Junnila mine, New Idria District, Diablo Range, San Benito Co., California, USA
Thumbnail, 2.3 x 1.9 x 0.9 cm
Ex. Scott Kleine
This is a miniature from the personal collection of Scott Kleine, who dug the best pocket of fresnoite in recent times (and supposedly one of only two very fine pockets found here, period). The matrix hosts a sharp, freestanding, 1.5 cm crystal on matrix. The back of the crystal is dusted with small analcime crystals. It is a piece with high quality and display aesthetics both. The crystal is translucent, and a a rich orangey-yellow color, translucent at its periphery to light. Although repaired cleanly to its matrix perch (you would never see it if I didn't admit to it), this is an extremely rare matrix specimen of Fresnoite, one of the very rare titanium-containing minerals found in San Benito County (the same source as for the Benitoite Mines). Relatively few specimens of quality have been recovered compared to the neptunite and benitoite nearby, and many (such as this one) were collected during an aggressive mining operation around 1999-2000 by dealer and miner Scott Kleine. The Junnila Mine, started as a benitoite recovery operation, actually turned out to have rather poor benitoite production, but in a few historic spurts yielded these superb fresnoite crystals instead as a consolation prize.