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Spessartine on Albite with Smoky Quartz from Little Three Mine, Ramona, San Diego Co., California, USA [http://img.irocks.com/pics/ck3a.jpg]
Little Three Mine, Ramona, San Diego Co., California, USA
Cabinet, 12.3 x 7.5 x 7.4 cm
A really attractive large specimen featuring a classic Little 3 assemblage in decorative arrangement...the smoky in the middle is pristine save for one small contacted face (not damage), and is nicely accented by stark white albite and dozens of glittering little orange spessartines perched on every other species present (quartz, albite, muscovite blades) and even included within the smoky!
Garnet var. Spessartine with Albite from Little 3 Mine, near Ramona, San Diego County, California, USA [http://img.irocks.com/2013-updates/RobC-DEN13/Spessartine-Little3Mine-California-45mm-JB995-04.jpg]
Little 3 Mine, near Ramona, San Diego County, California, USA
Miniature, 4.5 x 4.3 x 3.7 cm
A special San Diego rarity, these beautiful garnets generally date to the Louis Spalding collecting era of the mid 1960s-1970s and are hard as heck to obtain today. Much gemmier in person, this is a well balanced and attractive combo piece from the mine! These are rare specimens indeed, as I know from living nearby for almost a decade. Few collectors, even in San Diego County, own a crystal as large and sharp as this one - most large crystals of this size have crackling in them, rendering them ugly. It is also exceedingly gemmy, much brighter and more lustrous in person than the photo appears. The garnet measures over 2 cm across at widest and 3 cm tall, and is complete and well-formed all around its termination. It is not complete on the rear-left side only, out of sight. This is a MAJOR spessartine miniature for the locality! Most large garnets of this size are cracked and hackly because the pegmatite was so disrupted by movement and by acidic solutions that liked to eat garnets away and leave semi-crystallized messes behind. Ex. Irv Brown Collection. Joe Budd Photos.
Spessartine Garnet on Muscovite from Loliando, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/denv08-41a.jpg]
Loliando, Tanzania
Miniature, 4.2 x 2.7 x 2.1 cm
Despite the vast flood of inferior quality garnets that came out of this place recently, it is still true that sharp, pristine, crystals of good color and size are not as common aspeople think. Most of the best crystals came out in the beginning and wha tis available now , if seen in person, is simply not as gemmy, colorful, and pristine of bruises as what we saw at the recent shows. And, after 8 months now of production, the finest quality sharp orange garnets in matrix remain VERY rare. I ahve seen many almost-rans, but this one is among the best matrix pieces I have had now for overall quality. The color is intense,m the form perfect, and it has no damage at all. The crystal is almost 2 cm tall, and looks like a glowing orange carving on its perch of sparkling muscovite.
Spessartine Garnet with Schorl on Albite from Little 3 Mine, near Ramona, San Diego County, California, USA [http://img.irocks.com/new2011/Garnet-Schorl-43mm-3.jpg]
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
Quartz with Spessartine Garnet from Wushan Spessartine Mine, Tongbei, Yunxiao Co., Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China [http://img.irocks.com/new2011/Quartz-Spessartine-Tongbei-China-8cm-JB453-09.jpg]
Wushan Spessartine Mine, Tongbei, Yunxiao Co., Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China
Small Cabinet, 8.0 x 4.2 x 3.2 cm
Although seemingly common on the market for the last few years, this is a particularly choice piece, with what I felt was uncommonly good aesthetics and balance for its size and price range. The garnets here are bright and sparkling, and have a slightly deeper red color than appears in the photos in halogen lights. The quartz is particularly gemmy ans symmetric, amking for a very striking combination piece - these are sure to be "classics" someday! Joe Budd photos.
Spessartine Garnet (floater) from Navegador Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil [http://img.irocks.com/new2011/stc27a.jpg]
Navegador Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Miniature, 4.2 x 3.4 x 2.1 cm
Beautiful and complex single crystal of the now-famous Brazilian Spessartines. A floater , complete all around ! The luster, form, and gemminess are outstanding. This is an excellent miniature from a now classic find, and impresses in person.
Spessartine from Polk County, Tennessee, USA [http://img.irocks.com/new09/sea58a.jpg]
Polk County, Tennessee, USA
Miniature, 3.6 x 2.2 x 1.8 cm
A 1 cm garnet in schist, from an unusual locality.
Spessartine and Quartz from Wushan Mine, Tongbei, Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China [http://img.irocks.com/2014-updates/MUN13A/Spessartine-Quartz-Tongbei-China-107mm-JB1177-21.jpg]
Wushan Mine, Tongbei, Zhangzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, China
Cabinet, 10.7 x 9.1 x 6.5 cm
Spessartine garnet from this mine has come out in abundance in the past. However, it slowed to a trickle the last few years as a number of the mines on this mountain shut down. I have been there and seen it - it is HARD WORK! One family controlled much of the best mine's production throughout the peak period of the late 1990s through about 2007. This is from their collection, long held back in China until recently sold. It is pristine, complete all around, and just plain "sparkly" with reflecting light from the garnets! Few quartz clusters from here have so much balance and just the right amount of garnet creeping up the cluster without hiding the terminations. It is, all in all, one of the finer examples of its size range and style. Joe Budd photos.
