These remarkable smithsonites are the best I have seen over 10- years of watching a piece or two per year surface on the market, presumably stashed years ago and now coming to light as a small lot I picked up just before Tucson. I am NOT aware of recent mining for these, nor have I ever seen quantity, though I have sold 4 -5 of them in the past decade. This piece is by far and away the best of the lot. It has a quality to it that could compete with the best cadmian-rich material from Arkansas' classic Philadelphia Mine in Rush County, and more crystal structure as you can see - it is not truly botryoidal as might be smithsonite from those other locales.
Another superb smithsonite from any locality, but the extra value of the unusual cadmian-induced yellow color, and the locality rarity, really adds to the lure of the specimen.
ex. Dr. Richard Webster
A stunning miniature featuring two robust, thick, 3-dimensional crystals that are as sharp and as pink as you can ask for. The largest is 2 cm. They perch smartly on a well-trimmed sulfide matrix. Killer color, Killer size, perfect competition quality aesthetics! This is as good for the size as I could imagine,a nd is not only a classic, but one with pedigree. It comes from the noted collection of Dr. Dick Webster, one of the founders of plastic surgery and a major mineral collector several decades ago. This collection just surfaced through his children, to the market, with a friend of mine.
Among the most coveted specimens from Tsumeb are the copper rich smithsonites, such as this one. The lustrous, translucent, rich, apple green, rhombs, to 1.5 cm across, are intergrown, giving the specimen a rosette appearance. Formerly in the collection of Ulrich Bahmann of South Africa. This style, with teh large crystals, is quite uncommon and a miiature such as this one is very hard to obtain because it is so coveted a style. Pristine on the display face, slightly contacted in back, except for one very small cleave on a minor crystal, in the center-right of the piece (you can see the slight white discontinuity in the photos - it is less obvious in person).
A nearly unique specimen from a very small pocket of this material collected in the early 90's, where MOST of the smithsonite was botryoidal but a few came out with crystals, like this one. EXTREMELY RARE and desirable arizona smithsonite!
A huge, gorgeous, rolling plate of botryoidal smithsonite with teh CLASSIC "kelly blue" color! VERY rare to get such a large plate in good condition!
This botryoidal specimen exhibits the finest, "Kelly blue" color, luster, and translucence, to be found from this venerable old mine. Specimens of this quality and color are increasingly rare in dealer stocks. Much of it eventually drifts over to lapidary use, as the carving value of pieces like this with the best color and thick rind probably exceeds the specimen value. This one really is THAT good...lustre and color are very important in grading these, and I have seen a LOT of them.
From one of the world's greatest mineral localities, this intergrown cluster of tan smithsonite crystals exhibits great luster and translucence. the largest crystal measures 1.5 cm across.
ex. Jack Halpern
This is a VERY rare piece of legrandite from the TYPE LOCALITY for the species: This is NOT Ojuela as most people think, but a small earlier find in Nuevo Leon , a completely different location and geology! This specimen is attractive in that the legrandite is contrasted against white smithsonite (this association is a dead giveaway of its true origin, aside from the unique crystal form and notably radiating habit of the legrandite clusters themselves). Overall, it is a rich piece and one of the best I have seen for sale since I first learned this fact about a decade ago, myself. Who knew?! Well, these can only get rarer with time, even more so than the comparbly plentiful Ojuela Mine material. NOTE: There are more crystals on the backside, as well!
This is a very robust, 3-dimensional cluster of lustrous and translucent, intergrown crystals of pastel pink, cobaltian smithsonite, to 1.5 cm acoss. The crystals are "rounded" for lack of a better word, like discs almost. They have a very distinct appearance to them and this is a rare style for Tsumeb.
This is nearly a solid, architecturally interesting specimen composed of rosettes of lustrous and translucent, richly-saturated hot-pink, cobaltoan smithsonite, to 1 cm across. There is a secondary, gray coating on some of the smithsonite rosettes which gives some dimension and texture to the piece, as a tradeoff. The color is very intense!
Many people never even see a piece like this, and assume all pink smithsonites are cobaltian. But there is an exception, as here: An ivory colored limestone matrix is nearly covered by intergrown, lustrous and translucent, crystals of maroon-pink mangano-smithsonite, that reach 5 mm across. This is a VERY rare variety of smithsonite where the red is induced by MANGANESE and not by COBALT, as usually seen in pink smithsonites. This style was found once, in a special pocket circa 1984, and remains unkown from other locales. The pieces of this pocket are recognizable to a trained eye by the combination of a subtly different color and sharp crystal form, compared to most other smithsonite finds at Tsumeb. This is a very rich, large specimen from the pocket. Ex. collection of A. Balhao, Kombat, Namibia.
Two stacked crystals, the larger one being doubly terminated and 2.1 cm across, of lustrous and translucent, golden yellow, cadmium rich smithsonite, form a competition quality miniature here. The back side one one lower face/edge has been contacted but it is of little significance as you would display the specimen for aesthetics anyhow. A beautiful cluster of this very rare, saturated yellow-amber color.
ex. Charlie Key
Unusual in many respects, because native copper is rare at Tsumeb and when found, is usually not associated with the lead minerals there, this is a very interesting combination piece: In a vug lined with a thick sheet of native copper are emplaced well-formed rhombohedrons of lustrous and translucent, colorless to ivory-colored smithsonite, to 1.25 cm in length. The copper bubbles up in parts through the smithsonite coverage, and is composed of hackly masses that offset the luster and form of the smithsonite. An old specimen, from the noted collection of Tsumeb specialist Charlie Key. a rare copper specimen from a rich copper mine, that produced paradoxically few examples of specimen-quality native copper!
Intergrown crystals of lustrous and translucent, apple green, cupro-smithsonite, to 7 mm across, have grown around a knob of matrix. Although the crystals are fairly small, the color and luster is outstanding. This sharp pseudocubic crystal habit is rare for smithsonite in general, and noted for these Tsumeb greens as one of the finest habits to own. They were rarely found and tend to command a premium in price, accordingly.
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