Epidote on Byssolite
Alchuri (Alchori; Aschudi), Shigar Valley, Skardu District, Baltistan, Northern Areas, Pakistan
Cabinet, 11.0 x 10.0 x 9.0 cm
Ex. Richard Kosnar
A magnificent large specimen of truly elegant quality rarely seen in a matrix piece for this material. It would have come out in the early 90s and found its way quickly into the noted Alpine subcollections of Richard Kosnar (specialties are in Russian, Swiss, and Pakistani alpine type deposits). There are approximately 20 larger, and very translucent and gemmy, crystals flaring off from the specimen in a serrated row like the plates off a stegosaurus. The crystals are elongated and sharply terminated, and the color and luster are reminiscent of the famous Austrian epidotes (more below). We have seen literally thousands of Pakistani epidotes (and related clinozoisite) over the years. NONE have ever stunned me the way this piece did. The matrix is a beautiful contrast, and it looks more as if the piece was sculpted than anything else. One seldom sees "pretty" matrix of this sort (byssolite/actinolite). So often, the matrix is just a place for the crystals to stick onto, on this material. Rarely is it a complementary and important part of the specimen itself. It just surprised me so much, that I naturally assumed it was Austrian at first. However, on further thought, this is much gemmier than any large Austrian epidote has a right to be, the color is perhaps a little different, and the price wasn't to the moon as those old classics (and recent finds there as well) so often can be. Instead, you get here the classic alpine quality that has been treasured for the species for hundreds of years, but at a pricepoint reflecting its contemporary origin. And, that being said, I think the piece becomes a value going onward, and is truly near the top pinnacle of what you can hope to get in such specimens from Pakistan based on context to date. For what it is, I think one of the best pieces in update. Joe Budd photos