ex. Dr. Eugene Meieran
ex. William Larson
I think one can safely state that this is a MAJOR Himalaya Mine cluster, and aesthetic as well. Few large Himalaya pieces of this magnitude have been recovered, compared to all the mining down there over 100 years from 1900 to 2000, as the pegmatite is enormously disrupted. Today, mining here is possible through a small back entrance but the mine is for all intents and purposes closed for serious work, and all tunnels have been scavenged or collected using ground-penetrating radar before it was given up on. Great Himalaya speicmens carry a premium compared to Brazilian or Afghan tourmalines of similar size and style, because they are an American classic, and significant for what has been found here in the US. This incredible large Himalaya Mine cluster was safely kept in the mine-owner's personal collection for many years until Gene traded it from him, in the mid-90s. Gene then owned it for about a decade until trading it to me, through Wayne Thompson, recently. Pieces this good stay in small circles, usually! It is a complete cluster all around, 3-dimensional and terminated on every crystal. It has two fairly clean repairs to the two larger crystals, near their base in any case where not even the crack is easily seen (the repairs were done by Bill Larson after mining it, and anyways are considered acceptable in a Himalaya cluster of such size). The remaining crystals juxtapose two termination styles and the mind boggles to think how this happened. On one face (lower-left photo) the crystals pointing out that way are terminated with normal basal terminations just like the two big 4-inchers. The smaller crystals with terminations facing to the right-front in what I prefer as the front view (top, with the quartz showing), show unusual slanted terminations that are representative of natural contacting in the pocket as they grew against another mineral. They are not really terminated with a diagonal face, it just looks that way at first glance. Really, each face is a series of microfaces, stepped back in intricate growth - but only on the crystals of the right side of the piece, facing forward. The adjacent crystals, pointing backwards in a front-back-front-back pattern, are as I said normally terminated. The overall effect, as you can see, is very impressive. Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
ex. Joseph Freilich
This is the "Freilich indicolite" as some have called it, a dramatic and vibrant piece with nearly electric color. The piece is complete all around, fully terminated, and free of damage. It weighs in at just over 1 kilo or 2.25 pounds. As the scan from the 2001 Sotheby's Auction Catalogue from the Joseph Freilich Auction states:"This remarkable cluster of parallel-growth tourmalien sis formed in such a way that light enters the crystals and shows the magnificent variations of green and (mostly) blue color . This effect is the result of the thin spread of the crystals." In other words, it is VERY translucent to light, though not gemmy per se, and the overlal effect is to make the piece literally GLOW with intensely blue color with even minimal backlighting. From the front, this is surprising because given the width you expect this to be a piece with equal thickness and so not transmissive to light.However, the illusion is that the front is really the palisade of the individual crystals grown together, none of them more than 3 cm thick; and thus the piece is surprisingly colorful in a case whereas most large indicolites are basically glorified schorls unles syou put a torch on top of them. I LOVE this piece. It is one of two specimens form this pocket which Freilich owned, and I was privileged to handle the other one back in 2001. This is, I can say , the better of the two specimens. You can see that even then, it was valued at $14-16k and in 2001 the market was at a whole different setpoint than it is now. I think it a bargain, today, and it is MUCH MUCH more impressive in person. Note that this comes with a lucite base, in which it is embedded solidly (attached with glue to the bottom, by previous owner). Looks good, and its sure stable, so I didn't carve it out and remove this base which now comes with the piece.
weight = 1/3 kilo or 11 troy ounces This important gold specimen is one of those real rarities you couldn't dream of making better if you could cast the darned thing. The COLOR is phenomenal - unusually pure and golden without the slight darkness that some large golds from this mine can possess. It features a truly arborescent cluster of upright gold crystals, very elegant in form, perched atop quartz matrix. It is not repaired or molded in any way. This is 100% natural! Specimens of this size and quality are VERY , VERY RARE. This particular piece was sold over 25 years ago and has resided in a private collection overseas ever since...and I can tell you that such specimens were then and certainly are now extremely uncommon on the market (i know of just a few of this magnitude). This beast weighs in at 336 grams or 1/3 kilo, which is equal to about 12 ounces or about 11 troy ounces (gold standard weight).
