I collected calcites for 20 years, since I was a kid, and in all that time I had never seen or been offered such a nice, display-worthy CALCITE from these classic mines. I saw pyro, occasionally anglesite or a rare calcite chunk...but this was a "specimen." I bought it from Herb Obodda in the early 1990s and have had it ever since. It came to him from the Schwethelm collection, in Germany, and probably left the US soon after being mined in the late 1800s! Complete all around, a fine piece I was happy to own for about 15 years in my own collection.
ex. Dr. Edward David
ex. Russell Behnke
A gorgeous small cab specimen featuring the very rare and desirable association of intense gemmy green emeralds on the black calcite, which enhances the green hue of the emeralds visually! The emeralds measure about 1.5 cm each and have not only top color (as with the above specimen) but a glassy lustre that is off the charts, literally the glaassiest surfaces I have seen on an emerald. They are solidly anchored in the calcite, and fully terminated. Pieces of this calibre are uncommon to say the least, and you often have to worry about fakes (though not in this case, as you can see how the calcites overgrew and anchor in the emeralds). Ed had very few gem crystals, and favored beryls - this was one of just 3 emeralds in the colletion, and was purchased by him in 1997. To this day, so far as i know, few black-calcite-matrix pieces have come out since then.
Elmwood is now closed, apparently for good, and the lucky flood of calcites from the mine will be remembered forever. However, even in its heyday, specimens such as this were never common. This is a perfectly situated gem calcite with the most intense amber color possible for the locality, perched upon crystallized sphalerite matrix (a much nicer contrast than the usual perch upon gray limestone!!). It is good from EITHER SIDE, and frankly I cannot decide which side I like better. The crystal is literally perched atop the shard of sphalerite-coated matrix, and measures 11.6 x 6 x 5 cm in size. The intensely amber crystals tend not to get so gemmy, and so this is a very rare specimen in that regard...you can actually look through all but the very center of the crystal, and see through to the other side or to the underlaying matrix. Most large Elmwood calcites have some damage, and on this it is extremely trivial: a few very minor bits of edge wear and a slightest of ding on each tip. The secondary, smaller calcite below the major one has a cleaved termination, but this is only an accent crystal anyways. On one side, the specimen presents the largest calcite faces front and center, showing a very equant twinned scalenohedron, perched on the sphalerite. But on this side teh sphalerite is very unusual, occurring as flattened crystals overlaying the limestone in a thin, sparkling coating. On the other side of the specimen, the calcite presents more elegantly, showing more of the sharp corners and edges than the broad lateral faces , and the sphalerite is mroe robustly crystallized as is typical for the mine. The choice of front and back is solely a personal aesthetics choice - either is equally winning. Personally, I prefer the more unusual side, showing the sparklng sphalerite as host for the calcite with its more gemmy aspect showing front and center.
ex. Tom Hall
This is one of the most dramatic, fine examples of the material that has come my way. I have long known of the piece, sold to collector Tom Hall after a particularly fine discovery here in 1999, by the dealer who collected it. Tom regarded it as the best in his size range, at the time (and I agreed). The piece features a single golden-amber-colored crystal, approximately 3.5 x 5/6”, set starkly upon gorgeous contrasting, calcite-coated matrix. This is not a repaired specimen, as are so many from the locality in this size range. The piece also has a crystal with high lustre and color throughout, and a superb termination with lustre (many large crystals show etching and poor terminations from this locality). The specimen was exhibited at the 2008 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in the American Gem & Mineral Treasures exhibition, and is pictured as the LEAD specimen to the chapter on page 249 of the book published in conjunction with the show: American Mineral Treasures. It is also pictured on page 212 of the Mineralogical Record, Volume 39, No. 3 (May June). From the Tom Hall collection, and he purchased it from the collector directly in 1999. Tom is a longtime collector, recently retired from working, who since the 1960s has specialized in colorful miniatures and small cabinet pieces of high quality, trying to obtain the best he could in this size range from major, classic finds. His collection was always small but filled with choice beauties such as this. The graded background shot is a Jeff Scovil photo, the one used in the book as stated above.
Large specimens from this remote, and little-yielding barite deposit are most uncommon. This is in fact one of the few cabinet pieces of high quality that I have seen. While it does not have giant crystals, it DOES have 3 very fine medium-sized crystals of extremely high quality. The largest measures 5.5 cm and the widest is over 2 cm thick. All have perfect terminations, steep and pristine. Reamarkably, as these form in tight concretions and are almost impossible to gently extract, this piece is not repaired in the matrix or larger crystal. Only the smallest, leftmost crystal is repaired (and that, done cleanly). The specimen was exhibited at the 2008 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in the American Gem & Mineral Treasures exhibition, and is pictured in the book published in conjunction with the show: American Mineral Treasures. It is also pictured in the recap of the exhibition in the Mineralogical Record, May-June 2008. This was long in a private collection, surfacing just before the exhibition. The graded background shot is a Jeff Scovil photo, the one used in the book as stated above.
ex. Jack Halpern
I think this is the most dramatic such examples i have seen from this classic locality, of primary malachite. Here it has formed a stack of sharp 3-dimensional crystals stacked one upon another like a green tidal wave cresting over the atoll of amber-colored calcites. All is complete, even around the edges of the malachite. The crystals have a true and vibrant chatoyance, vibrating and shimmering - not just the normal matte or velvety green color! The horizons on the edges are good, in other words, not just broken off chunks. It is an exceptional piece for the locality, and for primary malachite in general (that is, malachite in large crystals that forms on its own, rather than as a replacement of azurite). I just traded this from the well-known Jack Halpern collection, in San Francisco. Jack is pushing 90 and still going strong, with 2500 specimens to think about and keep him healthy. I am not usually so impressed by malachite in general but this one, overall, for size and aesthetics, i just love! And, frankly I love having something very nice to offer to others from "Gentleman Jack's" wonderful collection, obtained in what I think was a fair exchange. He is such a nice person, and treasures each of his rocks so much, that every parting is a little painful and every piece deaccessed is a barter battle to be remembered. Nevertheless, that is what makes one of his pieces all that much more interesting to see on the market again, after some years or decades in his collection.
