Elbaite Tourmaline with Quartz
Himalaya mine, Gem Hill, Mesa Grande Mining Dist., San Diego Co., California, USA
Small Cabinet, 5.3 x 4.8 x 3.4 cm
Ex. William (Bill) Larson

A trio of colorful and unusually transparent Elbaite crystals are arranged about a richly colored Smoky Quartz crystal on this engaging piece from the historic Himalaya pegmatite mine in California. The lovely smoky is at the center of the piece and it is glassy and translucent to transparent with a captivating smoky hue at the top transitioning downward to a lighter smoky hue and is more "milky" at the bottom. The faces and edges are sharply formed and the three polychrome Elbaites are nicely composed around the Smoky Quartz crystal with a 2.1 cm crystal at the front, another of similar size on the left side and then a stout 4.5 cm one in the back prominently peering up over the top of the piece. These Tourmalines are different from the usual ones we see as the pink, and especially the green, are much richer and all three have a darker deep green/black zone at the termination, with a rough surface almost as if they are are the start of a "Moors head" fibrous termination seen on some Elbaites from Brazil. Highly unusual terminations, color palette, and association overall. This is definitely material from the old days, at the Himalaya. Former owner Bill Larson, who also owned te Himalaya Mine itself for decades, related that he obtained this from previous owner Ralph Potter's collection (guessing it to have been mined in the 1950s or early 1960s). It is, for the size, a shockingly fine example of superb Himalaya Mine minerals, a fine combination piece of competition quality in terms of condition and aesthetics, and seemingly unique. They do not make them like this anymore! The Himalaya still produces, via a back entry and some hard work, but nothing modern looks like this gem of a specimen.