Uchucchacua Mine, Oyon Province, Lima Department, Peru
Small Cabinet, 5.9 x 4 x 4 cm
Rich cluster of dozens of pinkish red Rhodochrosite rhombs from the well-known Uchucchacua Silver Mine. The rhombs have excellent luster and a very finely stepped habit. Rhombs from here tended to precede the finding of the equally desired scalenohedrons. These rhombs are gemmy to translucent, with the largest being 1.2 cm across. As you might imagine with a carbonate, there are a few bruises, but overall the crystals are in excellent condition, and the aesthetics are very good. The form of crystallization is really quite unusual. Although we see others from this mine with the same shape, usually they are not so saturated in color, and translucent.
An excellent example of the odd "trigonal," twinned habit of Rhodochrosite from the Poudrette Quarry at Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec. This mahogany-red, translucent and complete-all-around crystal is excellent condition, with contacting only on some of the edges. The luster is good, with the faces being finely textured and smoothing out right along the edges, which actually adds quite a bit to the aesthetics. These specimens of flat Rhodochrosite, likely mined in the late 1970's from the alkaline massif of Mont Saint-Hilaire, appear to be contact twins. This one would be considered unusually fine and large for the locality.
Hotazel Mine, Kalahari Mn field, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Miniature, 4.8 x 3 x 3 cm
The Kalahari Mn field has produced its share of great Rhodo specimens. This one rates 'very cool' - a gemmy to translucent .3-.4 cm layer coating a botryoidal matrix. Sandwiched in between is a layer of fine crystalline Manganite. The Rhodochrosite varies from red to pink, and the luster is very good. The color variation is quite attractive, and is usually an indicator of temperature variations as the Rhodochrosite grows. A very interesting, and equally attractive, effect. The largest ball of Rhodo is 2.3 cm across. This is pre-1980 Hotazel - a definite oldie and cutie!
A classic, lustrous, rose-red Rhodochrosite rhomb from the famous early 1980s finds at the Huayllapon Mine, Pasto Bueno, Peru. This striking, stepped rhomb has the typically gemmy, cherry-red, edge rinds and is accented with Quartz and a few small fluorite crystals around the bottom. Gorgeous. Contacted only on a small bit of the back, it is otherwise complete all around. A true classic, as very few of these ever existed to begin with, and they almost never become available nowadays. This pocket is still distinctive today, 20 years later.
This specimen is a classic old mid-1990's-era rhodo, from Peru. Although many came out at the time, few had any aesthetics to speak of. This style of Rhodochrosite with slightly curving rhombohedra and a nice red-pink color, is unique to the mine. Most specimens also had damage, or clunky matrix. Overall, this is a very aesthetic example from the old find. From the Tom Hall collection. Joe Budd photos.
Perched nicely on matrix is a spherical mound of sparkling, light pink rhodochrosite. The spherical or botryoidal mound measures 6 cm across. A very aesthetic locality specimen for the species! Collected prior to 1980, this is from an old Greek collection that was recently brought to market.
Emplaced on a matrix of gray drusy quartz are several elegant spherical aggregates, to 2 cm across, of lustrous, light pink rhodochrosite. Collected prior to 1980, this is from an old Greek collection that was recently brought to market.
A rare locality piece, probably from the early to mid-1950s. Covering all of the underlying matrix is a series of intergrown, lustrous, bright pink rhodochrosite crystals. Ex. The University of Arizona Mineral Collection to me, in their culling down of excess specimens not on display.
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.
A SHARP, beautiful cherry-red, elongated disc-shaped crystal from this small find. Most unusual in form, compared to other worldwide rhodo locales where you may see this habit, but not in such sizeable crystals. This is a particularly fine example for this locality because of the size, good color, overall form, and completeness all around. Both sides shown - it is almost a floater with just a small attachment point on the bottom. Also, the barite association is a novel and nice touch!
This is a rare piece - few matrix specimens were recovered, it seems. This one has fat disc-shaped crystals to 2.3 cm on matrix. They have a thin white coating in some places, that may come off in acid if one wants to try, but I like the softened look of it and the pink hue the thin white coating casts in combination with the red rhodo. Its unusual! Cheaper than it might be because it has minor damage to the left edge of the front-middle crystal.
Another HUGE floater specimen of Chinese rhodo! The form, like the above, is just extremely elongated and unusual for a rhodo. This one is a compound cluster, a floater that is complete and terminated all around, composed of several intergrown crystals. This is a most impressive piece, in person. Again, we have a strange association with what appears to be pegmatitic cleavelandite.
This specimen has impressively large, wine-red crystals of the rare manganese species shigaite, ensconced on attractive, sparkling manganite blades and accented by rhodochrosite. It is from a small 1993 pocket and is said to be one of the best of that pocket. In fact, this was said by Charlie Key himself who brought out the majority of pieces at the time, and then he KEPT THIS PIECE until selling a South African assemblage suite from the collection a few years ago to Harvard, from which this piece came to me because the donor who bought the group kept a few things. An important specimen, this piece at one time was considered one of the world's great specimens for the species and from the only great find for the species. This has changed, only slightly, recently. It still is significant, though others have been found recently of a different style. The new ones are more gracile and fragile-looking (almost like hexagonal red mica blades) although they have a metallic luster and brighter color, whereas these crystals are more robustly 3-dimensional and darker wine-red. Also this matrix association is unique to the 1993 pocket which really did redefine the species in terms of quality compared to anything imagined previously from micros found in Japan. Another example from this famous pocket is illustrated in the F John Barlow Collection book, in his chapter on South Africa, and is also on this website (item T08-68). The specimens were dispersed, as you can see, into the major collectors' hands of the time. Charlie, however, kept a few - among them this one.
