Niobium-Rich Rutile
Inyo County, California, USA
Miniature, 4.0 x 3.4 x 2.7 cm
This specimen hosts a 2.5 x 2.2 x 2 cm crystal, perched in isolation atop a natural pedestal of matrix. Well excavated, it displays beautifully. As with most of these, there are a few very minor bits of edge wear but also this has two serious spots of damage to the top face and the left side, or it would cost a lot more. Still, it looks good from the front. 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) .