ex. Marshall Sussman
A riveting specimen of the rare, "sugary" style of intense green smithsonite from Tsumeb, produced in a single pocket in the late 1970s or early 1980s. This piece came from a collection purchased in Africa by the Sussmans, solely to get this specimen. There are few that rival it for size, and they are held by major museums or collectors not releasing them. Of the examples I have seen, even including the Houston Museum example and the piece formerly in the noted smithsonite collection of the Zweibels, this one excels because of its aesthetic edges, dramatic 3-D form, and translucency. There is no damage at all - it is perfect despite the large size. Joe Budd photos.
ex. Bruce Oreck
This specimen was pictured on the cover of the Nov-Dec 2009 Mineralogical Record issue containing a long article on this famous gem crystal mine. It is also pictured inside the article, shown after being mined. The piece is gemmier than most, sharper than most in form and termination, and retains a hexagonal shape unmarred by too much etching; and yet enough etching to give it the fantastically complex surface structure we love to see in these beryl crystals. It is absolutely pristine, and is doubly-terminated. Here is a stunning, large specimen of heliodor that is not just gemmy, but is TOTALLY 100% clean and of gem quality - two entirely different uses of the base word "gem" ! 532 grams mass - which is a LOT of treated, cutting-quality aquamarine rough in the gem trade (although one should never cut such a perfect crystal!) . Formerly in the collection of Daniel Trinchillo (known to keep great Russian pieces); and of collector Bruce Oreck. Joe Budd photos.
A gemmy, sparkling, bubbly blue willemite of a quality that I simply never thought to exist, from the remarkable small find of the late 1970s that is regarded by most Tsumeb afficionados as having produced the finest willemite in the world. This piece is 3-dimensional, has great horizons, and is complete all around! It is blue on the front, and red (also willemite) on the backside. Most people whom i showed this to, thought it was a translucent smithsonite. Joe Budd photos.
ex. Dr. Edward David
This important large specimen features a 12-cm-long doubly-terminated, gem crystal on top! That crystal is RAZOR sharp, literally. It is extremely translucent and has the best lively brown color when backlit, not too dark as many are. The piece is nearly pristine all around, with just a small bit of contact or damage in back (and not on the main crystal). The way the matrix balances and contrasts, is also unusual as most large axinites are simply masses of axinite with little matrix to offset the crystals. This is a rarified, large piece from the mining in the 1980s heyday here. It was in the Ed David collection in the 1990s, and then the Marc Weill collection in the early 2000's. I think such a piece is simply not out there on the modern market. Joe Budd photos
Perfection. Complete all around, this specimen simply dominates with its aesthetics and sparkle. Even the matrix is crystallized and sparkly. Quite simply, this piece is considered by many to be if not the finest, than among the top few examples known of the species from the modern finds of this style (which are quite different than the old style from the 1940s, from another locale). It sold for a record price back in 2001, and then sold again in the sale of the Fuss collection (in 2003). It then disappeared for a number of years until it came across my desk recently, right as the painting of the piece came out as the frontispiece in the Brazil book published by ExtraLapis in Germany. ex Sandor Fuss collection. Joe Budd photos
The photos say it all, here. This is a spectacular specimen of upright, pristine and mirror-bright hematite perched on stunningly gem clear, bright, perfect quartz crystals, all on a granite matrix. The hematites are 3-dimensional and fat, not slender and brittle as so many can be. They show complex surface patterning, only marred by a few small specks of deep red rutile perched atop. Such specimens are quite nearly impossible to collect and find in the high Alpine clefts where strahlers literally risk their lives going after them. Many matrix pieces are repaired - this is not. Many matrix pieces are big and clunky - this has perfect aesthetics and is complete all around. The accenting cascade of small, mirror-bright hematites like a waterfall down the front-right adds to the eye appeal and sparkle in a case. Quite simply, for "American tastes" of perfection and display quality, this is one of my absolute favorite Cavradi pieces I have seen over the years. From a well-known collection in the US. Joe Budd photos
An incredible, significant, CABINET sized specimen that speaks to both the history and the beauty of golds from this district. For those who know what they are looking at, enough said! A nice provenance accompanies this piece. Joe Budd photos
