Small Cabinet, 9.1 x 7.1 x 5.6 cm
Rodgerberg Mine, Guchab-Rodgerberg area, Grootfontein District, Otjozondjupa Region, Namibia

I traded this specimen from Evan Jones, the dealer who dispersed the Russell Jones collection (no family relation), and it comes with his label, noting the date from the catalogue. This specimen was obtained by collector Russell Jones in 1939, according to his catalogue. Dioptase from Tsumeb, this we all know. But much Tsumeb dioptase of this quality did not come to market until the 1970s and 1980s. There is a tendency to assume that all fine dioptase from Africa came from Tsumeb. However, this small mine some distance away, Guchab, actually produced the first great Namibian dioptase in the 1930s, long before the richness of Tsumeb dioptase was known to the collecting community at large. Guchab is also famous for incredible large Descloizite crystals. It turns out that these dioptase specimens were much rarer then, and remain much so today as well. This specimen is a beautiful small cabinet piece by any standard, no matter where it is from. It has sharp crystals to just over 1 cm smothering a matrix coated with calcite. The matrix is literally a gangue rock, not ore as at Tsumeb. Also, the calcite is subtly different in style from Tsumeb...more sparkly, for one. The crystals are not the small sharp rhomobohedra you usually see with Tsumeb dioptase, but rather little jewel-like crystals of more complexity, rhombs modified by other terminations. So, in person, this piece really is distinct.