Vanderberg Mine, Hiriart Mountain, Pala, San Diego County, California, USA
Cabinet, 10.1 x 4.5 x 2.3 cm
Ex. William (Bill) Larson
This is a breathaking visual piece but also happens to be a highly important kunzite specimen that is of 100% top-quality color and cutting quality, considered by many to be among the finest kunzite crystals recovered and surviving in specimen form from this famous mining district. At 147 grams, it has a high intrinsic cutting value for San Diego kunzite, still today valued at a premium compared to Brazilian material. Most have been cut over the years, particularly from the early days when the best use for kunzite was to cut it and sell as a fancy gem (Southern California was the world supply source for kunzite until Brazil hit in the 1960s!). A long history of the mine, dating back to 1902, can be read on MinDat (click here). This specimen was kept by mine owner Norm Dawson when he found it in a famous pocket of 12 kilos of highest-quality kunzite, in 1968 or so. It was bought from Dawson by Bill, before he passed away, and has never been for public sale til now. Bill told me he valued it at 15-20k, but it was never for sale individually (as with all else in this collection). This district, notably, is the TYPE LOCALITY for Kunzite, where it was identified as a new gemstone by George Frederick Kunz in 1903: Kunz, George Frederick (1903), On a new lilac-colored spodumene San Diego County, California: Am.Jour. Sci., 4th. series: 16: 264-267; ...(abstract): Science, new series: 18: 280 (1903).