ex. National Museum of Luxemborg
It is difficult to find sulfur specimens today with discrete crystals like this. Several, well formed, translucent, sulfur crystals are emplaced on matrix. While the crystals all exhibit the classic, rich, yellow color, all have minor bituminous inclusions (important proof they are real, and not man-made!). The largest crystal measures 3.3 cm in length. Considering the softness of sulfur, there are very few wilbers on the crystals. This is an incredibly complex specimen with both visual and crysatllographic appeal, of sulphur of a rare habit. I value it highly for all these reasons and I think that, of all the sulfurs out ther ein this size and price range that you might buy, this is one of the more unique and eyecatching.
This gorgeous and unusually large piece features dozens of gem-quality, sparkling clear celestites perched in matrix of minutely crystalline sulfur. It is dramatic and colorful, as well as a great example of this old classic combo from a now-defunct locality!
Aesthetically nestled in its matrix vug, are five, golden-yellow, gemmy, seemingly bi-pyramidal, crystals of sulfur to 2.0 cm in length. This habit is fairly uncommon in sulfur crystals. In fact, I cannot say as I have seen them like this befor efrom Italy, only from Russia. In addition, good sulfur specimens are getting scarce, especially since the mines are all played out. These crystals of beautiful form are nicely protected in a vug, as well, showing the whole pocket formation as it is found and making this a bit special in my book.
This specimen presents isolated, intense yellow crystals of sufur on stark white matrix of spiky little aragonite crystals. The crystals are to 3 cm in size, and pristine despite the age, and the softness of fragile sulfur crystals. This is a display-quality example of this CLASSIC material, now seldom seen in this quality for sale. A lot of more recently mined sulfur specimens was available briefly in the 1970s, and also some notorious fakes created around the same time. This piece, however, dates back firmly to a major multigenerational collection of Milan that was assembled in the second half of the 19th centruy. It has been confirmed as a valid historic specimen by Dr. Federico Pezzotta of the MUSEO DI STORIA NATURALE in Milan, which has an extensive comparative collection. Comes with custom lucite display base
ex. Natural History Museum of Milan
Elegant, sharp, translucent to transparent crystals of sulfur hang off this aragonite matrix. This is just a unique specimen the likes of which I have never seen before for style and overall form. It is complete all around and actually the color gets more intense in case lighting than even the photos show. Sulfur is one of the most beautiful , but fragile, of mineral specimens for the collector to own. So very few oldtime pieces survive, due to the softness of the species and its requirement for careful handling. Of those sulfurs out there, there is a taint upon many due to the vast fakery campaign of one amatuer chemist and downright criminal collector who grew many sulfurs and then traded them and sold them throughout decades in the late 1900s. Because of this, one looks for sulfurs with unique form, petroleum in the matrix, certain styles from certain mines, or with provenance. This particular specimen I obtained in a trade with the Museum of Milan for Elba minerals from an equally old collection here, and it comes from the Sigismund family collection of Milan (late 1800s/early 1900s).Joe Budd Photos
ex. Howard Belsky
A sharp 3.6-cm-across crystal of lemon-yellow sulfur of the purest hue and most intense saturation is perched on a really unusal matrix of contrasting dark calcite. The sulfur crystal is fairly translucent and extremely sharp. The matrix is a multigenerational mix of small dogtooth calcites (naturally colored dark by petroleum inclusions), perched on calcite replacement of an earlier generation of large, hexagonal aragonite crystals. This cabinet specimen is a rare combination and style, from the collection of Howard Belsky. Joe Budd photos
This specimen features unusually sharp sulfur crystals showing double-ended terminations and, unusually for sulfur, high luster rather than the usual matte finish on the surface. The crystals are very bright, as sharp and as glassy as you can ask for in the species. The piece is, despite its size, nearly pristine and has no repairs. The crystals are aesthetically perched on matrix. All of these qualities are rare enough in a smaller example, and almost impossible to get in a large specimen of this magnitude. This is a world class sulfur, that is at the top of its game and should be considered of the same caliber as top gem crystals of �fancier� species. Interestingly, as a side note, the crystals grew on matrix that was exposed to flows of bitumen and oil, which became included in both the calcite matrix and in the sulfur crystals themselves, during growth. This is an unusual feature unique to this location, and proof of a natural (and not synthetically made) Italian pedigree. This location is the classic old locality for crystallized sulfur. As stated in the superb reference work on old classic locales, Peter Bancroft�s GEM & CRYSTAL TREASURES (chapter 75): No other locality produces pristine sulfur crystals as large, as brilliant, and as well formed as Sicily. Few specimens seem to have been preserved until the 1800s, for museums and science. Most was crushed for gunpowder, and working conditions were quite literally horrendous in the past, not suited to relaxed specimen collecting until modern times. This specimen was from the collection of a mine engineer, who lived and worked in Sicily and was said to have self-collected these specimens in the 1950s and 1960s. This collection was recently sold in Europe, and I was able to get the first viewing of the material when it arrived by pallet shipment to the United States ahead of the Tucson 2012 show. To my taste, this was the single finest specimen in the lot for overall quality and display (although there were bigger pieces, they were flat plates and not as visually appealing). Joe Budd Photos.
This is a major cabinet specimen worthy of any fine collection, and quite a level above the usual sort of sulfur you see (of which even small ones of superb color are now going for five figures). A stunning specimen from an old collection, this piece is two-faced. One side shows an incredible, almost unique, metallic-lustrous sulfur crystallization that forms an interlinked display face of bright crystals. The color is INTENSE and as saturated as I have ever seen in sulfur, but it is the LUSTER that makes this side special, and dramatic. I have seldom seen luster like this, and only on a few smaller specimens (as well as one illustrated in a recent issue of the MR, of similar habit but smaller size). The other side is more traditional, with larger, fat and 3-dimensional, golfball-like crystals growing out from a mass of smaller crystals. It is beautiful as well, though entirely different in style from the other side of the piece. The entire specimen is a floater, complete all around. It has almost no damage (a few very minor rubs you have to look to find, only), remarkable given its size. This piece was in an old collection in Italy for decades, and is the only such example I have seen on the market for this style, in good condition. As good as the photos are, the piece is simply glowing with color in person and so saturated in color, that it is hard to believe it is real. It is THAT good. Joe Budd Photos.
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