ex. University of Arizona
A superb spray of very sharp, robusty colored amethyst crystals from this classic locality. The piece was mined in 1991 and was long in the Hubert Monmonier collection, which was bequeathed to University of Arizona. Sold in their recent deaccession/fundraising, this piece cleaned particularly well. It is nearly pristine, with just a tiny ding on the top. It has a great 3-dimensionality that you seldom see in these clusters, and it looks good from any direction. Joe Budd photos
From an old alpine classics collection that was being dispersed at the Tucson 2012 show, this is an exemplary example of a Tessin-style quartz crystal. Not only this: but it is gorgeous and gemmy; AND on a nice granite matrix; AND from the namesake locality for such habit. It is good on its own merits, style points aside. A very good reference site for explaining the unique rarity of Tessin style quartz crystals is this one: http://www.quartzpage.de/crs_habits.html. Seldom do we find such nice examples, with all the qualities we would want of a display specimen. Usually, you just get nice "singles" from this locale.
From an old alpine classics collection that was being dispersed at the Tucson 2012 show, this is an exemplary example of a Tessin-style quartz crystal. It is a tall , dramatic cluster of crystals rather than the usual single crystal one normally can find. The luster is incredible, like windexxed-glass. It is gorgeous and gemmy - good on its own merits, style points aside. A very good reference site for explaining the unique rarity of Tessin style quartz crystals is this one: http://www.quartzpage.de/crs_habits.html.
ex. Robert Nowakowski
This is a gorgeous, doubly-terminated quartz crystal with extreme variation in its color and patterns within. Also, the terminations are wildly different as well; one being a reverse sceptre with hopper effects, and the other a sharp prism termination with brilliant inclusions of red lepidocrocite and phantoms inside. Overall an exceptional specimen that is VERY unique ! From the Nowakowski amethyst collection.
A very aesthetic and unusual specimen from this classic mine, with a thick coating of sparkling white quartz over large fluorite octohedra. THEN, LATER in the history of this pocket, more fluorite was deposited on top of the quartz layer, making for little lavender tufts of fluorite poking out like mushrooms from the sharper quartz crystals underneath. I have not previously had such a good example of this multiple-generation material from the mine, nor seen one so aesthetic and balanced, as this piece. Ex Karl Faddis Collection (a Seattle-area native collector) - he specialized in minerals of the Northwest USA and British Columbia. Joe Budd Photos.
I am not normally "gungo ho" about schorls, but this piece has a composition, a brightness and sparkle to it, that overall makes it stand out. The schorl has exceptional luster and a superb, polished-looking termination. It is in stark contrast to its companion quartz in color and symmetry. The piece is complete all around, and displays dramatically. An old piece, recently exchanged to me from a collection. Joe Budd Photos.
This is a very fine Eagle's Nest gold of classic California style, with a treelike, robust group of crystals leaping up from quartz matrix. The gold tree is 7.5 cm tall, and it is good from either side. The piece is well balanced, trimmed aesthetically to leave just the right natural pedestal beneath the stable gold mass. The gold is completely and totally crystallized, on both sides, and you can clearly see several habits present including fat hoppered crystals (somewhat unusual, that). This piece would have come out long ago, and I bought it in an old collection to prep to modern standards in the early 2000s. While there are certainly more expensive golds of this style, this piece is no slouch and is, I feel, one of the finer Eagle's Nest golds you can get without breaking wide through the next price barrier. It is not just "big". it is very, very fine as well. Color is hard to convey in good photos, sometimes. The final photo (on wood grain) is taken with a simple iphone camera and is shown "as is" with no editing of the color. This is how the gold looks in soft room lighting (very yellow) as opposed to the more metallic and hard brightness in halogen photography lights. Joe Budd Photos.
ex. Dr. Steve Smale
This was one of two of Steve Smale's cabinet sized rose quartzes, which he bought out of a collection in Brazil in 1990 (though it was from the older finds, documented in Bancroft's Gem & Crystal Treasures Book, chapter 47 -page 222); and then he kept it for nearly 20 years. Nothing of such quality as that original find for sheer intensity in these arcing arrays of colorful crystals, has come out since that era, not in any size like this. Steve used to be a practitioner of cibachrome photography and I have his original hand-made 20-inch cibachrome print of the piece. Steve was THE CONSUMMATE collector of Brazilian fine gem crystals for a high standard of taste, and spent 50 years building one of the best collections of them ever put together in the US. He started breaking it up and trading before his move, a few years ago, to teach in Hong Kong (at age 80! ). I got this out of him ONLY as part of a large trade for the famous English bournonite in the Ikons book, in 2008. It is a rarified level of quality in Rose Quartz, which is actually more rare than one would think. The color is intense and hot pink, with excellent "sparkle." It is a specimen with an overall appearance that has long met the tastes of one of the strictest and most persnickety of collectors, and I believe it is worthy of any fine collection. Joe Budd Photo.
