"Mineral Classics" - Dealing in fine minerals and gems for over 35 years! Online for nearly 10 years!

 











*** Welcome to Mineral Classics! Friday, October 31, 2014... Our database contains 2437 specimens, encompassing 176 species... Please be sure to check out our new fully searchable database feature (click on the Search Site button on the left side of the screen)




Hall of Fame

Over the years many great mineral specimens have come into our hands. These specimens now reside in top collections, both museum and private, all over the world. Sometimes certain pieces just seem to leave an impression in one's mind. Although these specimens are no longer around, we wanted to show some examples of certain species when they reach what is considered a standard of excellence for what they are.






FLUORAPOPHYLLITE with Stilbite

Locality: Jalgaon, India

Specimen Size: 6 x 5 cm.






VAUXITE

Locality: Siglo XX mine, Llallagua, Bustillo Province, Potosí Department, Bolivia

Specimen Size: 22.5 cm. across






QUARTZ (Japan-law twin)

Locality: Chicote Grande mine, La Paz, Bolivia

Specimen Size: 12.5 cm. across






MIMETITE

Locality: Tsumeb mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia

Specimen Size: 5 cm. across






SMITHSONITE

Locality: Berg Aukas Mine, Grootfontein, Namibia

Specimen Size: 5 cm. across






LUDLOCKITE

Locality: Tsumeb mine, Otjikoto Region, Namibia

Specimen Size: approximately 4 cm. across






EUCLASE

Locality: Gachalá, Guavió-Guatéque Mining District, Boyacá Department, Colombia

Specimen Size: 2 x 2 x 2 cm.





Richard Kosnar Photo

Copyright The Mineralogical Record
and Harold and Erica van Pelt

Copyright Lithographie
and Jesse La Plante


FRANCKEITE

The finest known example of Franckeite extant. This specimen has been a part of several of the world's finest collections over the years (Neely, Freilich, Massague). Out of the literally thousands of pieces of this mineral that we have handled over the years, it still stands out in my mind as one of my most favorite Bolivian mineral specimens in the world. This piece was pictured in The Mineralogical Record (January-February 2000, page 31) and Lithographie's Bolivia - The Height of Mineral Collecting (2009, page 29).

Locality: San Jose mine, Oruro City, Cercado Province, Oruro Department, Bolivia

Specimen Size: approximately 10 cm. tall






APATITE on Cookeite

Locality: Pulsifer Quarry, Auburn, Maine

Specimen Size: 9 x 7.5 cm. (Crystal size: 3.2 x 2 cm.)






SILVER

Locality: Kongsberg, Norway

Specimen Size: 15 x 10 cm.






Brian Kosnar Photo

Copyright The Mineralogical Record
and Joe Budd


BOURNONITE

The finest Bournonite specimen that we purchased in the lot from 2008. The incredible beveled faces, stunning luster and overall dramatic appeal of the piece makes it not only one of the best Bolivian Bournonites we have seen, but one of the best Bournonites we have handled hands down. The specimen graced the cover of the Mineralogical Record (May-June 2009) shortly after we sold it.

Locality: Viboras section (vein), Machacamarca Mine, Colavi District, Potosí Department, Bolivia

Specimen Size: approximately 5 cm. tall







Brian Kosnar Photo

Copyright The Mineralogical Record
and Jeff Scovil


FLUORITE

Fluorite from France is one of the great treasures of Alpine Minerals. These are the only true red Alpine Fluorites that I have seen, and this piece is certainly one of the finest miniatures we have handled. The large, sharp, very gemmy, striated octahedral crystal has a vibrant red color with a distinct purple hue at the tips ! The crystal gracefully sits atop a contrasting matrix of white Albite crystals. This specimen was featured on the cover of the Mineralogical Record (September-October 2008).

Locality: Point Kurz, Mt Blanc Massif, Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France

Specimen Size: approximately 5 cm. tall






PHOSPHOPHYLLITE (The Great Phosphophyllite) on Arsenopyrite

Locality: Unificada mine, Cerro Rico, Potosi, Dept. Potosi, Bolivia

Specimen Size: 15 x 11 cm. (Crystal size: 13 cm.)

