Rhodochrosite -rhombic and eched forms
Wudong Mine, Wuzhou Prefecture
3 x 2.3 x 2.3 CM (small miniature/ large thumbnail (toenail))
Late Summer 2018
Deep red color, translucent to transparent and with fine form, a choice toenail sized Rhodo. From the Wuton (Wudong) mine that is no longer producing, but at one time this discovery made nice Rhodos much more affordable for many collectors. This piece has a pair of modified rhombs joined in a V shape. One is sharp and glassy with some stepped etching, the other is more heavily modified, etched and recrystallized. This is the style that was often compared to Rhodos from Sweet Home. There is a lot of similarity but the price is very much lower from this locale!
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.
An early find Chinese Rhodo with a deep rich red color set on a mix of Sulphides including Galena, Acanthite and Sphalerite. The early finds of Rhodochrosites from this region were associated with Silver minerals and sometimes native Silver as well. Later finds were much larger but did not have any Silver species. This has a good amount of Acanthite (Silver Sulphide) crystals and Silver rich Galena with melted look. The contrast is excellent and the Rhodochrosite crystals reach 2.9 CM. No more Rhodos are being found and this is a choice example of the earliest type from the upper zones.
A choice deep red Rhomb habit crystal with a small amount of Fluorite and Pyrite. This looks very much like a good Sweet Home Mine specimen but it is from the Wuton Mine. A small percentage of these were quite fine as seen here. Sharp, well formed, complete and undamaged this has a nice frosted surface showing etching surfaces. Choice and attractive but far less expensive than a comparable USA specimen. This quality has not been coming out in the past few years.
Calcite on Quartz fingers
Banpo Mine - Dushan Co., Qiannan Aut. Pref.
5.6 x 4.7 x 4.4 CM (cabinet)
Green Calcite in flattened disk-like crystals are perched on slender fingers of Quartz. When these were found the color was attributed to copper salts in the calcite, this was never confirmed though it is likely. An older specimen obtained in 2002 at the mine and formerly in the Shields Flynn collection. A very good example in fine condition from the one time discovery.
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 worlds 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.
Calcite over Stibnite
Quincy Mine, Hancock, Houghton County
7 x 5.2 x 6.2 CM (cabinet)
An odd, strangely attractive specimen with an interesting form, This is a series of fingerlike growths studded with scalenohedral calcite crystals. These have grown over slender crystals of Stibnite which are now completely covered by the reddish calcite. It is possible to see on the bottom where this was broken off the Stibnites remain.
A textbook example of twinning is well displayed on this unusually attractive specimen. The matrix is also unusual and contrast 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.