Miniature, 4.5 x 4.0 x 2.5 cm
Yaogangxian Mine, Yizhang Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China
This specimen was mined just a few months ago and brought out of China on a straight route to me, and it seems to represent the absolute pinnacle of the species. It has everything going for it - size, aesthetics, luster, quality and condition.The piece is very geometric, with the stannite shotting up to the left and balancing the termination of the wolframite shooting to the right. The main stannite crystal is a shocking 4.5 x 4 x 2.5 cm in size, undamaged and lustrous. It presents one single face when viewed from the backside (as I would display it); and from the other side it envelops, like a flower, smaller crystals growing against the front face of it in a remarkably symmetrical pattern that may in fact be twinning of some sort. Those frontal crystals lend a sharp geometry to the cluster that is usually lacking in stannite clusters from this mine, which tend to be more rounded or globular, if any form at all. The stannite cluster is then perched on the side of a 12 cm pristine wolframite blade, and the specimen would be a killer wolframite worth several thousand dollars in its own right even if the stannite weren't there - that's how good it is. Crystals of fluorite and quartz in association serve to cap off the aesthetics of the piece, and put it far ahead of any other I have seen (or others to whom I showed this at Denver). As a further note I might add that the famous "Barlow Stannite" record-setter from Bolivia, the monstrous crystal illustrated in the collection book which set an "impossible" standard for the species, was about this size and was in fact a sphalerite as proved by xray and streak test after I purchased the specimen in 1998. I don't know where it ended up, but wherever it is, it is not a stannite! So, this very well may be the world's largest fine stannite crystal as well as one of the finest display specimens for the species. 13 x 7 x 6 cm