- La Marina Mine, Mun. de Pauna, Boyaca Department, Colombia
- Miniature, 5.0 x 2.5 x 1.6 cm
A stunning full miniature from the amazing late 2015 finds here, that will become known as one of the finest pockets ever for the species from anywhere in the world. There was a lot of mystery and games going on with the dispersal of this find, done quietly and through multiple dealers. Now that it is all done, I can safely say that this is clearly one of the finest miniatures recovered, and among the finest of the species. It has phenomenal luster and color, and is a complete, doubly-terminated bowtie of crystals. The pics say it all. Joe Budd photos.
- Mimetite (Gem Pocket, 1971)
- Tsumeb Mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia
- Thumbnail, 2.4 x 1.9 x 1.2 cm
From the famous 1971 Gem Pocket, these crystals are the finest mimetites in existence in terms of sheer quality and there are only a handful that will ever come to market. The find has never been repeated or equaled and they remain iconic specimens in any collection. This is the most significant thumbnail specimen I have handled from the pocket, in decades of watching for them and only seeing a half dozen for sale of any caliber (less fat and gemmy than this, generally). The crystal is fat, balanced, and stunning in its gemminess. The luster is glassy, naturally. The main crystal is mostly translucent and has a sharp, lustrous and full termination.
- Mimetite (Green Pocket)
- Elura Mine, Cobar, New South Wales, Australia
- Small Cabinet, 9.0 x 6.0 x 3.0 cm
Mimetite from Australia is usually not considered among the world's great specimens for the species, and tends to be dull and drably colored but one particular pocket from the late 1980s has stood out and still stands the test of time. This remarkable pocket of green to yellow mimetite crystals came from an active silver mine, itself already unusual. Only a few specimens survived, and were of quality to go to collectors. I remember when they premiered at Tucson to huge excitement, and top collectors chased specimens down as they got dispersed. This is a very aesthetic small cabinet piece from that single rare find called the "green mimetite pocket," long in the collection of Martin Zinn and then another private collector, and so not on the market in several decades. It has rich, saturated color and a silky, unique luster that makes these readily identifiable from any other mimetite anywhere in all the world.
- Lily Mine, Ica Department, Peru
- Miniature, 5.0 x 4.5 x 4.0 cm
Atacamite is a rare copper species, and the previous "world's best" were found in Australia prior to 1900, at two locales. This small, remote copper and gem silica mine in the dry mountains of southern Peru, though, has matched and surpassed what we all thought for 100 years to be unbeatable status of the Aussie atacamites in our major museums. Also, the Peruvian crystals have better luster! The very best of the Peruvian atacamites are therefore worthy of consideration by any collector, for beauty and importance, though the pockets vary widely by quality and size. I have pursued these for the last 5 years as the trickle has come out. I held this piece back 2 years, waiting to see what else may come out, but it seems to have fizzled into irrelevance now in terms of more great specimens of this style.
- Grossular Garnet
- Vesper Peak, Sultan District, Snohomish Co., Washington, USA
- Cabinet, 11.5 x 9.5 x 3.2 cm
Garnet from Washington state is one of those "holy grails" of collecting USA classics, but there are simply so few of any real value in a worldwide sense, compared to garnets from other locales. The best ones were said to have been collected by a team including Bart Cannon, back in the 1970s to early 1980s. This particular specimen was sold by Cannon in 1982 to collector Jack Halpern, who owned it for the following 34 years until exchanging it to me. It is simply stunning, with a unique robust color and a glass luster that these are famous for. However, I had never seen such quality of color AND luster in a specimen of this large size, before. Never cleaned or trimmed to modern standards, I have only gotten it back recently after a year in the lab.
- N'chwaning I Mine, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
- Small Cabinet, 12.0 x 8.0 x 4.0 cm
This specimen exemplifies the best qualities of the pocket, nicknamed the "wheatsheaves pocket," and was found circa 1980. The luster is fantastic, and the color is a rich cherry red. It just "sparkles" like few other minerals ever do. The piece is complete all around the periphery and without damage to the display face, though it is contacted on back. The bit of manganese ore showing through, really adds a welcome contrast to the solid plate of sparkling red. Specimens like this only come about once a decade, as old collections recycle to market.
