Almandine Garnet
Russell Garnet mine, Russell, Hampden Co., Massachusetts, USA
Cabinet, 12.3 x 6.3 x 5.5 cm
Ex. Robert Whitmore
This large cabinet specimen hosts a superb, 2-inch or 5-cm-across trapezohedral crystal on a pedestal of equally sharp only slightly smaller crystals. It is a monster for the find! The piece is complete on 3 sides, with rock matrix and a side contact on the back of the display face, and pristine on all front faces. It has one clean (and old) contact-repair at the halfway point, at a contact between the upper half and lower portion of the specimen. This is a very rare museum-sized example of the classic "Russel Garnets" found in the late 1800s by two lucky locals (Daniel Clark and FS Johnson). They sold them off, and never revealed the locality: to this day they are simply known as "Russell Garnets" from an un-named pegmatite in the area. Collectors today are still trying to re-locate the exact site and good specimens are mainstays in ANY major museum or East Coast classics collection. The famous Houston Museum specimen shown in the 2009 Garnet calendar is 8 cm across, with a crystal of similar size to this piece atop. This specimen is one of the better examples I have seen for sale, for its good balance and symmetry. It has a solid matrix, which is rare. At the time they were found, these crystals were all famously buffed or polished by the finders (with shoe polish, I am told), some more and some less. This particular specimen has less of an apparent gloss and buffed smoothness than others I have seen, giving it a more natural look than usual. One of the major pieces in the Whitmore collection. Joe Budd photo.