This is a special section of the website dedicated to very significant, admittedly pricier, specimens in context. Many of these minerals find homes with collectors who not only enjoy the beauty of fine minerals, but also treat their collections as valuable alternative investments.
- Pech, Kunar Province, Afghanistan
- Large Cabinet, 54.0 x 12.0 x 8.6 cm (appro x 0.2 feet)
- Request Price
weight: 29.4 pounds. Perhaps one of the world's largest crystals for the species! It is complete all around, and with remarkably little etching effects given the size of the crystal. It is nearly entirely gemmy, especially in the center. The tip just glows with purple and maroon hues, with any kind of good lighting, especially when light comes down the c-axis. For the remarkably equant and sharp termination, this would be major anyhow for the species, even if it were small (most have etched terminations as the sizes get longer, not as attractive to my eye).
- Panasquiera Mine, Barroca Grande, Covilha, Castelo Branco District, Portugal
- Small Cabinet, 7.8 x 7.1 x 3.6 cm
A significant apatite from the most important European locale: Apatite from the Panasqueira Mine is justly famous as among the best examples of the species. Crystals like this one, showing the phantom inside a green core and the textbook shape of the crystal, have long been considered among the top European classics. This crystal is HUGE for the locality, and for this style, with a mass of 286 grams. It is largely complete all around. It is complete on the sides and back of the termination, with only small contact on the rear-left edge and at the bottom where it grew. It has muscovite coating a part of the bottom backside, and was almost a floater.
- Rhodochrosite on Tetrahedrite
- Corner Pocket, Sweet Home Mine, Mount Bross, Alma District, Park Co., Colorado, USA
- Cabinet, 13.0 x 12.0 x 5.0 cm
- Request Price
The Corner Pocket of the late 1990's remains one of the best single finds of Sweet Home rhodochrosite for a number of reasons: the large crystal size, cherry color, translucency, and the startling contrast on desirable black matrix of crystallized tetrahedrite. This specimen, which went into a major European collection back in around 2005, epitomizes the good qualities of that pocket. It features large sharp crystals to 4.5 cm, with excellent color and translucency. They are displayed about as dramatically as you can ask, on the dark jet black tetrahedrite, and with aesthetic spacing and individuality that was not often seen among many pieces that were more "jumbly." Remarkably, there are no repairs to the specimens at all, although there are a few very minor restoration spots on the periphery of some crystals to fill in dings (quite acceptable on specimens of such magnitude). Most people consider these red-on-black specimens from this mine to set the standard for degrees of fineness and comparison from pocket to pocket. Few can be had, particularly in this size range and nearly 20 years after they were found.
- Conselheiro Pena, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
- Small Cabinet, 8.0 x 6.3 x 4.0 cm
Brazilianite from the old 1930s-1940s finds here STILL sets the standard, to this day, nearly 80 years later. These brazilianites have a depth of color, a high luster, and a unique crystal habit that completely differentiates them from more modern material found in other localities in Brazil. This is a huge crystal for the old finds, featuring a 6 x 5 x 4 cm crystal perched atop a smaller one. It displays very dramatically as a vertical piece, with the gemmiest tip facing out to the viewer and the natural contact (bottom of the crystal, where it grew on matrix) pointing to the back; and thus is complete on three sides. It can also display well horizontally, with the gemmiest tip facing up and the growth contact on bottom. Minor muscovite is included in one side of the crystal.
- Tanzanite cluster
- Merelani Mines, Arusha, Tanzania
- Cabinet, 10.5 x 3.5 x 2.0 cm
- Request Price
Most tanzanite crystals, for whatever reasons of science and geology, form as "singles." A double, especially a cluster as balanced and symmetric as this, is extraordinarily rare in the mineral world. This piece is complete all around, 360 degrees. It is not the most gemmy, although it is translucent, but it has intense color and sharp geometry that draws the eye. As you can see in the photos, it exhibits the traditional famous dichroism of color for tanzanite, blue and purple at alternating 90 degree turns. However, the colors actually merge a little bit here, and you see purple highlights on what would normally be the blue side, and vice versa. Tanzanite crystals are often heated at the source to see if they go to a more uniform and deep blue color for the gem trade.
