After the closing of the Elmwood Mine a few years back (around 2004), the supply of good specimens quite predictably dried up quickly on the market. The Elmwood was of course best known for its purple fluorites and these stunning, gemmy, golden twinned crystals of calcite. Throughout the mining there, the larger of these calcites usually tended to be banged up on the tips, for whatever reason. What makes this very big crystal so good, in addition to the fine clarity and glassy luster, is that the terminations have only the slightest few bits of hardly eye-visible edge-wear – negligible in the context of the size of the specimen. It has intense color and very good gemminess as well. The other thing that makes this crystal remarkable is the magnificent multiple sub-terminations at one end – a dozen of them, in fact! Exceptional overall for size, color, style and completeness, this is a modern classic from a mine now closed (and given the drop in commodities prices, not likely to be opened again for a long, long time).
This is a large and elegant silver specimen that reminds me of a bird leaping off from a rock. It is a complex nest of intergrown silver crystals of several habits, and is complete all around. It looks good from either side, and looks very sculptural (if less birdlike) standing upright. Large Batopilas silvers are a thing of the past, and rarely turn up. Matrix pieces, where the crystals have been carefully preserved as you see here, even more rarely still. Most specimens were collected and than boiled in acid to dissolve the calcite away and reveal silver wires and nests of wires. They were sold cheaply at the time (in several batches, most recently in the 1970s). This piece probably came out prior to that, though, I am told. It was also physically excavated from the surrounding calcite with minute tools and a lot of patience, and so the silver has its natural patina whereas most are burned bright and shiny.The calcite has a natural look instead of the melted look, sometimes seen in calcite-associated material from the more modern finds (still many decades ago!). Joe Budd photos
ex. Rob Lavinsky
A fine twinned Elmwood calcite that has been in my own calcite collection since the mid 1990's, this is one I always loved for size and balance. The crystal is 7.5 x 5 x 2.1 cm in size and is just perched there atop the knoll of sphalerite like a frisbee balanced on a rock. It is freestanding and complete all around, which I loved for display, on this natural pedestal. The sphalerite has a slight hint of red and is well crystallized on the front, contacted in back (and with one slight bruise I should mention - but its not visually detracting. you have to look to see it). In person , it is quite gemmier than it appears, and has that nice rich amber-beer color that makes the contrast with the sphalerite all the more strong. You can see through to the sphalerite underneath, in fact. Despite the freestanding nature of the exposed crystal, the piece was collected very carefully and has only very trivial edge wear, minor on the tips and really not significant by any normal standard. I have owned it for something like 15 years now. Joe Budd photos
A literal "jewel" of calcite. This pristine and sparkling crystal is a single, complete, floater, with a hint of pastel pink color and INTENSE gemminess and brightness to it. Pictures simply cannot convey the sheer impact of the piece in person - it seems like an overpriced calcite, perhaps, just from the pics. But it is a spectacular and rarified specimen from a small pocket of the late 1990s, and only 3 fine examples are known to me (and my source who sold this piece into a private collection just after it was found). It is, in person, one of the flashiest calcites you can imagine - with a lustre more like the finest topaz. The subtle color and flashing lustre make it stand out from most dalegorsk calcites, which have only one or the other. Old material, not equaled in other pockets I have seen over the years, the pieces of this pocket have been somewhat of a "holy grail" for me to pursue. Joe Budd photos
ex. Arthur Montgomery
This is an exceptionally large and heavily included calcite crystal, with minute dispersed bits of copper giving the calcite itself a rich copper background color overall, AND still showing you bright flecks of native copper inside. Copper included calcite is a highly desired combo, from Michigan's historic Copper Country. It is not unique to Michigan per se, but this is nevertheless where the best come from. Came from, rather...mostly in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Specimens of this size, preserved in such condition, are uncommon today. This one has a pristine termination which is decorated by a native copper crystal perched on its left edge as an accent - most unusual! The calcite is clean and glassy, with no damage. It is a very beautiful display piece simply on its own merits, history and rarity aside. As an extra accent, it has a little outgrowth of quartz crystals at its base. This specimen was obtained from collector Phil Scalisi in the 1990s. It was said to have been in the Arthur Montgomery collection (though no label survives). Recently ex George Elling collection. Joe Budd photos
ex. Howard Belsky