ex. Dr. Steve Smale
This stunning, unrepaired tourmaline specimen is one of the finest I know of in its size class and style, a greencapped habit which is at the least absolutely classic for this region, perhaps even the most stereotypic form of tourmaline for this region. The crystal is translucent and colorful, glowing with an internal color even with only minimal backlighting. Except for the tiniest of trivial dings, it is for all effects pristine - which is remarkable for a crystal so exposed form matrix. The combination of colors in the crystal make it a great tourmaline, but the placement and matrix arrangement make it a world class specimen overall. The contrast of the quartz form and geometry, vs. the tourmaline, and contrasted so starkly against the white cleavelandite - its just as if it were glued together in a dream. The photo used for the Westward Look show poster (2009) is by Jeff Scovil, and is the same one used in Smale's book on his collection. The other photo is a Joseph Budd photo which I had made for publicity once I obtained the specimen recently. It is a world-class level of tourmaline specimen. No question about it. The price is correspondingly high, but that is how it must be to acquire such a thing and to exchange it from the Smale collection when it fits his own taste so perfectly. This pieec was recently illustrated in teh Texas collectors book and is briefly available again as part of a potential deal.
This is , for my taste, a truly unique piece out of all the hundreds I have seen from this mine. It consists of a 17.5 cm-long "sword" of tourmaline shooting out majestically from a "tree" of thick crystals, with lepidolite and albite mixed in for contrast. In person, the shockign stark white blades of Cleavelandite and the sparkly purple lepidolite stand out a lot more, and really contrast with the gemmy green tourmaline. It is hard to photograph and get all colors to come out, without making the lepidolite pale or the Cleavelandite a glaring white color. It, like the piece below, is a specimen that I cherrypicked when I had a unique exchange opportunity with the person who brought out this find a few years ago. I love this piece so much for its aesthetics, that it only ever went to two small shows. I keep it here to look at. The cluster, the whole tree-and-sword combination, is itself growing and rising out of a 13 x 9 cm TERMINATED TOURMALINE CRYSTAL THAT SERVES as the natural base for the piece. It look slike nothing so much as a tree rising from a lake...the green tourmaline base even has what looks like ripples on the water surface. You look at this and your first thought will be, surely this is glued on there and carved this way. Believe me, I was also floored when I saw it, not at first registering that it wasn't glued to a tourmaline slab but that the whole complex cluster grew upon what must probably have been a massive tourmaline crystal. What are the odds this would grow on the crystal's termination, and not along an ugly and exposed side?! And what are the odds, that this termination could be preserved in mining the cluster atop!? I find it higly unlikely, and that is part of why I value the piece so highly. Pieces of this complexity can be preserved as they do occur, rarely; but the problem is, they are fragile. This "Rocket Pocket" as some call it was found in pieces (in 2001 if I recall), and put back together over several years like a jigsaw puzzle. All large specimens have repairs, most more than a dozen. I do not accept so many repairs, except in special cases: where the overall aesthetic impact is significant enough that the piece warrants it; where the price is adjusted accordingly; and when the overall context of the FIND ITSELF requires repairs to obtain an important display-quality specimen (as in this case). This one has only 3 very clean repairs (one with very minor gap-fill epoxy) and a fourth repair on the stalk of the trunk which has a small bit of color-matched epoxy gap-fill. The other three repairs are to the elongated 7.5-inch crystal and are only barely visible to my eyes in the right skewed lighting...they are NOT generally visible and do not detract visually. Miraculously, this whole cluster was held together by the central quartz crystal, which is itself fully terminated and pristine, and extends DOWN THROUGH the tourmaline cap that is a base for the cluster. If not for that central sturdiness, I am sure the specimen would have broken into many pieces and come apart from the underlaying tourmaline cap, as well. Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
