Morro da Mina Mine, Conselheiro Lafaiete (old Queluz de Minas), Minas Gerais, Brazil
Miniature, 5.0 x 4.4 x 3.1 cm
I first started seeing dribbles of rhodonite cleavage fragments from this mine in 2005. Formerly, the mine had been worked for manganese, then closed fo rdecades. The rhodonite cutting rough provided a new reason to prospect here. The cutting rough came to market first, and only later did a few sporadic pockets yield these giant, cherry red crystals. They were always rare, and to my knowledge no more than half a dozen really fine pockets were found over the last 5 years of hard mining at this very old manganese mine. I obtained 4 of those pockets, myself, with an agent camped out at the source. This particular crystal is one that came out in 2008, and I handled at that time. It is a dramatic piece that is very fat, and thus very juicy with the top cherry-red color. The edges are transparent while the core is translucent. Like most of the crystals mined here, the edges are contacted due to the extremely tight pockets and narrow room to grow. Although contacted on the left and with some breakaway damage on the lower edges to the sides, this crystal displays dramatically from the front, and sits either flat or horizontally showing the longest axis as the top, like an inverted pyramid. Set on its custom display base, it is a very impressive piece, and literally radiates color in a case. Joe Budd photos