Gwindels, or twisted quartzes, come at their best from a very very few high Alpine deposits, worldwide. The twist in a gwindel is proportional to its drama (and value), and here you see a dramatic and pronounced twisting. For some reason, most tend to be smoky quartz, and the best of the best came from Chamonix in France, a few small clefts in Switzerland, and this one lonely mountain in Russia. This particular piece came out in the 1980s heyday here - when the Wall fell and Russian specimens came out to the Western market in the mid 1990s, we all thought these were contemporary. However, they came out a decade earlier, in most cases, according to Brad Van Scriver (who handled many). This piece, which came to me from an old collection, is remarkable for the quality of the twist, the intensity of the sparkly luster, and the fine smoky color for this locality. It is also remarkably large and nearly pristine despite its large size (one tiny bit of restoration was done on a lower termination). This is a large, showy, and important specimen. If it were Alpine from Switzerland or France, you could 10X the price... but Russian specimens do not command the prestige of locality nor the price, as so many people in Europe collect ONLY Swiss or French quartz and create a large demand. Small bits of chlorite attached to this give it away as Puiva to those who have seen them, though it superfically really looks like the European gwindels. In any case, a bargain for the size and presence, a courtesy of having fewer Russian collectors in our great game compared to those in Europe who keep so many in their home countries. Photo by Joe Budd. Comes with a custom lucite base.
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