Emerald on Quartz
Small Cabinet, 6.8 x 5.8 x 2.0 cm
Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia

While there were perhaps (only!) several dozen specimens recovered that featured large crystals in matrix, from what I saw of the find, most were repaired at least once if not more - and few had such nice aesthetics as this one. The large central crystal on this expertly trimmed matrix is 6.5 cm tall! It is 1.3 cm wide and 8 mm in depth. This piece stood out to my eye because it has a very good size (for ANY emerald locale) and is tremendously aesthetic, yet miraculously has no repairs. It has a natural tectonic break: here, the crystal broke in geologic time, in situ; and the gap between was filled with later quartz deposition. By careful preparation, the specimen has been preserved on a solid matrix plate of quartz with mica schist on the rear side. Frankly, I am not as much shocked they got it out in one piece, but that the termination was able to be so well-excavated from the surrounding matrix as to be freestanding (at some risk). The freestanding tip extends about an inch over the matrix rim, now. The crystal is transparent to translucent through its length, though mostly at the top. For this find, the termination is quite good - sharp and even, without etching or damage. This specimen has fine luster, and a characteristic deep forest-green color this mine is known for (quite darker than most Colombian material). It is not often you see a nearly 3-inch-tall emerald at an affordable price, with any quality to it, from any locale. When I bought the lot here, I felt that the company that brought these to market for the mine owner priced this down due to the (natural) tectonic break within the piece, by too much lower than other specimens. Comparably-sized crystals, some with glued repairs even, sold for in excess of twice this price. So, to me, this was clearly the bargain of the lot in large-sized crystals and I think stands as a real value, and a good specimen both. Upper-left professional photo is by Joe Budd. THIS SPECIMEN IS FEATURED ON THE ARTICLE ON THIS FIND, In MINERALOGICAL RECORD JAN-FEB 2010, PAGE 66