- Tourmaline (bicolor gem)
- Cruzeiro Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil
- Gems and Jewelry, 25 x 17 x 13 mm; 39.03 cts
Cruzeiro has produced what surely are the most saturated, fanciest color bicolor tourmaline gems, over the years. This is from an old collection, and was mined and cut in the 1990's. It is a superbly cut modified cushion with an art cut on the bottom. The cutting is high quality, and the luster is absolutely top tier. From the collection of former Pro football player, gem collector, entrepreneur, and mineral collector, Ron Gladnick. Joe Budd photos.
- Ahmadnagar District (Ahmednagar District; Ahmed Nagar District), Maharashtra, India
- Large Cabinet, 17.3 x 15.5 x 10.0 cm
Stellerite is not, I admit, normally a species I go crazy for. However, this is almost certainly the best one or among the best few examples of this species, and it is extremely pretty. It looks like a turtle shell made of white opal, for lack of a better way to describe it. The surface has a crazy, wet luster to it and a smooth look that is just odd, somehow (in a good way!). The eye finds it hard to focus on a spot, as the crystals curve so visibly in a hemisphere. Subtle details of the interlocking crystal faces are mesmerizing on close inspection.
- Pentagonite on Stilbite
- Wagholi Quarries, Wagholi, Pune District, Maharashtra, India
- Small Cabinet, 8.0 x 6.8 x 5.0 cm
Pentagonite is the much more rare cousin of cavansite, technically a "dimorph" which means that it is the same chemistry but a different crystal habit, and therefore a different species. The color is equally good, but the sparkly luster on pentagonites at their best is better than most cavansite. The species is found at a ratio of about 1 pentagonite to 1000 cavansites at these rich quarries in India and simply nowhere else in good showy form. Usually, pentagonite of 1-2 cm is considered quite good, and some 2-4 cm floater clusters were found in the past. This specimen features a "tree" of crystals standing 6 cm tall on contrasting white matrix! I have never seen a cluster of the species of this size, so perfectly displayed, intact and undamaged.
- Azurite with Malachite
- Milpillas Mine, Sonora, Mexico
- Small Cabinet, 9.2 x 6.0 x 4.8 cm
- Request Price
Milpilas flowed azurite, and then flowed some more when we thought the oxidation zone would not give up more (watercourse pocket going down into the oxidized orebody), and then finally came to a crashing end for supply of the worl'ds best and most prolific azurite finds in all of history. Nevertheless, amongst the crowd of azurites so good that everybody can now own a great azurite in any price range, there are special things that stand out. This is such a piece: I stashed this piece in 2012, from a special 2011 or 2012 pocket I loved with these robust, 3-dimensional crystals that looked more like Tsumeb azurites (but more blue), than the typical Milpillas styles to date. The crystal is 6.0 x 3.0 x 2.5 cm and stands proud and dramatically upon a white matrix with a little wreathe of smaller, slender crystals at its base, like a birds nest. The crystal is undamaged and pristine, and has fantastic color. It shows some partial alteration to malachite, particularly on 2 faces.
- La Viesca Mine, Huergo, La Collada mining area, Siero, Asturias, Spain
- Large Cabinet, 35.0 x 29.0 x 26.0 cm
- Request Price
The photos tell the tale for this HUGE specimen of blue fluorite from the classic Spanish locale! The piece has crystals measuring to 14 and 21 cm on edge. It is nearly complete all around, with just a few peripheral contacts. All major crystals are complete. For what this is, in the condition it is in, it is simply astonishing that it has survived. I have not seen a comparable example in this size and condition.
- Christoph Mine, Kaokoveld Plateau, Kunene Region, Namibia
- Small Cabinet, 6.0 x 3.5 x 3.0 cm
Even after all the other historical localities (Tsumeb, Russia, etc.), there is still something about these elongated dioptase crystals from modern finds in Northern Namibia by Charlie Key (keyite, ludlockite, and the Indiana Jones of mineral collecting in Southern Africa) and his mining team that blows me away - and this is among the largest crystals found, with a superb, pristine, nearly 4 cm crystal standing straight up on well-trimmed matrix. It is COMPLETE ALL AROUND, with a full 360 termination! After years of prospecting, they mined these in the years around 2005-2010, though lost control over the claim shortly after. This specimen, one kept back in his personal collection, is simply off the charts, unexpected, and too big to exist in such pristine quality combined with aesthetics. It should not exist. I was literally stunned to see it.
