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Erongo Mountain, Usakos District, Erongo Region, Namibia
Small Cabinet, 8.5 x 4.8 x 4.6 cm
A dramatic 7 x 2.2 x 2 cm aquamarine here looks like it is about to leap off a well-trimmed matrix of schorl and albite. The piece is, for the size range, one of the most dramatic I saw of this new lot for those who like simple, stark dominant-crystal aesthetics. The aquamarine is freestanding on half its length, and is complete all around. It is nearly pristine with just the tiniest bits of edge wear (I am told this is from the difficulty of collecting these while having to hang upside down). It has the most robust deep blue color I have seen before in an Erongo specimen, with a translucent and deeply colored body and a gemmy termination atop. The intense color, and large size, combined with lustre and a contrasting schorl association, all conspire to make this a special pocket considered by those who saw them recently at the Denver show to be among the best aqua finds here in about a decade of quite sporadic aquamarine mining.
Erongo Mountain, Usakos District, Erongo Region, Namibia
Cabinet, 10 x 8 x 6 cm
A whopping 10 x 3 x 2.2 cm crystal, doubly-terminated, sits astride a cluster of fat schorl crystals (on albite core matrix). This crystal is HUGE for the locality, and has the robust deep blue color of this new pocket.. It is actually complete all around, and has both terminations, though with a small bit of edge wear on one end (very minor) and a bit of contacting where it grw against something, on the smaller and tapered end. It has the most robust deep blue color I have seen before in an Erongo specimen, with a translucent and deeply colored body and a gemmy termination atop. The intense color, and large size, combined with lustre and a contrasting schorl association, all conspire to make this a special pocket considered by those who saw them recently at the Denver show to be among the best aqua finds here in about a decade of quite sporadic aquamarine mining. This would be a dramatic specimen from ANYwhere, of course. The schorl association, and the size of the crystal, make it a major example from this find.
Little 3 Mine, near Ramona, San Diego County, California, USA
Miniature, 4.3 x 2.7 x 2 cm
Spessartine from this small mine in rural San Diego County has mesmerized the world for years and is , by many, considered to be the world's best of species for combination of sharpness, color, lustre, and association. The best, like this piece, look like fake golfballs made of leaded orange glass. Pieces like this were mined by Louis Spaulding Sr., perhaps through the early 1970s. This quality has not been found since despite much effort and cost. This matrix of albite has formed like soft hands holding in their middle a sharp single crystal measuring 2.5 x 2 cm. The crystal is 1.5 cm thick in places. Although remarkably pristine and complete on the front display face, it is admittedly contacted/damaged on the backside. However, for this deposit, not only is the crystal of large size, but it miraculously does not have the fractures and solution-etching erosion so commonly seen on garnets from the mine. As with nearly all such combo specimens from here, the schorl is more a color association than anything, and I do not mind here some damage (it is not terminated) to the schorl. Most larger garnets of this size have one or the other, or both , problems, due to the active environment here which fractured and then crushed many specimen pockets. The cracking mars the color and lustre, and makes truly beautiful specimens (not just representative) all the more uncommon. This crystal is breath-taking in its fiery color and intensity. I can say this fairly confidently, having seen 5 of what are thought to be the best of them in the Smithsonian and in several private California collections (and one nice Colorado collector's, as well!). This miniature is STUNNING. it literally glows with color. but more than that, the sharp form and lustre make it world class, for a locality occurrence. Joe Budd photos
Urucum Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Large Cabinet, 16.8 x 16.0 x 14.3 cm
This is a large, impressive specimen of Morganite (pink beryl) from THE classic old find in Brazil, dated to 1965. The story of this find is related on page 200 of the book Gem & Crystal Treasures. Few specimens recovered had complete crystals on matrix, and of such transparency. Few have complete hexagonal form not overgrown by ugly matrix. Few are this size and condition. Few are in an aesthetic quality for the advanced collector. This crystal shows sharp hexagonal form, excellent color, bright luster, and transparency. And, it stands straight up from contrasting black matrix of tourmaline that accentuates the pink color and sharp form. These are highly sought after, and to obtain a freestanding single of this size on matrix should be considered a rare chance. Price on Request. Joe Budd Photos.
Erongo Mountains, Namibia
Cabinet, 11.2 x 9.6 x 8.6 cm
A stunning, 3-dimensional, ball of beautiful and lustrous schorl crystals perched like an imporbable stack of cards upon a small pedestal of crystallized smoky quartz! VERY unusual for the quality and aesthetics! This is one of my favorites of the many schorls here.
Pala Chief Mine, Chief Mountain, Pala District, San Diego Co., California, USA
Cabinet, 13.5 x 6.0 x 5.3 cm
A large, towering, complex tourmaline crystal from this small locality, worked mainly in the early 1900s. This crystal is very complex and interesting, cityscape in its form, though it is sadly unterminated. Still, it displays well and was a nice locality piece for this collection 600 grams
Lookout Mine, Ramona District, San Diego Co., California, USA
Miniature, 4.4 x 1.9 x 1.5 cm
Two cute schorl crystals, jet black, and beautiful for it. These are complete all around and well temrinated on their tops. One crystal shows a dislocation-offset, caused by pocket movement during the crystal growth. The effect is that the little portion atop looks like a top hat, being lifted up. Very cute set! Dimensions are for larger crystal, as given
Cryo-Genie Mine, Warner Springs, San Diego County, California, USA
Miniature, 4.6 x 2.8 x 2.8 cm
An unusual goshenite specimen from this briefly-mined claim, now sadly exhausted (at least for practical purposes, and without a lot of dynamite). The CG produced a huge variety of gem crystals in its brief lifetime in the late 90s and early 2000s, among them this fine miniature from the "goshenite pocket" . A stoudt single crystal is accented by schorl tourmalines here. Unusual!
Shigar Valley, Skardu District, Baltistan, Northern Areas, Pakistan
Small Cabinet, 5.5 x 2.8 x 2.5 cm
Stunning clarity, highest lustre, and a crazy-sharp pointy termination make this just a top-of-the-class example of Pakistani aquamarine. This piece exemplifies the qualities you want in such a mineral specimen. It is a fantastic quality crystal, with just the right amount of accenting matrix. The termination is a very rare style, compared to the normal basal hexagonal termination seen in most specimens from here. One looks at the piece, and it just looks carved, it is so sharp. Out of thousands, you seldom still see one of this quality. I cannot rave about it highly enough. This is simply one of my favorite miniature sized specimens I have ever owned. It looks so sharp, it must be carved. From the longtime private collection of dealer and collector Ken Roberts of Tucson, widely known for his superb taste and a radar for finding good things. Joe Budd photos
Skardu District, Baltistan, Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas), Pakistan
Small Cabinet, 7.0 x 6.3 x 5.0 cm
I am not normally "gungo ho" about schorls, but this piece has a composition, a brightness and sparkle to it, that overall makes it stand out. The schorl has exceptional luster and a superb, polished-looking termination. It is in stark contrast to its companion quartz in color and symmetry. The piece is complete all around, and displays dramatically. An old piece, recently exchanged to me from a collection. Joe Budd Photos.