Tunellite with Inderite
Small Cabinet, 7.5 x 6.2 x 5.8 cm
U.S. Borax Open Pit Mine, Boron, Kern Co., California, USA
Ex. R. E. Reynolds

A large and extremely nice cluster of well-formed, rare, Tunellite crystals from this classic and highly productive borate mine in the Death Valley area of California. The cluster consists of numerous, translucent, pale gray-blue crystals in perfect, staggered, parallel growth and all of the crystals exhibit a wonderful pearlescent luster. The crystals are almost diamond shaped and viewing the piece along its side, the lamellar character of the mineral resulting from its perfect (100) cleavage can be seen. There is a minor amount of white Inderite in association at the base. Tunellite is a rare strontium borate hydrate found as a secondary mineral in borate deposits that is stable and won't decrepitate. This is certainly one of the best pieces we've seen for the species with exceptional crystals and few specimens were saved as they came out. Specimens of this quality are very hard to obtain today. Bob Reynolds was the curator of the San Bernardino County Museum and a longtime trading partner with Jim Minette, the Boron mine manager who collected these in the 1960s and 1970s. Boron was famous for this material and produced the best of the species. Other borate specimens in the collection came from Minette, as would have this one. Although smaller specimens are on the market, they all are 40 years out of the ground and older, and this is one of the better examples we have seen in private collections over the decades. Unlike some other borates, it is stable, as well.

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