Small Cabinet, 6.2 x 4.8 x 4.3 cm
Dolores I Mine, Chanarcillo, Copiapo Province, Atacama Region, Chile
Proustite from Chile sets the standard for sheer color, and metallic luster, for the species. Specimens were mined generally prior to WWI with a peak in the late 1880s to early 1890s. Large specimens were sent out in particular through one mine engineer to museums around the world. Most larger specimens offer a tradeoff of color and richness vs. perfection. Here, we have massive, fat, gemmy crystals, but many of them are contacted or damaged. This piece, if you see the label here, seems to have been obtained in South America by the mineralogist Dr. Mark Bandy, who helped develop modern Bolivia's mining resources and was particularly important in obtaining and preserving mineralogical samples from the region. Although his collection resides in Los Angles County Museum today, it seems he donated or traded this piece to the Smithsonian Institution. Weighs 269 grams.