A totally gemmy, transparent, see-through topaz is the highlight of this fantastic combination piece, which has a striking balance of topaz and quartz, both nestled in crystallized cleavelandite. The topaz is 5 cm wide, 4 cm deep, and about 4 cm tall. It is PRISTINE. Not a ding on it and for that matter the rest of the piece is as close to pristine as you can wish, as well. In person, the topa zleaps out at you as a 3-dimensional jewel, transparent and brilliant like glass. You can see right through it to the quartz behind, the cleavelandite underneath, and the faceted terminations set against them. Topaz , on matrix, of this quality comes but rarely despite all the hunting and searching for these valuable gems. Most people consider this region to be the premier locality for champagne-colored topaz crystals of this style, and this piece epitomizes why. I purchased this in 2008 directly from a source in Peshawar, when it was much larger and needed to be heavily trimmed and cleaned. Joe Budd Photo (on graded background)
This impressive specimen features a sharp, doubly-terminated gem crystal from the so-called " Rocket Pocket", 10.8 x 1.4 x 1.2 cm in size, perched delicately on the side of a knoll of crystallized cleavelandite with sparkling purple lepidolite in the interstices. Collected around 2002, this was considered at the time, in the context of having most of the pocket contents laid out on a few giant tables to be sorted, to be one of the best of this style in its size range. It was kept back by one of the partners in the Pederneira Mining venture, and then sold to collector Irv Brown. He selected it, as I would have, because it has very unique aesthetics and, unlike most of these larger crystals which have 2-4 repairs, it has only one VERY clean, lock-fit repair to the tourmaline crystal. I obtained it in exchange from him in about 2006 and have held it since. The Pederneira is shut down for the moment, and in any case the pegmatite which hosted this particular pocket is completely gone and stripped of crystals at this point. While many came out during the brief heyday here, this piece has always inspired me , even though I have bought and sold more expensive examples in the meantime. As a bonus, I admire the contrast between the large crystal with pyramidal termination and the two smaller crystals flanking it, each with a flat-topped termination. The balance of the piece, the accents by the sidecar crystals, the combination of terminations, all make for a specimen that is, overall, superior in its size and price class. This piece has never before been offered publicly before, just changing hands by exchange twice since it was mined. Many specimens can be bought in the 10-20k range that in context really are not the "best of" in any manner for their localities. This piece, though, for just a little bit outside that range where so many more common pederneira pieces can be had, really does uplift itself by its own merit to the next level as both a collectible and an investment thus.
ex. Richardson Beard
The Smoky Hawk claim has, since about 2006 or so, produced amazonite and smoky quartz combination pieces that rival the famous Tree Root Pocket material of the late 1990s. Some of them, such as this piece, are more aesthetic to my eye because they have not only the super colorful amazonite in fake-looking, intense blue color, combined with smoky quartz: also, the best quartzes are generally gemmier and more translucent than the older Tree Root Pocket pieces. Moreover, on this piece, the quartzes (to 3 inches!) shoot up so starkly and dramatically, that it "makes" the specimen. In many such combination pieces, the smokies are undersized compared to amazonite, or vice versa. Or, the two are often in a more jumbly aggregate that is pretty and of high quality, but not really the kind of stark geometry that I favor. I like specimens best when you have crystals on crystallized matrix, and the two geometries are as different in color and crystallography as you see here. This piece has it all! Like nearly all such larger amazonite combination pieces, old and new finds both, this has a few repairs that would be considered par for the course, so long as they are well done and clean (which they are). This specimen sits nicely in the palm of your hand, spraying three-dimensionally to fill space. I obtained this specimen from the William Ferris collection by exchange, before that collection was sold off in 2007-2008. I owned the specimen for about 15 minutes before it was snapped up...seen in person, it REALLY does leap out at you, compared to most others. Mr. Ferris was the first owner, having acquired it directly from the company of Joe and Tim Dorris, the miners, several years previously. Since that time until now it has been in the Dallas collection of Rick Beard. I regard it , for the size, as one of my favorites of this classic combination in a price range that is expensive, admittedly, but still affordable to many collectors without going for megabuck pieces. NOTE CONTRIBUTED BY THE COLLECTORS, JOE & TIM DORRIS: Thanks for featuring the Night Hawk piece in your vault. My son, Tim, who is an avid fan called my attention to the posting. A bit of information: I found it on 29 June 2006. Only a few other pieces came from the pocket, all smaller and relatively insignificant. All showed the nice translucency which this Night Hawk piece exhibits. You can see from the attached photo, the pocket was quite small, less than a foot across. (so, a far more rare piece from a special pocket, still remembered 3 years later by the folks who dug it).