NO REPAIRS! NO DAMAGE! 360 DEGREES DISPLAY! nearly pristine! This is a stunning, 3-dimensional piece that is as close to a work of natural sculpture as you can ask for an aquamarine matrix piece. The large crystal is 8 cm tall (over 3 inches), 3 x 2.2 cm wide and thick. All crystals have GLASSY lustre and an intense color to them, partly reinforced by an internal "phantom crystal" within them, that goes up to the midpoint of each crystal. The top halves are, then, totally gemmy. I just cannot rave on about the piece enough. It is so rare to get such a nicely displayed spread of aquas, of this size, on contrasting matrix. What is more, the matrix is not just "rock" but rather is crystallized feldspar, as well. This is a specimen from a now-famous pocket found about a year and a half ago in late 2005, that was held back for trimming and cleaning. It was only just recently brought to market, in other words, though the pocket was found some time ago and now I have seen others from the find for sake of comparison. This one would be one of the very top specimens of the find. Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
A famous piece from early export of Russian minerals, sold in two portions that were found to fit together with a totally tight lock, though it is repaired to keep it so. Illustrated in old Min Record issue. Superb both horizontally and vertically. Totally pristine and undamaged! These crystals are razor sharp. They have intense green color, really unique in the context of all production from this area, and they have mesmerizing inclusiosn of white aragonite needles within. Overall, one of my favorite Dalnegorsk fluorites ever...well, one of my favorites, period, come to think of it. It is simply a mesmerizing piece of sculpture! I sold this in about 2007 and had the pleasure to get it back recently as that particular fluorite collection was sold (2011). During that time, it was in the noted worldwide fluorite collection of Gilles Emringer.
ex. Dr. Edward David
Crystals to 2 cm of top color saturation and top lustre dominate this large plate of dioptase on calcite matrix! This is a top-shelf dioptase of a calibre that most of us will never see in person, and they get more rare nad more pricey every year. Tsumeb is gone for good, and these stand as one of the great finds of the century fron this mine. There are many NICE specimens, but few that move up to the next level and are truly world-class. This one, I would say, is world class. There are larger specimens out there, and even more pricey specimens out there for sale that I know of (of various styles), but few better. Nearly pristine despite its size, this piece has just a few tiny , trivial dings on its whole length! Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
ex. Dr. Eugene Meieran
ex. Eric Asselborn
Fluorite crystals to 1.4 cm in size surmount a cluster of smoky quartz, one doubly-terminated, in this supremely good small cab from the famous 1991 find at Point Kurtz. This is one of a few select specimens at the top of the find for quality of aesthetics, form, and condition. Eric Asselborn purchased the lot, and this piece was sold soon after to Gene Meieran with whom it remained for some time. It is one of the better pieces for balanced fluorite richly coating the smokies, that I have seen for sale...but I also have their word on it from seeing the whole lot in context. There is no damage of note, and the piece is complete all around. It "glows" with color, when well lit. The smokies under the fluorite are also quite gemmy. This pocket has remained the pinnacle of Alpine fluorite collecting for 16 years now, and a specimen of this calibre should remain both a good investment and a desirable thing to own for the future, I would think. They are, I admit, pricey...but then this goes with the territory because they are so desirable and hard to obtain today, coming out only from the collections where they have been generally for a decade or more. I bought this back recently from a collector I sold it to after trading for it from Gene Meieran around 2001, and I would buy it back a second time too, even at a high price, because one simply cannot get them any other way and to me they stand out so dramatically from teh crowd of other Alpine fluorites as THE best pocket for many tastes.
ex. Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences
This impressive large gold specimen has been on display in the Academy for ages, and was one of three golds in the hall showcase that featured gemstones, and arced up from the ground floor to the dinosaur hall. It is an old specimen with brilliant lustre and sharp crystallization characteristic of old mines of the Grass Valley district, though one cannot say which mine it might have been from, though from the style it appears to have been mined prior to WWII and perhaps much further back than that as the museum wasn't active in recent years. I have had large golds to offer, some more weighty than this one. However, THIS piece offers a huge visual bang for the buck because it is elongated and flat, all crystallized, so you don't pay for volumetric gold weight and mass that is not face-forward on display. The biological-looking growth of the tendrils atop really makes it special, for me. Moreover, I could not find one of this calibre and size today, without paying at least this much for it, even if I did find such a piece. You simply cannot get such a large, fine , display-quality gold specimen for the price from modern mining!
