20 of My Favorite New Specimens from Tucson 2015

Write By: tmmadmin Published In: Mineral Show Reports Created Date: 2015-04-21 Hits: 3317 Comment: 0

Here are my hand-picked favorites from the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show in January, 2016. Picking these few out of the thousand or so specimens we purchsed this year was no easy task, but I think you'll find them just as irresistable as I did. Enjoy!

Last Crocoite from River Run Pocket at the Adelaide Mine

2.5" CROCOITE Sharp Terminated Red Orange Criss-Cross Crystals Tasmania for sale

Crocoite from the River Run find at the Adelaide Mine is world famous for the sharpness of the square cross-section crystals, the brilliance of the red color and the beautiful contrast of the crystals on a dark brown gossan matrix. In September 2014, miners in Tasmania finally reached the end of the fabled River Run pocket, which had been worked since 2012. This piece came from work done toward the end of the run, and shows that the quality continued to run very high right to the finish. On this specimen, there is a knob of matrix that is almost completely covered with fine crystals to 1 mm which are square in cross section; many are terminated, as well. The luster is good, and the color is a bit redder and less orange-red than many specimens from the Adelaide. No one knows what will come next for this venerable locality, but we are all rooting for Adam Wright to continue his run of good luck.


New Find! Sparkling Green Fluorite from China

5.2" Sparkling Vivid Vibrant Green FLUORITE Botryoidal Crystals China for sale

This novel formation of fluorite first turned up in a couple of dealers' rooms this year and once discovered it flew off the shelves and disappeared. One of the characteristics of this very beautiful and very aesthetic fluorite is its color: the hue is an extra-rich, super-saturated emerald green. Also, the fluorite is botryoidal, but not smooth; instead, the surfaces of the rounded bubbles are made up of microcrystals which sparkle and twinkle delightfully in the light. We only took the few we found where there was no damage.


Colorful Gem Watermelon Tourmaline Slices from Brazil

.9" 15.2 ct WATERMELON TOURMALINE Polished Green and Red Crystal Slice Brazil for sale

This February we found a new dealer who had a couple of dozen of these outstanding watermelon tourmaline slices. Like the others, this one is a lovely polished slice from Brazil's famed Pederneira Mine. To make them, a gem crystal was sliced then polished to show off the green outer rind and the rich, crimson red interior that give this highly desirable form of tourmaline its name. The colors on these are are rich and crisply delineated, and the slices are all complete and undamaged.


Grass Green Tsavorite Crystals from Tanzania

1" 86 ct Shiny Grass Green Gemmy TSAVORITE Sharp See-Into Crystal Tanzania for sale

Tsavorite garnet is one of the brightest green species in the mineral kingdom and this gemmy crystal is a very good example of this rare gem. It is a nearly complete dodecahedron, with glossy wet-look faces and the characteristic emerald green color. Tsavorite is the chromium rich variety of grossular garnet. The crystal is contacted on the bottom, but is otherwise pristine with sharp angles and joins. This specimen is one of a handful of pieces we acquired from a German dealer who spends 6 months a year looking for fine minerals and crystals in Tanzania.


Classic Aurichalcite from the 79 Mine, AZ

1.6" Turquoise Blue AURICHALCITE Showy Tufted Crystals 79 Mine AZ for sale

The 79 Mine closed to collectors in 1992, so this is an old piece out of a collection and we only have this one. It is an outstanding specimen of aurichalcite that is covered with tufts of gemmy acicular crystals in a sizzling turquoise blue color. The spiky crystals are scattered atop a limonite matrix, further highlighting their delicate formation and vivid, electric turquoise blue color. This piece came from the original pre-1951 mining, not from more recent efforts to reopen the mine for collecting.


Raspberry Pink Mushroom Tourmaline Crystals from Myanmar

1.9" Bright Raspberry Pink MUSHROOM TOURMALINE Trigonal Crystals Myanmar for sale

This specimen of mushroom tourmaline features half a dozen trigonal, mushroom-like crystals with characteristic botryoidal masses. The color of the tourmaline is a luscious, gemmy raspberry pink, which makes a wonderful contrast against the white matrix. It is rare to find multiple crystals on a single specimen. This rare form of elbaite tourmaline has a fan-like protruding botryoidal growth that resembles the formation of a mushroom, on the top of trigonal crystals. The ones we found are very attractive and high quality specimens of this very rare form of tourmaline. We only bought a handful of these out in Tucson, and they are very scarce now because there are not very many found these days, plus they are difficult to import from Burma (Myanmar).


