Large Cabinet, 17.3 x 15.5 x 10.0 cm
Ahmadnagar District (Ahmednagar District; Ahmed Nagar District), Maharashtra, India

Stellerite is not, I admit, normally a species I go crazy for. However, this is almost certainly the best one or among the best few examples of this species, and it is extremely pretty. It looks like a turtle shell made of white opal, for lack of a better way to describe it. The surface has a crazy, wet luster to it and a smooth look that is just odd, somehow (in a good way!). The eye finds it hard to focus on a spot, as the crystals curve so visibly in a hemisphere. Subtle details of the interlocking crystal faces are mesmerizing on close inspection. There is no damage, and the aesthetics overall are really impressive. Small accenting crystals of laumontite and epistilbite are present. I first saw this specimen in its original larger form about a decade ago and did not have the funds to purchase it at the time. I went back for it later to find that it had sold. It disappeared into the Weill collection where I then saw it illustrated in his book (published by Mineralogical Record as a supplement in January, 2008). I later purchased this specimen from the recent dispersal of the Marc Weill collection and took to it with a pair of tile nippers and a hydraulic trimmer. The result, I think, is a superbly balanced specimen which exposes the ball of crystals better, and centers it in a much more balanced matrix. This is the first presentation of it in the trimmed form, reduced from a large piece weighing some 15 pounds or so to this more manageable and balanced size. Joe Budd photos.

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