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, remote location, and the hard rock mining. It is a great story, how these are collected. This remote locality is REALLY HARD to collect at, and the collecting season is short. Collectors must drop in by helicopter, rappel down, and collect off the precarious cliffs here. Thus, as you can imagine, good specimens are few and far between and most has minor damage (as this one, does, as well in a few spots). This is a fine, representative specimen, dominated by two complex Pyrite crystals which are accented by sharp, attractive Quartz crystals. The two large Pyrites are 5 cm each, and they have very good luster and striated faces. The largest Quartz is 4.2 cm. The piece looks good from all angles. As is often the case with brittle Pyrite, there are fractures in the piece. They simply cannot be helped in the mining process. Overall, the aesthetics and quality are very good on this specimen, and it is one of the few I have seen recently that are more than just representative examples in this size and price range.
Dal'negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Far-Eastern Region, Siberia, Russia
Small Cabinet, 7.3 x 5.5 x 4.8 cm
This is a very good combination piece from the famous mining district of Dal'negorsk. The quality, mint-green, modified cuboctahedron of Fluorite is 3 cm across. Aside from a beautiful fluorescence, the crystal exhibits preferential faces - the cubic faces are smooth and glassy while the octahedral faces are finely stepped and translucent (yet still good enough to hint at gemminess below). There is a small cleave towards the back side, but it does not affect the display view at all. The subhedral Calcites have a bright fluorescence, and the matrix is covered by many dozens of 2 mm, needle-like Quartz crystals.
Mundo Nuevo Mine, Pasto Bueno, Pampas District, Ancash Department, Peru
Small Cabinet, 9.3 x 8.4 x 4.7 cm
An epimorph specimen of Hubnerite on Scheelite from the famed Mundo Nuevo Mine of Peru. The bladed, mm-size, blood-red Hubnerite crystals have encrusted (epimorphed) on octahedral Scheelite crystals. The Scheelites range up to 1.2 cm in size. The whole plate is composed of 2 mm Muscovite rosettes and gemmy Quartz crystals, both of which are fluorescent. It is quite intriguing that the Quartz crystals take two habits: elongated prisms up to 3.4 cm (that one is doubly-terminated) and a complex tabular crystals that are quite gemmy. This is an outstanding combination piece with no lack of mineralogical interest and aesthetics. Art Soregaroli edited the magnum opus book on Peru mineral specimens, and this is from his prized collection of miniatures and small cabinet sized Peru pieces, most of which he obtained himself down there in the 1980s and 1990s.
Casapalca Mine, Casapalca, Huarochiri Province, Lima Department, Peru
Small Cabinet, 8.8 x 8.0 x 3.6 cm
Bournonite is a highly sought-after sulfosalt originally found in Cornwall. These splendent, silvery Bournonite crystals have an excellent metallic luster and reach up to 2.3 cm across. The crystals are tabular to blocky, and the surface texture is highly variable, depending on which face it is. Interesting. The cluster is nestled among Quartz crystals on a plate of solid, crystalline Quartz, with a few sulfide scattered in and about. Art Soregaroli edited the magnum opus book on Peru mineral specimens, and this is from his prized collection of miniatures and small cabinet sized Peru pieces, most of which he obtained himself down there in the 1980s and 1990s. For Peru, this is much better than it would be from other locales, compared to others of its origin. The quartz in this case really offsets the bournonite nicely and takes this up a level. At first glance it LOOKS ENGLISH! But the quartz is too good. And, if old and English, it would be more like $7500-10,000 valuation.
Morro Velho mine, Nova Lima, Iron Quadrangle, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Cabinet, 13.0 x 12.5 x 6.0 cm
This is a first-rate combination piece from Morro Velho, the world's oldest continually producing gold mine, which started in 1725. The flattened rhombs of Siderite are almost discoidal, and the crystals are gemmy, lustrous, and golden-olive in color. The Siderites range up to about 1.8 cm across, and they are interspersed with colorless and lustrous Dolomite crystals that reach up to 1 cm on edge. The translucence of the Dolomites creates a gray tint in the crystals, and many of the rhombic edges are frosted white, which is quite an attractive effect. The combination of the two carbonate species together is not unusual since they are both part of the same mineral series, although the aesthetics of the mix really IS unusual! And if that wasn't enough, all the Siderites and Dolomites are nestled among and below excellent Quartz crystals that rise like sharp mountain peaks above the specimen. Inevitably, all those sharp edges to the rhombs lend themselves to some edge wear, and there is some, but it is not significant and blends right in to the complexity of the piece. The overall aesthetics are outstanding.
Beautiful cluster of bladed Azurite, in combination with Quartz (unusual for Tsumeb), and excellent green Mottramite. The Azurite, certainly one of Tsumeb's most desirable minerals, has superb luster and equally great color and light transmission. Better than you normally see, for sure. The largest blade is 3.9 cm tall, which is a significant size. As you often see on the Azurites, there is a little bit of edge wear, but it really has little effect on the overall aesthetics, which are excellent. The pics tell the story pretty well here.
