Shigaite With Rhodochrosite
Small Cabinet, 5.6 x 4.4 x 2.6 cm
N'chwaning Mines, Kalahari Mang. Field, South Africa

This specimen has impressively large, wine-red crystals of the rare manganese species shigaite, ensconced on attractive, sparkling manganite blades and accented by rhodochrosite. It is from a small 1993 pocket and is said to be one of the best of that pocket. In fact, this was said by Charlie Key himself who brought out the majority of pieces at the time, and then he KEPT THIS PIECE until selling a South African assemblage suite from the collection a few years ago to Harvard, from which this piece came to me because the donor who bought the group kept a few things. An important specimen, this piece at one time was considered one of the world's great specimens for the species and from the only great find for the species. This has changed, only slightly, recently. It still is significant, though others have been found recently of a different style. The new ones are more gracile and fragile-looking (almost like hexagonal red mica blades) although they have a metallic luster and brighter color, whereas these crystals are more robustly 3-dimensional and darker wine-red. Also this matrix association is unique to the 1993 pocket which really did redefine the species in terms of quality compared to anything imagined previously from micros found in Japan. Another example from this famous pocket is illustrated in the F John Barlow Collection book, in his chapter on South Africa, and is also on this website (item T08-68). The specimens were dispersed, as you can see, into the major collectors' hands of the time. Charlie, however, kept a few - among them this one.

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