San Martin Mine, Chiurucu, Huallanca, Ancash Department, Peru
Thumbnail, 2.6 x 2.3 x 1.6 cm
Elegance and superior definition make this one of the finer thumbnails I have seen from this mine. This cluster, with lustrous, gemmy blades up to 1 cm, is quite appealing. Being able to easily tell individual blades apart, and to appreciate their rich color and appearance, really makes the quality aesthetics what they are. Many finds here are of clumped, thick groups of crystals. It is fortunate that pieces this delicate have survived, though not nearly as many as we would like. From the mid-1990s.
A beautiful crystal from circa-2010 finds at this very old manganese mining locality in Brazil, with glowing pinkish-red color and a superb front display face. The gemminess and luster is phenomenal here! The back appears to be a very clean and sharp, although there is very minor edgewear in spots, but this is nevertheless a very showy crystal among the top thumbnails of the species, in my opinion. The aesthetics are excellent, and it could almost be cut , rather than mounted as a specimen. Better in person, as well, this is among the finer crystals for the size - I should know, as I handled much of the finds of over $1million worth of this material when it came out. Few crystals in ANY size were so gemmy, and most theat were went straight to the gemcutters before I could buy them at the mine.
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.
Sterling Hill Mine, Franklin, Sussex County, New Jersey, USA
Small Cabinet, 9.0 x 5.9 x 4.7 cm
This one's from the heyday of the Sterling Hill and Franklin Mines before WW1. This specimen, which once was in the Princeton University's Peabody Museum collection, is accompanied by an old label dating to that time. A cluster of lustrous, rich pink-colored rhodonite crystals to 3 cm in length, is associated with minor calcite and franklinite. Only this large crystal is complete, however the accent of the color of the matrix it shoots out from is a nice touch. The historical aspect of this piece is compelling as a USA classic.
An intergrown matrix of splendent, dark gray galena in crystals to 8 mm across, and lustrous, translucent, rose-red rhodonite is highlighted by two rhodonite crystals. The first is a doubly-terminated crystal measuring 1.6 cm in length. The second is a glassy and gemmy rose-red crystal, which measures 1.8 cm in length. These gem rhodonites predate WW1 and come from the early mining at Broken Hill. VERY FEW ever turn up. This is from the historic collection of Herb Obodda.
Chiurucu (Chiuruco) Mine, Huallanca, Bolognesi Province, Ancash Department, Peru
Small Cabinet, 7 x 5.5 x 4 cm
Rhodonite from this mine is deservedly famous, and the specimens are highly desirable when they came with good color and sharp crystals. This is a piece from finds a few years ago that has superb, sharp crystals to 2 cm, in a beautiful spray atop a small cast of matrix. The sheer impact of the color is noticeable from across a room. The color is more red than pink, and would be at the top of the color scale for the material. Much of what you see is more pink, on the market. Also, the luster here is about as good as I have seen for the material in recent years, as it has come from a trickle of pockets mined by hand since the major mining efforts here stopped. So, overall this is a beautiful specimen, in a good size range, with a fair significance for the modern finds here. Joe Budd photos
Morro da Mina Mine, Conselheiro Lafaiete (old Queluz de Minas), Minas Gerais, Brazil
Thumbnail, 1.3 x 0.8 x 0.5 cm
At 4.26 carats, this is a relatively large and clean gemstone from the new finds which came out over about 2007-2009 from this old mine. This cut stone is a rare large example for the species by any previous standard, and they are relatively inexpensive now while the mines are producing in Brazil. When this find is finished, there is no reason why the gems (and crystals) shouldn't shoot higher in valuations. By any previous standard, these are world class for the species and are frankly dirt cheap compared to anything even remotely comparable from the older finds in Australia. Stones such as this exist from older finds, only in extremely limited quantities and astronomical prices. Joe Budd photos
Chiurucu Mine, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Dept., Peru
Thumbnail, 2.8 x 2.6 x 2.1 cm
From the famous 1991 find here, this is a killer thumbnail with large, translucent, lustrous crystals to just over an inch in cluster. Only this find had such large crystals with such sharp, isolated terminations and rich color, though later finds produced more quantity of other styles. Complete all around, and gorgeous. 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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