Spodumene (Var: Kunzite)
Laghman (Lagman; Nuristan) Province, Afghanistan
Cabinet, 12.0 x 7.0 x 6.9 cm
This is one of those famous pieces that is pretty much known by name throughout the higher levels of the collecting community. It was illustrated in the Mineralogical Record back in vol. 31, page 62. It was one of the featured gem crystals in the Sotheby's Auction of the Freilich collection in January of 2001. With everything else there was to buy to occupy people, I got lucky and it did not sell there at the auction, giving me the chance to buy it after auction later in the month. It then went to a private collection in Australia where it has resided since then and now comes back to me. It remains, in my estimation and many others', the single best specimen of its size range for the species in terms of overall aesthetics because of the combination of starkly contrasting matrix, deep rich color, steep and phenomenal termination, and composition. Seldom does kunzite form so sharp and symmetric a termination. It is a pleasing deep pink from the front, but almost a lavender hue from the side and downright purply down the c-axis view. It is contact-repaired to the natural matrix. In geological time, the crystal wiggled out of its natural matrix and left a small gap of several millimeters which then was filled in with additional albite and a few small quartz crystals. Thus, there is a slight but natural gap between the crystal and the matrix at its highest point of contact. It would be easy to remove those two teeny quartz nubs and make for a flat contact but I have twice now chosen, as did Wilber and Freilich before me, to leave the natural aspects of the piece intact as illustrative of the environment in which these gem crystals form. In any case, the slight gap is NOT visible from the front and so in no way detracts from the display view. The matrix is spotted with small green tourmalines, too! It is just an incredible piece...12.8 x 7 x 6.9 cm