ex. Ernie Schlichter
From an obscure locality in Wales, this pyromorphite specimen features multi-hued acicular crystals to about .3 cm in length, profusely covering the matrix on both the front AND back sides. Making this piece even nicer is the cluster of quartz crystals nestled down in the central vug. Really pretty, interesting locality piece! Dealers in the late 1970's to early 80's deliberately labelled them obsurely to prevent collectors from finding the site. Unfortunately it didn't really work and as a consequence many are labelled as Plynlimon or even corrupted to Plynlimon Mine, which has no real minerals of interest.
ex. Ernie Schlichter
ex. Ernie Schlichter
This amethyst "flower" is from the southern Brazil. It exhibits a multi-hued lavender color with outstanding luster. In addition, all the individual crystals are terminated. Whereas most of these flowers are rather symmetric sprays, this one is asymmetric and looks very unusual (in a good way!).
ex. Ernie Schlichter
A doubly terminated, opaque quartz crystal forms the matrix for several unusually large, lustrous and equant, jet-black brookite crystals. The brookite crystals reach 1 cm across which is very large for the locale. They display phenomenally on the contrasting matrix. This is not the norm for Magnet Cove brookite!
ex. Dr. Steve Neely
ex. Francis and Patricia Benjamin
Gwindels, or twisted quartzes, are prototypically smoky. Clear, nonsmoky pieces are very rare: literally, 1 in 100. Anyhow, all are rare to begin with, with strahlers risking life and limb to collect them in alpine clefts to get them. This is a superb, complete-all-around, pristine specimen from the collections of Steve Neely (Nashville, sold in 1997) and Francis Benjamin (quartz specialist in Bordeaux, traded to me last month). Steve's collection specialized in "best-of" aesthetics and size in the 3-5 inch range, and had little duplication. He only had the best. Francis , as well, is known for a pedigree of good collecting quality but in quartz as one of his specialties. Thus, you have two collectors with different collecting approaches entirely ending up owning the same specimen for different reasons : both valuing its significance and outright quality in quartz. The piece has a vertically rising gwindel almost 4 inches tall, flanked by psrismatic quartz. In person, its much better - it is so clear, its nearly impossible to photo well here...this conveys the gist of it, at least. I can tell you this is so good, i think it will never be upgradeable for what it is and in any case i will WRITE A CHECK to buy it back, anytime, on demand..
ex. James and Marjorie Ferguson
This specimen hosts a gorgeous flowery cluster of mimetite crystals to 1 cm, gracefully curving in upon themselves, and centered in matrix. It is a very unique piece in overall appearance, to me, and is quite attractive in person. It is very 3-dimensional, and the mimetites are set off so nicely, that it ranks up there as a great mimetite even though the mims themselves are not very large.
Water-clear, SHARP cuboctohedral flurites perched one upon the other in a delicately balanced cluster upon a short stack of galena crystals! These fluorites are so clear you can look through to the galena inside or at the back. Also, there is a really neat group of floating pyrite crystals inside the large lower fluorite here, showing what appears to be a cast after an earlier crystal of fluorite or galena where the pyrite specks cumulatively retain the outline of a cubic predecessor. VERY NEAT, though subtle.
Seven TRANSPARENT, gemmy, undamaged cuboctohedral crystals to 3 cm in size perch like mountainclimbers upon this mound of crystallized galena (actually a carpet of galena over a mound of underlaying sphalerite). The contrast is striking! The association with galena is CLASSIC for Naica, for old material. For this NEW find, it seems rather unusual as most of the associations are with sphalerite. Also, the frozen waterfall of sparkling crystallized quartz running down the center of the piece provides a nice accent and some sparkle...and is itself unusual in the occurrence. The piece is large...so the pictures really have trouble conveying how impressive this is, and how starkly frog-eyed the fluorites look in person as they leap out at you from the contrasting galena. It is therefore much more 3-dimensional and impressive in person!
Over a dozen TRANSPARENT, gemmy, undamaged cuboctohedral crystals to 3 cm in size perch like mountainclimbers upon this mound of crystallized galena. The contrast is striking! The weight is also striking - probably over half a dozen pounds here. The association is CLASSIC for Naica, for old material. For this NEW find, it seems rather unusual as most of the associations are with sphalerite. Also, the rivulets of sparkling crystallized quartz running down the seams of the piece provide a nice accent and some sparkle...and are themselves unusual in the occurrence. The piece is large...so the pictures really have trouble conveying how impressive this is, and how starkly frog-eyed the fluorites look in person as they leap out at you from the contrasting galena. It is therefore much more 3-dimensional and impressive in person! Since its so heavy and so hard to photograph, I am making it $950 instead of $1950 as it probably should be to ensure i sell it and don't have to carry it around here at the office!
