Honestly, the large find of spessartines here, last December through January, seemed to trickle on for longer than I expected; and with a few more hoards having been hidden away than my sources in Tanzania initially knew about. Loose spessartine crystals found in the top layers of this deposit still set the standard for the find (and for that matter for the species), and had the best color and gemminess to them by and large - although all but a vanishingly small percentage were dinged and bruised by the miners or by nature. Recently, it seems the next layers down contain garnets still embaedded in the host rock, a brilliantly sparkling micaceous schist. These were rare even up until a few months ago, but are now starting to come out invarying qualities. The garnets are very choice and sharp, if the miners were careful not to crack them in the extraction process (the best ones are those which were left for us to manually uncover over here). While smaller than the initial floater crystals from the finds near the surface, these matrix-bound garnets are just as colorful and some of them are equally gemmy. Matrix spessartine of this quality were previously only known from a few small finds: the Little 3 Mine in San Diego and at Marienfluss, in Nigeria.
This specimen is a large, sparkling matrix about the size of your hand, featuring a stunning, PRISTINE, 2-cm-across spessartine that is carefully extracted and super-sharp. It has a "glow " to it, and is the top tangerine-orange color hue found here (although one can argue which hue you like, in particular!). The smaller crystal to its side is an accent only, and has a minor ding on it (but this crystal can be easily removed in any case, if desired).
The sparkling shimmer of this beautiful schist matrix really does NOT come through well in the photos, and it is a striking contrast from the metallic shimmer of the matrix to the stark geometrical form of the garnets within it. This major crystal is 1.9 cm across, and pristine. In person, you can see the 3-dimensionality of this particularly well-exposed crystal much better. It is so sharp that it is like an insect eyeball, popping out at you.
This sparkling specimen of mica schist hosts a 1.5 cm garnet of tangerine orange color, starkly and beautifully displayed. It is well exposed already but could, with time and a little pick or sharp metal tool, be exposed further than we have done to make it look even more like a golfball popping up.
I love this specimen for its rolling shape, and the way it prominently displays a VERY CHOICE, gemmy, 1.5-cm crystal front and center. The mica schist is sparkly and bright, providing an amazing contrast to the sharp golfball of garnet in the middle. That one crystal makes the piece. it is STUNNING in quality, sharp, and dramatic. The other garnets provide accent, which is valuable in a large specimen like this, but the core of the piece is really that "garnet golfball" popping out of greenish schist. My feeling is that most of the garnets coming out of here, and there will be many to come, will be of a quality like the crystals surrounding the periphery here. I believe, based on what I have seen, few will have the quality of that dominant crystal, or the overall impact therefore of a piece like this.
THis "toenail"-sized cluster is stunning tangerine-orange color, translucent, and is lustrous and complete all around. It sits upon a small pedestal of natural matrix. A holdover from the earlier finds, this is an unusual piece in that it is a cluster whereas most crystals from here occurred as singles.
A 1.9-cm "frog-eye" crystal pops up , stunningly displayed, on the front of this piece. The back features a similarly 3-dimensional, sharp, and gemmy 1.4 cm crystal. The contrast with the metallic, sparkling mica matrix is stunning, as with others here. I have seen now MANY matrix specimens from this find, but few that combine matrix appeal and garnet quality such as these. This dramatic large piece is a standout, certainly a rarity compared to most past available matrix spessartines.
This cluster of reddish-orange spessartines, individually to 3.5 cm across, is in total approximately 2 inches overall! These are large garnets with deep color and translucency, though not as transparent as the smaller crystals. Interestingly, the schist matrix is colored orange by minute inclusions of small bits of spessartine, for a red-on-shimmering-orange look. Quite differrent than other pieces here!
This handsized specimen features a pocket atop with a choice, gemmy, very transparent and colorful crystal measuring 1.5 cm in a protected pocket. It needs a trim into a miniature, and then i think it will be considerably more valuable. But in the interest of time and cash flow, we have offered as is, before trimming, at a lower price - and you can frankly do the work yourself with a dremel tool or small excavating tool. Its quite fun, really, to sit and work these specimens out!
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