Museum Quality Cathedral Citrine Crystals from Brazil

14.7" Stunning Gem CATHEDRAL CITRINE QUARTZ CRYSTALS Pristine Brazil for sale

Citrine quartz is one of out best sellers, so we had our eyes open for top qualify specimens as we searched and left "no stone unturned" in Tucson. My favorites were the extra-large, 100% natural citrine quartz crystals that are especially sharp and gemmy. On the best pieces, the color is definitely yellow, with only a hint of smokiness. The best crystals have see-through clarity and perfect terminations and brilliant, flashy luster. A few, like this one, have complex and highly aesthetic cathedral formations - the result of dauphine twinning. We acquired about a dozen large citrines from Brazil this year, so ask us if you are interested in seeing some different ones.


Multi-Colored Liddicoatite Tourmaline Slices from Madagascar

2.2" 64.6 ct LIDDICOATITE TOURMALINE Polished Crystal Slice Madagascar for sale

Here is an excellent example of a polished slice of liddicoatite tourmaline with the distinctive nested trigonal triangles showing plainly in the slice. The colors are variations on light and dark green in alternating bands, along with some rare purple that is very hard to find. The bands are the result of color zoning, not phantoms, which is one of the most recognizable characteristics of this rare form of tourmaline. The edges between the triangles are extremely sharp, and the slice has been beautifully polished on both sides to reveal the internal patterns. This was one of the specimens I purchased from a French dealer who specializes in fine minerals from Madagascar, especially liddicoatite.


Exceptional High-Flash 277 Carat Ethiopian Opal

2.4" 277 ct Very Large Ethiopian OPAL with Multicolored Flashes Welo for sale

On a cloudless day the sun shines brightly over Tucson, giving off the perfect light to examine Ethiopian opals. And there are dozens of Ethiopian dealers all around the show, seemingly everywhere you look. Most have piles of small gem pieces on their tables, mostly well under an inch, but one dealer had some larger pieces like this one, so I stopped to look. A couple of pieces weren't just large; they featured multi-colored high grade precious opal with excellent clarity from the Welo area in Ethiopia. The pieces I selected have superb color flash and opalescence, with harlequin patterns in colors range from red to orange to yellow to green to blue, all flashing brightly as the opal is turned. If you have been looking for a larger-than-thumbnail-size opal with great fire, you need look no further!


Fire Engine Red Realgar Crystals from China

2.4" Deep Red Lustrous REALGAR Large Terminated Crystals on Matrix China for sale

I have always been attracted to the intense ruby red realgar crystals from China. The colorful, highly lustrous crystals draw the eye very powerfully. When I saw this piece I was pulled right in and bought it on the spot. The overall impression is very dramatic: The crystals are mirror bright and lustrous, very well formed, with long parallel striations, and almost all have sharp terminations as well. There are a few rubbed spots, but overall this is a superb piece.


Screaming Neon Red-Orange Orpiment from Russia

2.3" Extra-Hot Red Orange Color ORPIMENT Bright Sparkly Crystals Russia for sale

There were dozens of Russian dealers in Tucson this year, most specializing in very rare species and cutting material. One man had a few highly aesthetic specimens of orpiment that were colored a stunning, saturated, vibrant, world-class, reddish-orange that is truly spectacular. The pieces are covered with sharp, sparkling, 1 to 2 mm crystals. The areas of yellow-orange here and there and around the edges provides a very lively contrast. I have been purchasing material from this highly regarded locality for years, and the new pieces had arguably the best color I have seen.


Golden Rutile on Hematite from Original Find in Brazil

2.6" Shiny Golden RUTILE Crystals Sunburst Epitaxial on HEMATITE Brazil for sale

I love going back to dealers I have known for years, because sometimes they bring top-notch specimens especially for me to see. One of the Brazilian dealers who I buy citrine from greeted me with a conspiratorial wink and pulled out a box from under the table. He unpacked half a dozen of the finest specimens of golden rutile on hematite I have seen in many years. The needle-like golden rutile crystals appear to grow directly out of the silver gray hematite in the middle - a formation called epitaxial growth. The effect this creates is similar to rays of sunshine streaming out from behind a dark cloud, and both the specimens and the sunbursts are equally magnificent. The rutile needles, which are much longer than most specimens, are thin, elongated, flattened blades, while the hematite has a flat, platy surface. He told me that these pieces came from the original discovery of this unique material, and had been re-discovered in his warehouse in Brazil. These are probably amongst the finest ever found.


Electric Green Fluorescent Chalcedony "Bird's Nest" Geode

3.4" Shiny White BIRD'S NEST CHALCEDONY Fluoresces Neon Green New Mexico for sale

Bird's nest chalcedony earned its nickname due to its resemblance to, well, to a bird's nest! These are actually hollow geodes, and the inside features druzy quartz-covered chalcedony that has a nice sparkle. But the real treat is when one of these is under short-wave fluorescent light, which makes the chalcedony light up in a startling, bright electric neon green color that is really amazing.


