Niobium-Rich Rutile
Inyo County, California, USA
Small Cabinet, 5.6 x 4.8 x 4.0 cm
This specimen hosts a complex 4.5 x 3.5 x 2.5 cm crystal, perched atop a natural pedestal of matrix. Well excavated, it displays beautifully. The long face of the crystal actually runs down the right-back side as shown, so that you can see more of the complex faces atop from the display angle, to my eye. As with most of these, there are a few very minor bits of edge wear but nothing too distracting. It is essentially complete even on the backside. This is the largest crystal I know of from this mystery deposit, the largest I have obtained from the source, and was in fact mounted for display in the past on an oldfashioned styrofoam base for exhibition by him. Collected in the Sierra Mountains in about 1965 by a well-known field collector named Bob Raduenz, who to this day refuses to divulge the exact locality but has also failed to find more there. These are clearly distinct from the Champion Mine rutiles from Mono county in appearance, and in chemical composition as per the Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy report shown for this update (with Niobium running nearly 25% by weight) .