I am not aware of other fine fluorite locales in California - this seems a freak-of-nature deposit. These green fluorites were collected by the Gochenour brothers in the early 1990s, and are seldom seen on the market even within California. The vein was very small, and hard to work. It was tucked into a now-inaccessible canyon in a suburban development within the greater LA area, and can be considered a mineral from a very urban locale! This particular piece is a rare , large matrix specimen which I bought directly from Dana Gochenour in the mid-1990s and sold to a collector. It was trimmed down to this size from a more massive piece, to isolate the fluorites and make it more aesthetic, and remains one of the few large matrix pieces I am aware of. the fluorite is loosely adhering to the matrix and was "wiggly", so it was stabilized with glue both before and after the trimming. It is not repaired, but should be labelled stabilised. Few of this size, in good condition, were ever found. Joe Budd Photos.
This is a fine and aesthetic fluorite and smoky quartz specimen from a locality where it is almost impossible to find good fluorites and difficult to find, when you do find them. An octahedron of lustrous and translucent, lavender colored fluorite, 2.0 cm across, is jauntily perched on a smoky quartz crystal, measuring 1.5 cm across. Very nice combo and aesthetics. Ex. Jeff Starr fluorite collection
Perched majestically on matrix of smaller crystals is a large crystal of glassy and gemmy fluorite, with just a palest hint of green color. Its colorlessness and transparency is shocking, in conjunction. This, 5.5 cm crystal is so transparent that the term "invisible" could be used if looked at head on and the camera could not focus on the front face because it kept tryign to focus on the background BEHIND the crystal when we tried to photo it head-on to the front face. Thus, it had to be shot at an angle as you see here, which makes it look grayer and darker than it is in person. The back side has some beautiful negative molds where other crystals one were present. The main crystal is complete on all 3 faces you see here, contacted in back only. The presence of a few minor dings on the terminal edges pales in context to the other qualities of this wonderful fluorite cube. Ex Jeff Starr fluorite collection. This would have come out in the late 1980s, or early 1990s.
Fine galena specimens from the Southern Illinois Fluorite District are not all that common. This large group of stepped galena crystals, to 5.25 cm across, is a floater! It is somewhat elegant with a slightly curved form to it It has good luster with a battleship-gray color. Sprinkled on the galena are a few subhedral crystals of lavender fluorite. No telling which mine this is from there, but its an older piece I am sure of it. ex David Stoudt Collection
This matrix fluorite specimen dates from the early days of the 19th century. It is in remarkably fine condition and features several deeply colored blue and yellow cubes with gemmy cores. The largest crystal is 3.1 cm across. It has some damage to the right and top corners - and this is such an old classic of such deep color, I can be forgiving things I would otherwise not accept in a fluorite specimen. The lower tip is cleaved, actually a rather large cleave curving downwards as you see in the photo, which detracts much more in value than in visual appeal. Herb Obodda picked this up in the dispersal in 1997 of the Robert Ferguson colelction (1768-1840) in London, and sold it for $1000 at the time (label preserved here). It is worth that, and more, for the color and the historic locale, but I lowered the price for the damage issue for the American market. Ex Robert Ferguson collection (1767-1840), Herb Obodda, Jeff Starr collections.
ex. Harold Urish
Perched on a siliceous matrix with splendent, orange-black sphalerite crystals, to .75 cm across, is a large crystal of gemmy, lavender fluorite. Associated in the lower-right is a matte, battleship-gray, crystal of galena, 1.5 cm across. This slightly distorted cube measures 4.5 cm in length and exhibits edge color zoning. Superb! The Deardorf Mine was one of the first really choice localities for matrix fluorite crystals for collectors, and closed prior to 1960, long before the larger and more famous mines in the district opened up. It had, therefore, much smaller production as well. Specimens are noted for their association with quartz, characteristic of this mine but really almost unheard of for the other mines in Hardin County. You can clearly see the quartz association here, and the sphalerite in fact covers a solid plate of quartz. There is no doubt of its pedigree, thus! With the rich combination of sphalerite, the piece at first look smore like an Elmwood (tennessee) specimen than an Illinois piece, but this is not the case. The galena is also not Elmwood-style. It stands on its own merit as a good matrix fluorite specimen, in any case. With the fluorite mines of southern Illinois now permanently closed, specimens of this quality are not only becoming rare they are also escalating in price. Comes with custom lucite base for display.
ex. Dr. Steve Smale
This specimen is to me one of the most elegant fluorites I have ever handled. It has so much contrast: of the sharp cubic form so unlikely to be perched atop curving barites; of the stunning purple color set against a chalky white pedestal; and of the clarity and gemminess contrasted to the opaque barites on which this crystal sits. The piece is a very large miniature at 5.5 cm, but if you tilted it back slightly for display it would meet "competition miniature" sizing. Properly perhaps, it is a small, small cabinet piece. The crystal is 2.2 cm by 2 cm on front, and extends at most 2 cm deep to the rear. The back face is contcted , but the fluorite and barite are pristine on the display face, the three other sides. The specimen was perhaps for 2 decades in the miniatures collection of ultra-picky collector (i mean that as a compliment), Steve Smale, known for his finicky taste for pure perfection when at all possible. He exchanged it long ago to another local collector in the Bay Area, Steve Smith, from whom I have recently obtained it. I LOVE the rock. I think the one sharp picture (Joe Budd photo) says it all. This piece is simple but complex at the same time, full of subtlety, and leaps out to me. It is, admittedly, probably the most expensive Berbes miniature on the planet, but then I paid a lot to pry it out of the collection it was in, and I really do value it so highly in my estimation of its quality and visual impact.
These beautiful specimens are rare survivors of a small find that produced GREAT carving rough for cabochons and jewelry made of chalcedony (its gemmy and transparent/translucent!), to the detriment of the original specimens from our point of view! Charlie Key saved some from the wrecker, though, and these are a few selected from a flat we have of this rare and beautiful old material from the 1980s. This one is particularly nice because it is a good-sized plate with excellent translucency and good horizons about the edge, one of the best for size.
ex. Dr. Edward David
A very dramatic speicmen that is more 3-dimensional and more covered in fluorite than most such pieces, from finds in 2004-2005. The piece is complete on 3 sides, contacted in back. It features robust stibnite crystals as well as thinner ones, in cluster aggregate, all covered by a drapery of translucent fluorite. One of the best I have seen from China, and rivalling the old 1980s Thai material of similar aspect!
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