New Kunzite, Peridot and Lapis from Pakistan and Afghanistan
We just got in a shipment from Pakistan which includes some natural Kunzite (Spodumene) crystals. They range in size from 1/2 inch to 5 inches long and are colored pale pink, green, blue or colorless. They range in price from $5 to $200 depending on quality and size.
Also some small natural Peridot crystals and clusters, 1/2 inch to 2 inches across, priced from $5 to $60 each depending on quality.
We also got some new extra quality Lapis in various shapes including just plain tumbled.
New Hübnerite and Quartz specimens from Pasto Bueno, Peru
In a country of remote mines, the mines at Pasto Bueno are considered among the most remote. This mine has been mining tungsten in the form of Hübnerite (sometimes spelled huebnerite) since before the Second World War and few specimens had been saved because it was so hard to get to. When I went to Peru in the early 70s to chase minerals, this was one of the mines I visited. It was accessed via a 5 to 8 hour drive on a terrible dirt road from Quiruvilca, which was a town and a base metal mine at 14,000 feet up in the Andes. It had produced what many believe to be the best Hübnerite specimens ever found. Certainly many tons of fine specimens had been run through the crusher till I and other dealers arrived to save at least a few of them from the crusher. Since that time the mine has intermittently produced good specimens.
At the recent Tucson gem and mineral show one of my long term suppliers from Peru offered us a lot of about 100 specimens, some of which were very fine. The price that was named was much higher than I thought we could sell them for. I offered a very high price for two pieces from the lot that I wanted for my collection and made an offer on the rest of them, which the owner eventually decided to accept. They range in size from miniatures to a few generous sized cabinet specimens and range in price from a little less than $50 to several hundred dollars each depending on the size and perfection of the Hübnerite and the Quartz on the specimen.
New Kyanite and Diopside from Brazil
We recently got a new shipment of blue Kyanite and green Diopside from Brazil.
The blue Kyanite is from Barra de Salinas municipality, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil and ranges in size from small single blades (1" - 4") to large decorator pieces (8" - 12") and in price from $6 to $200. We also are selling bags of loose blades of blue Kyanite for $20/pound.
The green Diopside is mostly smaller pieces (1 1/2" to 3") and is priced from $3 to $12.
The Diopside is from Ribeirão Das Folhas, Capelinha, Minas Gerais, Brazil which is the same locality as the black Kyanite we have been selling for a year or two.
Some of the black Kyanite we send out to have a dichroic coating applied to it. This is the same kind of process that is used for art glass and although it is not natural, people seem to like it.
New Gormanite Specimens from Rapid Creek, Yukon, Canada
Classic Yukon Gormanite specimens from the far north. Sizes from thumbnail (1"x1"x1") to cabinet (3"x4"x2"). Priced from $8 to $40.
New Cylindrite Specimens from Itos and San Jose mines, Oruro, Bolivia
This year at Tucson (2013) we were approached by another of our long term suppliers with about ten 3 inch tall flats filled to the brim with specimens of what he called cylindrite. It looked like total junk at first glance. They were terribly dirty from banging around because there was no packing and the specimens were just thrown in on top of each other. Upon examination, they were chunks of ore from the Itos and San Jose mines at Oruro, Bolivia and I thought with some judicious trimming and lots of cleaning they would be presentable. We had always been able to sell this kind of material and though we had bought lots of it in the past, we were sold out. So we bought the lot and expect that though we will have enough for some months if not years, we will eventually sell it all. Cylindrite is thought by some to be a rare mineral and is a mineral that is currently suspected of not being well characterized. It forms prismatic round crystals lying in a matrix of other black sulfide minerals. Not many minerals form round crystals that are this distinctly seen. Specimens range mostly from about 1x1 to 4x4. Prices range from $5 to $75.
