Bournonite on Quartz
Herodsfoot Mine, Liskeard, Cornwall, England
Small Cabinet, 7.8 x 6.9 x 4.9 cm
Ex. John Sinkankas; Dr. Peter Bancroft
This specimen, which belonged to Peter Bancroft's competition collection, was once voted the "best small cabinet species" specimen in show-competition at the world famous Tucson Show (award label included!). This specimen can be viewed from several different angles, depending on the eye of the beholder. The bournonites from this mine came out between 1850-1870, so one can excuse very minor contact or damage, as it is a true mineralogic classic! They were never found again since in such magnitude. Even the recent finds in China are DIFFERENT and these Herodsfoot bournos remain the standard to which all other bournonite localities are put to the test. The matrix specimen has a druse of sparkling, off-white quartz as a natural pedestal upon which are emplaced large crystals of lustrous, "cogwheel-twinned" bournonite crystals. The largest crystal is over 5.0 cm, or 2 inches, across! That size ranks it up there with well-known pieces such as the famous specimen from the Joseph Freilich Collection, which ended up with Ed David after the auction and then recently went to me as well. That one was more pristine and hence more expensive, but at much more cost did not have quite so much visual and aesthetic impact, I will admit. This piece, which does have some minor edge wear on some edges, is nevertheless among the most impressive I have seen and despite its size has no repairs. The slight edge wear means it visually looks like a piece of several multiples in price, but is "relatively" affordable still. It has one absolutely killer display angle, and a few that are still pretty nice but do show the edge wear (not surprising given its 100-year-plus history changing hands). I have seen, in 20 years, only a half dozen major bournonites for sale. This would be one of them, and among the most affordable as well. Note that this was formerly in the collection of Dr. John Sinkankas. Also, on pg 44 of the 50th anniversary of Tucson Show issue of The Mineralogical Record, you can see the piece proiminently displayed in Bancroft's case in 1971 next to his famous Sweet Home rhodochrosite!