Green Monster Mountain, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, USA
Small Cabinet, 8.3 x 7 x 6.3 cm
A phenomenal example of this classic USA locale: this specimen consists of a pair of sharp, very robust, deep-green Epidote crystals with minor amounts of Quartz. A classic, and large for the species, these unusually robust and isolated, well-terminated Epidote crystals from the Green Monster Mountain of Alaska have excellent luster which show definite green fire. Usually, crystals of this size are embedded in jumbly clusters, and often have lots of peripheral edge wear. This piece, however, has the aesthetics you would demand of finer specimens of any kind. It is a fabulous example! The largest Epidote is 5 x 4 x 2.7 cm. The terminations of each crystal has a striking chevron pattern that reflects the twinning within the crystal. World class Epidote specimens have been found in only a couple of places, and in the USA this location is Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. Outstanding collector specimens have been produced from here, not easily, for over a hundred years. However, seldom do you get such aesthetics as this specimen.
Cruzeiro mine, Sao Jose da Safira, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Cabinet, 12 x 9 x 7.7 cm
The centerpiece of this cabinet specimen from the famous Cruzeiro Mine of Brazil is a beautiful and gemmy Elbaite Tourmaline crystal that has an excellent, saturated green color. The luster on the prism faces is superb, with the termination having more of a matte finish. The bottom terminating is crudely terminated, but definitely terminated, making it a DT (Double-Termination). It sits on a sharp and complete Quartz crystal that is near totally gemmy, with one half being glassy and window-like and the other half being frosted and translucent. Sitting as the Elbaite does on this gemmy, doubly terminated Quartz crystal, the aesthetics of this combination are excellent. It is a floater, complete all around on both species' crystals, which is somewhat unusual!
Florence Mine, Egremont, West Cumberland Iron Field, Cumbria, England, UK
Cabinet, 13.5 x 9 x 4.5 cm
Very glassy and lustrous Smoky "Beta Quartz" crystals to 2 cm dominate this choice, old plate from the famous Florence Mine. The Quartz crystals are sharp and in very good condition (nearly pristine except only one crystal) with the unusual habit which I am told reflects high temperature origins. They have clusters of sparkly, black Hematite blades intermixed throughout, and this association adds greatly to the interest and value of the piece. The hematites are sharp and lustrous, much better than the usual style in association of frilly, or tiny, hematite crystals. The matrix is fascinating, being a thin plate of Hematite kidney ore, decorated with bright, sparkly Specularite, no less. This is an excellent, showy representation of a CLASSIC, OLD-TIME specimen from one of the most famous historic locales on the planet. This complex of mines is responsible for the iron age of Britain, and has been mined for specimens for the collector for 300 years. We have seen so many quartz and hematite combination pieces from this district, but this one would really rank highly in quality for the hematite size and luster, combined with the gemminess and quality of the quartz.
Chiurucu Mine, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
Small Cabinet, 8.7 x 6 x 5.5 cm
An excellent specimen with unusually good aesthetics for this material, from a famous 1998 find at this mine. The Rhodonites have a sharp, bladed habit, with the blades reaching a full 2.5 cm in length, though usually not fully exposed due to the roseate arrangement of adjacent crystals. The color is an excellent, rich pink-red, and the luster is equally good. Many of the blades are decorated with totally gemmy, 2 mm Quartz crystals, which add greatly to the aesthetics. From the Soregaroli collection, which was rich in fine Peruvian specimens, this is one of the better pieces I have seen in awhile. Few good ones are on the market now, as they can only come as collections are recycled. It is truly one of the most collectible and colorful of Peruvian minerals.
3rd Level, Panasqueira Mine, Panasqueira, Covilha, Castelo Branco District, Portugal
Large Cabinet, 15 x 6 x 6 cm
A striking combination piece with major minerals of this famous locality being well-represented in association on a very large quartz crystal for this locale. The bluish-grey, hexagonal Fluorapatites have superb luster, are gemmy to translucent, and reach up to 8 mm across. Some even have very attractive, well-formed bevels. The Smoky Quartz is doubly-terminated and quite gemmy. This Quartz is preferentially coated with gemmy, mm-size Calcite rhombs on top of mm-size tan Siderite discs. Mixed in with those are Arsenopyrite and Pyrite crystals. The overall effect of this large specimen is to create a really impressive combination specimen
Sub-Rosiclare Level Davis/Deardorff Complex, Ozark-Mahoning, Cave-in-Rock Dist., Illinois, USA
Cabinet, 10.0 x 7.3 x 5.6 cm
A very old specimen with unique aesthetics, as large quartz crystals are rare from the District and association with fluorite - almost never seen! Possibly mined ca. 1940s to 1950s, this specimen consists of a matrix of stubby, lustrous and translucent, colorless quartz crystals to 1.7 cm upon which a layer of glassy and gemmy, light purple fluorite crystals, to 6 mm across are dripped like sugar cubes. RCL1220.
