravanti. Joe Budd photos.
Huanzala Mine, Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Prov., Huanuco Dept., Peru
Small Cabinet, 7.1 x 6.4 x 3.7 cm
This is a compltely unique specimen which I bought around 2001-2002 from an emailed photo by a supplier (and sold, and recently re-acquired). I have never seen another like it, since. The colors are fantastic! In person, they shimmer and change in lighting, and show multiple hues of rainbow iridescence. Joe Budd photos.