Andradite Garnet ps. Rhodochrosite with Gaudefroyite
Cabinet, 14.5 x 8.0 x 3.0 cm
N'Chwaning II Mine, Kuruman, Kalahari MN field, Northern Cape Province, South Africa

These unusual, sparkling, lustrous garnet replacements after rhodochrosite seem to have formed as casts after large rhodochrosite crystals similar in form to the pseudo-triangular material we sometimes got from Mt St Hilaire in Canada. They could be after calcite or even siderite, some say, but the consensus seems to be that rhodochrosite was the original mineral. In any case, the original crystal underlying the garnet seems to have been completely replaced by several minute crystallization layers of the most sparkling, fine-grained garnet, with a deep maroon color. Small, elongated, jet black, shiny crystals of gaudefroyite decorate the casts, providing a welcome accent color. There really is not another mineral assemblage like this, and these are immediately recognizable when you see one in an old Kalahari collection. This specimen has a particularly sharp shape, and amazing preservation for a piece this large (among the biggest that I am aware of). Comes with custom lucite base. Photo and video by Joe Budd. A video which shows the glistening effect better than a flat photo can be seen at this link: