A beautiful plate of the gemmiest and brightest glassy spinels you can ask for, and that I have yet seen form Vietnam. The color her eis a lighter hue than normal, and the lustre a bit glassier. The crystals literally "pop" out of the stark white matrix and sparkle out at the viewer beyond what I would call the "norm" for other such specimens I have seen from Vietnam before. This was a chocie piece in a small lot of specimens I bought in 2005, and I haven't seen the quality since.
THis is a rare exmaple of a spinel twinned spinel crystal NEXT TO an untwinned crystal in close proximity. Such pieces are few! The large spinel twin here is 3-dimensional, fairly gemmy, and textbook-sharp in form. It is over 2 cm at longest width, at its bsae. The distorted, elongated octohedron next to it is just about 2 cm. This piece was expertly worked to excavate the crystals and leave them isolated on contrasting marble matrix - but you can see as how a mis-step during prep would have destroyed this unusual specimen.
This pagoda-like aggregate of SHARP, maroon-red spinel crystals measures about an inch across, and crowns a well-excavated matrix of starkly contrasting white marble. This is classic Vietnam spinel from a find I bought during the heyday here, about 2005. The lustre is waxy and bright, unusual for such deeply colored spinel from here (usually only the lighter red hues have such lustre, it seemed).
This specimen hosts an approximately 2-cm cluster of two intergrown crystals, or perhaps one incredibly complicated twinned spinel doublet. From one angle, facing in to the lower-left photo, the crystal looks octohedral. From the side view, it is clearly a fat macle twin. So this is either a macle twin intergrown with an octohedral crystal, or perhaps it is one single large twinned crystal that somehow retained octohedral form on teh side facing away from the twin plane. In any case, it certainly has unusual form! The crystal sadly has some very slight wear at its termination, but is still remarkable enough I was happy to get it and offer it (at an appropriately reduced price point, for the damage).
At approximately 1 inch in height, this is a fairly good-sized ruby crystal by any standard. For Vietnam, where most rubies are resorbed and somehow lumpy it seems, it is of exceptional sharpness. The termination is complete all around, and the crystal is freestanding from the matrix completely and fully exposed on all sides for half its height. The termination is slightly stepped, but sharp and complete, and also lustrous. The surface is waxy in lustre, as with Mogok rubies and unlike Afghanistan ruby specimens. The color is a slightly pink-red hue, that really is very different from the classic hues found historically in Burma (Mogok). Hence, to my eye, it is quite different than a similar crystal from Mogok - which would also cost a lot more money due to the more developed lapidary and wholesale markets there (and in particular, demand from teh Chinese buyers for Burmese ruby for carving material). Thus, in a similarly formed Vietnam ruby, we get really all the benefits we would want in a specimen without competing with the carving market to buy them, at least for now.
This is a classic Vietnam spinel, of deep red color and waxy lustre, measuring just over 1 inch (3 cm) in size; and perched nicely on a snowy "mountain" of contrasting marble matrix. The crystal is complete all around and has a "pagoda" pile of smaller crystals stacked on top of it by way of accent, drawing the eye up. Unusually dramatic, i would say, to get a cluster like this on matrix!
This large crystal of spinel has a unique, definite purpley tinge to it, a purple-maroon mix in color. It is a large composite crystal exceeding an inch in size, and made up of smaller component crystals joined in mesmerizing symmetry somehow constrained to the overall form of the basic spinel octohedron anyhow. The large crystal is very dramatically excavated form its marble matrix, and the piece displays very niecly, as I thikn you can see, either horizontally or vertically. MUCH BETTER IN PERSON in terms of translucency; a slight gemminess, especially at the edges; and in coloration which is just hard to convey with photos in this case.
Sharp and vibrant spinels, most of 1 cm or so in size, stand out dramatically in contrasting marble matrix. Classic Vietnam spinel from a find I bought during the heyday here, about 2005. Some crystals have minor tip damage, although this does not really effect the display of the piece until one looks very closely. But, this is also why it looks like a $2000 piece, for $950. It is impressive overall for richness, size, and color.
This wonderful gem crystal is unique in my experience in that I have seen many of these "hoppered" spinel crystals before from Vietnam, but usually they have a dull lustre and are not gemmy. The combination of gemminess, lustre, and surreal sculptural form really makes this crystal special and dramatic. It is a floater, complete 360 degrees, all around. It is exceptionally equant for a crystal of such size, with under five percent variation on the three axes. Overall, for impact, its just one of the most interesting pieces I have yet seen from Vietnam. Mined in 2005 and part of a large lot I bought at the time.
This is a classic Vietnam spinel, of deep red color and waxy lustre, measuring just over 1 cm in size; and perched nicely on a snowy "mountain" of contrasting marble matrix. There is very slight asymmetry on one rear edge going to the termination, but I think this is natural and not damage, and that it is complete.
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