A stunning , glassy, sparkly example of this old English classic! This piece is a knoll of bright crystals, almost completely pristine on the display face, of calcite stained red by minute inclusions of hematite in oriented faces. I have seen many of these, but few seem to come up of this size with the quality here - in terms of lustre and condition. I collected calcites as a child, and always dreamed of owning a good one of this style (for color if nothing else), but they came up for sale so seldom and were always expensive. I have thus paid a lot of attention to pieces of this style when they DO come up, and this one for sheer beauty is one of my favorites of the examples I have handled in recent years - if not even the most expensive. It is just "prettier" than most - more sparkly, more bright. From the recently unveiled collection of Howard Belsky, a dealer who tragically passed away at an early age several decades ago. Joe Budd photos
ex. Clarence Bement
AMNH Curator C. Gratacap described this piece in his 1912 book on the acquisition of the Bement collection with the American Museum as one of the finest dozen calcites in the thousands of specimens in the Bement collection. Firstly, the photos cannot do the piece justice. The photo is accurate for form, but does not capture somehow the full, vibrant life of the piece in person. It is simply beautiful in a case...all else here aside. In person, with light bouncing in and out of it, it is like a jewel and we rank it among the finest calcites to come to market from the old copper district of Michigan - comparable to the few such surviving treasures in major museums like the Seaman Mussum in upstate Michigan. The crystal is complete all around the display faces and PRISTINE as you look at it. It shows much sharper lines in person, and is only contacted on the back and cleaved on one upper-rear-facing edge only (not seen from the display in any case). The crystal is , as a bonus, twinned, which is very rare for the locality, not to mention the size. Again, in person this is more obvious, as it has a visible 3-dimensionality that pushes the twinning plane out at the viewer. This is an old piece from the turn of the 1900s or earlier. It is an antique classic that fits with modern aesthetic sensibilities, is a cabinet specimen, is outstanding just on its own merits, and has a great pedigree. This is a rare convergence and it makes the piece attain a rarified level of quality and desirability to my mind. It was notably in the collection of Clarence Bement, an industrialist and philanthropist whose collection was regarded by 1900 as the finest in the US. It was eventually purchased by JP Morgan and donated in 1910 to the American Museum of Natural History. A copy of the AMNH accession label is provided, showing that Bement bought the piece from dealer Lazard Cahn - the label dates to around 1900-1901, by street address for his business (see the Min Record archives at http://www.minrec.org/labels.asp?colid=324 for more information). It was sold for $45 - a huge sum in those days for "just" a calcite, from a contemporary locality. So that shows you what was thought of it, even at the time. This piece was exchanged out from the museum in 1977 to Lawrence Conklin. He sold it to F John Barlow shortly after. It is shown in Barlow's book (1998), The F John Barlow Collection, on page 287. Barlow's editor for the copper chapter of his book is Marc Wilson, curator of the Carnegie Museum and an expert on the copper country minerals and history. Here is what he has to say: "This superb specimen consists of an outstanding, transparent, colorless crystal on minor matrix from the Hancock Mine..." . So, in sum, it shows well, is cabinet sized, and was owned by 2 of the most prominent collectors of the last 120 years (with a long stay in a museum in between them). Since the sale of the Barlow collection in 1998, it has been in a private collection and not for sale until now, when the owner retired and sold some pieces off recently to me. Joe Budd photos
ex. John Sinkankas
Smithsonites from the old Kelly Mine are aroundï¿½name a size and price range, and with a little patience any collector can get a beautiful specimen. However, most pieces are flat, and have no association. This is a gorgeous, 3-dimensional, mounded piece with intense color AND a really unusual association with flower-like rosettes of calcite crystals. It is complete all around and has no damage, just a superlative example. It was purchased shortly after mining by well known book author and collector, John Sinkankas of San Diego. He described it in 1966 as "a very fine specimen of shining botryoids, color rich blue-green," at a time when they were generally available and yet this was special even then. Note on his card, he valued it at triple what he paid, on the day he accessioned it to his card files! The piece stayed with John through the sale of the majority of his collection (possibly thousands of pieces) in the 1980s; and I last saw it in his home in the mid 1990s before he passed away. By then, he had picked up water color painting as a hobby and painted his favorites. I bought a number of remaining pieces from him in the late 1990s but did not have the funds at the time to purchase this piece. It was sold to another dealer, who sold it to Jack Halpern at the first showing of the piece. It remained in Jack's collection in San Francisco until exchanged to me (with some evident agonizing on both sides) in 2009. I have seen so much of this material over the years (25 years of dealing), and so few pieces ever struck me the way this one did both when i first saw it, and still today. It is a sentimental piece that has a lot of meaning to both myself and its previous owners, both gentlemen-collectors of the old style who truly are passionate for their pieces. I can admit i feel a little guilty trading it out of Jack, to tell the truth...but he wanted a REALLY nice rock from me in return, towards it all, and that's how it has to work. Joe Budd photos
