Talk about color! This lilac kunzite has DEEP PURPLE COLOR: NOT PINK, but a true PURPLE. It is particularly intense on the long and shortest axes. I think the pics speak for themselves, here! The kunzite is also doubly-terminated, complete on the bottom as well. I will make a base so it can display nicely without having to be glued down. Tourmaline in association with kunzite is extremely uncommon and I have never seen a piece with quite the aesthetics of this one, with a beautiful 6.5-cm tourmaline hitching a ride. Oh...it IS GEMMIER and more TRANSPARENT IN PERSON!
This MONSTER is a complete floater, intact all around and weighing 6.6 pounds or about 3 kilos! It is sharp, gemmy, and very VERY impressive in person. Show it to laymen who want to see a "big gem crystal" or the sophisticated collector, and its equally awesome. PICS DO NOT DO IT JUSTICE!
I am not normally a fan of spodumenes but this one wowed me. The color is unique, and the gemminess superb. It is a complete floater of size and quality - MUCH more gemmy and bright, by the way, in person. In particular, this yellow one is much more glassy and transparent in person than the pics indicate. This piece is like carved glass, with intricate, elven carvings at the ends caused by natural fluid dissolution in the pocket. It is an intense lemon yellow in color like I have never seen before in the species, and along the c-axis (long axis, lower-left photo) it has an even deeper yellow hue to it!
ex. Joseph Freilich
ex. Matthew Webb
This is one of those famous pieces that is pretty much known by name throughout the higher levels of the collecting community. It was illustrated in the Mineralogical Record back in vol. 31, page 62. It was one of the featured gem crystals in the Sotheby's Auction of the Freilich collection in January of 2001. With everything else there was to buy to occupy people, I got lucky and it did not sell there at the auction, giving me the chance to buy it after auction later in the month. It then went to a private collection in Australia where it has resided since then and now comes back to me. It remains, in my estimation and many others', the single best specimen of its size range for the species in terms of overall aesthetics because of the combination of starkly contrasting matrix, deep rich color, steep and phenomenal termination, and composition. Seldom does kunzite form so sharp and symmetric a termination. All three photos are accurate for color. It is a pleasing deep pink from the front, but almost a lavender hue from the side and downright purply down the c-axis view. It is contact-repaired to the natural matrix. In geological time, the crystal wiggled out of its natural matrix and left a small gap of several millimeters which then was filled in with additional albite and a few small quartz crystals. Thus, there is a slight but natural gap between the crystal and the matrix at its highest point of contact. It would be easy to remove those two teeny quartz nubs and make for a flat contact but I have twice now chosen, as did Wilber and Freilich before me, to leave the natural aspects of the piece intact as illustrative of the environment in which these gem crystals form. In any case, the slight gap is NOT visible from the front and so in no way detracts from the display view. The matrix is spotted with small green tourmalines, too! It is just an incredible piece...
ex. Laura Thompson
ex. Stevia Thompson
A sharp, complete, TWINNED spod! Spodumene twins are extremely rare , and hard to obtain.
ex. Wally Mann
NOTE IN PERSON THE COLOR IS AN EVEN , INTENSE PINK - the photos do not convey this well. This is a superbly sharp, unusually well-terminated crystal of about 370 grams, from the classic occurrence here. It is a floater, complete on the bottom, and looks equally fine from either side. For its size, it has robust color and also is completely gemmy and transparent. But it is the termination, that crazy sharp termination , that makes it a killer. Dallas-area collector Wally Mann bought this from Herb Obodda after one of his trips to Pakistan in the early 2000s and treasured it not just because it was fine; but also because it really could (and did) fool a lot of people, with its color and sharp form, into thinking that it was a turn-of-the-1900s piece from Pala, San Diego. But it was too big in size for his collection, as a whole, and so did not fit. Exchanged out to me, this is now for sale. For Afghanistan, in this size range, its one of the sharper and finer singles I have seen for my tastes.
