Cuprite (Cubic) in Quartz Cast With Plancheite
Small Cabinet, 6.3 x 6.0 x 4.5 cm
Shangulowe Mine, Kambove, Katanga (Shaba), Democratic Republic of Congo
Ex. Dr. Ed David
I first saw this unusual cubically crystallized cuprite crystal perched in its unusual quartz "cave" in the late 1990s when dealer Cal Graeber purchased it from the estate of collector Gerald Herfurth. I did not then have the money to buy all I wanted from his purchases. I always regretted not buying it then, as I had never seen a cuprite quite like this, and the aesthetics are just unique. I always remembered it and imagine my surprise when I saw it again recently! The cuprite (approx 1.1 x 0.9 cm) is sharp and interesting in form, and is perched nicely in what seems to have been a quartz filling of a cavity in between blocks of rock matrix, now removed. The quartz "pocket" itself is a floater, contacted and showing the pattern of the constraining matrix it grew between at the base and around the periphery. Where space allowed, the quartz crystallized into brilliant crystals of high luster. Only one cuprite crystal seems to have nucleated within the pocket and, unlike others I have seen from this very same mine, it has a shape that is either truly cubic or pseudocubic. To be honest, the location of Shangulowe Mine has come down with the specimen but quartz is not reported from this mine, as I see it on MINDAT. Yet, quartz is also not reported from Mashamba West Mine, where so many of our cuprites come from. I believe this to simply be from a unique old mining claim or mine, probably an old vein in Shangulowe or a small dig nearby. The piece was sold by Graeber to Dr. Ed David, in whose collection it remained for nearly a decade before being exchanged into the collection of Larry Conklin, from whom I in turn obtained the specimen last year - about 10 years after seeing it for the first time! As a side note, the price now has been able to be the same price as it was then, due to the various trades involved, and that I got it in a larger exchange I amortised, myself. Joe Budd Photos