Alabandite With Quartz
Miniature, 5.0 x 4.0 x 3.5 cm
San Martin Mine, Chiurucu, Huallanca, Ancash Department, Peru
A rare example of seemingly octohedral crystals of alabandite, from the Chiurucu Mining area and NOT from the Ucchuchaccua rhodochrosite mine in Lima Dept. The large 2.5-cm (an inch!) crystal is complete and sharp despite an internal fracture that started but did not continue through the piece. This is a huge crystal by any standard for the species and among the largest fine crystals from this smaller find (certainly the best that we saw of the lot...) ! An association of gemmy quartz really makes the specimen aesthetic. A small bit of rhodonite on the bottom is present as well. Only one dealer had a very few of these specimens at the Tucson 2011 show alongside pieces from the Uchuchaccua Mine. What are the odds of two new finds of the best alabandite crystals in the world coming out of different mines in Peru at the same time, after decades of nothing like this? near zero? I am very sure of this locale, though: one of these specimens has a smidge of rhodonite on the bottom of the matrix, confirming its mine of origin. Joe Budd photos