Vesper Peak was a legendary locality that was difficult to reach, and difficult to collect. Few large specimens ever came out, and this was self collected by Karl Faddis (we got his collection in 2011). Karl Faddis was a local legend himself, and built a superb collection of self-collected Washington and Northwest regional material. This piece, from his collection, is a whole pocket of brilliantly lustrous, gemmy garnets perched on quartz. Although there is some peripheral damage, the core display area is mostly intact and this is an important locality specimen. Joe Budd Photos.
This large display specimen is a very rare example of Russian scheelite from this historic mining locality. As well, it has cassiterite also, on the same piece, all nicely balanced by and hosted on beautiful quartz crystals! The scheelite is just under 3 cm across. An important Russian combination piece, found in the old Herb Obodda dealer stock. Joe Budd Photos.
ex. Ken Roberts
A stunning bournonite that is simply one of the "prettiest" examples I have seen. There are bigger, fatter, but few as sparkling and bright as this, with its contrasting white quartz association. The crystal is 4.25 cm tall, and completely temrinated. The termination is lustrous and as mirror bright as the body of the crystal. Slight crackling is present, as in many large examples of Chinese bournonite, but the cracks do not go through, and are not very thick. The close embrace of the quartz matrix preserved the crystal , in fact, when otherwise it would have fallen off and fallen apart (and hence, there are few good matrix bournonites relative to loose crystals found here). Overall just a bright and lively specimen that is just WAY beyond the normal quality for here. It was hand-selected in China by travelling dealer Ken Roberts, years ago when the miners were robbing the pillars to mine more bournonite in an old level of the mine (which led to a mine collapse and reported deaths in the early 2000's, sadly). It has since been in his personal collection of choice, generally sparkling and beautiful, Chinese miniatures and small cabinet pieces. Superb - hard to beat! Joe Budd Photos.
A cute pocket of rounded chrysocolla stalactitic outgrowths, coated by a transparent , thin layer of gem silica which acts as a protective and sparkly coating. The pocket is within the nodule in which it formed, so you can see the context. A rare, larger example in good shape, that probably dates to prior to the 1970s. Joe Budd Photos.
A magnificent specimen with a gemmy, intensely colored crystal poking straight up from a matrix of contrasting colors. This is one of the finest large topaz specimens, for overall aestetics and import, that we have seen; and rates highly amongst the "famous and known" pieces out there. It is pristine and complete all around save only one tiny chip on a right edge (which can be filled, but is so inconsequential I left it rather than label the piece restored for such a minor thing). The color, luster, and size of this matrix topaz all combine to make it imposing, but it is the overall unlikely combination, and the fact that there are no repairs, that make this go to the next level. Joe Budd Photos.
This is a significant US amethyst specimen: An exceptional large cluster with grape-juice purple crystals, from major finds of the early 2000s here. This piece is dramatic, complete all around, and just stunning. The major crystals are all gemmy at the tips. While other pockets are deservedly famous from this mine, and feature different styles (generally with less intense purple but on quartz matrix in some cases), this particular pocket was always the most impactful to me. I recall seeing the case on exhibit on the main show floor at tucson around 2000 or 2001, and being blown away. Few were found of this size, and quality. I should mention here that the piece is nearly pristine, and there isn't a ding at all on any major crystals despite its size and 3-dimensionality. I have known about it for a decade and always regaded it as one of my favorite major Amethysts from this locality. It is complete all around. When found in the pocket, as told to me by Terry Ledford, it was "wiggly" and so they dripped glue down the middle and you would consider this stabilised/repaired although it has never come apart, per se. The original owner who bought it from the miners has added a sealant base to the bottom, at the midpoint, to be sure to support the weight and keep the cluster solidly together as an extra precaution. I have followed this piece through 2 collections (from the original miner/owner) for a decade, and am proud to have it now. Joe Budd Photos.
An unusual specimen in that it features one single sharp, isolated ferberite crystal as opposed to the usual clusters which form here. The crystal is textbook sharp, perfect, and stands beautifully and dramatically from a cluster of quartz crystals backing it and nestling around its base. In fact, the piece even stands up on its own. Note the fine luster and interesting surface patterning. Joe Budd Photos.
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