ex. james houran
A sharp, very aesthetic , cluster of two elongated kunzite crystals. Clusters such as this are uncommon, usually being found just as singles. This piece has classic pink color, not intense but not pale either. It is especially notable, though, for the razor sharp terminations from a locale where most kunzite terminations are etched and not as sharp. It is pristine, and complete all around. Formerly in the Jim Houran collection, of Dallas, TX. This piece is illustrated in book IKONS: Classic and Contemporary Masterpieces, by Wayne Thompson , 2007 (shown in a travelogue section as an acquisition made on one of his many buying trips to Pakistan in the 1980s-1990s).Comes with custom lucite display base
ex. Dr. Edward David
Kunzite has come out of the pegmatites in Afghanistan's rather chaotic Nuristan tribal belt for the last few decades in varying quantities and quanlities. Many of us have now seen "too many" examples of this once rare gem crystal species. However, I always stay on the lookout for truly different pieces, for specimens with shocking color and form - and this is one I have been eyeballing for years to get! This was recently exchanged out to me from the collection of Dr. Ed David (President Nixon's White House science advisor among his other roles). It is a complete floater with stunning, citylike formations to the etch patterns, and a deep lilac-hot -pink color saturation. Note please, these photos are consciously NOT overdone or color-enhanced - it really is this color when light shines down or up through the long axis. And even in a normal case, it gets enough lighting to show the hot tones, whereas most kunzite needs a closer or more aligned light source. Joe Budd photos
This is a very well-balanced upright kunzite crystal, standing upright with just the right amount of contrasting, and anchoring, matrix. It is very sharp and gemmy, a classic for the kunzites from this region. However, most larger matrix pieces lack aesthetics, or have repairs which this does not. Joe Budd photos
ex. William Larson
Few San Diego kunzites reach the combination of color and form that we now see from Afghani material. However, when they do so, they should be viewed as much more rare, and historically have been valued much higher. This particular specimen can hold its own with any modern Afghani piece, with which there are only subtle differences in composition. It is a doubly-terminated crystal of intense hot pink color, with great lustre and glassiness. The piece was found in the 1950's by San Diego collector George Ashley, and ended up in the Bill Larson collection. By the time of the American Treasures exhibition in Tucson (2008), the piece was in the noted california collection of Jesse Fisher and Joan Kureczka. It was exhibited in the Pala District case at that once-in-a-lifetime exhibition honoring America's mineral treasures, and comes with the commemorative display label. At 258 grams, it is hefty and a fair cabinet sized specimen. Joe Budd Photos. FEATURED IN THE AMT CASE AT TUCSON 2008 SHOW and ILLUSTRATED IN MINERALOGICAL RECORD COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE
ex. Dr. Steve Smale
A complete floater, all gemmy and bright, from famous old finds here of the early 1980s. Formerly in the collection of Dr. Steve Smale, this is a gorgeous, display-quality small cabinet piece that can be shown from a number of angles. 170 grams. Joe Budd Photos.
ex. Al Ordway
A very large, robust, 800-gram (2 pound!) crystal from the famous finds at the "Beebe Hole Mine" as it came to be called. This crystal is sublty multicolored and is totally gemmy and transparent, and complete all around. It is in superb condition! Loren Beebe collected these in the 1970s and hoarded them until the late 1990s. No more were ever found by him here. When they were released, most crystals of this calibre went to the major local collectors in California, few getting to the broader market. This piece went into the Al Ordway collection. Joe Budd Photos. Comes with custom base
ex. Ken Hollman
This is the CRYSTAL TYPE LOCALITY for spodumene, apparently. A LARGE, 660-gram single, sharply terminated crystal of spodumene from this classic old locality circa mid-1800s! They were considered very important at the time (remember, gem pink kunzite had NOT yet been found in California, Brazil, or Afghanistan), and these crystals were considered highly important and sold or traded into all major museums. Owning one of these would be a goal to assemble any major collection of the time, of important US minerals. Today, they are not worth their weight in gold any more (660 grams...ouch!), but they still are important historical pieces. This location was first documented by Edward Hitchcock in 1833 (Report on the Geology, Mineralogy, Botany and Zoology of Massachusetts), and the first location to yield crystallography on the species (1879). The quarry was last operated by B. K Emerson of Amherst College, and Frank Nason (Nasonite) operated the location in 1885. This is when the majority of the old specimens were recovered. For the size of this crystal, this is really good! They generally get a little more "aesthetically challenged" with size. This is one of the best I have seen, and although color-challenged, it is a very important historical specimen nonetheless, and a superb example from this now defunct pegmatite. ex. Ken Hollman Collection. Thanks to Jim Chenard for this footnote: A funny note on this area was with regards to the early Professor Emerson, who wrote the Mineralogical Lexicon of Hampshire, Hampden Counties in Mass. His journal well documents the Walnut Hill location, and always used taverns as landmarks. His writing got worse during the day, and he would frequently come back to Amherst on foot, since he would forget where his horse was. This is an old location!
weight: 29.4 pounds. Perhaps one of the world's largest crystals for the species ! It is complete all around, and with remarkably little etching effects given the size of the crystal. It is nearly entirely gemmy, especially in the center. The tip just glows with purple and maroon hues, with any kind of good lighting , especially when light comes down the c-axis. For the remarkably equant and sharp termination, this would be major anyhow for the species, even if it were small (most have etched terminations as the sizes get longer, not as attractive to my eye). But in this size, its literally a museum piece and among the most impressive examples of this species I have seen. It is not so easy to hold as it looks...for any more than a few seconds in that position. Shown is Dave Wilber, holding the piece as he gave a discussion on its importance for a video series called "What's Hot in Tucson" in 2008
When I was first offered this specimen via email from a source in Peshawar, who said it had just been hauled in from Afghanistan, I passed on it. I thought it must be a glued-together fake, and a pretty bad fake at that since it was so obvious this could not be real. Unrepaired and a pristine floater complete all around?! HAH! (In fact, I was a little upset my source had the poor judgment to pass on to me such an obvious fake.) I have since been proven wrong, as I found when another foreign source bought the piece and put it in front of me here in the US, trusting I would freak out over it. It is real, it is unrepaired despite its intricate geometry and sheer size (nearly a foot tall!); and it is pristine and undamaged all around as advertised. Oh yes, and it is a floater! 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 crazily 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 and I feel privileged to offer this all-too-real miracle of survival. I was told recently by another dealer that they were offered the specimen in Peshawar when visiting (this was in 2007) but through an intermediary, and at a much higher price. My suspicion is that it did not sell simply because any buyer would have had to be suspicious of its reality - which I have thoroughly checked now in a modern prep lab to be sure of. This is a world class gem pegmatite combination specimen. Note that in normal lighting the photos below are more accurate. The first photo was taken by Joe Budd using stronger, studio lighting.
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