Aquamarine, Muscovite, Cassiterite
Mt. Xuebaoding, Pingwu Co., Sichuan Province, China
Cabinet, 13.4 x 9.7 x 6.2 cm
Ex. Dr. Stephen Smale

Ping Wu aquamarines are a unique combination of shape and color, for the beryls. Many of us consider them to have a "morganite shape" but "aquamarine color," compared to other localities in the world. A fantastic combination specimen consisting of aquamarine, muscovite and cassiterite from the small but renowned tin-tungsten-beryl deposit on Mount Xuebaoding in China. A dozen tabular super lustrous aquamarine crystals are attractively dispersed among clusters of bladed muscovite crystals and accented by two groups of cassiterite crystals. The aquas exhibit beautiful light blue color, are glassy, transparent and range in size from 1.5 to 4.5 cm in maximum dimension. The muscovite clusters consist of nicely isolated, pale yellow, platy crystals that average one centimeter in size. The large cassiterite cluster is 5.5 cm across and all are lustrous and in good condition with some minor bruising and contacted on the back. The small cassiterite cluster is very lustrous, complete and measures almost 2 cm across. The piece is well composed and exhibits great color contrast. A well balanced piece that sits well in a custom engraved acrylic base. As an additional note, I want to emphasize the glassy luster of this piece has crystals in the top percentile, and the combination of these species together is quite rare and seldom seen anymore. This locality is next to the Panda Park, and dynamite is now prohibited. Little mining takes place compared to 10-20 years ago. I am in China half a dozen times a year, or more, and I seldom buy any newly mined Sichuan material from this mountain. Pieces like this, out of old collections, are the way to acquire a great one from the heyday of mining here. Ex. Dr. Steve Smale collection.