The Asturias localities are best-known for fluorites, but also produced wonderful barites; you often see them in association with one another, though the fluorites are usually the "star". However, here, on this very large specimen, it is beautiful blue-grey barites in the starring role, on a field of amber fluorites. The barites are attractively isolated in rows and fansrays on the fluorites rather than massed together. They measure to 3.5 cm tip-to-tip. This is an older specimen that came out of the Rolf Wein Collection of Germany, which contained a lot of European classics in addition to a concentration in Alpine specimens. Big, showy and spectacular for what it is.
Botryoidal fluorites are rare. They are best known from this Indian locality, and from a recent find in China (purple ones). These Nasik ones have always been popular, not only due to their relative uncommoness, but also the fact that they are just plain "cool." This one, however, stands above many of the rest, in my opinion. First, it is UNUSUALLY translucent for one of these – in fact, you can faintly see all the way through it! Second, it is complete all around, with no contacts, and perfectly round. And finally, it is nestled in a perfect "nest" of light purple amethyst crystals as opposed to the normal white quartz. What in incredibly eye-catching and unusual mineral specimen, in every respect!
Over the years, the Okarusu Mine has produced finds of fluorite in all sorts of colors – probably the best-known being the green-and-purple ones. Rarely, though, it has produced some specimens of a glowing GOLDEN YELLOW, as this one! The crystals measure to 1.8 cm along the edge, and are wonderfully transparent. I think they compare favorably with yellow fluorites from just about anywhere.
Look how striking these bright green fluorites appear against the stark black of the schorl tourmaline here! The tourmalines are compound crystals composed of dozens of acicular sub-crystals stacked tightly together, with a myriad of sub-terminations evident on top. The Erongo locality is best known for its aquamarines with schorl, but has also produced a limited number of these pretty green fluorites, and here the association with the schorl is really aesthetic.
After the closing of the Elmwood Mine a few years back, the supply of good specimens quite predictably dried up quickly on the market. Here is an exquisite example of the purple fluorites the mine is famous for, on a matrix of sphalerite (the zinc ore that was the reason for the Elmwood in the first place). There are a dozen little jewel-like crystals here, to 0.7 cm.
A large, dramatic, example of the "ice cube" fluorites that came out of this mine in the late 80s or early 90s, and then vanished all too soon. These early-to-market clear fluorites are still the largest and finest in clarity and lustre, that the mines of Dalnegorsk have produced. This particularly large specimen was in the collections of Daniel Trinchillo Sr, and then Marc Weill. It features gem cubes to 2 inches and almost no damage on the display face, only on the periphery. At the time these were collected, especially larger pieces, not as much care was taken as would be today and specimens of this size and calibre are thus very rare today. Joe Budd photos
This is, for sheer drama and quality both, one of the finest examples in its size class I have seen over the 4 years this deposit has been producing. The major crystal is TRANSPARENT, not just a bit translucent, RAZOR sharp, and has a rich, fine green color. It is perched starkly on contrasting matrix of quartz druse, itself on massive fluorite, and is complete all around. It is absolutely , amazingly pristine...and when I say razor sharp, i mean it. Hyperbole is intended and warranted. The crystal displays prominently on its knoll of smaller crystals, and is actually 4 cm if measured tip to tip as with a diamond. It comes from a mine foreman's stash that I bought in 2009 and have had prepped, til now. So far as I know, production of this style was several years ago and not a lot has come out recently in this level of quality. I have seen hundreds of specimens and among them, this stands out. I think these will be modern classics, looking back. As it is, this find represents the finest green octohedral fluorites I know of, for size and quality. Joe Budd photos
An elongated cluster of quartzes terminating in a 2-inch crystal serves as host for a daisy-chain of intense green fluorites. The fluorites are sharp octohedra, and glow with color - high quality even for this find, of many specimens several years ago. The fluorites are pristine except only one small crystal which is cleaved atop. They reach 2.4 cm across, and contrast nicely with the sparkling quartz. In fact, you can look through the fluorites and see the quartz underneath in many cases. The large quartz point is pristine and complete, and covered with a sparkling druse of small secondary growth quartz crystals that really gives the piece a sparkle in the showcase. It comes from a mine foreman's stash that I bought in 2009 and have had prepped, til now. for your money, these are some of the finest green octohedral fluorites found anywhere, and I think looking back will have become classics. Joe Budd photos
ex. Robert Borofsky
The Wise Mine is famous for the finest green octohedral fluorite in the US. And, until some recent material from South Africa, certainly was up there for the worldwide competition as well. This large piece is from the mine owner's collection and was collected by him in the glory pocket of 1991, the pocket with the best color and crystal size in recent memory. It is unusual in that the crystals are sharp - most from this mine show the etching or resorption effects of later fluids dissolving the fluorite away. Few ever come out with such form, and in such size. Remarkably it is undamaged, as well. From the collection of Robert Borofsky, mine owner, who related to me that he feels this is one of the top few specimens of quality and color, to come from the mine in the 30 years he has been associated with it. This specimen is illustrated in a forthcoming article on the mine. Joe Budd photos