Nicely perched on splendent, black, sphalerite and minor gray galena, are two ,gemmy, pastel green crystals of fluorite, to 3.5 cm across. The fluorite crystals are cubes with modifying octahedral faces and they are complete save for a couple of small dings near the terminations, and contacting on the back of the crystals. However, from teh front, it looks very fine and is a relative bargain because I priced it down given teh incomplete back side..
Splendent, black sphalerite crystals, to 2.25 cm across, form a matrix on which is impaled a cluster of gemmy, pastel green and pastel lavender, fluorite crystals, to 2.5 cm across. The fluorite crystals exhibit stepped growth of cubes modified by octahedral faces. The 3 tiered specimen has very nice aesthetics, with the sparkle of the overlaying Quartz druse adding a lot to the overall impact. One of the more dramatic pieces, here, obviously!
A beautiful combination piece! This has clusters of gemmy, bi-colored fluorite crystals, to 3.0 cm across, exhibiting both pastel green and pastel lavender hues. The crystals are cubes modified by octahedral faces. There are also two clusters of lustrous, black sphalerite to 3.5 cm across perched among the fluorite crystals. As an added effect, there is a thin drusy crust of white quartz draped over both the fluorite and sphalerite. All of this is underlain by a matrix of galena, sphalerite and pyrite. Overall a very visually impactful large specimen at a moderate price range, I thought.
This matrix specimen has fine aesthetics thanks to well formed lustrous galena crystals, to 2.5 cm in length, upon which are emplaced gemmy, pastel green fluorite crystals, to 3.0 cm across. The contrast of form and color with the galena MAKES the specimen. It is one of few with so dramatic a contrast. The fluorite crystals are cubes with modifying octahedral faces. In addition, there is a drusy crust of white quartz partially covering the lower boundary with the galena crystals for accent. Very nice combo!
ex. Frank Valenzuela
An example of this material would be a highlight of any major collection of the US classics , Arizona minerals, or in a pseudomorph collection. Or, just because they are so unique and beautiful, in any collection - I am not aware of pieces that look like this from anywhere else. But, there are few to be had. This large piece features unusually sharp crystals, whereas most are rounded. It displays well horizontal or vertical. As a bonus to its beauty, these crystals are actually a rare double pseudomorph! The quartz has replaced chrysocolla, which itself has replaced malachite. Some people say that the malachite replaced original azurite crystals, as well. Then, a layer of sparkly gem chalcedony (quartz) draped and coated it all , for sparkle and a thin transparent coating that also is protective of the altering chrysocolla underneath. With intense color, sharp form, and good size, this is an impressive piece that just "glows" with translucency, instantly visible in a case for its purity of color and its brightness. My own instincts and experience say this is very good. According to a very prominent Arizona collector I showed this to after acquisition, this is hands down one of the best examples of the material (and he knows more than I). According to MINDAT: "Mineralization also involves the copper silicate Live Oak vein. All outcrops of this vein has long since been obliterated by caving operations of the Inspiration Mine. The vein occupied a fissure in the sill-like body of granite porphyry facies of the granite that overlies the schist in the western segment of the Miami-Inspiration disseminated copper deposit. The chrysocolla was undoubtedly deposited by supergene solutions that collected in the fissures and contained copper leached from the surrounding rock." (see http://www.mindat.org/loc-6777.html) . In other words, a rare and now vanished occurrence. I often see damaged, rounded examples which seem rather lumpy to me, for sale at already high prices. This one is one of the best such examples I have handled or seen in collections, including the major old Arizona collections. It has been in the Frank Valenzuela collection for nearly 40 years. Joe Budd Photos.
ex. Rice Northwest Museum
A gorgeous polished nodule of gem grade carving rough of the best color of "gem silica," chrysocolla and quartz mixed together along with malachite (the malachite in the form of needle-like inclusions). This is classic old material for the mine, but seldom do you see such large nodules still around as they have always been, and remain, desirable for lapidary use. The colors here are both particularly intense and contrasting. From the Rice Northwest Museum collection, originally donated by its founders Richard and Helen Rice (cat #207). I believe there is a fair amount of lapidary value to this specimen, and it is a beautiful piece even "as is." Weight is 2 pounds Joe Budd Photos.
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