- Scheelite with Cassiterite
- Mt Xuebaoding, Pingwu, Pingwu Co., Sichuan Province, China
- Cabinet, 11.0 x 11.0 x 8.0 cm
- Request Price
Scheelite from this now-diminished mine near the famous Panda Preserve in China simply is, beyond any question, the gold standard for the species. I have followed these for 20 years, since the mid-1990s, and they got better for awhile and then tapered off suddenly after the big earthquake of 2008. The mine is remote, and dynamite is not allowed. Just accessing the mine site is enormously difficult, and at high altitude with no good roads, even before the quake... Now, it is nearly unreachable. Once a tungsten mine under military economic priorities, it has lost importance and now it is worked artisanally, and with increasing difficulty.
- Tourmaline Var. Liddicoatite
- Camp Robin, Fianarantsoa, Madagascar
- Large Cabinet, 21.0 x 7.0 x 7.0 cm
- Request Price
Liddicoatites from this locality represent the classic style for complexly patterned slices, showing the amazingly subtle gradations of color banding that occurs in these chemically-rich tourmalines as one moves up and down their length. This particular crystal is said to be the largest crystal of such quality that has been cut from the modern finds (since mining began again here in the 1990s), according to the man who mined it and in whose collection it resided for about a decade (Dr. Federico Pezzotta). It is expertly cut, with each piece polished superbly to a perfect polish and luster. The patterns and colors of the interior change even from slice to slice, in a graded pattern that could never be guessed at from outside! This piece was found in 2001 and long remained in the personal collection of Madagascan government's geological exploration consultant and collector, Dr.
- Pontes e Lacerda, Mato Grosso, Brazil
- Small Cabinet, 6.6 x 2.5 x 1.7 cm
A spectacular tree-like, thick and robust crystallized gold from this important modern-era find from a few years ago. The first golds were actually imported as lapidary and gem material, and now it is not possible to export specimens, or to mine new ones as the zone is under control of a large gold mining corporation. This will be remembered as one of the major crystallized gold finds of a century, and the color and shape make them dramatic. Hefty, weighing in at 57 grams.
- Rhodochrosite on Manganite
- N'Chwaning I Mine, Kuruman, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
- Small Cabinet, 7.5 x 6.1 x 2.9 cm
From the late 1970s, this is a very rare and desirable style of rhodochrosite we called "shields" in habit, that have never been found again since. The crystals feature a "flattish habit with a dominant pinacoid" according to the article in the 1978 issue of Mineralogical Record when the discovery was reported. This is a large, dramatic piece, free of damage except only on one peripheral crystal contact. It displays upright and very 3-dimensional; and glows a pure cherry red when backlit with light. It is featured in a small print-run book on the Halpern Collection called "The Reds and the Golds," 2010. Jack obtained it in 1984 from a well-known dealership that took Dr.
- Tourmaline on Quartz With Cleavelandite
- Pederneira Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil
- Large Cabinet, 25.3 x 20.3 x 8.5 cm
- Request Price
This mine produced largely during a short run in the early 2000s, some of the best large tourmaline specimens we have seen in recent years. A spectacular large, upright, gem tourmaline crystal is the highlight of this piece. It is carefully centered on a well-trimmed shard of crystallized quartz, from which it shoots up dramatically. Small, sparkly, sugar-white crystals of cleavelandite are in association, for accents. As with all such pieces from this mine, or similarly gracile tourmalines from any locale, there are a few repairs. In context, however, the repairs are both minimal and acceptable given the size of the piece.
- Gold on Quartz
- Olinghouse District, Washoe Co., Nevada, USA
- Cabinet, 11.2 x 9.5 x 3.0 cm
From old finds of the 1990s that really surprised the mineral world, these gorgeous elongated gold crystals perched on quartz plates have not been seen in ages. This is an old specimen that I handled in the late 1990s, and came back to me. It is one I always remembered for the simple elegance, as many of these have "nests" of small wires and crystals upon them but this has a cleaner, more nuanced aesthetic with isolated gold wires, and a single elongated crystal of 3.25 cm. It looks fragile, but it is sturdier than it looks. A USA classic, and of good size and large impact. Originally obtained from a large lot sold by miners to Scott Kleine back at that time, and trimmed radically from a large block of matrix.