Spessartine Garnet on Albite from Little Three Mine, Ramona, California, USA [http://img.irocks.com/pics/palasd-63a.jpg]
Little Three Mine, Ramona, California, USA
Miniature, 2.9 x 2.7 x 1.8 cm
This is a stunning, unusually large crystal of spessartine for the locality which is miraculously NOT etched all to heck like so many are. It sits on a pedestal of cleavelandite matrix, and is exceptional for its display quality. The crystal is complete all around, though shows a contact on the back where it grew in the pocket against a schorl that left an impression. The crystal, at 1 inch, is as large as all but the few biggest specimens from here evre reached and is remarkable for its pristine form. Most large garnets fro mthis mine were etched in situ and turn into spongy but sparkly masses that are absolutely gorgeous, but retain few of the natural garnet crystal faces the crystal started with. To get a crystal surviving in this condition, so sharp and lustrous, and completely unetched at all, is almost unheard of. If this were on a bigger matrix, it would be treble the price. As is, it is a fine miniature worthy of competition in any collection showcasing US classics or garnet. Within the San Diego collecting community, owning a garnet of this calibre is one of the highlights of any collection. Few can be had, though> This one, Bill Larson obtained in the early 1980s from mine owner Louis Spalding Sr.'s collection.
Spessartine (classic material) from Amelia County, Virginia [http://img.irocks.com/new2010/rlkg186a.jpg]
Amelia County, Virginia
Thumbnail, 7.0 x 5.9 mm ; x 0.82 carats
Next to the vibrant orange Spessartines from the Ramona area of San Diego County, California, the Virginian Spessartines are some of the most recognized orange Spessartines from the United States. Rarely does one see facetted gems of this material. This stone has a very nice, rich orange hue (from a high Manganese content) as is often seen in crystals from this area. The stone is very slightly included with an "Oval" cut. These Spessartines are becoming nearly impossible to obtain in fine quality gems like this one.
Spessartine (interesting locality) from Kashmir, Pakistan [http://img.irocks.com/new2010/rlkg215a.jpg]
Kashmir, Pakistan
Thumbnail, 7.3 mm ; 1.78 carats
Although I haven't seen much of this material, this stone came from a trusted source, so I believe it is authentic. Spessartine occurs in all shades of red and orange, and this particular stone is a nice blending of the two shades. This stone has a "Step Trillion" cut and is only virtually eye clean, with great saturation of color. I've only seen a handful of these very hard to obtain stones from this dangerous area on the Indian border, and this is one of the best quality gems that I've encountered for the material.
Spessartine Garnet (676 grams!) from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-00a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Small Cabinet, 8 x 8 x 7 cm
A 664-gram MONSTER of a crystal, one of the biggest complete crystals we know of from the deposit. It is complete all around and nearly pristine ! It is included with fibrous garnet and some balck mineral, and has a few spots of attached red muscovite matrix attached to small parts of minor faces, but it is nevertheless overall very equant and symmetric and just plain impressive for a big crystal of garnet.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-02a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 4.5 x 4.2 x 4.2 cm
A killer doublet, a floater, complete all around and nearly pristine. The larger crystal atop is 4 x 4 x 3 cm in size and securely penetrates into the bottom crystal for a tight lock. MUCH MORE GEMMY and intensely colored in person, even. Here, in the photos, you can see into the depths of the crystal but they do not convey the full effect.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-03a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Small Cabinet, 6 x 5 x 4.5 cm
This 218 gram cluster is one of a VERY FEW clusters found so far, and a dramatic piece by any standard. It features crystals to 4 cm intergrown, with seams of a strange red mica mixed into the junctions. Complete floater, with terminations all around! This is one of the largest clusters, and one of the best. It is totally unprecedented for a spessartine garnet specimen, to my mind.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-04a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Thumbnail, 2.4 x 2.3 x 2.3 cm
One of our best thumbnails, a SUPER SHARP, fully-terminated, carved-looking "golfball" . This is complete all around, and has intense orange color when backlit strongly. It is more gemmy/translucent in person, as well. Weight is 19 grams
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-05a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 2.7 x 2.5 x 1.5 cm
A "matrixy" specimen featuring an elongated gemy spessartine about 2 cm tall and 1 cm thick perched atop a smaller crystal, backed by a bit of matrix; and with the whole piece a great toenail size in full!
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-06a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Thumbnail, 2.4 x 2.4 x 2.2 cm
One of our more impactful thumbnails for the price, a SUPER SHARP, 2/3 crystal which has even more intense orange color when backlit strongly. It is more gemmy/translucent in person, as well. The piece is contacted where it grew against another crystal on the bottom but is 2.3 complete except for a slight ding in the back of the top termination (hence the low price). Some cutting rough value, I imagine. Weight is 18 grams
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-07a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Thumbnail, 2.6 x 2.3 x 2.2 cm
One of our best thumbnails, a SUPER SHARP, fully-terminated, carved-looking "golfball" . This is complete all around, and has intense orange color when backlit strongly. It is more gemmy/translucent in person, as well. Weight is 22 grams. MUCH BETTER IN PERSON!
