Spessartine Garnet on Albite
Little Three Mine, Ramona, California, USA
Toenail, 2.9 x 2.7 x 1.8 cm
Ex. William (Bill) Larson

This is a stunning, unusually large crystal of spessartine for the locality which is miraculously NOT etched all to heck like so many are. It sits on a pedestal of cleavelandite matrix, and is exceptional for its display quality. The crystal is complete all around, though shows a contact on the back where it grew in the pocket against a schorl that left an impression. The crystal, at 1 inch, is as large as all but the few biggest specimens from here ever reached and is remarkable for its pristine form. Most large garnets from this mine were etched in situ and turn into spongy but sparkly masses that are absolutely gorgeous, but retain few of the natural garnet crystal faces the crystal started with. To get a crystal surviving in this condition, so sharp and lustrous, and completely un-etched at all, is almost unheard of. If this were on a bigger matrix, it would be triple the price. As is, it is a fine miniature worthy of competition in any collection showcasing US classics or garnet. Within the San Diego collecting community, owning a garnet of this caliber is one of the highlights of any collection. Few can be had, though. This one Bill Larson obtained in the early 1980s from mine owner Louis Spalding Sr.'s collection.