ex. Marion Stuart
Euclase from this important old locality came out mostly in the 1960s, and STILL SETS the standard for coloration in the species. Although Colombia has since produced some more important and larger crystals of higher gem value, that are truly wordclass as well, the euclase from this small and defunct mine is so much more intense in color saturation that they may as well be two separate species as far as comparisons go. This gorgeous specimen has consistent color, superb lustre, and a good aesthetic. Most euclase from this mine is more blocky and compacted, if in clusters at all (though usually only singles survive and are around for sale). The specimen here has not only good aesthetics in the way the major crystals present, but it has good edges or horizons, without the usual butchered contacts at the sides where all too many of these were hacked off their matrix when collected. As far as size, this is also a large cluster, of which I have seen few over the years. It came from the well known collection of Marion Stuart, heiress to the Carnation fortune, when her collection was sold by Wayne Thompson (with help fro mformerly retired dealer Dr. Gary Hansen, who had sold Stuart many of the pieces decades before) in 2001, and has been buried in a collection since that time. It would have been, had I seen it first, one of my first picks for its color and rarity!
ex. Scott Kleine
An impressive spinel-twinned gold crystal of VERY LARGE size, for any locality. All the more impressive then, from the Majuba Placers where generally only small crystals are found. This is a piece that must rank among th ebest to come out of the deposits, and is considered by Nevada collectors I know to be one of the best golds from the state. Aside from its huge size and locality value, it happens to just be darned good by any standard - it is sharp, bright, complexly crystallized, a floater, and complete all around. It has superb patina with no sign of rounding or weathering. This was in the collection of Scott Kleine, a well-known Nevada collector and author. It has been featured in the recent opus on Nevada minerals, Minerals of Nevada; and also in the Rocks & Minerals GOLD issue and on the Las Vegas mineral shows promotions. We are proud to offer what I feel is a historic rarity for the US or gold collector. Photos by Jeffrey Scovil
This is a CRYSTALLIZED gold nugget from Australia, a land where usually only rounded nuggets are found. I have seen MANY Aussie nuggets over the several decades I have dealt in such things, but out of all of them perhaps this is the most interesting to my tastes, in a large size and high-weight class. It is 850 grams (about 30 troy ounces), and over 4 inches tall. It is a nugget, with all the heft and visual impact you would expect,; but it is also strangely organic and alive-looking to me. It is a complex cluster of random rounded nugget gold intermixed with the occasional offshoot of crystalline gold - especially around the top of the specimen where you can clearly see a large, hoppered octohedral crystal sticking straight up. This is a very robust, 3-dimensional crystal, and it "makes the piece" , so to speak. The color is a unique brassy hue, characteristic of Wedderburn material I am told. This came into the US first through a prominent collector who had bought it from well known gold dealer Anthony Fraser, in the early 2000's. I have now owned it twice, happily able to exchange it back about a year ago. I have not raised the price with regard to the intrinsic weight value of the specimen, compared to the old price plus a bit of reasonable appreciation I paid to get it back. In other words, if you value the weight content highly, this piece has it. But as a specimen, it does stand on its own merits at a multiple of spot that used to be 3-4X and is now not even 2X spot.
This is a CRYSTALLIZED gold from Australia, a land where usually only rounded nuggets are found. The crystals are flattenned along one axis, and elongated, resulting in a lot of visual size impact per the weight/mass. This kind of surface area to mass ratio in a gold specimen we refer to as "pancake" in style because it gives you so much of the mass on the display face. This makes them more appealing as specimens, to most folks. In this size, especially, a crystallized specimen is extremely rare. It is 1100 grams in mass, of nearly pure gold mixed with minor amounts of quartz included (but still an estimated 1075 grams of gold is present). However, more than the size and the crystallographic rarity, there is yet another factor to consider. This was found in Queensland, not the richer, more common goldfields of Victoria in southern Australia. For the Northern Australian fields, this far outranks nearly everything else known to have been recovered (at least in modern times, where noted). Given the trustworthy source (one of Australia's leading field collectors), I regard this as having additional interest value. Per the collector, well-known Aussie gold-prospector and gold-detection equipment proprietor Jack Lange (SHOWN holding his find) : "The Providence nugget was found by me near Gladstone QLD at the start of the 2004 olympics. The Goldfield is situated under the town's suburbs. I got it on the fringes of the suburb. It was the only nugget within 300 metres, buried under only 45 cm of soil. The amazing find was featured in 2005 on the cover of our Australian Gold, Gem, and Treasure Magazine. Crystalline nuggets of this size (1100.3 grams) are almost unheard of in modern times!" Note that Jack is a very tall guy with large hands, so the photo showing the gold in his hand, after first cleaning, appears smaller than it would be in most folk's hands.
