SM20-448
Rubellite Tourmaline (circa 1900)
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Small Cabinet, 8.9 x 5.7 x 4.6 cm
King Mine, Pala, San Diego Co., California, USA

This specimen is a nearly pristine, robust King Mine Elbaite Tourmaline crystal that was mined around the turn of the 1900s in the era when the jewelry dealer Tiffany's out of NYC was competing with the last Empress Dowager of China for the world's best supply of pink tourmaline rough material for carving and jewelry. Needless to say, little survived that competition, in the way of specimens. It's the exact top level of carving material once sent to the Empress dowager of China when San Diego was a gem export center for the US in the pre-WWI era, and when the Chinese carving market drove gem mining efforts in San Diego (the legacy is still seen today in the street names as you go down from the mountains along Garnet avenue past Beryl and Quartz and Feldspar etc, to get to the beach). This dignified Elbaite crystal is an intense, translucent pink and doubly terminated! It has a flat (pinacoid) termination on one end and a complex (pyramidal) termination on the other, and is pristine except only for a very minor bit of restoration on the flat termination side. This gorgeous crystal is distinctly striated and tapers slightly inward towards the complex pyramidal end. Few documented, bona fide King Mine specimens can be said to be in private hands today. This came out of an old San Diego stash, and through two collections of note which will be disclosed privately to the buyer. It is validated by comparison to the known specimens, and in person has a unique and characteristic color that is readily apparent to the top San Diego collectors. Moreover, this is simply a really colorful and classic style with a big visual impact for the USA, period - history aside. It's a big, surviving specimen from this particular mine as a bonus, to that display quality. And, again, the color is OUTSTANDING - it is hard to convey in photos the extra difference in quality and saturation between these old King Mine pink tourmalines and a more modern Stewart or Himalaya Mine piece, but there IS a difference. Considering the age (over 100 years) it is in excellent condition. This beauty comes with a custom engraved acrylic base and is hefty at a full 334 grams. A priceless USA classic, we are honored to represent.

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