Prehnite (Orange) With Inesite
Cabinet, 10.7 x 7.8 x 5.9 cm
N'Chwaning II Mine, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
This is the largest, richest example of the material that I have seen, from a one-time and very surprising find of prehnite at the N'Chwaning II in April of 2000. These remarkable specimens were the first prehnites identified from the Kalahari Manganese deposits, about 10 years ago now; and have a scientific importance as well as being unique and beautiful prehnite specimens. There is a paper by Dr. Bruce Cairncross, probably the expert on the mineralogy of the Fields, describing how the whole pocket was only the size of a half meter or so. The shape of the crystals led miners to sell them as orange inesite, but Cairncross' studies confirmed them to actually be prehnite. The shocking orange color is unique to this find, and not sene in prehnite from any other locality. The crystal habit is nearly unique, and very unusual for prehnite. the combination of orange prehnite with little red inesite blades mixed within, is ironic and attractive, as a bonus. When the material came to market, thumbnails and miniatures easily fetched $1000-2500 range, depending on quality. By the prices of the day, this should be a 10k specimen. But, we got lucky and found it in a collection, completely mislabeled and unrecognized as being from that very unique and important find. Joe Budd photos.