Fluorite on Quartz
Les Beix Mine, Riom, Puy-de-Dome
5 x 4.4 x 2.8 CM (miniature)
Fine blue cubes clustered on a contrasting light yellow matrix makes a pleasing contrast. An excellent French Fluorite in excellent condition, the faces of the cubes have a slightly satin luster. The interiors of the cubes are translucent, milky and glow very well when backlit (these photos are not backlit). Les Beix is a modern classic locality with a great reputation for its wide range of Fluorite, the blue being the most sought-after. The mine flooded forever in 1977, these better quality Fluorites have become quite rare on the market.
A very pretty spray of bright red to orange color Quartz from this little known locality. The StÃ¤lldalen Iron Mines were long ago active and today specimens are quite uncommon in any quality at all, much less in such esthetic sprays. Hematite inclusions give the color and looks from orange to red with some colorless zones as well. Overall in fine condition, very close exam finds a few small rough spots on a few crystals that are not easily noticed, most are super pristine. Other world localities that are noted for red Quartz come to mind, (Orange River Namibia, Egremont England etc.), but none of these look quite like the very distinctive and uncommon Swedish specimens. This is a particularly attractive piece, very hard to find today.
A large cabinet sized specimen with several sizable dark blue Spinel crystals prominently sitting on the matrix. A very fine example from this remote and little known area. This specimen was collected by Brad Wilson (a very well-known prolific field collector) and was later in the collection of, (and sold by), the late Ernie Schlichter, another well-respected field collector and mineral dealer. The Spinel crystals reach 3.6 CM in size and are nestled in a crystallized matrix of Diopside crystals. A very impressive specimen from a find many years ago, Mindat notes this Diopside skarn stating "The actual locality is a small unnamed island near MacDonald Island on the south coast of Baffin Island approximately 200 km northwest of Lake Harbour". This specimen has the largest crystals I have seen (although we have not seen more than a few, these are not common). No longer available except when collections are liquidated. The display side is in excellent condition, the back of the largest crystal is contacted though not visible from the front. A choice Skarn specimen unlike Spinels from most any other localities.
Textbook perfect Adularia crystal dominates a matrix plate of smaller Adularia crystals and tiny Apatites. Most of the smallest crystals are also gemmy. The Adularia crystals are either included by or coated with Chlorite, and have a nice green color. The large crystal is an impressive 6.3 CM and shows the form perfectly. Crystals range from transparent to translucent and these are all in undamaged condition, well-formed and complete. From the Swiss Alps, a classic combination and unusually well presented.
Witherite - classic USA
Minerva #1 Mine, Cave-in-Rock, Hardin County
8 x 5.6 x 5.2 CM (cabinet)
Choice, old (1960 vintage) cluster of two main Witherite crystals with minor Calcite and Fluorite on the back. The larger crystal is about 6 CM across, quite large for the specie. The front, or display side, is in good condition, the back right rear edge is cleaved but still displays well. The top crystal is more complete and even though smaller is the focal point. The larger lower crystal is less complete due to cleaves but makes a nice base for the upper. This is vividly fluorescent in all wavelengths, and the crystal terminations show the classic rounded step-type structures. The prism faces have the small stair-step structures that are classic for the specie. Witherite was fairly common in the early years of mining in the Fluorspar region, but really good specimens were rare, and since they were not colorful very few were saved. These now rank as some of the very best ever found on earth. I am told there is no longer any locality in the world where any is being found, and certainly not large fine crystals like these. A very good modern classic.
Birds Creek (McFall Lake), Herschel Township, Hastings Highlands Municip
5.1 x 4.3 x 3.2 CM (small cabinet/ large miniature)
Well-defined, lustrous Diopside crystal up to about 2 CM in a cluster with almost no matrix, just minor Biotite. An older specimen 1960 vintage from the Ruth and Andy Palmer and, also, the William Hladysz collections. The crystals look dark green in normal lighting but with backlight they are translucent and show a bright yellow-green hue. Attractive and in fine condition, it looks similar to classic Dekalb New York specimens, but is from the Bancroft area. This is one of the best we have seen from the area.
A sparkling small cabinet specimen of Boracite in both mint-green and colorless crystals. Ex University of Delaware Mineral Museum, obtained by them from the Scott Williams collection. Along with the Boracite, the front is scattered with small Hilgardite crystals and the back is almost all Hilgardite. The Scott Williams label notes this was collected on September 1993, and this contains a new, yet to be named, specie, a white Borate mineral. We do not know for certain what that specie is or was at that time but suspect it is the new polytype Hilgardite 3Tc. From the modern classic locality of the Boulby Mine, (England) this is an undamaged and very attractive piece.
A super esthetic old Bolivian Cassiterite. Mostly all Cassiterite crystals with just minimal matrix and a few small Quartz crystals, in exceptional condition. The luster is glass-like and the crystals are fully translucent to transparent. The photos here are not backlit but with rear lighting the crystals glow a bright yellow-green to orange. The largest crystal is 4.2 CM across, which is huge for the locale, very few came close to that size and almost never with this fine form and luster. In excellent condition as seen, there are minor small edge rubs to mention but no damage. This from the Les Hitchings collection which he obtained in 1985, the era of the top finds at this amazing locality. Cassiterite of this quality has not been seen since then. This piece does look a lot like a fine Chinese Amo Mine Cassiterite in form but the larger size of the crystals and the internal color are distinctly different.