ex. California Institute of Technology
Classic material from Michigan, these copper-calcite combos are seldom seen in such aesthetic form. This specimen features a 5 cm doubly-terminated crystal perched on a hackly copper matrix, which adds contrast in both color and form. The crystal is remarkably clear and transparent, and has fine oriented patterning striations on the frontal faces which lend it more visual interest than a simple scalenohedron might otherwise seem to have. Most large crystals are tipped, but this one has a complete termination. It is in fact complete, all around, except only a very shallow bit of edge wear on the leading edge (not seen from the front unless you look for it). And, this can be treated to minimize it with acid in any case, but I have chosen not to over-clean and brighten ("modernize") the specimen as its so good the way it is, anyhow. An accenting sidecar calcite crystal makes the piece extra special, though! The 1.4-cm-long gem, transparent, doubly-terminated crystal to the right is perched upon a pedestal of bright native copper, and is perfect. For the size range, this is simply a jewel, and one of the rarer examples of these calcites perched on copper, instead of invested heavily with copper. From the collection of California Institute of Technology (#718), by exchange to a private collector some time ago. This is attributed to the collection of TF Cole, which was donated to CalTech in the early 1900s. He was a noted and important mine manager in Michigan's Copper Country heyday, circa the early 1900's. Although no mine name was given, we presume by comparison that this is from the Quincy Mine, and certainly from its lode which produced similar styles as seen in the Seaman museum today. Joe Budd photos
ex. Harvard University
A highly unusual calcite specimen showing a rich pink-red color due to cobalt, and from Germany! It is a quality I had not seen in any example of this for sale, only in dribs and drabs over the years. The piece is aesthetic and complete all around. In person it has a richer, darker toned color saturation. This is an old specimen from the Pearse Collection, Harvard University. See the Mineralogical Record's label archives: http://www.minrec.org/labels.asp?colid=1144 for information on John Pearse, (1842-1914) of Pennsylvania. The site notes: while in Freiberg for study in 1865 he purchased a 5000-specimen collection of minerals, rocks and fossils from the Academy's mineral dealership, the Mineralien-Niederlage zu Freiberg. Pearse never added any specimens to his Freiberg mineral collection. It was sold by his son Langdon (an 1899 Harvard graduate) to the Harvard Mineralogical Museum for $275, and the specimens were distributed throughout the systematic collections and teaching collections. Exchanged from Harvard by a collector in the past.
This is a very cute, contrasting matrix specimen featuring a 2 cm-long, doubly-termianted emerald perched on crystallized calcite. The large calcite is also 2 cm across. The balance and colors contrast nicely. The piece is very dramatic for the price and can be displayed from any number of angles. It is very 3-dimensional. I do not think i could replace it today for the price!
ex. Ernest Chapman
This oldtime calcite is a very unusual piece for the locality, with spiky, slightly hematite-tinted crystals in tight clusters. There is some peripheral damage but the overall impact is really impressive, and the tips of the big sprays are intact. From the collection of Ernest Chapman, (1894-1947), a prominent Southern California collector.
ex. Lawrence Conklin
A large and very classic cluster of barrel-shaped calcite crystals, probably from the 1800s judging by style. It has sharp translucent crystals with really excellent lustre for the locality, one stacked next to the other and all rising to opaque white, contrasting terminations. This is a superb example of one of the most classic calcite habits from old European locales, in large size and fitting with modern aesthetics. Nearly pristine despite its age! Ex collections of Robert Hesse, Richard Lewis, Dr. Eugene Sensel, and then recently of Lawrence Conklin.
ex. Phil Scalisi
A choice large crystal with minor chalcopyrite, on quartz matrix, from this classic locality. The color is a slight pink hue, and one side of the crystal shows interesting oriented patterning at the edges of the terminations. Remarkably, the terminations are intact and the whole piece is both pristine and complete all around. It is hard to find these on the market today. Hollis Page and Phil Scalisis collections
An unusual specimen for the locality with disclike, flattened crystals arranged in stacks around a core underneath, that is a hollow pyrite-lined cavity. Old piece, though from which mine in the Cumberland iron district we cannot now say
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