A large, imposing specimen of rich purple color, classic for this old district of English fluorite (actually, iron) mining. Most of these specimens from the Boltsburn are said to date to two spurts of mining in the early and in the late 1800s. Specimens of similar style dated prior to 1860 are well known, and in fact classics of the European museums. The mine was most famous for a particular sort of fluorite - this sort: big, gemmy, lustrous and interpenetrating fluorite crystals of huge size in association with sparkling quartz. It is absolutely indicative of the mine, and of its most famous style. The major crystals reach 9 cm, nearly 4 inches in size. The crystals are not quite pristine, but they are very close and given the age and size I can pardon what are really a few trivial dings only, in context. In fact, given the age and comparing this to other old specimens of big size, its miraculous they are in such superb condition. These pieces also fluoresce an intense, solid purple color under ultraviolet light (in fact it is from specimens of this overall district in England that the very word fluorescence was coined, after fluorite itself). Overall, an important specimen both for district and mine, and for fluorite in general. Weight is 5.5 pounds. Joe Budd photos
ex. Smithsonian Institution
This is a sophisticated piece from the mid-1800s era; that looks damned good even by modern standards of persnickety aesthetics. It has both significance of history and pedigree, AND it is a fine piece - and those features are not often present in the same old classics specimen no matter how historic or pricey it may be. I believe a piece like this adds a level of historic context and sophistication to any fine collection, even one that has far more obviously valuable golds and gemstone crystals in it. The piece features a sharp penetration twin showing gemmy, phantomed crystals of a saturated purple color atop a pedestal of smaller crystals. It is nice and purpley in the case , but when hit with daylight it goes grape-juice purple. This is a link to photos of another piece on my site which shows the effect in full fluorescent light (similar to this piece): http://www.irocks.com/s_present.php?sid=LGC-66+&go=Go. But even in normal daylight and case lighting (if halogen , sunlight balanced), you can see the hints of intense purple fluorescence as it glows purple. After all, this is fluorite from the district from which the very word "fluorescence" was coined in the mid-1800s, based on this "day-glow effect" in this species. Lastly, I like that we know its whole history: mined in mid-1800s and then a long chain of collectors til now. It was first in the CARL BOSCH (1874-1940) COLLECTION (link at http://www.minrec.org/labels.asp?colid=205 which was sold to the Smithsonian in its entirety. Bosch was known as the consummate collector of his day, widely regarded as having persnickety and frankly insanely picky taste for his time in that he wanted "best specimens possible" in terms of visual quality at a time when many collectors were happy with reference samples. It resided there until 1980 or so when it was exchanged out to the owner of the Himalaya Mine, well known collector Bill Larson, in an exchange deal. He has a fine worldwide collection emphasizing just such classics, in fine aesthetic quality. During his ownership, it was ILLUSTRATED in the FLUORITE book/issue of the German magazine LAPIS: see ExtraLapis, 1993, page 39. And he kept it until about 2005 when he put it up for sale at Tucson. He sold to Dallas collector Wally Mann in 2005 or 2006 (and it was displayed in Tucson 2008), and it was in his choice collection of English classics until recently passed on to me. Joe Budd photos
Found in about 2008, these so-called "alien phantoms" fluorite crystals made a big impact on the market. Only a few small pockets were found, and then the style has not been seen since. This is a cluster of very translucent, sharp crystals that show dramatic purple phantoms in the corners of a richly saturated green core. It is complete around the display face with only minor wear (typical for the material), though is not complete in back. Joe Budd photos.
ex. Dr. Edward David
The Rogerley Mine has produced what many people consider to be the finest green fluorites, certainly the finest lustrous green fluorites. Recent work at this classic locality from about 2000-2010, and ongoing slowly, has generated tons of material for the market. However, of that tonnage, only a very small percentage has been top grade - probably only in the hundreds of pieces or less, over the whole decade or so of mining. Most large plates have a varied surface in quality, while this is lustrous an dbright, with top color and sparkle throughout. This particular plate was sold by one of the mine partners, Cal Graeber, to Dr. Ed David in 2005. It is a well-trimmed plate with good aesthetics, very even and high quality lustre throughout, and with large crystals to 3 cm, many of which are penetration-twinned. There is some very minor damage, just a few small chips here or there - on a plate of this size and quality overall, considered acceptable. This dramatic large plate can be displayed at just about any angle to emphasize either the more isolated twins standing at the periphery, or to emphasize sheer size/breadth of color. It is simply a personal choice of style, as to which you prefer more. These fluorites are also highly fluorescent, as seen in the photos which show them glowing "day-glow" purple under ultraviolet light. Joe Budd photos.
ex. Richard Heck
A dramatic display specimen from old finds atr Naica, featuring a 4-cm-across, 3-cm-deep fluorite perched atop a pedestal of galena. The crystal is just sitting up there, freely exposed and viewable all around. it is very gemmy, and has a subtle pastel color to it casued by a clear zone around a green core in the center. This crystal, in atypical Naica fashion, is sharply cubic rather than modified by the octohedral form as is common here. And, some edges have a natural rounded look , very weird and rare, to them. One of the special fluorites , and a personal favorite for aesthetics, among many in this fine old Mexican mineral collection. Joe Budd photos.
ex. Richard Heck
A complex crystal cluster of fluorite consisting of gemmy, pastel-green, highly modified cubes, sits atop a perch of sphalerite in this elegant and really special combination piece. The quality is amazing - you just have to see it in person to grasp all the complexity, and catch the full gemminess. One special bonus are the tiny, brilliantly metallic, sprinkles of pyrite floating about inside. It is 360-degrees, complete all around! One of the special fluorites among many in this fine old Mexican mineral collection. Joe Budd photos.
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