Dioptase Ex. Kegel Collection
Small Cabinet, 8.0 x 7.0 x 4.5 cm
Rodgerberg Mine, Guchab-Rodgerberg area, Grootfontein, Namibia

Dioptase crystals to 1.4 cm, richly and solidly covering matrix. This is a beautiful, rich specimen, though the dioptase from this locality does not have quite the luster of Tsumeb material (from the 1980s). However, this is far more rare! This specimen might seem unassuming at first, but it is important to note that the dioptase from Guchab predates Tsumeb dioptase of any quality by 50 years and more -and is very rare on the market. As well, documented specimens, are almost unheard of as they tend to lose labels over time or be "re-labeled" as a Tsumeb dioptase by dealers because of the perceived price premium associated with having a Tsumeb dioptase (only because most of us have never heard of Guchab, before, though!). This is a legitimate piece with a Smithsonian label, purchased with funds from the Roebling donation of 1926. Hugh Ford, a dealer in NYC, traded this out of the Smithsonian prior to 1950. His label, which still is associated with the piece, dates by its address at 110 Wall Street from 1946-1957. His letter to the collector, Russell Ford, notes this as well. The Smithsonian label notes that it was obtained from the Kegel collection - Kegel was a very important general manager of the company that owned the Tsumeb mine from 1922-1938, and in fact the main shaft in the 1920s was named the friedrich Wilhelm shaft under his directorship. The Kegel collection was the single most important collection of Namibian material existing at the time, and was purchased en masse by the Smithsonian in 1950 using funds provided by the Roebling endowment. This documented, displayable specimen is an important historical dioptase with a rare provenance.Joe Budd Photos