Cabinet, 9.6 x 6.3 x 6.3 cm
Mt. Xuebaoding, Ping Wu, Sichuan Province, China

This is the first of two unusual Chinese aqua specimen I obtained in a freak lot of such cherry-picked, showy oddities that I was extremely happy to get ahold of. The large crystal, for scale, is about 2 inches (5 cm) across. I will say up front that most Chinese aquas do not appeal to me, as they tend to be pale to begin with and then flattishly laying about upon matrix, and thus lack the pizzazz of Pakistani or Brazilian beryl crystals. Then again, the Chinese aquas have form going for them that sets them apart from just about any aqua from another locale: namely, this exquisite, sharp, hexagonal form more often seen in morganites from other localities (again, Afghani and Brazil here for comparison), rather than with aquamarine. Why this should be the case, I know not! This piece, in any case, has decent color enhanced by thickness since it is proportional to depth it seems (for China: moderate for Pakistani), and the sharp form, but it is more importantly displayed in such a way that the form is emphasized by the fact that it is such an unusually rich, 3-dimensional, arborescent cluster of sharp hexagonal crystals! Lastly, it has glassy luster and is pristine, AND complete 360 degrees around as shown displayed vertically.... in sum, its one of my favorite Chinese beryls out of literally hundreds I have seen! It stands out for the quality, but also for the unique form and style. This, in a crowded field, is what ultimately makes for a truly superb specimen from a large contemporary find

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