- Smithsonite ps. after Azurite with Mimetite
- Tsumeb Mine (west 20 stope, 29 level), Tsumeb, Namibia
- Small Cabinet, 6.2 x 5.8 x 3.3 cm
- Ex. Jack Halpern
One of the absolutely most rare and uncommonly beautiful pseudomorph combinations from Tsumeb came from this single pocket, thought to have been in the 1970s, of smithsonite that has replaced large azurite crystals. This piece is a particularly good one from the find, and I say that having handled two other major examples of similar size from the Sussman Tsumeb (2003, the original collection) and Ken Roberts pseudomorph collections over the last 30 years. These are immediately recognizable. It is extremely well balanced, aesthetic, and it sparkles like wet sugar... see the video link at the end. Small sparkly yellow mimetites add accent. The casts are hollow inside, as you can see by looking in to the few open crystals, showing that the cuprian smithsonite first coated the azurite, and then the azurite later dissolved out through holes in the top or bottom of the casting. The slight greenish color is due to copper in parts per million. Three-dimensional and complete all around. I have only seen the other two comparable, both smaller than this, in such quality. There will not be another turning up out of the blue out of a collection, that I am aware of. Halpern #1876, bought in the 1970s. Ironically, there is a note with Jack's label, stating that 20-plus years ago, Ken Roberts had first right to this if Jack ever let it go (which he did not, until now; and Ken had since found a miniature version he owned for the last ten years, and then in 2018 sold his own collection of aesthetic pseudomorphs to me and moved on). Ken had one of the best aesthetics collections of Pseudomorphs around (Wouter van Tichelen and Stretch Young's being the others I am aware of), and the fact that he waited decades for this piece says a lot. It is a small and competitive world among top collectors of Pseudomorphs, and so it is hard for pieces like this to escape their collections and go out into the public realm. Comes with a custom lucite base for safe, upright, ideal display.