Smithsonite With Hemimorphite
Cabinet, 10.5 x 7.0 x 6.0 cm
Level 8, San Antonio Mine, East Camp, Santa Eulalia District, Chihuahua, Mexico
Ex. David and Emily Stoudt
These stunning smithsonites, a lustrous apple green in color, came out at the Denver show of 1999 with dealer Dan Belsher (now deceased) and were immediately snatched up by the top collectors. Resale prices a day later were already double and triple the starting prices from the mine, in a rather intense competitive sprint to own one. NO MORE were ever mned, of this starling quality for size, thickness, color, and translucency. To many of us, for its unique combination of qualities, this single pocket has produced the finest overall smithsonites ever to come out of Mexico. The best pieces, as with this one, had a startling 3-dimensionality and the very distinct association with beautiful hemimorphite. They were, even at the time they came out, priced like gold. There was some debate about whether the green color was caused by minute copper content, and I am not sure how that played out. Certainly, when compared to green smithsonites from other locales, these are a different, very unique hue. Today, the few you ever see come to market are usually small; and yet cost already $4-5k. This piece has a very solid provenance in the find. California dealer Cal Graeber got most of the lot when they came out, and this piece was sold to a good collector and customer of his in San Diego, Irv Brown (it was later traded out when he switched from collecting small cabs only, to all sizes of specimens). The Graebers collect Mexican minerals themselves and kept a specimen for their collection, but this one was just a little big in its size for their suite, and so it was allowed out the door although we all considered it to be one of the 3-4 best pieces at the time. It looks good either horizontally or vertically. I personally recall that this was one of the absolute best of them, from the majority of the pocket that I saw at the time at that Denver show of 1999. I was able to obtain it down the road, and I sold it into the Stoudt collection soon after. It is the only such major example from this find that I have seen hit the market again, in almost 10 years now.. Joe Budd photos.