Sphalerite with Dolomite
Las Manforas Mine (Aliva Mine), Camaleno, Cantabria, Spain
Cabinet, 11.4 x 5.3 x 5.3 cm

Here is a stunning and classic gem red sphalerite specimen from the most famous locality in Europe, for quality of this mineral. It is in fact world famous for the color and internal clarity of these sphalerites, which produce fabulous cut stones (sadly, the fate of all too many large crystals). This specimen is from one of the last reasonably large and fine discoveries here, in 2002 (and in the Carlos Gonzalez Bargueno collection, Toledo, Spain, since then). It is a special quality, as it is associated with crystallized dolomite in contrast of color and texture that you do not normally see so finely displayed. The balance of the central crystal, its placement and size relative to the matrix, take this to another level. The central crystal is 4.25 cm across, together with the left crystal, the color atop runs for nearly 7 cm along the ridge of snow white dolomite crystals. No repairs, and this is complete on the front display face. Because the crystal is so nicely exposed, and contacted in back where it grew against matrix (contact is not damage, and the top of the crystal is complete all around, as well), light can come through and it has a deep cherry red color when backlit. The photos show a moderate, not ridiculously strong, backlighting; and it glows with color quite easily. Add that quality to the above, and you see why we value this so highly.