From a rare location where the drusy smoky quartz is typical of the deposit mined out in the 1930s (and is caused by hydrocarbons within), this specimen features large cubes of lustrous and translucent, purple fluorite, to 4.8 cm across. The fluorite crystals clearly exhibit stepped growth and are emplaced on drusy smoky quartz which grew on a limestone matrix. Discovered in the summer of 2003 in a lucky find at the old mine, this is a highly unusual specimen for the district, and a pretty piece on its own merits. RCL 1364.
Big Fish-Blows River-Rapid Creek Area, eastern Yukon Territory, Canada
Miniature, 4.0 x 4.0 x 2.5 cm
This fine baricite specimen hails from the type locality and famed iron formation-hosted phosphate mineral occurrence in the Yukon. Excellent, well-formed, blue, tabular lamellar crystals of baricite to 1.8cm exhibiting a pearly luster are associated with small, terminated quartz crystals within a milky white quartz vein (possibly associated with bobdownsite). Baricite is the magnesium analog of vivianite. Comes with the original type-written description/label.
Panasqueira Mine, Castelo Branco District, Portugal
Small Cabinet, 8.8 x 3 x 3 cm
Extremely rare! Panasqueraite occurs at only two locations, and these are in the same district. This crystalline, massive Panasqueraite is classic for its habit and tannish-flesh color. The luster is actually very good, and I am told this would be a very rich specimen. The remaining parts of the piece is gray Quartz, bladed but incomplete Wolframite, and Muscovite crystals. This is a first for me to handle, and I am glad to have this extreme rarity. Note the piece is very rich, and could be trimmed into multiple specimens.
Pampa Blanca, Castrovirreyna Province, Huancavelica Dept., Peru
Cabinet, 11.8 x 8.5 x 8 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.
Linopolis, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Southeast Region, Brazil
Small Cabinet, 6.9 x 6.8 x 5 cm
Sharp, quite attractive combination piece featuring a single Smoky Quartz crystal emanating from a single Schorl. The Smoky Quartz, gemmy and lustrous, is pristine and 6.3 cm long. The Schorl has excellent luster and an intriguing termination with very fine hexagonal and circular ripple patterns. Naturally, it is contacted on the bottom. Both individual species, by themselves, are very good, and together they make quite an aesthetic pair.
A MAJOR thumbnail specimen from one of the great, iconic finds of quartz of all time! Originally discovered in the 1960's, these Smoky twins remain one of the most impossible-to-obtain of all American finds. This is an outstanding thumbnail, with brilliant luster, gemminess, and elegant striations that add interest and brightness. These Smokies are notable for their aesthetics, rare habit, and sheer rarity. This Smoky, Japan Law-twinned Quartz represents the finest American occurrence of both "open" and "closed" twins from one pocket (this one shows a closed twin with great chevron twin planes). The fine aesthetics are enhanced even more by the ridge of Feldspar that climbs along the front, and the overall aesthetics are not at all diminished by the little bit of edge wear on the back side. I have seen only a few of these for sale in last few decades. For thumbnail size, and the combination of symmetry and quality of the crystal with matrix to accent it, this one stands out very nicely.
Sub-Rosiclare Level, Davis/Deardorff Mines, Cave-in-Rock District, Illinois, USA
Cabinet, 14.0 x 8.0 x 7.0 cm
A gorgeous specimen of really glassy sphalerites from one of the older mines in the district circa 1950s-1960s (per Ross Lillie label). Perched on corroded galena along with minor quartz, this intergrown plate of splendent black sphalerite crystals, to 1.8 cm in length, exhibits gemmy reddish orange highlights. It is nearly pristine all around, and it reflects light phenomenally in person - much better than indicated in the photos. Mined in the late 1950's or early 1960's.
Rosiclare Level, Shipp & Covert Mine, Lead Hill Area, Cave-in-Rock District, Illinois, USA
Small Cabinet, 8.5 x 7.0 x 3.9 cm
One of the oldest pieces in the collection, this one is subtle and historic, but also beautiful. Aesthetically emplaced on a smoky quartz druse are a cluster of lustrous and translucent, rich lavender colored fluorite cubes, to 2.5 cm across. The second largest crystal has minor damage to a corner but this is still a very nice specimen. According to the Ross Lillie label, this was mined in the 1930's and is an "excellent, aesthetic combination from extremely rare location. Note two generations of quartz. Smoky phase is later and fluoresces due to hydrocarbon inclusions. Also, growth irregularities on spar surface are possible interference from hydrocarbons." RCL 132
Sub-Rosiclare Level, Davis/Deardorff Mines, Cave-in-Rock District, Illinois, USA
Cabinet, 13.1 x 12.0 x 6.5 cm
A beautiful double-sided specimen with sparkling stubby "fingers" of colorless quartz on one side and intergrown cubes of lustrous and translucent, purple-colored fluorite, to 2.2 cm across, on the other face. It is literally two specimens in one - different on each side. The classic rich color and the quartz association are characteristic of older material from this mine, the Deardorff, known for quartz association in a district where quartz is generally quite rare. As well, the quartz on fluorite is rarer still. Although not from the Lillie collection, this specimen is still an old classic, in good shape considering its age and the way these were treated by miners prior to the 1980s or so. A few small corner cleaves do not detract materially from the display view, though they are present. I have been told that pieces like this are from the 1960s or previous, though one cannot confirm this easily.