Pachapaqui District, Bolognesi Province, Ancash Department, Peru
Small Cabinet, 8.0 x 6.0 x 5.6 cm
An aesthetic and classic Pachapaqui, Peru combination specimen consisting of Manganoan Calcite, Pyrite, and Quartz. The Calcites are flattened rhombs, almost tabular in appearance, with a light pink color and soft, very attractive, flat luster. The Calcites rest on a spray of whitish, partially gemmy Quartz crystals up to 1.5 cm. Intermixed with the Calcites and Quartzes are lustrous, modified Pyrites up to .5 cm. Everything is in very good condition. This combination is classic, and it is BEYOND aesthetic because of the wreath-like configuration of the Calcites. Just an outstanding specimen! Art Soregaroli edited the magnum opus book on Peru mineral specimens, and this is from his prized collection of miniatures and small cabinet sized Peru pieces, most of which he obtained himself down there in the 1980s and 1990s.
Messina Mine, Messina, Vhembe District, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Cabinet, 11.5 x 4.7 x 3.5 cm
The Messina mine is home to a unique and beautiful occurrence of these bright blue Ajoite-in-Quartz specimens. The saturation of the minute Ajoite inclusions (a mineral very rare from other localities and seldom concentrated) creates these lovely blue clouds floating within the terminations of the Quartz crystals. The crystal is complete all around and has a moderate amount of inclusions. It has a fine termination, excepting only a very small ding and some natural contacting on two side faces. There is even a Hematite phantom within the crystal, as well as a small amount of Copper. This is a fine, colorful example of these rare, and highly desirable, specimens. This is old material from several decades ago.
Small Cabinet, 6.2 x 5.8 x 5.3 cm (Crystal), 10.67 ct (Gem)
6.2 x 5.8 x 5.3 cm (Specimen); 10.67 carat; 15.54 mm x 14.04 mm (Gem) - This is a different kind of rough and cut set because it actually features TWO mineral species associated together in both the specimen and gemstone representations. The specimen of Apatite is from Panasqueira, Portugal and hosts typical hexagonal pale-greenish crystals measuring up to 1.6 cm with good luster and striated faces which is associated with/growing atop translucent Quartz crystals. The gem side of the set is a reverse negative of the specimen as it features a WATER-CLEAR faceted "Cut Corner Triangle" gem of colorless Quartz that is included with a single greenish-blue hexagonal crystal of Apatite frozen inside from Minas Gerais, Brazil. You don't really see sets like this, and it's truly an unusual way of putting together a rough and cut, but I think it's unique and interesting.
Miniature, 5.3 x 2.1 x 2.0 cm (Crystal), 8.15 ct (Gem)
5.3 x 2.1 x 2.0 cm (Specimen); 8.15 carats; 11.84 mm (Gem) - A great "inclusion" rough and cut set that features lovely green acicular "needles" of Actinolite inside of colorless WATER-CLEAR Quartz. Both the crystal and the gem shows the same material, and these pieces obviously must have come from the same discovery due to their similarity. The gemstone has a fairly basic "Round Step" cut on it, but the Actinolite "needle" is positioned so it's dead center, and when viewed directly from above the table, the needle is reflected on all sides of the gem like a kaleidoscope. It's very difficult to illustrate this in the photos, but it's easy to see in person. The crystal is a single hexagonal prism of Quartz with several "wispy" Actinolites included near the base.
Miniature, 4.6 x 2.7 x 2.3 cm (Crystal), 6.40 ct (Gem)
4.6 x 2.7 x 2.3 cm (Specimen); 6.40 carats; 12.28 mm (Gem) - This set includes a classic crystallized specimen of the famous pink Rose Quartz specimens from the Sapucaia Mine, Galileia, Minas Gerais, Brazil which is fillied with fine, sharp, lustrous, gemmy, to WATER CLEAR hexagonal crystals with a superb pink hue. The accompanying stone is from Madagascar and is a lovely pink "Trillion" with a soft velvety interior, typical for Rose Quartz gemstones.
Miniera Gambatesa, Reppia, Val Graveglia, Liguria, Italy
Miniature, 5.5 x 5.0 x 4.5 cm
Abundant, tan, micaceous aggregates of <1mm ganophyllite form the lining of much of an open space filling along with translucent to milky white quartz crystals with a breccia serving as the matrix. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
Sao Geraldo do Baixio, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Small Cabinet, 6.6 x 6.5 x 6.0 cm
A big, gorgeous, complex crystal of Smoky Quartz from Brazil. The faces have a superb, glassy luster, and the Quartz is quite gemmy with internal crazing near the core. This crystal has superb form, and is very 'Herkimer-like'. It is contacted along the bottom, of course. Perhaps the finest aspect of this crystal, in addition to the great luster and gemminess, is the three-pointed termination, which is exceptional in every way. It is almost mind-blowing how aesthetic this particular crystal is, and the condition is excellent. The actual specimen is much better than the pics indicate.
