Calcite (Pineapple) on Fluorite
Shangbao Pyrite Mine, Leiyang
3.7 x 3.2 x 2.0 CM (miniature)
Late Summer 2018
Almost 20 years ago the Shangbao mine in China encountered some pockets of "pineapple" look Calcites. The best of these were on contrasting Fluorite and had (to my eye anyway) great esthetic appeal. This is a small but perfect example of that find. The color, luster and habit are distinctive for these Calcites and unlike any others from anyplace. The Calcites are transparent and undamaged (a small contact is on the backside, but no damage). A fine small modern classic piece.
The distinctive "pineapple" style Calcite from Shangbao came out sporadically in the 2000-2008 era, this is a very choice example of the habit. Set on a matrix of sparkling Quartz the addition of a few scattered purple Fluorites adds extra contrast. In fine condition as seen, the terminations of the Calcites are transparent and the body of the prism is more milky, all with the "pineapple color". Top Shangbao Fluorites are now regarded as some of the worlds best (and most expensive). 15 years ago at the mine the Calcites were more expensive from the miners than Fluorites because they were more rare and hard to extract intact. Times change.
A fine and esthetic cluster of zoned Fluorite cubes in a delicate array. Minimal matrix, the cubes are very well separated and freely formed. Some faces show a light frosting others are more transparent and inside the cubes are swirls of deep purple with many inclusions of micro quartz prisms. With good magnification small movable bubbles are noted and the interior landscape is impressive too. Overall in outstanding condition damage wise, the corners and edges show some stepped growth but no damage. Several angles for display work well and have a quite treelike form. From mining in 2006 this style of specimen is no longer produced.
The ball like stepped cubo-octahedral Fluorites from Shangbao have become highly desirable and often quite expensive. This is an excellent and unusal specimen with fine display surfaces on front and back, almost a perfect floater. The individual Fluorites reach 2.7 CM and are a little deeper green than seen in the photos. In the square central windows of the crystals the interiors can be clearly seen as mostly glass clear, gemmy. Distinctive specimen from the finds vintage 2005, ex Terry Szenics collection. Very three dimensional and far better in person, this came from a short period when these could be obtained, prior and later specimens are quite different and to my eye not nearly as unique.
Fluorite on Dolomite
Shangbao Pyrite Mine, Leiyang
6.8 x 5.9 x 3 CM (cabinet)
Choice and very esthetic, old type of Fluorite in stepped, modified cubo-octahedral crystals perched on contrasting milky Dolomite. Dark purple phantoms are seen in the center of the main crystals where the glassy "windowpane" face looks into the clear interiors. From vintage 2002 finds at Shangbao, this habit has not been found for several years. In fine condition there is a small clean contact on the back corner of the smaller crystal but no damage.
A very weird Fluorite! I obtained this in 2009 at the Shangbao Mine and sold it immediately. It is now back in trade. Simply, this plate is composed of many oriented parallel crystals that are as clear as glass, with a very pale pink to violet hue. The plate is cleaved on the back, but the display face is a remarkable mix of crystal faces and complex etching. I have never seen any other example of this odd form. A fine addition to any Fluorite collection or just an unusual specimen for display.
The sort of fine Fluorite that the Shangbao Mine has become world famous for. From finds in 2006, this habit has been found occasionally since and several large examples are known (and have sold for very high sums). This is simply a very esthetic smaller fluorite (3.3 CM) perched on crystallized dolomite with a few quartz crystals. Excellent condition, the fluorite also has a color change in different lighting from purple to blue. A very desirable and unique habit, in a relatively affordable specimen.
A bright and esthetic cluster of quartz showing several forms and reaching over 6 CM. There are also fluorites (white to 1 CM size), pyrite, dolomite and small bismuthinites as well but the main attraction is the greenish "artichokes" that are famous from Shangbao. Most of the main crystals are in excellent condition but some minor damage is visible on smaller side crystals with magnifcation. This can be displayed without any damage visible at all. Some terminations at first glace seem damaged but with magnification it becomes clear that they are fully terminated with either an unusual cupped and cavernous structure or many tiny fibrous parallel growths which are in turn terminated. Some small scepters are here too. The color for these is usually referred to as Green, but depending on the light and the viewer, the color can be more blueish. Either way this is very attractive and lustrous piece.