ex. Dr. Eugene Meieran
These sharp, complex gold crystals showing complex hoppered crystallization, have become a modern classic that stand among the great gold specimens of all time. Very few specimens like these giants have been found at other locales (most notably Alta Floresta in Brazil a few years ago) , not for the combination of size and sharpness both. This particular, large crystal is a superb example, complete all around, with particularly equant "fins" radiating out from the middle axis. It is a full miniature and until recently was in the noted collection of Gene Meieran of Phoenix, AZ. I obtained it from him in exchange in Tucson of 2007. Gene is himself a gold specialist, and so the fact that this was one of his several examples from here adds a bit of confidence to my estimation of its quality. I feel confident knowing that he had so much more opportunity, context, and knowledge base than I, as a serious gold collector, when he picked this specimen. He was able to examine these and purchase several of the finest when they were coming out in the mid 1990s (mostly), in part through his friend, dealer Wayne Thompson. This particular specimen was long in the Meieran collection and in fact was exhibited in a well-known combination exhibition of native elements (gold, silver, platinum, copper) that was on view at the Tucson show some years ago. Today, such specimens are hard to come by on the open market. I have handled and seen several, ranging into the 100k range, quickly appear and sell through the normal mineral market. A few examples from this find were valued at 300-500k and placed in public auction through a Coin-specialist auction house around 2007 - and sold quite well. So, in context of the ones I have seen sell both privately and publicly, I feel this is a very fine quality miniature, important enough to command a higher price, that is offered at a fair price respecting the fair exchange in which I obtained it from the collector who owned it.
ex. William Larson
A huge, magnificent , doubly-terminated crystal that one has to acknowledge as one of the largest such ever to come out of the Himalaya and survive. The mine is notorious for its rough handling in situ of gem pockets, and most large tourmalines are irreparably broken in the pockets. This one snapped cleanly in the middle while in situ, and has been very expertly repaired now. It is not just big, but actually elegant, as well. I love the contrast of the two terminations: one a superb cityscape of elongated towers; the other a sharp and unusually lustrous basal termination with an attached quartz crystal. The piece is a floater, complete all around! Other than the repair, it is as close to pristine as you can ask for, which I find also remarkable given the size . The color on this is INTENSE, no pale pink but a deep red hue throughout, with good translucency as well. On display, it stands elegantly on a delicate base we have made, or can be displayed like a "rocketship" as Larson had it for so many years in his company collection at Pala Intl. It is that display angle you can see clearly in the shot of the AMERICAN TREASURES exhibit at Tucson of 2008, in the photo here. Note how this huge and elegant crystal just dominates the case! Mass is 576 grams - when you hold it, it feels like holding a baton, not a tourmaline.
This is one of only several dozen large bluecaps to come out of the infamous find by Bill Larson in 1972, which put the Tourmaline Queen back on the map and incidentally jumpstarted modern specimen mining as well. I confirmed the origin of the piece with him, to be sure it really was one of the famous few. If a knowledgeable collector had to name the 5 most famous finds in the history of collectible minerals in this century, this pocket from 1972 would be among them (along with the Jonas Mine Rubellites, and a few other incredible one-off hits). The chance to own a MATRIX specimen from this pocket (unrepaired by the way!), is one that only several dozen folks will ever get. The chance to own a CABINET-SIZED matrix piece from this pocket, of good quality, is one that perhaps less than a dozen collectors will ever get. Most major pieces went into musuems, or into the collections of prominent buyers at the time, and have not yet come to market again....or never will. This piece was one that I found in a small private investment collection assembled in the 1970s, unprepped since the day it was found and attached to a massive piece of quartz which preparator Sandor Fuss was able to trim off for me without losing the crystal in the process. The entire quartz attached to the tourmaline survived the trim intact! It was a miracle - if it had broken, I would have cried. But, here it is, unrepaired and pristine on the front and sides. It is actually even complete around back, although the quartz is contacted where an attached broken quartz crystal and the underlaying matrix back there was removed. That flat-looking left side is in fact a natural face, not a sawmark (and you can see small pink tourmalines there as well!). The piece in person sits up nicely somewhere between the angles shown in the top and lower-left photos but really all angles are pretty good, from the front or right side of view, depending on your own taste. The tourmaline itself measures 9 x 5 x 4 cm in size. Comes with custom lucite base for easy display.
ex. Smithsonian Institution
An incredible large specimen the size of a football, with dramatic, vertically-pointing azurite of the highest quality form and color surmounting the matrix of malachite-stained rock. The two largest vertical crystals are 2 inches, as seen from the back, and about 2/3 of that height is visible from the front view. The crystals have mirror-like lustre and sharpness as if they had been carved. All major crystals, about half a dozen, are terminated either fully or with minute contacts where they had adjoined matrix. One crystal is repaired, but so cleanly you could not tell unless you go looking for it (still, pretty good given the overall size here!). The overall aesthetic look of this is like a blue flower unfolding from the green host matrix, and it is one of the more dramatic larger specimesn I have seen for sale from Tsumeb. Exchanged from the Smithsonian Institution collection about a year ago, this piece was once obtained by purchase using the Roebling Fund endowment.
