Smithsonite Var. Cuprian
79 Mine (79th Mine; Seventy-Nine Mine; Seventy-Nine property; McHur prospect), Chilito, Hayden area, Banner District, Dripping Spring Mts, Gila Co., Arizona, USA
Cabinet, 12.9 x 7.7 x 5.2 cm
This amazing smithsonite specimen has intense color, 3-dimensionality, and beauty on its own merit. Moreover, though, I think it is one of the most significant smithsonites from a US locality other than the Kelly Mine. These are the only fine green (copper-rich) smithsonites from the USA. I was stunned when I saw this piece. For the sheer size and quality, I would have thought it to be Tsumeb at first glance. But it is from this small polymetallic mine in Arizona, which has in the past produced wulfenites, aurichalcite, and rarely, a few pockets of smithsonites. A good pocket has been hit about once per decade over the last 30 years. I have seen most of the major specimens from the finds here, and I have seen many (not all) of the major Arizona mineral collections. But I have not seen another Arizona smithsonite of this magnitude. When one considers the price for smithsonites these days from other locales, which produced a ton of them (quite literally in some cases), it is very difficult to not see this as a value in comparison, for the extra bonus of being from Arizona. I frankly think it is one of the finest smithsonites I have had. Joe Budd photos.