New Chalcopyrite and Siderite specimens
Chalcopyrite and Siderite specimens
We recently received a surprisingly nice lot of about 500 specimens of Chalcopyrite and Siderite from China. What is nice is that the Chalcopyrite crystals are quite shiny and of good size and many of them are growing on well formed bladed Siderite crystals that are reminiscent of the fine Siderite crystals from Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Many are brown, sharp and translucent.
The prices range from a few dollars up to $600 which is a sizable cabinet specimen. Many are in the 3x3 to 6x6 inch range. The price depends mostly on the size and brightness of the Chalcopyrite crystals and the quality of any accompanying Siderite crystals. Some specimens have small Tetrahedrite, Calcite and tiny Quartz crystals associated with them.
Sulfur, El Desierto Mine, San Pablo de Napa, Daniel Campos Province, Potosi Department, Bolivia
Some years ago we imported about six tons of crystallized Sulfur specimens from the remote El Desierto Mine, San Pablo de Napa, Daniel Campos Province, Potosi Department, Bolivia. We recently discovered we still had several pallets of these specimens and have finally gotten around to unpacking a pallet full of these and preparing them for sale. Mostly they are hand size specimens and larger with good coverings of small bright yellow Sulfur crystals. The main locality for Sulfur in Mexico has not produced any specimens for a long time and I think these Sulfur specimen are really about the only Sulfur specimens that are now offered on a wholesale basis. The size of the crystals are larger than the Mexican locality produced.
In 1999 a friend of mine, Alfredo Petrov who was living in Cochabamba, Bolivia said. "Hey, I know about a sulfur mine way the hell and gone in Bolivia where you can get some sulfur specimens, and I know a guy that wants to sell you a container full of them". He suggested that we make a trip to "kick the bricks" so to speak. Well pretty soon Alfredo met me at the airport in Cochabamba, in a VW bug that had only partially survived the tender mercies of a junk yard crusher. There was no way we were even going to make it to a remote Bolivian sulfur mine in that rust bucket. We rented what must have been an ex drug runner Toyota 4x4 and were soon off to see and hear the fat lady sing. The roads in Bolivia are mostly not very good and even their main north south road that connects Bolivia to Argentina can get you stuck and break your car if you are not careful.
To get to the mine we had to cross the giant Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt lake in the world. There are places you can drive 100 miles in a straight line, most of the time with your hands off the steering wheel. The lake is about 4000 square miles and at nearly12,000 feet altitude. It is a pretty spooky place. Once you cross the lake you head west up into the mountains and finally almost right on the Chilean border you come to the Sulfur mine gouged into the flank of a volcano.. It is/was a rather primitive operation that is continually venting hot sulfurous vapors into the diggings that sometime catch on fire. After poking around for a few hours we all stank of sulfur and it didn't go away till we finally got to take a bath several days later and put on fresh clothes. We were told that when any new miners came and if they had lice, which was common, after a couple of days, the lice were dropping dead out of their hair. The mine owner treated us royally and even gave me free run of his special stash of specimens which he kept locked up in a room. To this day I have several three inch long pointed sulfur crystals I got from that stash.
Chabazite, Five Islands, Colchester Co., Nova Scotia, Canada
A while back a friend of mine in Canada offered me a lot of nice pink Chabazite crystals from Five Islands near his home. They were not all that much to look at compared to the more spectacular Zeolite specimens from the Deccan traps in India, but they were of a pretty salmon pink color and India does not produce much in the way of Chabazite, so I bought them. I teased him telling him it was a "mercy buy". But they are interesting and our customers seem to like them.
Chabazite is one of the Zeolite group minerals, and the ones from the Five Islands locality have been well know to collectors for perhaps 100 years. Collecting the locality requires good timing, because you can only reach it at low tide, and when the tide comes up you are trapped on the island until the tide goes back down again. The Chabazite weathers out of the basalt cliffs and each year new material is exposed by weathering. It a regular full scale quarry was developed at this locality for building material the amount of specimens encountered would be huge. But as it stands for the foreseeable future, this will be a happy hunting ground for collectors for years to come with small lots like the one we bought dribbling out from time to time.