The competition for the "Best Specimen" was very hard and carried out an incredible "ex-aequo" among three different specimens: a Dioptase from Tsumeb, a Spinel from Burma and an Indicolite from Afghanistan. No doubt, they are all very aesthetic minerals, characterized by deep colours and an excellent chromatic impact. I think, however, that their notable photogenic properties have played a relevant role on your choice... Here you can see the three final winners, with their detailed descrtiptions (you can also find in the section devoted to my Collection):
On a small piece of white calcite (about 5 cm), a couple of dioptase crystals with a superb transparency and very deep color. The main crystal is 1.3 cm and exhibits extremely sharp edges on any side; the second is slightly smaller, but with the same excellent features. A little spray of very small crystals highlights the contrast with the white calcite and completes this exceptional miniature. The best quality you can expect from a Tsumeb dioptase: really a small nature's masterpiece! Absolutely, no damage.
This spinel from Burma is a real gemstone: if you were a jeweller, you could simply separate it from the matrix and put it on a ring without any additional effort! I purchased it at the Bologna Mineral Show in 2009. The crystal has a good size (0.9 cm), a perfect shape and a top-quality depth of color. Unlike most of similar specimens, the edges are not curved and the lightness is incredible. No comments on the contrast with the snow white matrix: look at the pictures and... dream!
A couple of crystals of Indicolite are placed on the opposite sides of a large plate of clevelandite, enriched with some elements of transparent quartz. Both the color and the geometry of the blue tourmalines are perfect and the transparency is really notable. The largest crystal (in this photo) is 1.5 cm tall, while the other one measures 1.3 cm. High contrast with the white matrix. An aesthetic collectible specimen.
Also the second place in the category of the "Best Specimen" has provided an ex-aequo between two beautiful specimens: a Cinnabar from China and a classic Wulfenite from Red Cloud. In particular, the Cinnabar did not win because of an handful of preferences...
In the recent years I've seen a lot of cinnabar specimens from China, often very shining and aesthetic. Nevertheless, none of them can really compare with this stunning, huge crystal (2 cm tall), vertically placed like a beryl: I name it my "red emerald"! A diffuse light is sufficient to get the natural transparency of the crystal in the pictures and the contrast of the ruby-red color with the snow-white dolomite is really astonishing. Among the many Chinese specimens in the collection, this is really one of the best.
A marvelous crystal of Wulfenite from the now closed Red Cloud Mine, up to 1.4 cm. The crystal is very transparent, has the typical very deep orange color and is positioned in an spectacular way, edgeways with respect to the matrix. Thus, both the brightness and the color are easily highlighted. Unlike several specimens coming from this famous locality, no damage affect this excellent miniature, even at the minor crystals you can see in the photos. I won this little jewel at an auction by Rob Lavinsky, in 2009.
The preferences for the Amethyst from Osilo and the Topaz from Dassu within the category of the "Best Photo" were absolute! Also the Spessartines and the Apatit from Pakistan had a lot of votes, but the amazing sceptre shape and the brilliant, deep colour of the winner have routed any opponent...
What a fantastic sceptre of Amethyst from Sardinia! Vertically placed on a rather large plate (basically of chalcedony), this sparkling and perfect crystal of 2 cm contains many inner streaks and exhibits a wonderful color! Under the sun, it simply lights on as a bulb! Very sharp edges and incredible shape. This cabinet also includes another relevant amethyst crystal, but the main one really monopolizes the attention. I obtained this cabinet from my friend Beniamino Pasta, just at the Capurru quarry in 2009. A sceptre worthy of a king!
From the "Manual of the perfect miniature" this marvelous topaz summarizes all the qualities of a perfect specimen for collectors. The crystal is 2 cm tall, perfectly centered on the well-balanced matrix of quartz, clear and bright, absolutely free of any damage. Simply an uncut gemstone. Very aesthetic!
And now, the three winners randomly drawn among all the participants and advised about their win after the draw. I wish to thank all the guests who shared this funny game, by spending their time to look at the photos and giving their own preferences on the specimens of my collection. Hopefully, all of you will have a second chance in the future...
|Amethyst - Osilo (Italy)||Cavansite - Pune (India)||Titanite - Selangor (Pakistan)|
THANKS TO ALL !!