Benitoite, Neptunite
Dallas Gem Mine (Benitoite Mine; Benitoite Gem Mine; Gem Mine), Dallas Gem Mine area, San Benito River headwaters area, New Idria District, Diablo Range, San Benito Co., California
Cabinet, 14.7 x 10.7 x 2.3 cm
This is an exceptionally aesthetic large plate of well formed, translucent, blue benitoite crystals in combination with lustrous, black neptunite crystals - all on starkly contrasting background of white natrolite. These SHARP benny crystals reach 2 cm as maximum size. It is a real art to etch out the benitoite and neptunites, without dissolving away all the matrix and leaving them perched on gray host rock, and the job was superbly done on this specimen. It is one of the best large plates I have seen for sale in awhile, and the mine IS officially closed now - mined out completely by modern stripmining techniques to get at melee-sized gem rough. No more benitoites can come to market, except from old stashes and collections now, as this was a totally unique deposit that is simply "gone," now. It is important to note that this venerable deposit is the only worldwide locality for crystallized benitoite. 14.7 x 10.7 x 2.3 cm