- Pentagonite with Cavansite
- Wagholi Quarries, Wagholi, Pune District, Maharashtra, India
- Small Cabinet, 7.5 x 5.7 x 4.5 cm
Pentagonite is the rare (very much so) dimorph of Cavansite. This means that they are the same chemistry but are actually different crystal forms, and tus different species. As rare as pentagonite is (the first Indian specimens were only found many years after the first cavansites), it is even more incredibly rare to find the two species in close association as on this piece. The specimen hosts a magnificent large pentagonite "tree" 3 cm tall, nestled into a protective pocket of stilbite and basalt matrix. There are two pentagonite crystals of this size, and between them are several clusters of cavansite crystals to 1 cm. All is sparkly and beautiful!
- Beryl var. Emerald
- Rist Mine, Hiddenite, Alexander Co., North Carolina, USA
- Large Cabinet, 16.0 x 4.5 x 3 cm
The North Carolina emerald mines are an important part of US gem lore, having been visited and worked by the great Tiffany's gemologist Kunz in the early 1900s. Intermittent production continued for 100 years, but pockets of good crystals have been an EXTREME rarity. At 281 grams and with no repairs, this complete-all-around crystal is one of the largest ever found at the location. We believe it to be, in fact, the second largest to the one in the Houston Museum, that was ever recovered (and that one is repaired several times while this is not). This specimen consists of one large, slightly etched, double-terminated crystal, perched on a crosswise smaller crystal at its base. The etching is due to solution effects in the pocket over geologic time, and is common for the locality.
- Tanzanite with Prehnite on Calcite
- Block D, Merelani Hills, Arusha Region, Tanzania
- Large Cabinet, 18.0 x 15.0 x 11.0 cm
The photos tell the story here, but for a bit of context: Few large matrix tanzanites exist, particularly in this size. The single crystal is 17 cm tall and perched in calcite. It is an astonishing and rare example of tanzanite with unusual pseudocubic crystals of prehnite, just as a bonus to the huge impact of the intense blue tanzanite crystals themselves. No repairs or damage. Truly a "major national museum specimen," for the display impact, if ever there was one. The piece weighs 6.6 pounds.
- Belshazzar Mine, Quartzburg District, Boise Co., Idaho, USA
- Cabinet, 10.0 x 7.2 x 6.0 cm
An important United States gold specimen: Gold from this small mine near Boise was found in this quality only once in a spectacular, small lucky find of around 2005 (with ametal detector on the old dumps). This specimen is one of the largest and finest known from the find, and was in the collection of the discoverer for some time before being sold to amajor collector of historic Americana. It masses 540 grams (17.36 troy ounces), putting it among the largest golds known from unusual USA locales, and among the top few specimens from this location. It is extremely aesthetic in that it is complete all around, 360 degrees, and made up entirely of delicate, filigreed "wires" which are actually gold crystals that get their elongated form from unusual spinel-law twinning. A small bit of quartz matrix is included at the bottom, but this is neglegible to the mass overall. Comes with custom lucite base.
- Scheelite with Aquamarine
- Red Pocket (2007), Mt Xuebaoding, Pingwu Co., Mianyang Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China
- Small Cabinet, 8.3 x 7.5 x 5.8 cm
This is an intensely colorful gem-tipped scheelite from the famous 2007 "RED POCKET, " with unusual and distinct red tones that are more saturated than the classical orange hue. This pocket had the best luster, overall, and when combined with the color they make for very dramatic specimens that outshine almost all others from other pockets, in a case. It is a balanced small cabinet piece, that has huge impact visually -the color can be seen from across the room! China is the world's best locality for scheelites, unarguably. The scheelites coming from this extremely remote mountain locality are orders of magnitude prettier and better than those from anywhere else. However, the locale is remote, hard to work, and subject to pressure to work with hand tools if at all because it is located next to the major Sichuan Province Wolong.
- 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
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.
- Rowley Mine, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA
- Small Cabinet, 8.0 x 5.0 x 4.0 cm
This is a significant wulfenite for this classic US locale, now worked artisanally by a small team of hardworking collectors who had to fight off regulatory agencies of the US government trying to shut their operation down (ironically as a result, the mining is now a research extension of a major university geology department, which has resulted in discovery of a new species!). The Rowley has historically produced a great variety of wulfenite styles and colors, tending more towards small and red crystals. This significant, robust specimen has huge crystals that are not typical for the mine at this size, with unusually thick form and intense orange color without the usual hint of red. Many are "windowpanes" that you can see right through, and they are mostly about 1 cm in size although the big crystal in the middle-left is 2 cm tall! The well-trimmed matrix accents the crystals greatly, with a white periphery of rock. This specimen came from the collection of claim owner Keith Wentz, and would have been collected around 2012-2013.
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