Cruzeiro mine, Sao Jose da Safira, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Small Cabinet, 9.0 x 4.5 x 3.3 cm
From the famous Cruzeiro Mine of Brazil, this beautiful specimen is centered on gemmy Elbaite Tourmaline crystals that have excellent, saturated green color. The luster on the prism faces and terminations is superb. The largest Elbaite is a bit over 8 cm, and remarkably, it has a totally gemmy, doubly-terminated Tourmaline embedded right in the termination. All these Elbaites sit on, or within, a doubly-terminated Quartz crystal. It is possible that the small bit of overhanging tourmaline at bottom, about 9mm worth of the tip, is repaired - there is a slight internal fracture and it is not clear if it goes all the way through. The aesthetics of this combination are really mind-blowing and unlikely! Comes with a custom base.
Yaogangxian Mine, Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China
Small Cabinet, 5.5 x 5 x 2.5 cm
Classic for the famous Yaogangxian Mine, this specimen features an intricate, sharp Fluorite crystal to 3.6 cm across. This lustrous, gemmy Fluorite has a riveting, deep purple phantom just under the surface of an otherwise clear to light seafoam-green crystal, which makes this specimen really stand out from the crowd of Yaoganxian pieces out there. Pristine and transparent, it is an exceptional piece, and is frankly much better in person as the luster and gemminess together are hard to photograph. Excellent fluorescence.
Sub-Rosiclare Level, Davis/Deardorff Mine, Cave-in-Rock Dist., Illinois, USA
Small Cabinet, 9.2 x 8.6 x 8.1 cm
This is one of the older mines in the district from which we see very few specimens preserved, and from which the sparkling white quartz is treasured. And yet, this is perhaps the most interesting specimen I have seen from here over many years. A brilliant, white quartz druse forms the matrix for disparate clusters of splendent, black crystals of sphalerite, to 1.2 cm in length, which also exhibit the occasional red highlight. Scattered on both the quartz and sphalerite crystals are lustrous and translucent, lavender colored fluorite cubes, to 8 mm across. Most of the fluorite crystals have a thin quartz layer covering some faces. This is on its surface, a stunning combo specimen that is just super sparkly and bright! However, there is more...turn it around and you can see the clear form of the quartz replacing large and robust blades of barite. Mined in the 1950's and from the collections of Jimmie Dufoe and Ross Lillie. RCL# 0120. Ross notes that he bought this in 1999 and valued it in 2007 at $3500, by the way, (on the back of his label) indicating the significance he felt this piece had in context of the district. As well, it has a special yellow sticker denoting it was in a nearly-completed deal to sell part of this collection to the Chicago Field Museum. All in all, one of the most unusual specimens in the collection, in our mutual shared opinions.
This is a rare calcite inside an amethyst geode, from this ancient and classic locality. We do not see many on the market today. Idar remains today, even after the exhaustion of its famous crystal deposits, the center of world lapidary skill and craftsmanship. Emplaced aesthetically on slightly amethystine quartz is a lustrous and translucent, golden amber colored calcite crystal measuring 4.5 cm in length. A few smaller calcite crystals also adorn the quartz. This is an old classic, and very rare on the market. From the Cynthia Payne calcite collection.
Rough claims 3 and 4, Kechika River, Sifton Pass, Liard Mining Division, British Columbia, Canada
Miniature, 2.5 x 2.5 x 1.75 cm
Originates from the type locality and is a co-type specimen! A member of the Hollandite Supergroup, this miniature consists of white barite matrix with black veinlets of this rare barium titanium vanadium oxide Ex. Basil R. Halhed and Paulo Matioli collections.
Mina Velha, Morro Velho, Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Cabinet, 9.0 x 6.0 x 5.5 cm
Visible gold from this classic local! A dolomitic matrix with pyrrhotite and arsenopyrite hosts a white quartz vein, with minor siderite, within which a 1.5mm, well-formed gold crystal resides in a vug with euhedral quartz and dolomite-siderite crystals accompanied by a vibrant, orange-red scheelite crystal. Great association specimen and nice gold crystal for Morro Velho. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
Big Fish River, Dawson Mining district, Yukon Territory, Canada
Miniature, 4.5 x 3.0 x 1.5 cm
Approved in 2008. A very good specimen with great associations from the type locality! A matrix piece with several colorless to white, translucent to transparent, well-formed crystals of bobdownsite to 1.5cm with excellent pearlescent luster. For added interest and contrast, there are lustrous, dark, teal blue, kulanite crystals as singles and 2.5mm lamellar clusters along with abundant, white aggregates of nahpoite to a few mm. Well-formed arrojadite (KFe) crystals to 1mm are also situated strategically on the piece. From the late 1990's. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
A rare specimen of schneebergite and nickelschneebergite that represent new members of the Tsumcorite Group as of 2002, and represent the bismuth analogues of cobaltlotharmeyerite and nickellotharmeyerite, respectively. They occur as pale brown microcrystalline crusts in small dissolution vugs replacing a primary sulfide or sulfosalt in quartz matrix. This specimen originates from the type locality in the historic Roter Berg District, Schneeberg District, Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany. Ex. Paulo Matioli collection.