Silvery, blood-red Cinnabar crystals to 1.1 cm with a silky luster are attractively scattered on the massive, Quartz-coated Cinnabar matrix. The ancient mercury mines at Almaden have been in production since the Roman Age, 2000 years ago. This is an attractive, old-time, rich and hefty mercury ore specimen from this historic district. Classic, very rare material with excellent display qualities for a specimen from such an old industrial mine.
Pasto Bueno, Pallasca Province, Ancash Dept., Peru
Small Cabinet, 6.0 x 5.6 x 3.0 cm
Rarely do I see a hubnerite from this classic mine that makes me stop and stare. Most of them are a bit jaggedly for my taste. Or, they have too much quartz and not enough Hubnerite. This piece has a balanced, gemmy, brilliantly sparkling quartz crystal that accents and balances the crystal itself, pointing in a directing that balances the piece as a whole. It is aesthetic and shiny. This piece is a robust, lustrous, extremely well developed crystal that is complete all around 360 degrees and sharp as you can wish for, from 2012 finds here. Joe Budd photos.
Bedretto Valley, Leventina, Ticino (Tessin), Switzerland
Small Cabinet, 10.0 x 7.5 x 3.5 cm
This is a stunning, elongated quartz crystal in the rare Tessin habit of crystallization, with secondary smaller crystals on matrix. The main crystal is 7.5 cm tall, perfect 360 degrees, and beautifully studded on the back with tiny hematite crystals which accent the gemminess and faces of the quartz itself. The habit is extremely rare worldwide, and superb specimens from this namesake locality are even more so. I exchanged this from a European dealer who got it from the strahler (collector), directly. I have seen only a very few comparable matrix specimens for sale, including recently one in the private collection of the dealership Siber & Siber. Joe Budd photos.
Spruce Claim pyrites are the finest in the USA, and among the finest in the world when at their best. Rarely do we get them with great aesthetics and no damage, though, due to the high altitude and remote location. It is a great story, how these are collected after being dropped off by helicopter - see the book, American Mineral Treasures. Among many that were found, and it is few enough each year in the short mining season, this piece is spectacular for the sharpness and unusual habit of the pyrite and its central and aesthetic perch amidst quartz. The complex pyrite crystal measures 3 cm tall and is so lustrous and reflective that you can see your face in it like a mirror. It is undamaged, though on close glance there seem to be three teeny tiny divots in the crystal face that must be slight growth interruptions or contacts, but do not seem to be breaks. The piece overall is 360 degrees, sparkly, and displays dramatically without excess mass. Joe Budd photos.
This is a pristine display specimen from the heyday of this mine in the mid-2000s. It has sharp, GEM TRANSPARENT smoky quartz crystals on which are perched GEM TRANSPARENT orange garnet crystals. The contrasts, with the light sprinkling of garnet atop quartz and feldspar, are striking. Seldom do you get a plate this size in such condition, and with such black-on-white contrast. The garnets are all gem quality and have more life to them in person than photos tend to ascribe. Cameras just cannot capture the twinkling effect of garnets as they catch the light. This is 360 degrees, and complete all around. This particular specimen was from the personal collection of the son of the family which controlled the main mine here, which I purchased in China in 2013. Joe Budd photos.
This locality has simply been "dry" for the last few years. In 2013, it perked up a bit with renewed mining efforts and produced several pockets. However, only one pocket, with perhaps a few dozen pieces, really was the right quality. This pocket of saturated wine-red garnets, overlaying smoky quartz points, is the best we have seen from here in almost 10 years. This cabinet specimen from that find has zero damage, and a beautiful 3-dimensional spread of sparkling garnet. It is much better in person, as garnets sometimes photograph more flat than they appear. The faces and sharpness of these crystals rank them among the best from the locale. Joe Budd photos.
