Mineral Specimens with Quartz|
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10.2 x 7.9 x 7.6 cm. The Smoky Hawk claim has, since about 2006 or so, produced amazonite and smoky quartz combination pieces that rival the famous Tree Root Pocket material of the late 1990s. Some of them, such as this piece, are more aesthetic to my eye because they have not only the colorful amazonite in intense blue color, combined with smoky quartz: also, the best quartzes are generally gemmier and more translucent than the older Tree Root Pocket pieces. Moreover, on this piece, the quartzes (to 3 inches) shoot up so starkly and dramatically, that it "makes" the specimen. In many such combination pieces, the smoky quartzes are undersized compared to amazonite, or vice versa. Or, the two are often in a more jumbly aggregate that is pretty and of high quality, but not really the kind of stark geometry that I favor. I like specimens best when you have crystals on crystallized matrix, and the two geometries are as different in color and crystallography as you see here. Like nearly all such larger amazonite combination pieces, old and new finds both, this has a few repairs that would be considered par for the course, so long as they are well done and clean (which they are). This specimen sits nicely in the palm of your hand, spraying three-dimensionally to fill space. I obtained this specimen from the William Ferris collection by exchange, before that collection was sold off in 2007-2008. Mr. Ferris was the first owner, having acquired it directly from the company of Joe Dorris, the miner, several years previously. Since that time until now it has been in the Dallas collection of Rick Beard. Ex. Richardson Beard and William Ferris Collection.
11.2 x 10.2 x 9.2 cm. A totally gemmy, transparent topaz is the highlight of this excellent combination piece, which has a striking balance of topaz and quartz, both nestled in crystallized cleavelandite. The topaz is 5 cm wide, 4 cm deep and about 4 cm tall. It is pristine. In person, the topaz leaps out at you as a 3-dimensional jewel, transparent and brilliant like glass. You can see right through it to the quartz behind, the cleavelandite underneath, and the faceted terminations set against them. Most people consider this region to be the premier locality for champagne-colored topaz crystals of this style. I obtained this in 2008 directly from a source in Peshawar, when it was much larger and needed to be heavily trimmed and cleaned.
10 x 8.4 x 4.8 cm. This is a very appealing rhodochrosite, unusual in its combination with both fluorite and tetrahedrite. The tetrahedrite occurs as sharp, metallic crystals and may actually be overtopping large bornite crystals, it seems. The piece is very nearly pristine, and no restoration or repairs whatsoever. The large central crystal is 5 cm across, and it is draped with fluorite and smaller rhodochrosite crystals. The lustre is high, and the color saturation is uniform. This is an excellent piece overall, and has a huge amount of color, considering what else I have seen on the market these days. The fluorites are sparkling and a nice lavender hue, in person. I acquired this piece for my private collection, of fine large Sweet Home rhodochrosite specimens, in 2006 at the Munich show. Ex. Rob Lavinsky Collection.
18 x 10 x 8 cm. This is a rare matrix bubblegum-colored tourmaline, perched dramatically at one end of a shard of lustrous smoky quartz. The tourmaline has superb color, a rich pink-red hue classic for this region. It has a nearly perfect termination with only minute edge wear and a glassy, unusually fine lustre to the top that lets you look right down into the depths of the crystal. The crystal itself is about 10 x 6 x 5 cm in size, though it tapers slightly towards the base. It is repaired, from a natural break in situ, at a point just below the junction to the attached smoky quartz and so the seam is really quite unseen from the front of the specimen. It is a good, clean repair job with minor restoration at the natural break, and without a jarring visual effect when displayed. This specimen was obtained from a direct source in-country, via email as it came out of the mine, by collector Gene Meieran (from whom I obtained it, in turn). Weighs 1.2 kilograms.
9 x 6.5 x 6 cm. This is a superb example of the world class bournonite from Yaogangxian, which has redefined what a collector can expect for the species. At the very top of its game, this mine's bournonites are, to me and most others, the most beautiful in the world. This piece has the top lustre. It has a very slight surface oxidation that, in certain angles only, gives it a rainbow shimmering on the frontal surface. The crystallography is complex and geometric, showing a cogwheel-like form. Most bournonites of this size are broken off matrix, but this has a stunning association with water clear, gemmy quartz points. A quartz crystal impales the bournonite, too, making for an unusual accent in the middle of the specimen. This piece is of magnitude enough to be not upgradeable in any easy sense, and to represent among the best of the species from this mine. As an added note, the bournonites come from old tunnels mined out in the 1950s-70s and to obtain them, artisan miners must travel up to those old levels in the dark, through very dangerous and unsupported tunnels. The remaining bournonite is in the pillars, so pillar-robbing must be practiced to retrieve them, leading to a weakening of the supports for the old levels. This resulted in tragic deaths in 2007, when a number of miners died. The government clamped down on official access to those levels, I am told.
26 x 17 x 13 cm. Unrepaired and a pristine floater complete-all-around. The morganite measures 8 x 8 x 3.25 cm and is the size of a hockey puck and as symmetrical as a crystal model. It is perfect, as if it were carved from pink ice. The color is a classic pink, not peachy-orange. The contrast of the pastel pink morganite and its sharp hexagonal form to the strangely tilting vertical spray of intense pink kunzites is, obviously, quite startling and exciting to see. It is one of the most 3-dimensional mineral specimens I could imagine. This is a world class gem pegmatite combination specimen.