CLASSIC ruby silver, mined in the late 1800s in Chanarcillo! A very showy specimen showcasing rare individualized crystals of proustite on matrix, in itself also rare as most are on massive lumpy proustite. Here we have real matrix of calcite crystals and rock. Also, as a bonus, a VERY nice old label! This specimen, with crystals to 1.5 cm, is beautiful from both sides. The proustite has great color and lustre. There is some damage, unfortunately, but that is why its not 50k as well. Its all in context. Overall, though, I feel this is a very good cost-compromise in that you get a large specimen with freestanding crystals, matrix, color and lustre without breaking the bank to do so. Such pieces are uncommon, in any event.
The crystal here is VERY GLASSY and has a high color saturation, for an aqua from Shengus. It measures 9 x 3.5 x 3 cm in size and rises majestically from the matrix. The crystal is complete ALL AROUND, 360-degrees, except for a few absolutely tiny dings on one edge of the top termination that have been smoothed over with a miute bit of color-matched epoxy filling (not that it can be seen). This dramatic piece looks like it should cost far more, in my opinion, but I got it as a fixer upper straight from the mine. After cleaning and repair (it has one very tight contact-join repair near the base) it presents as a dramatic speicmen because the 9-cm-tall aqua is perched on CRYSTALLIZED matrix, for startling contrast not just in color but in crystal form as well. This piece is from the same pocket as the specimen below, with interesting feldspar that is often etched. This piece is one of the few from the pocket I have seen with feldspar crystals in full euhedral form, and the effect of contrast is, as i said, very dramatic. The specimen overall is MORE 3-D than it appears, as well. So, overall, I consider this a bargain. It LOOKS like it should be worth double, to my eye.Comes with custom engraved lucite base, for easy display.
Modern Art in minerals, I call this one... The sparkling brilliantly white Cleavelandite provides a stunning matrix for the gemmy rocket-like tourmalines, and a host of smaller tourmaliens dotting the backside as well. An elongated, gemmy , clear quarts crystal runs along the front horizon, providing a dramatic front view leading the eye up to the tourmalines suggestively. This is a VERY dramatic piece, one of the most enticing I have seen of this style ("rocket pocket") and for under 100k. This piece was mined in 2004, then kept in the collection of mine partners Daniel Trinchillo and Marcus Budil for several years, until obtained by me for a client in 2007. It is now offered back for sale for the first time publicly.
MORE GEMMY in person, please note! This large crystal weighs in at over 300 carats and is complete all around, terminated and with GLASSY lustre on ALL faces. The color is intense! VERY FEW Colombian emeralds reach sizes of this magnitude, and of those a vanishingly small percentage survive "geology" itself in the form of crystals we would want as collectors after millions of years in the ground. Then, they have to survive mining, extraction, and those ruthless jewelers and faceters who break up lovely crystals for a sliver of rough inside. Can you imagine the value on the lapidary market, particularly in Asia and in the auction houses, of a huge emerald bird or buddha carved from this thing?! I have seen lapidary carvings from previous gem crystals sell for fortunes, more than we would ever pay as a specimen. Thankfully, this crystal has a kinder fate. This is a phenomenal crystal that is obviously somethng significant...and fine, as well. There IS a difference, and the line is not fuzzy at all with this specimen. I bought and SOLD THIS IN MID-2006 and just obtained it back recently, still feeling it is one of the biggest and most impressive such crystals I can obtain today as well. (65 grams or approx. 325 carats)
ex. Robert Hopper
A gorgeous specimen from a unique pocket of 1997-1998, which I bought personally on a visit to the mine out of the personal collection showcase of Bobo Hopper, the owner. He collected it, as well. It is just JUICY, rich with color, caused by arsenic inclusions making hte pyromorphite a lustrous, silky, riveting orange hue. The great thing about this piece is that there are two generations, a sparkly druse upon an earlier generation of large and barrel-like crystals. This sparkle serves to accentuate the individual larger crystals and adds "pizzazz" to the piece, that it might otherwise lack. This is the best I have seen of this style by far, and it is pristin esave for two teeny and trivial dings, even complete on the back.
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