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-08a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Thumbnail, 2.6 x 2.6 x 2.5 cm
One of our best thumbnails, a SUPER SHARP, fully-terminated, carved-looking "golfball" . This is complete all around, and has intense orange color when backlit strongly. It is really as good as other top thumbs here except only a slight black inclusion in the bottom 5% - but you have to mount it somewhere anyhow, so this does not really detract too much visually although the price is reduced accordingly. It is more gemmy/translucent in person, as well. Weight is 19 grams
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-12a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 4.0 x 3.5 x 2.6 cm
A super miniature, very showy, with unusual elongated crystals in a cluster. These crystals have particularly good gemminess and you can really, in person, look right down into the crystals! As good as the singles are, these few doublet clusters are MUCH MUCH more rare. 66 grams
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-13a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 4.4 x 4.2 x 4.1 cm
123 grams. Large Miniature! A literal "golfball", sharp and equant all around. These faces are SHARP! The crystal is much more gemmy and translucent in person, and glows intense fiery orange when backlit strongly. For the size, this is unusually well preserved with just a few small dings and one small chip on one tip. It is otherwise free of damage and amazingly symmetrical.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-17a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Small Cabinet, 6.3 x 5.6 x 4.0 cm
A MAJOR specimen with a 5-cm-across crystal, on "matrix" of a smaller crystal and red mica, and weighing 191 grams. This is a REALLY impressive garnet specimen from any locality and for this locale, it jumps out for sheer size and for the nice way the major crystal is perched. Complete, if contacted in back, this makes for one of the most dramatic pieces I have yet seen.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-18a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 5.5 x 4.5 x 4.2 cm
A strangely elongated, compound crystal that weighs 155 grams, this is another major piece from the find. It has intense color, and when backlit just glows orange. The translucency is also fairly good, better than it shows here although not quite as good as some of the best singles. However the orange hue is equal to the top! Clusters of this size, and quality, are more rare though and the size overall makes it very impactful.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-19a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 4.1 x 3.9 x 3.6 cm
100 grams. A golfball-sized, golfball-like, superb gemmy crystal with red-orange color ! It is exceptionally sharp, translucent, and equant. MUCH better in person!
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-21a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 5.0 x 3.7 x 3.0 cm
A rare matrix specimen with two crystals, one to 2 cm, perched isolated on matrix and standing up dramatically from it! 98 grams weight. This piece has the two sharp crystals actually floating in muscovite layers that seem to have covered the bottom of a compound crystal formed previously, into which the crystals atop settled and sunk in a bit. Its very appealing, overall, and again is one of the VERY few matrix specimens we have from here at this time.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-22a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 3.3 x 3.3 x 2.3 cm
One of my favorites, a striking miniature with a mandarin-orange, approximately 1-inch and equant, translucent to transparent crystal, free of internal dark veils, just perched up and popping out from a natural pedestal of a smaller crystal ! Complete all around except for a contact on the bottom where it attached to more matrix. This is one of the VERY FEW clusters of any kind of aesthetic appeal at all! This crystal glows with color when well lit and is one of the best for color, period. For overall 3-dimensionality, this was one of my favorites out of literally hundreds of pieces of the material for all these reasons. 48 grams.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-23a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 3.5 x 3.2 x 2.6 cm
Two "frog-eyes" of 1.8 cm each sit perched atop a matrix-included larger garnet, giving us spectacular contrast! Such matrix-like pieces are extremely rare in this find and this one has garnets of high quality anyhow, perched upon it. If sold separately, they would still not be cheap. As this is one of the most aesthetic matrix pieces, it has to command a premium (no question about it), but its the only one like it that I have.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-24a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Small Cabinet, 8.2 x 7.5 x 6.7 cm
690 grams! At almost 700 grams, this pound-and-a-half crystal is one of the largest complete crystals in the entire production. I have seen portions of bigger crystals, but none complete. The symmetry, the form, its astonishing when you take the size into account - and the thing is very impactful because of it! Complete on all sides, all around, save only for a small contact at the bottom.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-27a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Small Cabinet, 5.1 x 4.9 x 4.8 cm
A large, complete all around, impressive crystal of 200 grams! This piece has excellent color and form. It is so fat, its not very translucent internally, but it does glow pretty wlel when backlit. Above all, its a HUGE crystal in excellent condition, I think, for the price.
Spessartine Garnet from Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania [http://img.irocks.com/pics/spess-29a.jpg]
Loliondo, near Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Miniature, 5.5 x 4.3 x 3.5 cm
A complete floater, this is the best example I have seen of this particular crystal habit, unusually and dramatically elongated. It weighs 156 grams. The crystal is complete and free of any damage except for one shallow conchoidal fracture on one corner (and it can be displayed facing away up or down, anyhow). It is cheaper because of that little ding, but really this does not dimiish the impact.