Rutile on Quartz
Kapudzhukh Mtn., Zangezur Range, Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan
Small Cabinet, 6.7 x 5.7 x 4.6 cm
Ex. Ken Rippere
A stunning example of the now-rare sharp rutiles that came out of only a brief two-season mining run in these high, snowy mountains in the late 1990s. This is one of the most balanced, fine specimens I have seen, ever. It features a sharp and doubly-terminated crystal measure a whopping 4 cm in height nestled amongst crystallized quartz crystals (compare this to rutile from Graves Mountain or other locales, which generally come on less appealing matrix). There were pieces with more crystals, a few with larger crystals (although, not many), and a limited number of bigger specimens overall. I saw much of the high grade from the best production here laid out on a pool table in Bill Larson's San Diego home in about 1997, and I can remember clearly that this would be among the best. He was the US outlet for much of the production, which came out through a Russian mineral dealer now fondly remembered by his nickname "Niki The Tank:" a former KGB soldier who got into mineral collecting and dealing after the Wall fell (retired, he now teaches Yoga lessons in California). This piece was selected by Larson and sold to his old college room-mate from Colorado School of Mines, Ken Rippere, who was a quiet mineral collector. Larson recently handled the sale of the Rippere mineral collection, and this was one of my favorite specimens among all. We have seen nothing of such quality come out of this deposit since those first few years. I really just love these things.. for the matrix association and quality, they are, to me, the finest of rutile specimens. This piece is surely one of the finest there was of this find. Joe Budd photos.