Most mineral collectors, dealers and museum curators consider this piece to be the best individual mineral specimen in the world. Richard A. Kosnar is personally responsible for bringing this specimen into the United States. The picture below was taken on September 15, 1977 the very day that this specimen arrived at Kosnar's house in Colorado from Bolivia. This is also how the specimen looked before it received any cleaning or restoration. A few years ago, this specimen was pictured on the cover of the Mineralogical Record and the ensuing article was one of the most fun articles for dealers, collectors, curators and anyone interested in the world of minerals. Here is a summarization of the story of how The Great Phosphophyllite came into this country from Richard Kosnar's own account. Enjoy....


Richard A. Kosnar holding The Great Phosphophyllite
at his home in Boulder, Colorado in September 1977

The Great Phosphophyllite Story
(as told by Richard Kosnar circa 1998)

"In July 1977, I received a letter (in Spanish) and snapshots of a matrix Phosphophyllite. I called my partner in La Paz and he drove to Sucre (the real capital of Bolivia according to my partner) to see the specimen. It belonged to a mining engineer named Urquidi who had worked at Unificada for many years. My partner called me several days later, but I was not at home in Boulder, primarily because I was working the Sweet Home mine in Alma that summer. My partner really didn't have a clue about the value of this crystal which was a full 13 cm. long and on matrix ! He knew it was a very dramatic specimen and that it was obviously worth a lot of money, so he told Urquidi to hold the piece until he contacted me. As it turned out, Urquidi was selling his pride and joy to raise enough money to become a full partner in a small ceramic tile factory. Still unable to reach me, my partner decided to go ahead and buy the piece on his own.

The following weekend I finally got a call from my partner in Bolivia who said, I'm flying to Denver tomorrow and I'm bringing the Phosphophyllite ! He arrived at the airport with the piece and the first thing I did when we got it to my house was to put a shortwave light on it. The bloody thing lit up like a Christmas tree ! It looked like a tic-tac-toe grid ! My partners friend in Denver had come over to see the piece and having some knowledge of mineral specimens immediately blurted out, Christ, I hope you can get your money back ! The specimen was actually 7 pieces including the matrix - crudely glued back together. I took a few snapshots of the piece the way it arrived that day with my business card in the foreground as a scale. This all took place on September 15, 1977. Needless to say, I decided to keep the specimen which I later sold to Dave Wilber in November 1978, and he put it on display at the Tucson Show in February 1979. He later sold the piece to Yampol.

The Famous Phosphophyllite was mined by Urquidi in 1962. Having been the mining engineer from 1956 through 1964, Urquidi stated that the best of the Phosphophyllites came out from the early pockets found in 1957, and of course, the largest and most spectacular crystals came out in 1962, and some decent pockets were found right up until 1964, when the famous Phosphophyllite stope was closed off with a concrete bulkhead by COMIBOL to prevent any further collecting in that area of the mine. Contrary to various stories Ive heard in this country about the closure of the mine, the fact of the matter was that the temperature in the Phosphophyllite stopes had become very high and due to the fact that there was absolutely no ventilation raises in this dead-end drift, bad air i.e., poisonous gases had accumulated and had killed several miners over the years.

Urquidis description of the pocket that was opened which contained the Great Phosphophyllite still burns in my memory and haunts me even to this day. He said that when he and the miners got back to the stope after the blast, the entire floor of the drift was completely covered with broken Phosphophyllite. He said that it looked as if someone had broken hundreds of glass bottles back in the stope! It literally took a few days for the miners to scoop-up all of the broken pieces and T/Ns. I once purchased a plastic bag full of gem twinned Phosphophyllite crystals ranging in size from 2 to 2.5 cm.

Since 1979, a number of attempts have been made to reopen the mine. Several by me and my partner, as well as a few more mining companies from Australia, Canada and even Bolivia. The Bolivian government has been quite adamant about the fact that the mine is much too dangerous to reopen and operate, and this is in a country that puts next to no value on human life !!"