Niobium-Rich Rutile
Inyo County, California, USA
Miniature, 3.4 x 2.9 x 1.6 cm
This is my favorite piece in the lot, a 3 x 2.25 x 1.25 cm TWINNED crystal perched in isolation atop a natural pedestal of matrix. Well excavated, it displays beautifully. It is complete all around, even on the backside! 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) .