ex. Dr. Edward David
A RICH, JUICY, BUBBLEGUM PINK TOURMALINE from the most famous of all for combination of color and intensity, a pocket hit in 1998. Herb Obodda sold this to Ed at that time. And remember, this to a guy who rarely bought major gem crystals because he just felt they weren't as interesting as all the other mineral species out there...but this pocket surprised everybody. It produced the most intensely colorful large crystals, to date, of the pink tourmalines of this habit and style. They all quickly went into the major collections. This one is pristine, not a ding on it; and has glassy lustre. Other tourmalines are pink, but few are THIS PINK. It is also large, complete all around, and very symmetrical.
ex. Dr. Eugene Meieran
ex. Evan Jones
Superb, incredibly aesthetic, example from this most treasured of old European classic Silver locales. This piece has a beautiful dark patina caused by a micro layer of acanthite coating, and an exquisite complexity to the rope as it twists and turns like a living thing. The piece is VERY sturdy despite its elegant look, and this is a solid piece that is not flexible or "bendy" like some German silvers of this size. Long one of the premier silvers in the Meieran collection, and one of the half dozen best he had acquired through buying and trading over the last 50 years of trying to assemble one of the best suites of native elements. I feel that the price here is a downright bargain, all things considered; as well as compared to numerous pieces I have seen for sale in the same price range in only the last year that simply do not blow me away as this one does (heck, I have seen a dozen so-called six-figure silvers at Springfield Show alone, and they couldn't touch this with a ten foot pole for impact !). Because of the size and quality of this specimen, I was happy to have the privilege of trading this from Gene only recently. Gene told me the following as well: The one you got was originally from Wayne Thompson to Evan Jones then to me, if I remember. Exchanged for ALL my Mexican and Arizona minerals. I got it at least 12 years ago, it was in at least one of my winning Desautels-cases.
At first glance, you might think from the photos this would be a miniature - to have such balance and proportion is after all unlikely in a large specimen. Yet, at 1500 grams and 6 inches in length, its the size of a large grapefruit or small melon! This doubly-terminated "cannon" shaped aquamarine is truly a beast, but an aesthetic one despite its size. I, and several other dealer/friends who have seen much of what Nagar has produced and sent to the European and US market, would go so far as so think it ranks up there among the top five to ten specimens from the region for overall quality and aesthetics. This is one of two great specimens that came together from a single pocket in 2007. The piece is shockingly complete all around, with no repairs, and only a small ding and a shallow contact/damaged spot on the lower-rear tip of the bottom - totally facing away from any view. This doubly-terminated crystal is perched on a natural pedestal of bladed, roseate muscovite matrix. This "makes" the piece...you need that natural pedestal to distance it from all the singles out there. However, the unusally high glassy lustre, geometry, and gemminess (especially for the size, as most large Nagar aquas go more opaque) are also superior. Gamini, who ignored price and my own criteria when picking pieces he felt were artistic, and who hasn't spent years trying to judge and grade Nagar aquas, went right to this one the first time he saw it in my case - while ignoring quite a few other aquas, some pricier. Price includes specimen, painting, and custom lucite base for display. NOTE. A professional photo by Joe Budd , on gradient background, was recently added. THIS SHOWS THE TRUE COLOR AND LUSTRE, which was very difficult for us to photograph with normal equipment as it is so bright and lustrous!
WEIGHT= 1555 grams (1.5 kilos or over 3.3 pounds!) I think we were all shocked when , to our surprise, monster blue topaz began to appear on the market early last year from near the site of the original finds in 1969, in Brazil. This monstrous crystal is miraculously pristine, unlik ea very few others of similar size I have seen from the find. It is one of the largest, to be sure - but more importantly than mere size , it is one of the largest that is intact and complete all around. It was protected when I obtained it when this lot came out, by a natural coat of lepidolite. We have removed much of the lepidolite to expose the crystal underneath. I have left enough at the bottom to provide a sparkling contrast to the straight blue faces abbove. Actually, the bottom is temrinated as well, under the lepidolite! You can hold it, turn it over, and clearly see that it must be a floater with terminations beneath. In person, this crystal has a glassy lustre and a stunning, DEEP BLUE color that is partly volumetric and so it is much more intense than in smaller crystals past or present. I would say, in fact, that this is one of the bluest blue topazes I have seen in museums and collections from the old find, or from this new find. It has a bit of opacity in the middle, but is mainly translucent - in the photos it appears less gemmy than in person. The sheer "heft" and visual impact of this piece, is stunning. It can be displayed from two angles the best, but is complete all around in any case. Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
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