This is from old finds of the 1970s at this classic locale. Unusual yellowish-colored apatite crystals, to 2.4 cm across, are aesthetically perched on glassy and gemmy, colorless quartz crystals to 5 cm in length. The fluorapatite crystals are among the most unusually colored crystals I have seen from Panasqueira, where most are shades of gray-green-blue or colorless. The overall composition is very aesthetic, as well. Ex. Gary Hansen collection.
A classic from one of the richest Moly mines in history, for mineral specimens - but from which pieces are now seldom seen on the market. Aesthetically perched on a quartz matrix, is a single, large, foliated crystal of molybdenite, 7 cm across. Waxy to the touch and with superior metallic luster, this old-timer is an outstanding example of the species. It is cleanly repaired at the contact of the crystal sheave to the matrix.
Huanggang mines, Keshiketeng, Inner Mongolia A.R., China
Cabinet, 11.7 x 5.4 x 5.1 cm
This specimen is like a rose on a stalk! It features a wreath of elegantly bladed calcite crystals in the shape of a flower, perched atop a 10 cm-long, lustrous and translucent, nearly colorless quartz crystal. The calcites are to 5 cm across. They are pink due to traces of manganese, and fluoresces an intense, neon orange-red color. From mining circa 2011, this was formerly in my own Chinese mineral collection. This one is exceptional, and was in my 2012 museum exhibit at the University of Arizona Museum in Tucson: China's Crystalline Treasures.
Huanggang mines, Keshiketeng, Inner Mongolia A.R., China
Cabinet, 14.3 x 12.3 x 8.6 cm
A trio of aesthetic hedenbergite-included quartz crystals, to 12 cm in length, have grown at odd angles to each other. The crystals are lustrous and translucent and exhibit a grayish green color. The prismatic faces appear to have secondary, micro quartz which gives the crystals a pebbled appearance. The bipyramidal terminations, however are superb and smooth. Very sculptural and dramatic, this one stands out amongst others of this style found in 2013.
Once more common in the market, material from this mine dried up over the last few years. I had bought a private collection in China which had a suite of exceptional pieces collected in the heyday here from about 2002-2007. This was then in my own collection of Chinese minerals. This is a superbly formed, lustrous and translucent quartz crystal, measuring 14.7 cm in length - unusually fine in quality for this location in terms of luster and sharpness. It is studded with hundreds of glassy and gemmy, bright orange-colored spessartine crystals, to 3 mm across. Such large, pristine crystals where both species are of this high quality are almost unheard of, and the locality is effectively mined out. Very dramatic and beautiful! As a bonus, there are small orange gem garnets included INSIDE the tip of the quartz, seen on close inspection.
Taquaral, Itinga, Jequitinhonha valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Cabinet, 10 x 7 x 6 cm
This is a highly unusual specimen with sharp, textbook crystals of an unusual habit for eosphorite! Eosphorite, a phosphate, is an uncommon secondary mineral in phosphate-bearing granitic pegmatites. If you are fortunate, you can find it as clove-colored, gemmy, bladed crystals. Here we have euhedral to subhedral, translucent, dusty-rose Eosphorite crystals from Minas Gerais, Brazil. In fact, the first Eosphorites ever found were this very color. The largest crystal is 1.1 cm across, and the crystals are actually quite glassy, as you can see where they have been exposed. The dozens of Eosphorites here are intergrown with sharp white Quartz crystals, all attached by a drusy Quartz matrix. A very good, representative specimen highlighting the unusual, but original, color and crystal habit of the Eosphorite.
A classic, old-time and superb combination specimen composed of huge Siderite rhombs perched on gemmy Quartz. The iron mines of the famous French locality of Allevard, Rhone-Alpes date all the way back to the 1500's. The brownish, olive-green Siderite rhombs have partially stepped faces and the larger crystals are over 3 cm on edge. They rest on water-clear, glassy Quartz crystals that range up to 3.5 cm. There is some edge wear on the rhombs, but it affects the excellent aesthetics very little.
The ancient mercury mines at Almaden have been in production since the Roman Age, 2000 years ago. This is a showy, old-time, rich and hefty mercury ore specimen from this historic district. Classic and excellent material, rarely seen for sale today! Lustrous, compound, silvery blood-red Cinnabar crystals to 1.1 cm are attractively scattered on the massive, Quartz-coated Cinnabar matrix.
A very fine "floater" of the so-called "mud Quartz" from an Alpine-type deposit in Pakistan. In Europe, these skeletal Quartz specimens are sometimes called "Fenster" (German word for window), due to the fact that the pyramidal and prism faces have a skeletal form that gives them the appearance of a window. The brownish colored "mud" inclusions are some kind of pocket clay that was frozen inside of the Quartz as it was crystallizing. Where there are no inclusions, the Quartz crystals are water-clear, and have sharp, glassy surfaces all the way around. The sceptered termination is about 3.7 cm. A very interesting doubly-terminated, scepter of this unusual material.
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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