Wheal Carpenter, Fraddam, Gwinear-Gwithian, Cornwall, England, UK
Miniature, 3.5 x 3.0 x 1.5 cm
A rich, classic, specimen of botryoidal, green cornwallite in a boxwork, matrix with quartz, granular massive barite, and goethite from Wheal Carpenter, Fraddam, Gwinear-Gwithian, Cornwall, England, UK. Cornwallite is the arsenate analogue of malachite. British Museum of Natural History label indicating it was collected by Arthur Kingsbury in 1952 and verified via XRD by Mike Rumsey in 2007. A nice specimen with good provenance. Ex. British Museum and Paulo Matioli collections.
A highly desirable specimen from one of the great, iconic finds of Quartz of all time! Originally discovered in the 1960's by a mineral collector/dealer, these Smoky twins remain one of the most impossible-to-obtain of all American finds. This twin has a brilliant luster, great gemminess, and elegant striations that add interest and brightness. These Smokies are notable for their aesthetics, uncommon habit, and sheer rarity. This pocket of Smoky, Japan Law-twinned Quartz represents the finest American occurrence of both "open" and "closed" twins from the same pocket (this piece shows a closed twin with great chevron twin planes!). Closed twins are more rare, worldwide, than open twins of this habit. The left side is contacted but it displays well anyhow. I have seen only a few of these for sale in last few decades and this is a fine miniature.
Kavalerovo Mining District, Primorskiy Kray, Far-Eastern Region, Russia
Small Cabinet, 6.6 x 3.3 x 3.0 cm
Primorskiy Kray is justifiably famous for its outstanding suite of minerals, not the least of which are the incredible and diverse Fluorites. Mines names such as Dal'negorsk and Kavalerove bring these images to mind. The Fluorite here is a sharp, mostly complete, 2.9 cm (on edge) octahedron, sitting on white to clear Quartz crystals. The Fluorite is frosted, has an enchanting mint green color (with the tiniest hint of blue), and an incredible fluorescence. It is even decorated with single, micro crystals of Pyrite that look like golden snow. Simply put, the aesthetics are outstanding.
A SUPERB, incredibly sharp cluster of lustrous blades of Wolframite from old mining here back in the 1990s. The blades range up to 5.5 cm long and 2 cm wide, and the edges, seemingly beveled in appearance, are super-sharp. Associated with the Wolframite are crystals of Arsenopyrite up to 5 mm, Pyrite up to several mm, and small, subhedral Muscovite. The entire cluster has a Quartz crystal as a core. The only blemishes on the piece are small areas of contact, possibly from Muscovite. The overall geometry, balance, and aesthetics are very good, as you can see. For the size, it is among the best I have seen in terms of quality.
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!
Tongren Mine, Wanshan District, Tongren Prefecture, Guizhou Province, China
Small Cabinet, 8.4 x 5.2 x 4.7 cm
A superb, unusually sharp, 2.5-cm-long pair of Cinnabar PENETRATION twins sitting perfectly on contrasting matrix of Quartz and Dolomite. Seldom do you get such a nice display on one of these twinned crystals, which generally were found in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The adamantine luster is first-rate, and the consistency of color is outstanding. The secondary set of crystals is not as perfectly developed, but nonetheless this is a fine combination piece with a sharp main set of crystals perched against sparkling matrix. Old material from the late 1980s, or early 1990s.
Main Stope, Sweet Home Mine, Mount Bross, Park Co., Colorado, USA
Cabinet, 12 x 5.6 x 1.5 cm
The Sweet Home mine is famous for its Rhodochrosite specimens, but it has produced some very fine Fluorites, as well. This Cabinet specimen is dominated by at least a hundred eye-catching, sky-blue Fluorite cubes that average 2-3 mm in size. Many are perched on the frosted, sharp Quartz needles, creating a dramatic combination. These Fluorites are actually gemmy and zoned, with faces that are frosted to translucent. There are some Pyrite crystals tucked down amidst the Quartz, as well as some other sulfides, possibly Tetrahedrite among them. This is a choice, inviting association specimen from the mine that produced the world's finest Rhodochrosites. Rare!
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.
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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