Cinnabar - fine crystals on Quartz
Tongren Mine, Wanshan District, Tongren Prefecture
5.7 x 3.6 x 3.2 CM (cabinet)
Very sharp, fine dark red Cinnabar crystals on matrix the largest being a classic form twin. The main Cinnabar is nestled in a cluster of small Quartz crystals and shows bright red color highlights and luster. Ex Warren Johannson collection that he obtained this in trade from Harvard in the 1940's when these were incredibly rare mineral treasures. For years such good pieces were almost priceless. In the 1990 era as trade began with China these were then the most sought-after mineral specimens at that time, famed as the world's best and highly sought after. By 2000 however there were many Cinnabar specimens flooding out of China and they become quite affordable. Chinese Cinnabars are still the world's best and this type of sharp perfect twin is the most desirable, especially when on Quartz instead of the more usual Calcite or Dolomite. This specimen is certainly far better than average, and not priced in the high 5 figures either! Textbook perfect twin and great contrast.
A cluster of blocky habit Cinnabar crystals are perched on contrasting Dolomite. The main cluster looks like a single crystal but on close exam it is not, these are inter-grown and aligned much like a twin structure reaching 1.5 CM. Remarkably this is also perfectly damage free under good magnification . Flawless is rare in large Cinnabar as these are quite fragile. Sharp, glassy luster and excellent translucency, the Cinnabar glows a brilliant red if given any backlighting. At one time Chinese Cinnabars were rare classics, the world's best crystals, treasured, nearly priceless and only seen in major museums. That changed around 1990 and good specimens were for a while plentiful. Recently the main mines in Hunan Province have been shut down, these are already getting scarce.
A killer classic form of a "drill bit" twin crystal of Cinnabar stands out well on the Dolomite and Quartz matrix. In great condition, no damage and with bright luster, this glows a ruby red when backlit. The photos here do not have backlighting so the look is a bit darker but shows the twin form clearly. The Tongren Mine was a great locality for many years but is no longer producing. This piece is far better than average with a much larger than average crystal and very choice esthetics. At one time before China was opened for export of minerals a top Cinnabar like this was nearly impossible to obtain and close to priceless, being only available from museum collections. One of the great prizes in the mineral world, these are by far the best Cinnabars ever found and this is a super example.
A long (2.7 CM) terminated twin Cinnabar on a crystallized Dolomite vug. A strong piece with esthetic structure, the back has been sawn to aid collecting this piece, the saw marks are not visible on display. With strong light the crystal is quite translucent and glows a deep cherry red. The termination shows the complex re-entrant angles (drill bit type) of twinning. There is a crack near the base of the crystal that looks like an old repair, checking with Acetone did not reveal any problem but we have priced this as if it was repaired (a previous price of 1100.00 was a very good value if not repaired). The better Chinese Cinnabar crystals are well known as the worlds best and were eagerly sought for more than 150 years. For a while in the past two decades these were more available but now the old mines are closed. We will hope that the future produces more.
Free standing elongated crystals of Cinnabar in a well protected vug lined with small crystals of Quartz and Dolomite. Excellent bright red color and very translucent. The largest crystals have sharp terminations with distinct re-entrant notches, so they are in fact twins. Slender elongated crystals like these are much rarer than the blocky type and since the mines are closed for a few years, any good quality Cinnabar is now very scarce. In fine condition and with bright luster, Chinese Cinnabar crystals have always been respected and desired as the worlds best for the specie.
Tongren Mine, Wanshan District, Tongren Prefecture
5.8 x 5.5 x 4.4 CM (cabinet)
Post Tucson 2015
Twinned "drill bit" habit Cinnabar crystals on Quartz matrix with some Dolomite. A Chinese classic, for over a century Cinnabar was the only Chinese mineral seen in the western world. These were prized specimens in top collections and were the world's best examples of the specie. Things have changed and these are no longer priceless but they are still quite fine and this habit is the most desired. Crystals to 1.8 cm most of which are fully perfect however a small one has a backside cleave not seen on display. The dark color and habit are typical of older material that is not like any of the recent finds.
A textbook example of twinning is well displayed on this unusually attractive specimen. The matrix is also unusual and contrasts well with the Cinnabar. This comes from a small, little known mine in the Tongren area of Guizoh Province. Just 30 years ago such specimens were only known in the West from collections built well before 1909; they were legendary and unavailable. Even today with excellent sources this quality is far better than what is normally on the market. Far better in person.
Cinnabar on Dolomite
Chatian Mine, Fenghuang
7.2x4x6 CM (small cabinet/ large miniature)
A sawn matrix block shows an open vug with several forms of cinnabar crystals, some are gemmy and very sharp reaching 1 cm. Some damage to crystals at the edge of the pocket but not excessive. This relatively dense coverage (there are about 10 crystals here) is not common and the best crystals here are very good indeed.