A SPECTACULAR LARGE-CABINET Indian specimen of stalactitic, sparkly gray drusy quartz aesthetically studded with lustrous, doubly-terminated pastel salmon-pink stilbite blades. There is also one small apophyllite crystal on this specimen. Very, very minor damage, which is hardly noticeable to this very showy piece. 18.1 x 4.2 x 3.8 cm
10 x 8.5 x 8 cm. Purple-capped tourmalines are quite rare, and this piece has a distinct purple zone, above a blue zone, on its termination. More than that, it is just a very fine and aesthetic tourmaline specimen by any standard, with the color as a bonus feature. It is, first off, not repaired. Most large matrix tourmalines from this region are repaired at least once, especially when connected to a quartz crystal as this is. And, the quartz and cleavelandite are arranged in great balance, not overwhelming but accenting the tourmaline itself. The tourmaline is very equant and robust, about 7 x 7 x 7 cm overall in size. It has an extremely unusual and glassy termination...intricately scalloped, for lack of a better word. It has many subtle growth features that result in incredible reflections and sparkle coming off that termination. I cannot say that I have ever seen this style of termination on such a large crystal - just on small ones, before. Lastly, the piece is shockingly pristine. It weighs 782 grams. The purple color, especially in a lustrous termination, is perhaps the rarest of all colors on a tourmaline. In particular, it’s very rare from this part of the world where they tend towards pastel hues of pink and greens.
27.5 x 18.5 x 17 cm. This remarkable piece dates to the 1960s heyday of Brazilian pegmatites, when spectacular pieces were found more frequently near the surface than they seem today. The piece is from a famous old deposit, which today produces beryls but nothing so impressive as what you see here. The matrix of cleavelandite is actually typical of this region, and quite nice in its own right. The morganite, though, has outstanding color, really a hot pink and a form more associated with modern material from Afghanistan than anything from Brazil. Most people would immediately peg this as an Afghani piece, I would bet (and in fact this has happened). However, the giveaways are the slightly different cleavelandite (more sharp and sparkly than Paprok material) and the coloration and style of the small tourmaline included in the morganite. The morganite itself is complete in about 95% of its display area, with only a small bit in one corner restored with matching epoxy. The morganite is very sharp, totally undamaged otherwise, and measures 4.5 inches (11.2 cm) across. Believe it or not, this piece came up from Brazil in the 1970s, in a suitcase, as a specimen that was triple this current size and mass at the time. A natural history collector purchased it from the Amsterdam Sauer Museum in Rio de Janiero in around 1976. This museum was both a display for the owner's well known personal collection and a storefront for selling specimens outright. Apparently, this collector simply put it on a coffee table where it sat, unappreciated by anybody in the core mineral community, for the next 30 years. After a tipoff, I bought the piece and had it trimmed down to its current, more aesthetic and balanced size. Still, at the weight of perhaps 20 pounds and the size of a decent watermelon, "trimmed down" has a whole different meaning here.
12.8 x 10.4 x 4.2 cm. A striking cabinet specimen of three isolated balls of lustrous, royal-blue cavansite blades aesthetically set on undulating, sparkly, gray drusy quartz. The large cavansite ball is 2.3 cm across and the scattered single cavansite blades are a very nice accent to this fine, large specimen from recent finds at the Wagholi Quarry.
17.8 x 13.4 x 13.2 cm. Shattuckite is a rare secondary copper silicate found in the oxidation zone of copper deposits. It was actually first discovered at Bisbee, but is best-known today in specimens from Africa. This is a dramatic, really rich and large specimen for this material, which has been trickling out from Namibia over the last 2 years. Numerous vugs, especially the striking large one, are lined with a thin crust of pretty blue, botryoidal shattuckite. Deposited on top of the shattuckite crusts are tiny drusy quartz crystals, which are included with minute amounts of shattuckite. This gives the gemmy sparkling quartz a rich deep blue color best described as a sapphire-blue. Add a few primary malachite sprays as an accent, and you have a very beautiful and interesting large cabinet combination specimen. Weighs 6.2 pounds or 2.8 kilograms.
12.9 x 9.3 x 7.8 cm. A dramatic cabinet, combination specimen from the famed basalt flows of Rio Grande do Sul and the Duncan Elliott Collection. Four large calcite rhombs to 3.7 x 3.5 cm are set on glassy, vivid purple amethyst crystals. The calcite rhombs have an interesting overcoat of sparkly, cream-colored, drusy quartz. Another generation of smaller, colorless calcite rhombs is attractively sprinkled on the amethyst and the larger calcite rhombs. Choice material from this noted locale.
7.9 x 1.3 x 1.0 cm. A superb and pristine smoky quartz/amethyst scepter from the Goboboseb Mountains of Namibia. This striking, water-clear crystal has an unusually long smoky quartz scepter. The internal crazing and variable hues of purple and smoky give every rotation of the sharply hexagonal crystal a different, surreal view into the crystal’s interior. A fascinating and beautiful specimen. Ex. Duncan Elliott Collection.
10.0 x 6.8 x 4.2 cm. Agate is very rare from the well-known trap-rock Chimney Rock Quarry of New Jersey, which is more well-known for zeolite species. This is a very fine, translucent, banded agate with pretty shades of yellow and orange. The piece is highlighted by the interesting vug lined with sparkly, yellow, drusy quartz. One side of the piece has been slabbed to highlight the banding. Ex. Pettit Collection.
A very aesthetic specimen of lightly iridescent chalcopyrite crystals and lustrous and gemmy sphalerite crystals set on a curved-at-the-top crust of milky-white quartz crystal needles. The large, 1.3 cm chalcopyrite crystal perched on the top really adds to the attractiveness of this Commodore Mine piece. 6.0 x 4.2 x 2.3 cm
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