This specimen contains what are by far and away among the largest reported crystals of the species, as do other specimens from the remarkable find of 2003 by MSH specialist collector Gilles Haineult. These crystals are to 8 mm in size and are nice and fat as well, with sharp terminations and good luster! Previous examples have usually been at the 1-2mm size level or less! These are off the charts for the species. The matrix was extremely loose in the pocket and so nearly all recovered specimens are thumbnails (from which I cherry picked the best 10 or so back at the time). This was one of the best larger specimens (in terms of XL size and overall coverage) of any I know to have sold, all of which were collected by Haineault in July of 2003. However, I missed out on this particular specimen which went into the MSH collection of James Zigras, from whom I recently obtained it in exchange. The identity has been solidly confirmed and they stand as exceptionally beautiful and significant examples of the species. Matrix associations include superb twinned epidiymite crystals and aegirine.
This is an unusually robust, sharp, and large rhodochrosite from a famous small pocket collected by Ernie Schlichter and friends, if I recall in the late 1980s. The crystals are unique for rhodochrosite, sharply twinned as you can see. Most are wafer thin, and thumbnail-sized. Only a few crystals in the pocket were as robust as this one (to 1.5 cm thick!), and as large. This one was kept by Ernie until sold with his collection, around 2003. It is an extreme rarity both for a Canadian specimen, and for rhodo in general.
N'Chwaning I Mine, Kuruman, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Small Cabinet, 6.4 x 4.2 x 2.5 cm
This style of rhodochrosite came out in the early 1980s and is often referred to as "wheatsheaves". The color can truly be called "cherry red." Here is a relatively large, rolling plate of the gemmy, transparent to translucent crystals on manganese matrix. The lustre is so brilliant in person, it is hard to convey in photos....but it is like glass, in real life. These are beautiful and truly unique rhodochrosite formations, not found anywhere else, and have always gone for a premium since day one. Today, such specimens, especially in this size, are hard to come by on the open market. Although there are a few small dings, this is very nearly pristine on its display face and for the size, an uncommon find. This is one of those original specimens, long in the private collection of dealer Lawrence Conklin.
Uchucchacua Mine, Oyon Province, Lima Department, Peru
Small Cabinet, 7.1 x 6.4 x 3.9 cm
A single sharp crystal to 1.9 cm, perched atop massive alabandite and accented by a sharp rhodo rhomb, make this an appealing display-quality specimen. THIS IS A VERY SHARP crystal, way above average for this already near-miraculous find for the species. This is one of the sharpest pieces I saw - many crystals approaching this size show etching or cracking on the major surface planes. Not this.
Classic material from a classic, but now closed, locality! Rhodochrosite is typically regarded as among the most beautiful of mineral specimens and its legendary color make it a spectacular gem. This is a rather large-sized stone in an attractive marquise cut. The photos, although accurate, don't do this rare collector's gem justice because the camera enhances flaws that the human eye does not spot as readily. It is a super bright jewel of a gorgeous red-pink color. The gem is also exceptionally clean for the species and location (again, given the size, some internal flaws are acceptable. And the over-accuracy of the high-resolution professional photography enhances those small flaws which in person are not so obvious). In sum, this is a very "sweet" stone of exceptional size and quality. A must for any serious rough-and-cut set, or collection of connoisseur gems. They can only go up in value now that the mine is closed, and few large stones of this size were ever available even in its heyday. Cut by Paul Cory.
N'Chwaning II Mine, Kuruman, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Thumbnail, 15 x 11 x 7 mm; 9.41 cts
An absolutely superb and irreplaceable rarity because of its size and quality, this gem dates to the few pockets of large crystals found in 1978-1980. Cut by Spectrum Award-winning cutter Mark Kaufman, this rich red gem is an impressive oval that has remarkable presence in person and more internal brightness than you would expect for often-sleepy rhodochrosite gems. The polish is amazing, highly glassy. Another top quality collector's stone suitable for any sophisticated collector or a rough-and-cut display. Clean and bright and an excellent value in today's market.
Fluorite Raise, Sweet Home Mine, Alma, Park County, Colorado
Small Cabinet, 8.5 x 6 x 4.1 cm
This specimen comes from a unique pocket hit in the late 1990s, featuring small hexagonal APATITES perched on the rhodochrosite, with a bonus of little jewel-like cubic purple fluorites for accent. The three larger crystals reach 2 cm across, and have very good cherry-red color, not the more commonly seen (today) pale, partially-ripe strawberry hue. This specimen has been in a private collection for some time and was recently given to me for sale. I believe their asking price to be very fair in light of recent prices I have seen on specimens remaining with the former miner as they also are buying back specimens in the marketplace for resale now. Comes with custom lucite base. NOTE: I am selling this for a friend and I think he low-balled the price. This is, I feel, a pretty good deal...
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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