Small Cabinet, 7.0 x 6.5 x 5.5 cm
Ilfeld, Nordhausen, Harz Mountains, Thuringia, Germany

This is one of those rarities in the mineral world - a gorgeous example of a black mineral species that is good enough to fit any sophisticated collection of more colorful classics. These specimens also happen to be best of species, by universal acknowledgement, and these finds of the late 1880's have not been surpassed to this day from anywhere in the world (see Bancroft's book : Gem & Crystal treasures). This piece would be from that era, and it is an elegant presentation of rather large manganite crystals, that is complete all around and displays from all sides. Normally, manganite forms in massive slabs, and the edges of the specimens are broken and ugly. Normally, the crystals are rather thick and meaty, whereas this has an elegance to it. Normally, there is little separation and isolation of crystals in specimens from this old deposit. However, this piece has somehow become an exception to those trends, with small nests of slender crystals forming the base for a massive 5-cm-tall "spray" of crystals joined in an unusual parallel growth, that spread out towards the tips. I have not seen a cluster quite like this in hundreds of specimens over 30 years; and it really should be among the top aesthetic specimens of this classic find, in this size range for all of these reasons. From the collection of Dr. HJ Wilke, longtime collector and dealer. Comes with custom lucite base. Photo and video by Joe Budd. A video can be seen at this link: