Hematite With Ettringite
N'Chwaning Mines, Kuruman, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Cabinet, 9.9 x 7.3 x 5.7 cm
There was a now-famous pocket of what most people I know who saw them consider the best hematites found to date, hit sometime in 2006-2007 and "buried" until 2009 when they came to market. The hematite is razor sharp and has a finish like a jet-black mirror, if you can imagine that effect. It is so reflective, you can use it as a mirror in a literal sense; and it is admittedly "black" in color but yet not black in a way that eats up the light going into it. They just, crystal for crystal, outshine other hematites with but a few exceptions. So far as I knew, they had all been dispersed at and after Tucson of 2009. I believe I have seen most of the lot, and it contained pieces that reached larger size but not with such aesthetics. This particular piece was a hold-back, kept in a private collection by one of the sources. It is one of only a handful of specimens we know of which combined the lustrous, mirror-finish hematite with yellow ettringite association. A coating of small jet-black crystals of hausmannite adds contrast, and texture, to the piece overall. The central hematite crystal measures nearly 2 inches across and sits accented by a bowtie of chalk-yellow ettringites. I think over the long run, given how much hematite is out there on the market from other locales and how stunning these few pieces are, they will command a lot more respect in the fullness of time. So far as I know, all the previous major pieces are now sold and dispersed too.Joe Budd photos