- Anhydrite on Chlorite
- 14427 meter point, NEAT Tunnel, Amsteg, Reuss Valley, Uri, Switzerland
- Small Cabinet, 8.1 x 3.7 x 1.9 cm
- Ex. Brent Lockhart
One of the Holy Grails of collecting old European or Swiss minerals is to own a piece of the gem anhydrite from the NEAT tunnel project, generally regarded as among best of species material (also, unique in the world). These are also considered among the hardest Swiss minerals to obtain, as so few came out, and generally from only a few sources who had access and were involved in collecting small pockets found during construction : The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a railway tunnel through the Alps in Switzerland. It opened in June 2016. Specimens trickled onto the market only rarely, as most were sold immediately and privately in Switzerland. I would argue that few left the country. This particular specimen was reserved by the original owner for the private collection of a well known European mineral dealer, who bought it and held only briefly before he resold it to Brent Lockhart (I was there and helped broker the deal at the time, so I can say this is being offered at the same fair price paid when he acquired it). It remains the finest of these, that Brent could get in the last decade. It is a majestic single gem crystal, pristine and complete all around, with a pleasing lavender color to it that is difficult to convey in photos. In person, it has a transparency to it that also shimmers, almost silky if we can use that adjective to describe the luster of a mineral. This fine cluster is a floater, and sparkles with the association of tiny chlorite crystals at the base. It was said by the previous owner to be one of the finest known from the find, for overall size and condition, combined with aesthetics - and we believe it. This is similar to classic material first known in the 1800s from another old tunnel dig, but those are even more seldom seen on the market (they were less gemmy but more purple). We regard this as a highly significant Alpine specimen of some rarity, and quite unique in the world of minerals and for any other discovery for the species. These stand above - and are almost never for sale (we have only had two nice examples in the last 15 years, to put that in perspective, among over 100,000 pieces from old collections and minerals purchased and seen).