Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec, Canada
Small Cabinet, 7.1 x 4.0 x 2.8 cm
Carletonite is one of the great classics of the locality, known in the past as superb single crystals (see below). The quality rating for the stuff was redefined by a spectacular find of about 5 years ago which was, as with most such finds at MSH, controlled by the great collector Gilles Haineault. He sold most of them at the time, and I bought a number of them then (though only a few were this good); but this one surfaced again recently and I snapped it up as I have not seen any of comparable quality with Gilles or other dealers in at least 4 years. Some people may prefer the individual crystals (below) but I personally prefer the sheer flash and pizzazz of these incredible blue clusters, jumbly though they may be. All specimens from the find were more or less massive, with good crystals embedded in massive carletonite. The criteria for judging superior specimens are: how big the crystals are; how freestanding of the matrix they reach; and how blue they get. This specimen not only succeeds on all 3 levels but also has the absolute BEST color you could imagine: the richest, most royal, lapis-blue hue. It is spectacular for visual display but also for crystal size as it features a number of crystals to 2 cm jutting out form all sides of the massive carletonite matrix. For display in a collection, it would probably be better mounted vertically with the crown of sharp crystals you see on the left in the top image and on the right in the middle-right image, poking up atop.