This stunning specimen looks bright and new, but is definitely from the classic mid to late 1800's finds of these sharp calcite twins, that reigned as the kings of twinned calcite for a century after. Heart twins from Egremont are an "essential classic" in that they are beautiful and important at the same time, and I think add depth to any collection that has more common styles of calcite. Aside from one (barely passing) similar pocket from China about 5 years ago, there still is nothing else like these around from other locales. Most of these twins were collected in the 1860s til 1880s, and famous British dealer John Graves handled the majority (CLICK HERE to see his old advertisement from 1895 !). Normally, you would want a floater twin to have the "classic" style. However, this is much more rare, and unexpected - a twin on matrix! It measures 9 x 8.5 x 5 cm thick, and is REALLY CLEAN with no damage and total translucency not marred by internal spots of color or matrix inclusions as so many are. In person it is bright and shiny, no hint of old dinginess. A twin this fat is unusual, this symmetric and undamaged more so, and on matrix...really there are just a few known examples. To cap off the piece, there are small prismatic calcite crystals at the bottom, total gems no less, that serve as a nice accent between the twin and its matrix host. I collected calcites for 20 years, and I NEVER had the chance to get such an aesthetic, fine, matrix heart twin as this one during that time. I know of a few bigger, a few smaller, with matrix association - but still, a vanishingly small number
Due to teh fragile nature of the matrix, few good larger specimens in thsi quality could be extracted. Sharp pseudocubic crystals of lustrous and translucent, butterscotch-colored wulfenite, to 1.0 cm in length cover much of the matrix. A few of the wulfenite crystals are doubly terminated. Adding color contrast are unusually silky/lustrous, white calcite crystals to .25 cm across. Sawed on the bottom, so it sits flat for display - but very much more 3-dimensional in person than it seems. This large specimen is nearly pristine, too.
This aesthetic specimen contains four mineral species. An ocherous, limonite is covered by lustrous, rhombohedral, silky/pearlescent-white crystals of calcite to .3 cm across, which give way to a small area of lustrous and translucent, botryoidal green mimetite. Emplaced on top are several, isolated lustrous and translucent, butterscotch-colored crystals of wulfenite, measuring 1.5 cm in length. Elegant specimen with not only isoaltion of the wulfenites (unusual for the find) but isolation of those same wulfenites on CONTRASTING matrix that look sas if snow fell upon it, to hihglight with color contrast both teh brown matrix and the butterscotch crystals on it. The intergrowth with green mimetite is a bonus. This is simply one of my favorite pieces, period!
Two, isolated, pseudocubic, lustrous and translucent, butterscotch-colored crystals of wulfenite, to 1.3 cm across are emplaced on an ocherous, limonite matrix. There are also a few crystals of pearly-lustrous, white, calcite, measuring .2 cm across. The stark form and isolation of these crystals is amazing, and it is a very fine specimen. The price is higher than it might be otherwise because the crystals are, in person, so robust and fat that they glow with color and just leap out compared to other specimens in this pocket, to a degree hard to explain except in person.
Isolated, pseudocubic , crystals of lustrous and translucent, butterscotch-colored, wulfenite, to.9 cm in length, color contrast nicely with a few sharp disc-shaped (rhomdohedral) crystals of, lustrous, white calcite, to .75 cm across. All of these crystals are emplaced on contrasting deep brown limonite for stunning contrast. This piece may have the best calcites of hte pocket, from what I see...they are brilliantly white, almost pearlescent and silky in lustre. It is very interesting, as a Mapimi specimen...but also just for the elegant contrasts in and of themselves.
This plate of lustrous and translucent, butterscotch-colored crystals of wulfenite, to 1.0 cm in length, exhibit tapered, but blunt-capped tips. Very aesthetic and sparkly specimen, overall, with minor calcite accents in white at the base of some crystals.
Perched on a stark contrasting gossan matrix liberally sprinkled with pearlescent white calcites, are a few isolated crystals of lustrous and translucent, butterscotch-colored wulfenite, to 1.25 cm in length. The major crystal is super sharp, translucent, and very dramatic!
Although the larger and more isolated 1-cm crystals of butterscotch-colored wulfenite are lustrous and translucent, there is a cluster of tiny wulfenite crystals, in the center, that are absolutely glassy and gemmy (so much so, i had to doublecheck they were wulfenite!). All of this is emplaced on sculptural contrasting limonite with very minor bits of green mimetite and crystals of silky white calcite. An appealing combination piece tha tlooks like snow fell upon the wulfenite plate sitting on the ground, and MUCH more 3-dimensional in person.
ex. Wendell E. Wilson
A splendid Calcite from one of the U.S.’s best Calcite localities. This amber-colored highly-modified crystal sits on a small amount of matrix, and is a full 2 cm across. Perhaps the most telling feature is that the faces range from those that exhibit a delicate rippled/frosted appearance to those that are window-clear. Take a peak into those, and you will see that the entire crystal is gem-clear. Amazing!
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