Benitoite, Neptunite and Joaquinite
Gem Mine, San Benito Co., California, USA
Small Cabinet, 6.0 x 5.3 x 2.8 cm
Ex. Dr. Peter Bancroft
This sharp combo piece features two extremely high-quality bennies of 1.75 cm and 1.7 cm in size (about 3/4 inch), nestled in contrasting neptunite and with minor natrolite underneath. The crystals are of very high quality, but beyond that it is hard to find specimens with freefloating triangles showing all terminations, and this one comes close (one point contacts the neptunite). There is minor damage to the tips of a few neptunites, but the more important benitoites are pristine. The piece is notable for the common combination everybody wants, sure, but even more interesting is that it is REALLY RICH with sharp microcrystals of the EVEN MORE RARE mineral Joaquinite (the brown crystals), for which this is the type locality as well. Selcom do you see so much on one piece. This is one of the only 2 specimens here which I did not get directly from Pete. Pete self-collected this specimen on a field trip to the mine in the 1950s, he has said. He traded it to Irv Brown around 1999 or so, and then Irv trimmed it up into the aesthetic specimen you see here. It was on display in the Fallbrook Musuem as part of his California exhibit until 2003, when Irv's "California collection" was sold to me.