18 Sky Blue Aquamarine Crystals on Matrix from Pakistan

3.8" Sky Blue AQUAMARINE on Muscovite 18 Sharp Gemmy Crystals Pakistan for sale

This is a one-of-a-kind specimen of gem aquamarine on muscovite which features 18 sharp, undamaged, gem crystals. The color is an appealing pale sky blue, and all of the crystals are pristine and undamaged, plus they are are all terminated, with smooth, flat, lustrous tops. The edges of the terminations show nice beveling, again all clear and sharp. The prism faces are lustrous and shiny and totally transparent, making it easy to see the gem interior of the crystals. This is an excellent large cabinet size specimen of this indescribably beautiful variety of beryl.


Bright Orange Tangerine Quartz from Brazil

4" Brightly Colored TANGERINE QUARTZ Terminated Crystals Pristine Morocco for sale

There was lots of the dark red, iron rich quartz from Morocco on hand this year, but only one dealer had specimens of flashy, lustrous gem clear quartz crystals colored a rich tangerine orange color by hematite inclusions. The color intensifies near the tips of the crystals, and the crystals are highly lustrous and very sharply formed with pristine terminations (a few were doubly terminated). These specimens are 100% natural – not treated, color enhanced or polished, and I only took pieces with no damage.


Huge Sea Green Octahedral Fluorite from Peru

4.7" Gemmy SEA GREEN FLUORITE Sharp Octahedral Crystals on Quartz Peru for sale

On our second day in Tucson we were roaming one of the shows and found a Peruvian dealer who was setting up a large selection of carved birds. Normally we would just breeze by, but something caught my eye: a really big fluorite crystal that was exceptionally sharp and unusually complete. The color was an attractive sea-foam green. I picked out the one he had out on display and asked if had more. He did! I picked out the best of the lot; one was 4" from tip to tip, and the other was over 5". Translucent and lustrous, the crystals are etched but still quite sharp. Amazingly, on both pieces, all 6 points are visible, which is very rare. The etching on the surface of the fluorite is moderate, and there are some stepped-growth crystals as well.


Green Emeralds in Dark Gray Schist from Brazil

4.8" Grass Green EMERALDS Large Smooth Crystals on Schist Matrix Brazil for sale

Good specimens of emerald from Bahia, Brazil have been hard to get the last few years. Early on in the show I stumbled on a dealer who had a few really nice specimens, so I asked if he had any more. Bingo! He had 4 cartons that had not yet been unpacked. I love it when this happens, because then I know I am getting the pick of the litter, and not just leftovers that someone else has already gone through. The emerald crystals are nicely exposed on the surface of a dark gray schist matrix. The color of the emeralds, which is caused by the chromophore vanadium, is a slightly dusky green, and the crystals stand out brightly in contrast to the matrix. These are all very good, well crystallized pieces from the world's largest known emerald deposit.


Stunning White Mesolite Spheres on Stilbite from India

4.8" Pile of 7 Snowballs of White MESOLITE Crystals on Stilbite India for sale

Here is something new and quite dramatic: White mesolite snowballs of closely-packed crystals that form a sparkling crust on the outside. The intersecting balls, which can reach 2" in diameter, are perched on a bed of tan stilbite crystals. The mesolite consists of acicular crystals in a radiating habit that results in the needles forming a hard crust (no thin needles to be broken). These are highly aesthetic specimen, and I think they have a lot of pizzazz.


Pink & Green Tourmaline Crystals in Blue Aquamarine from Brazil

5.7" Gemmy Pink and Green TOURMALINE Crystals in Turquoise Blue AQUAMARINE Brazil for sale

One of the Brazilian dealers I have known for years had something that was new to me - and it is quite spectacular! The specimens have the long pink & green tourmaline crystals which are frozen in an aquamarine matrix. The aquamarine is a saturated, flamboyant turquoise blue color, and contrasts nicely with the richly colored tourmaline crystals. The dealer only had a few of these remarkable specimens, which I high graded and brought home. I think you will agree that these are remarkable and highly aesthetic specimens.


Flashy Gold Pyrite Sun in Black Slate from Illinois

9.7" Gleaming Golden PYRITE SUN Bright Radiating Disk on Black Slate IL for sale

Who can resist the dramatic specimens of pyrite sun on black slate that come out of the coal mine in Sparta, IL? I am able to buy these now from a guy who is nicknamed "the Sun King". He is the one who buys these from the miners in Illinois and cleans them up and prepares them for sale. I was able to get a number of these, including pieces with one, two and three suns, on black slate that has white fossil ferns to boot. The suns are round and shiny golden pyrite with radiating striations that really catch the light.

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