Babingtonite Specimens From China

 

Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China...what a killer!    Huge single crystal of Babingtonite on Prehnite and Quartz Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China

                Babingtonite on Prehnite                                                     Babingtonite                                                                  Babingtonite with Prehnite

 

The mineral babingtonite is a rare silicate which seldom forms nice crystals and is only known in a few noteworthy locations:  the Lane Quarry in Massachusetts and recently the Roncari Quarry in Connecticut are well known to east coast collectors.  The babingtonites from these classic east coast localities have recently been eclipsed by a new find from China, however.  All experts strongly agree that these new babingtonites are, by far, the best ever found. Yes, by far the best the world has ever seen.  They are far larger, crisper in their crystal form, higher in luster and have better mineral associations, often being found in combination with finely crystallized quartz and prehnite.  In a nut shell, they are the best of the best and will be looked at as modern classics.

The prices of these specimens have been commensurate with other fine specimens that are considered the best of their species and rare in exceptional specimens.  Even what I would consider poor quality specimens have been in the thousands of dollars.  This year at the Tucson Show I finally made the plunge and purchased a lot of eight specimens which I consider to be the best of all those I saw with the several dealers who had them.  They were not cheap but they were much more reasonably priced than the past two years.  The best two of these were the finest quality specimens I have seen of this material.  Let me explain…

While some dealers look at black minerals with the same basic guideline in mind (bigger is better), I do not.  Yes, large crystal size is very important but, in my mind, black minerals must have exceptional luster to be considered of fine quality (this probably comes from 40 years of collecting black uvite crystals here in New York State!).  These specimens I’ve been seeing which have good, but not exceptional luster and run thousands to tens of thousands of dollars are NOT the best examples of the species.  The specimen to follow have the top luster I am speaking of and they don’t get it from being oiled!  Further, the crystals are very sharply formed, sometimes complex in their morphology and often double terminated.  They sit up high off their matrices and the minerals which compose those matrices are also exceptional for their form and luster.  In other words, the entire specimen exhibits that “flash” we all desire in displayable mineral specimens no matter what their color or species.  I would not have invested so much money in adding more black minerals to my specimen inventory in these tough economic times unless I felt they were as good as I am implying. 

These specimens have trickled out of China over the past three years with few of this high a quality being made available.  It is my hope that any collector looking for quality specimens will recognize the value presented here.  Waiting another year or two is unlikely to affect the pricing of this material but it could certainly limit its availability.  Please note…all of these specimens have been photographed under low lighting so the luster on the babingtonite crystals is even higher than the images indicate!

 

 

 

OKI-712

OKI-712    Babingtonite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  This fine example is composed of numerous crystals to over 1.5 cm each which spray out in all directions from this aesthetic miniature.  5.3 x 4 x 3.3 cm overall.  There is one tiny contact on the base, otherwise a damage free floater.  Exceptional luster, form and aesthetics.  Lots of flash created by the tiny quartz crystals scattered everywhere on this one.  Great piece!  395$

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-713

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKI-713    Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  A great specimen for the collector who enjoys fine combination pieces.  This is actually a well balanced mix of double and single terminated clear quartz, large prehnite balls, to 3 cm, and babingtonites of great luster to 1.3 cm each.  The specimen is almost a floater with only a small area of base contact and two tiny quartz crystals with minor damage on the back.  Outstanding quality which will be appreciated.  The specimen views exceptionally well from any direction, it sits well and it has lots of flash.  There are several parallel plated mineralized on all sides which compose the piece.  6.8 x 5.5 x 5. cm overall.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base.   Nice!  400$

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-714

OKI-714    Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  Here is a top shelf miniature composed of super sized single and double terminated babingtonites to 3.2 cm each.  The biggest crystal is double terminated and all are damage free.  Base is flat and not crystallized.  Beautiful high luster crystal interlock with minor quartz and a 2 cm prehnite ball.  5.5 x 5 x 2.7 cm.  Crystals of this size are far from common and especially uncommon in such fine form and luster.  This piece will speak for itself and not want for a home for very long.  1,400$

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-715

Back or bottom

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKI-715    Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  This amazing piece is certainly a show stopper.  Measuring in at 11.3 x 5.5 x 4.2 cm it is the type of cabinet specimen which commands interest.  A pleasing mix of species dominated by numerous HUGE babs to 4 cm each, many of which are double terminated and of high luster.  Looks like a floater (maybe a small area of contact on some of the prehnite).  NO damage.  Everything is very clean and attractive.  The double terminated quartz crystals scattered about on the specimen add flash.  This piece displays wonderfully.  It is not every day that killer specimens like this become available at the low price I am asking.  You’ll be surprised.  Comes with a custom engraved acrylic base.   $5,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-716

OKI-716    Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  This large plate of crystals if fully mineralized on both sides and has only one thin edge contact.  Babs to 2.2 cm each, many of which are double terminated totally coat one side and about 25% of the second side.  11 x 7 x 3.2 cm overall.  Fantastic specimen in all regards.    750$

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-151...front.

Back.

Prehnite ball with quartz.

Side.

Side.

Custom engraved acrylic base.

OKI-151    Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  This fine example is the second-best piece I was able to find Tucson show.  The display face is liberally coated with fine, large, lustrous babingtonites to over 2 cm on edge.  Almost all the crystals are doubly terminated and none show any form of damage.  They are not densely intergrown, but spread out nicely with prehnite and clear quartz filling the voids between them.  The specimen measures 10 x 8 cm and is a plate slightly over 3 cm thick.  This piece sits nicely on edge and views beautifully from all sides.  The only contact is the base on which it sits.  The quartz crystals are excellent and the prehnite balls are up to 2 cm each.  The backside of the specimen is coated by small prehnites and a few quartz crystals.  This specimen is of the highest quality found for this material.  $1,995

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI-152...front.

Back.

Side.

Side.

OKI-152    Babingtonite, Prehnite and Quartz        Near Meigu, Xichang County, Sichuan Prov., China.  This miniature is a plate measuring 4.1 x 4 cm.  It is 2 cm thick and its backside is coated by prehnites of a lower luster.  The display face is beautiful sporting two large babingtonite crystals the largest of which is 2.4 cm.  The second-largest measures just shy of 2 cm.  There are two edge contacts on the plate and no damage to the babingtonites, quartz or prehnite.  A very nice specimen for the collector who desires large crystals on small matrices.  $395

 

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