Realgar with Picropharmacolite
Jiepaiyu Mine, Shimen deposit, Shimen Co., Changde, Hunan, China
Small Cabinet, 6.7 x 5.4 x 3.7 cm
Ex. Dr. Stephen Smale

This has to be one of the best such combination pieces out there today that survive and come to market after decades, of this rare and exciting combination from the Jiepaiyu (aka Shimen) arsenic mine in China that produced these spectacular specimens in the late 1990s. However, this has been mined for over 1500 years but all were destroyed for cinnabar and mercury for art and cultural items, not saved as specimens! Pieces like this, however, were found in the 1990s, as China was just opening up and specimen collection was becoming more prevalent. Sadly, what this means is that most such pieces were never recovered historically and were mined for ore, or they were damaged or destroyed due to improper, ungentle handling or packing. This spectacular and incredibly colorful piece consists of a cluster of brilliant, crimson red, gemmy Realgar crystals from 0.8 to 2.5 cm in length and is accompanied by a dozen bright white tufts of Picropharmacolite from 2 to 5 mm across. The Realgar and Picropharmacolite are situated on a matrix of dove-gray limestone for great contrast. The Realgar crystals are absolutely pristine and only a few of the Picropharmacolite sprays are compromised at the periphery of the piece. It glows with rich red color, more so in person. The vibrant color and great contrast is what makes this piece so special. Ex. Steve Smale collection. Note: this species does go into decay when exposed to a combination of sunlight, heat, oxygen. This specimen has been in a box in a drawer for nearly 30 years with no trouble, and preserves its original color and luster perfectly. As long as you keep this in a closed box in a location without high humidity, it will be fine, but it is not meant to be a display specimen in a cabinet with lights and heat.