Schiavinatoite (type locality) with Liddicoatite, Microcline, Quartz
Antsongombato Gem Mine, Antsentsindrano, Betafo, Vakinankaratra, Madagascar
Cabinet, 10.7 x 8.5 x 3.6 cm
Ex. Dr. Federico Pezzotta
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This colorful cabinet specimen from Madagascar is highlighted by a ridiculously large and important, two-toned crystal of lustrous Schiavinatoite accented by some intense pink, Elbaite crystals. Schiavinatoite is a super rare niobium-tantalum borate and forms a series with Behierite; and is restricted to only three pegmatites in Madagascar, nowhere else. Schiavinatoite was approved as a new species in 1999, so this is a relatively new and very rare mineral that, for a new mineral, can occur in large crystals like in this piece. The largest crystal here is 1.8 cm across and is well-formed, with an outer dove-gray rim, a pale gray intermediate area followed by a dove-gray core. It has a perfectly formed companion crystal that measures 9 mm from tip to tip that is also dove-gray and displays good luster. There is one lustrous, translucent, 5.3 cm long, dark pink, unterminated Liddicoatite crystal growing reclined along the matrix adjacent to the large Schiavinatoite crystal and another partial Liddicoatite crystal in the vicinity also adjacent to the large Schiavinatoite crystal. The matrix is Microcline Quartz and Albite. This is one of the larger and more lustrous examples of the species I have seen, and with a colorful combination. I certainly have seen nothing comparable on the market, and for that matter, you rarely see it available on the market. This is a major cabinet display specimen, from the collection of Dr. Federico Pezzotta who has been, and remains, the most important source and expert on Madagascar minerals. It was purchased by him in Madagascar, prepared in his laboratory, and in his personal collection for many years. It is a truly important example of this interesting species.