Gaudefroyite on Baryte
N'Chwaning 2 Mine, near Kuruman, South Africa
Small Cabinet, 5.8 x 5.0 x 4.2 cm
Ex. Al Ordway
Aesthetically emplaced on a large, frosted, whitish gray Baryte crystal, 5.5 cm across, are diverging crystals of lustrous, black gaudefroyite to 1.7 cm in length. This species is an uncommon borate rich carbonate with strange chemistry, known only in good crystals from several finds at this manganese mine. Usually they occur as jumbly masses, flat plates, and seldom with any aesthetics in larger specimens. The contrast here, and the perch on Baryte, is HIGHLY unusual, extremely attractive, and makes this one of the better display specimens of the species I have seen (even including the handling of several major Kalahari collections with thousands of pieces, over the years). While there are a few minor broken crystals, the overall piece is impactful and the major crystals and clusters are intact despite their exposure. Adding color to the specimen are tiny red andradite garnet crystals throughout.