This piece was mined in approximately 2004 and was from a small locality in Shigar, from which I have not seen other pieces attributed since. It has the size and robust textbook-hexagonal form with basal termination of a Nagar-style (Hunza Valley) aquamarine, but yet with a deeper color saturation and gemminess characteristic of Shigar Valley pieces. Lustre is glassy, and fine. Overall, for the size and price it is very imposing and dramatic. The large central crystal is accented by sidecar crystals of aquamarine on one side and by mica crystals on the rear-left , which add both sparkle and dimensionality to make the piece more than "just a single" as so many big aquamarines are. It is complete all around, and as near to pristine as you can wish. I had exhibited this for a number of years as part of the natural history minerals exhibit at the Heard Museum in the north Dallas area. Large and hefty, at nearly a kilo in mass (over 2 pounds weight!). Joe Budd photos
There was a now-famous pocket of what most people I know who saw them consider the best hematites found to date, hit sometime in 2006-2007 and "buried" until 2009 when they came to market. The hematite is razor sharp and has a finish like a jet-black mirror, if you can imagine that effect. It is so reflective, you can use it as a mirror in a literal sense; and it is admittedly "black" in color but yet not black in a way that eats up the light going into it. They just, crystal for crystal, outshine other hematites with but a few exceptions. So far as I knew, they had all been dispersed at and after Tucson of 2009. I believe I have seen most of the lot, and it contained pieces that reached larger size but not with such aesthetics. This particular piece was a hold-back, kept in a private collection by one of the sources. It is one of only a handful of specimens we know of which combined the lustrous, mirror-finish hematite with yellow ettringite association. A coating of small jet-black crystals of hausmannite adds contrast, and texture, to the piece overall. The central hematite crystal measures nearly 2 inches across and sits accented by a bowtie of chalk-yellow ettringites. I think over the long run, given how much hematite is out there on the market from other locales and how stunning these few pieces are, they will command a lot more respect in the fullness of time. So far as I know, all the previous major pieces are now sold and dispersed too.Joe Budd photos
The photos speak for themselves here. This is a WORLD CLASS level aquamarine of the most intense color seen from this part of the world. It is more blue than 99.99 % of all other aquas and has to rank among the top examples of the species from these modern finds, in my opinion. It practically radiates color, and has a sharp and robust hexagonal form. And as good as the photos are, in person it has an even higher lustre and a more intense and bright gemminess to the eye than the camera sees. It is visible from across a room. Contact us for more information on this important specimen. Joe Budd photos.
Quite simply a MAJOR specimen of historic size and importance. This piece would have been mined in the mid to late 1800s, when specimens like this were highly prized and made their way into only the most prominent collections. It came to me as part of such a modern collection that was quietly dispersed, and has never been offered for public sale before. The piece recently toured the world as part of the GOLD! EXHIBITION organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The exhibit was in Tokyo, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and Houston Museums among others, from 2006-2011. Joe Budd photos
ex. Dr. Steve Smale
An outstanding hematite of huge proportions, from this very old find. The piece measures 16 cm across tip to tip, and 14 cm across in orientation as shown on its base. It is heavy, and visually impressive as well. The piece is 3-dimensional and looks good from all sides. This crystal is complete except for a few inconsequential small dings or damage at the base, and was long considered to be one of the finest large hematites in existence (perhaps, the finest, according to Gene Meieran's comments to me about his views on it at the time). It appeared to a stir on the market with elite dealer Bob Sullivan at the San Francisco show in approximately 1975. Gene Meieran told me that he remembers agonizing about buying it (it was expensive even then) and was beaten to the punch by Steve Smale while thinking on it overnight. Steve owned it until only recently, for over 30 years, in his important collection. It is still the finest known Brazilian hematite, most people who see it agree. The only close comparables are those few from the Kalahari fields which reach this size, though they have entirely different crystal form and habit. This specimen was featured in the exhibition "MINERAL DREAMS: Brazilian Gem treasures" at the Munich show of 2010. (video now available from BlueCap Productions). It remains an imposing, important hematite. Joe Budd photos. NOTE - THIS SPECIMEN IS ILLUSTRATED IN THE MINERALOGICAL RECORD, SEPT-OCT 1992, IN THE ARTICLE ON THE SMALE COLLECTION. THE PIECE ALSO COMES WITH A HAND-MADE 19 X 15 INCH CIBACHROME PRINT THAT STEVE MADE FROM HIS OWN PHOTO, IN HIS DARKROOM BASEMENT, BACK IN 1991. Cibachrome is now a dead photo technology, as the chemicals used have proven to be rather hazardous to health. The plus side is, though, that this print will last for a thousand years due to those same chemicals.
