Large Cabinet, 18.2 x 11.8 x 11.4 cm
Vandenburg (Vanderberg) Mine, Hiriart Mountain, Pala, San Diego Co., California, USA
Ex. William (Bill) Larson
This several-kilo specimen has a HUGE 9 x 8 x 7.5-cm morganite crystal perched atop a matrix of quartz and cleavelandite. It is one of the most impressive large and dramatic County pieces I have laid hands on, and was a cornerstone of the Larson/Pala collection case. The thing GLOWS with color more intense and strong than any other San Diego morganite I have seenin person, especially when backlit. When found, it was the size of a basketball and it remained so for nearly 70 years until now, reduced to a more manageable size by trimming (i have a photo, to prove I did the right thing - it needed it!). Even ungainly large and untrimmed/uncleaned, it was a prized specimen in several major collections and a museum. This specimen was piece #2 in the collection of Arch Oboler, a major Los Angeles area collector of the early-1900s who was a writer for radio shows like the Shadow; and built a collection of uniformly fine and important specimens. You can read more about him at this link on the Mineralogical Record Archives: Today, very few documented specimens from this private collection turn up on the market. His collection was sold to the famous dealer Martin Ehrmann in 1968, who sold it on to Marion Stuart, the heiress to the Carnation milk fortune (her rather early number, 358, shown on her card). She owned the piece for over 30 years, until about 2001 when the collection was sold to Wayne Thompson. During that time, it was on longterm loan as a display specimen to the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. When the collection sold, it was one of Larson's first choices and went immediately into his own San Diego County collection. Thus in what is probably over 60 years since it was mined, it has had only 3 owners and been in a museum for some chunk of that time, as well.