- Azurite and Malachite
- Milpillas Mine, Cuitaca, Mun. de Cananea, Sonora, Mexico
- Cabinet, 11.7 x 7.0 x 6.0 cm
- Request Price
Milpillas, to me, is the wonder-locality of the first part of this century. It is now producing, briefly, azurite of such a quality as to rival and surpass Tsumeb. Nothing like these has been seen in decades, and even then, Milpillas has a style and intense blue color in its large crystals that makes it stand out. With the mine scheduled to burn through the oxide zone in which these occur within the next year, I also believe that a great Milpillas azurite is a good investment now. The world just doesn't make azurites like this, often, from anywhere. This bonanza will not last...
- Emerald With Calcite
- Coscuez Mine, Boyaca Dept., Colombia
- Small Cabinet, 5.5 x 4.6 x 4.1 cm
- Request Price
An exquisite emerald specimen, simply "different" to my eye than so many others. It has a very castellated, complex multiple termination that to me looks like towers out of a fantasy movie made of gemmy green emerald. The color is a vivid, bright hue. Some collectors prefer darker colors, some lighter shades, and this is somewhere in between; and very vibrant for it. You can see the piece shimmering from across the room, as it also has sparkly luster on both the calcite and the emerald associations. The piece is beautifully trimmed, to accentuate the 3-dimensionality of the emerald and of the adjacent twinned calcite, atop.
- Emerald - Huge 2-Inch, Complete Crystal
- Muzo Mine, Boyaca Dept., Colombia
- Miniature, 5.0 x 3.0 x 2.5 cm
- Request Price
MORE GEMMY in person, please note! This large crystal weighs in at over 300 carats and is complete all around, terminated and with GLASSY luster 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?!
- Merelani Mines Block D, Arusha, Tanzania
- Miniature, 4.4 x 2.8 x 2.7 cm
- Request Information
This is a special tanzanite crystal, even among others we have seen, for its unique quality and style from an early 2000s pocket that is now legendary. We think this pocket came in 2003-4 and the style remains distinct to this day for color, clarity and gemminess within, and the sleep, modern, architecture of the crystals themselves without undue distracting striations, rounding, or defects. The gemminess and clarity is special, and in fact this is prime cutting rough material. They are now only found in top collections such as the MIM Museum. Tanzanite is one of those gemstones termed a "generational stone" because the supply and the mine is limited by access and location, and will eventually run out (probably in our lifetimes). They are already digging below 1 kilometer in depth.
- Miniature, 4.1 x 2.2 x 1.7 cm
- Request Information
This fine Ethiopian opal measures in at 88 carats, a lucky number in the Chinese culture. It is very difficult to find clean rough in this size from the Ethiopian deposits, and this stone would be expensive simply for its quality and size in any case. The lucky number target on carat weight was decided on by the cutter when he realized it would end up around 90 carats anyhow. Opals are notoriously hard to photograph, and keep in mind that in person, the piece would show a further chatoyance and depth that is hard to capture with the camera lens. Joe Budd Photos.
- Colorado Quartz Mine, Mother Lode Belt, Mariposa Co., California, USA
- Cabinet, 10.3 x 6.2 x 2.0 cm
Gold from California is plentiful, but cabinet pieces with exquisite crystallization are not. This mine is perhaps the single most famous source of the finest crystallized golds in modern times, with several different mining operations following the vein across the last 100 years. This piece has superb crystallization and is freestanding and perfect on both sides, typical of what this mine is famous for (example: the Dragon Gold in Houston). This specimen was acquired by well-known collector Richard Kosnar in the 1980s, and stocked away in the family collection until a few years ago, when a private collector bought it. I am told that he was told it came from the early era here, 1920s-1940s, though there is not way to prove it now. In any case, spectacular, large gold specimens like this are uncommonly seen on the public market, and this is the first time it has been for public sale in nearly 40 years.
- Beryl Var. Aquamarine
- Marambaia, Carai, Jequitinhonha Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
- Large Cabinet, 21.0 x 10.8 x 8.7 cm
An incredible large specimen weighing about 9 pounds with intense sea foam BLUE color. This is the classic color of really old Brazilian aquas, recovered in the 1920s-1950s primarily. Many of them were cut for gems and lapidary carving. Much of the best work was done in Idar-Oberstein. It is a miracle that this huge crystal, with lots of gem rough and carving value, survived! It was locked in a storage box by two previous owners, each for 20 years or more.
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