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 choice Almaden Spanish Cinnabar with great provenance as well. See the excellent Mineralogical Record article on the locale for in depth background. Vintage specimens of this quality are almost never available, this one is rich red, sizable and with old labels including Alvin Schortmann and John Marshall collections. The Shortmann label tells he had this prior to 1939, though this is likely far older. Johns collection card reads "Group of fine sharp xls in center of matrix. The British museum specimen on display is nowhere near as good as this piece." John wrote that in 1991 when he obtained the specimen. A label from Joe Vajdek reads " Very rare, Irreplaceable classic".
The display area also has a number of tiny Calcites scattered on the Cinnabar, which is in several forms and habits. Some micro chipping exists as it does on practically all pieces but his is not noticable without magnification, and is equal to or better than many well known, published pieces. Before the availability of Chinese Cinnabars these were prized as the best specimens in the world.
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
6.5 x 5 CM (small cabinet/ large miniature)
A very fine gemmy 1.3 cm main crystal of Cinnabar sits well in an exposed vug of crystallized Dolomite. It is rare to find this form, tabular and untwinned in any but micro crystals. The color is the richest possible red and is in good condition. Close examination shows a hairline crack in the prism but it seems solid and does not detract at all. This is far above the usual quality!
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.