Morganite And Aquamarine on Albite "Pala Princess Iii"
Elizabeth R. Mine, Pala, San Diego County, California, USA
Cabinet, 15.2 x 9.1 x 7.0 cm
Ex. Chuck Houser
On May 15, 1982, a famous specimen called the "Pala Princess" was unearthed by Roland Reed, mine owner. It was one repaired large plate consisting of a half a dozen pieces, 3 of them of some major consequence for the County and for US beryls in general. The piece was judged by John Sinkankas at the time to be the finest beryl specimen found in North America to date. This is the third of the larger plates that made up that piece, as shown in Sinkankas' updated book, Gems of North America, published shortly thereafter. Note he erroneously attributed the find to 1992, not 1982. In 2003, the plate was purchased from a private collector by Irv Brown and Stuart Wilensky; and disassembled into its parts, which were then trimmed and prepped individually to yield 3 major, unrepaired, (and much more) aesthetic morganite specimens. This is the third of those specimens, and it has never been for sale because Irv traded it directly to Chuck within the week. This piece would have comprised about 20% of the original surface area of the specimen, and features one of the larger crystals. You can see the unique nature of the piece, in its multiple coloration of both blue aqua and pink morganite, from the pics. In person, it is more obvious. This is a major County specimen, with incredibly neat provenance and history, the likes of which hasn't been mined since. Now, as opposed to having a too-large specimen with seven repairs and some damage about it, we have several MAJOR and pristine, unrepaired specimens which are individually of as much significance, I would think - but finer in quality.