This is a cluster of translucent, bicolored, crystals of the lithium rich, mica, lepidolite. The body of the crystals are a rich rose-purple and the crystal terminations are a pearlescent white. The crystals average 1.5 cm across their terminations. When backlit, the whole specimen glows.
This cluster of lepidolite crystals, from the side, almost appears to merge into one, but the terminations still give evidence of individual growth. The crystals are bicolored, with rose-purple cores and pearlescent terminations. Just lovely!
ex. William Larson
This is a very gemmy, transparent crystal that has attached to it and accenting it a number of translucent purple lepidolites. It is perfect all around and terminated niceloy atop with a faint green cap. In person, it is much less overexposed than it appears and has a pleasing pink-red color classic for the mine. I exchanged this directly from Bill for another Himalaya I had, and it is out of his personal collection (he worked the mine from the late 1970's through 2000 when major mining operations ceased). It is of superb quality!
ex. Chuck Houser
This is a REALLY fine, large crystal of classic Himalaya Mine rubellite, showing a lustrous basal termination at one end (top here) and a multiterminated prismatic tip at the other (shown down here as he mounted it). It has one clean repair, well done, at the join where the albite is. This contact repair is not detracting nor readily visible. It is otherwise complete all around and displays well from all sides. This is a significant piece for the size and overall quality from a mine that really was, in its day, the single most important longterm-production tourmaline mine in the County. It is now closed, sadly.
This lepidolite is among the deepest saturated specimens I have ever seen from this venerable, and now closed tourmaline mine. Adding to this piece is that the lepidolite crystals are on gray feldspar matrix. Superb example of this normally not-so-interesting species!
ex. Klaus Neumann
This is a classic oldstyle Himalaya Mine crystal with a color that is more red-purple than pink-red as is more typical for the mine. It was , they think, mined in the Ralph Potter era (before the mid-1960s) prior to the ownership of Pala Intl. After mining, it went into the Perkin Sams collection in Midland, Texas, which later was donated to the Houston Museum of Natural History (and then exchanged back to the current Himalaya Mine owner Pala Properties in later years). The piece is fat and massive, at 150 grams. It has INTENSE color and practically glows when even minimally backlit. Again, in contrast to more modern pieces which tend to pink, this is a deeply robust hue with a very saturated coloration. It is complete all around, though it has a slight crack at the bottom and looks like it was held together by the adhered crystals of cleavelandite. I would have sworn this is not repaired, but the former owner does confirm that teh crack went through and it was repaired. The repair then, is so clean, that one cannot be sure on looking...and at the base, anyhow out of the display line of sight. The matrix associations of white cleavelandite and purple lepidolite really highlight the color and accentuate the piece. This is NOT just a typical quality pink Himalaya. Liberated from an old German collection at the Munich show some years back, this was long in the well-known tourmaline collection of Klaus Neumann.Joe Budd Photos
This large, 550-gram crystal is brilliantly lustrous, like glass; and has stunning internal brightness and clarity. It is very hard to capture with photos, for these reasons, and so will be better in person. The edges are razor sharp and almost pristine (which very few are in this size range). The crystal shows the typical etching on the sides, but whereas in most crystals that etching creeps around and mars the front or top faces, here those faces remain perfectly sharp and smooth. The piece is actually a floater, complete all around, with the bottom covered in a blanket of white lepidolite.Joe Budd photos
ex. Dr. Eugene Meieran
ex. William Larson
I think one can safely state that this is a MAJOR Himalaya Mine cluster, and aesthetic as well. Few large Himalaya pieces of this magnitude have been recovered, compared to all the mining down there over 100 years from 1900 to 2000, as the pegmatite is enormously disrupted. Today, mining here is possible through a small back entrance but the mine is for all intents and purposes closed for serious work, and all tunnels have been scavenged or collected using ground-penetrating radar before it was given up on. Great Himalaya speicmens carry a premium compared to Brazilian or Afghan tourmalines of similar size and style, because they are an American classic, and significant for what has been found here in the US. This incredible large Himalaya Mine cluster was safely kept in the mine-owner's personal collection for many years until Gene traded it from him, in the mid-90s. Gene then owned it for about a decade until trading it to me, through Wayne Thompson, recently. Pieces this good stay in small circles, usually! It is a complete cluster all around, 3-dimensional and terminated on every crystal. It has two fairly clean repairs to the two larger crystals, near their base in any case where not even the crack is easily seen (the repairs were done by Bill Larson after mining it, and anyways are considered acceptable in a Himalaya cluster of such size). The remaining crystals juxtapose two termination styles and the mind boggles to think how this happened. On one face (lower-left photo) the crystals pointing out that way are terminated with normal basal terminations just like the two big 4-inchers. The smaller crystals with terminations facing to the right-front in what I prefer as the front view (top, with the quartz showing), show unusual slanted terminations that are representative of natural contacting in the pocket as they grew against another mineral. They are not really terminated with a diagonal face, it just looks that way at first glance. Really, each face is a series of microfaces, stepped back in intricate growth - but only on the crystals of the right side of the piece, facing forward. The adjacent crystals, pointing backwards in a front-back-front-back pattern, are as I said normally terminated. The overall effect, as you can see, is very impressive. Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
WEIGHT= 1555 grams (1.5 kilos or over 3.3 pounds!) I think we were all shocked when , to our surprise, monster blue topaz began to appear on the market early last year from near the site of the original finds in 1969, in Brazil. This monstrous crystal is miraculously pristine, unlik ea very few others of similar size I have seen from the find. It is one of the largest, to be sure - but more importantly than mere size , it is one of the largest that is intact and complete all around. It was protected when I obtained it when this lot came out, by a natural coat of lepidolite. We have removed much of the lepidolite to expose the crystal underneath. I have left enough at the bottom to provide a sparkling contrast to the straight blue faces abbove. Actually, the bottom is temrinated as well, under the lepidolite! You can hold it, turn it over, and clearly see that it must be a floater with terminations beneath. In person, this crystal has a glassy lustre and a stunning, DEEP BLUE color that is partly volumetric and so it is much more intense than in smaller crystals past or present. I would say, in fact, that this is one of the bluest blue topazes I have seen in museums and collections from the old find, or from this new find. It has a bit of opacity in the middle, but is mainly translucent - in the photos it appears less gemmy than in person. The sheer "heft" and visual impact of this piece, is stunning. It can be displayed from two angles the best, but is complete all around in any case. Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
This is , for my taste, a truly unique piece out of all the hundreds I have seen from this mine. It consists of a 17.5 cm-long "sword" of tourmaline shooting out majestically from a "tree" of thick crystals, with lepidolite and albite mixed in for contrast. In person, the shockign stark white blades of Cleavelandite and the sparkly purple lepidolite stand out a lot more, and really contrast with the gemmy green tourmaline. It is hard to photograph and get all colors to come out, without making the lepidolite pale or the Cleavelandite a glaring white color. It, like the piece below, is a specimen that I cherrypicked when I had a unique exchange opportunity with the person who brought out this find a few years ago. I love this piece so much for its aesthetics, that it only ever went to two small shows. I keep it here to look at. The cluster, the whole tree-and-sword combination, is itself growing and rising out of a 13 x 9 cm TERMINATED TOURMALINE CRYSTAL THAT SERVES as the natural base for the piece. It look slike nothing so much as a tree rising from a lake...the green tourmaline base even has what looks like ripples on the water surface. You look at this and your first thought will be, surely this is glued on there and carved this way. Believe me, I was also floored when I saw it, not at first registering that it wasn't glued to a tourmaline slab but that the whole complex cluster grew upon what must probably have been a massive tourmaline crystal. What are the odds this would grow on the crystal's termination, and not along an ugly and exposed side?! And what are the odds, that this termination could be preserved in mining the cluster atop!? I find it higly unlikely, and that is part of why I value the piece so highly. Pieces of this complexity can be preserved as they do occur, rarely; but the problem is, they are fragile. This "Rocket Pocket" as some call it was found in pieces (in 2001 if I recall), and put back together over several years like a jigsaw puzzle. All large specimens have repairs, most more than a dozen. I do not accept so many repairs, except in special cases: where the overall aesthetic impact is significant enough that the piece warrants it; where the price is adjusted accordingly; and when the overall context of the FIND ITSELF requires repairs to obtain an important display-quality specimen (as in this case). This one has only 3 very clean repairs (one with very minor gap-fill epoxy) and a fourth repair on the stalk of the trunk which has a small bit of color-matched epoxy gap-fill. The other three repairs are to the elongated 7.5-inch crystal and are only barely visible to my eyes in the right skewed lighting...they are NOT generally visible and do not detract visually. Miraculously, this whole cluster was held together by the central quartz crystal, which is itself fully terminated and pristine, and extends DOWN THROUGH the tourmaline cap that is a base for the cluster. If not for that central sturdiness, I am sure the specimen would have broken into many pieces and come apart from the underlaying tourmaline cap, as well. Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
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