Rhodochrosite from the old finds is one of the Holy Grails of every new major collector. This piece is a stunning exemplar of WHY we all want one. And it is big, flashy, and sparkles with color. The color is a bright cherry red, not the darker wine-red of the scalenohedral style most folks have already. This style is much rarer - and was much rarer back in the day, as well. Very few like this came out, and particularly few in this SIZE range. This would have been 1978-1980 range. This is the same pocket as the famous "Snail" rhodo of Bill Larson's collection. This specimen glows when backlit, because light comes through the entire radial wheatsheave cluster atop. It has a nice horizon, whereas most have a contacted or bare edge. A great N'chwaning rhodo of the scalenohedral style will be more expensive than this one, and yet here w get a better degree of rarity and uniqueness in display. This piece came to me as a larger specimen from an old collection purchased in entirety to get, largely, this one piece. It had remained in South Africa for 30 years, only comin gto me in fall of 2010.Joe Budd Photos
This specimen is the back cover of the MINERAL-UP calendar, published in Spain by Joaquim Callen. I LOVE the piece, and have always loved it since I bought it and put it away 4 years or so ago, waiting to see what else came out of the mine. It turns out that the brief rain of fine golds was both spotty and short, with many of different styles but few so brassy and bright like this. It looks, in person, like robust aluminum foil, that has been gold plated and then airbrushed to make it more modernist. This is a phenomenal piece with INSANE lustre and form so sharp it LOOKS like it was cut with a cookie cutter, not grown. I am trying to find words to express why this little thing looks so damned overpriced , at first glance. And all I can end with is,IT IS THAT SHARP. To me, most Round Mountain golds are second-rans in a general sense, after California crystallized golds, for lustre and brightness. Look in the publications and you will see very fine golds with fine crystals, many more robust and larger than this, but you will see nothing quite like this for sheer "flash". Size is just a bit under 2 inches and so this is a full-on miniature, not a toenail. It is equally good on both sides and picking a front face is entirely arbitrary. It is a floater with no attachment point or damage. And, it is one of those favored Round Mountain golds that stands as a great piece on its own merits, rather than being just a neat crystal from a rare locale. I really feel this is a competition-level gold miniature, about as choice as you can get for anything in a remotely reasonable price range, and that it leaves money on the table. The reason I say this is because you can spend far more on a California gold and yet, in the end, not have one so impactful as this. That being said, I will put in writing that i will buy this back for a check, anytime - I love it that much.Joe Budd Photos
ex. Roland and Kathy Sherman
This very rare copper, zinc, phosphate, reaches its worldwide zenith in Montana. Or it did, anyhow, over 30 years ago! Such specimen are extremely rare and this is a HUGE crystal for the species, at the top of its size range except for a few outlying specimens. This cluster of extremely lustrous, rich and deep blue-green veszelyite crystals , is quite simply phenomenal and the best such I have had for sale. This was the major specimen in the Roland and Kathy Sherman thumbnail collection, the non-Southwest-USA portion of which I recently purchased. It is INCREDIBLE in person with a presence hard to convey in photos...very impactful, despite that it is a small miniature/large thumbnail. The story is something like this, to set it all out: It was mined in the late 1960s (1969, i think?) in the major pocket of this material found at Phillipsburg. It was sold in a fishy deal in 1981 by a colorful miner nicknamed "Oreo", at the Tucson show, to the dealership Van Scriver. Brad van Scriver then sold it to well known San Diego thumbnail collector (who also happenned to be his mother!) , Beth Gordon, within a day. It was in her collection for decades and she had one of the finest collections of thumbnails for the era. The previous owners, Roland and Kathy Sherman, traded it out of her before the collection was broken up. This then was the best piece in their own thumbnail collection. It was not on the open market, then, since 1981. The blue is dark, true, but it IS a vivid blue color and not as dark as it looks in the photo. This is a very rare specimen of highest quality that ALSO happens to be a superbly balanced thumbnail specimen for the collector. Joe Budd Photos . NOTE ADDED courtesy of collector Russ Hage: Oreo Winginghoff was somehow involved in ownership of BP during the time this specimen was mined. He sold the Vesy xtal to Duane Johnson who sold it on to the Smithsonian (perhaps the only finer example, or one of the very few). Oreo was killed when a loader drove over him will working at Stillwater PMG mine about 5 years ago (2007?).
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