RARE COLLECTOR GEMSTONES (fall 2010 update)


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RLKG10-206 - Sodalite (Hackmanite) - $ 550
Afghanistan

thumbnail, 10.0 x 7.6 mm ; 2.07 carats
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Sodalite (Hackmanite) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg206a.jpg]Sodalite (Hackmanite) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg206b.jpg]

Since this new find of Sodalite hit the market a few years ago, I have been quite impressed with the amount of relatively clean stones out there. Sodalite is a very durable stone and that's why it is so popular among dealers and collectors alike. The gem variety of Sodalite is Hackmanite and it is tenebrescent which is the process by which a mineral changes daylight color after being exposed to SW Light. This stone is very tenebrescent and also shows a good LW/SW Fluorescence. The stone fluoresces orange under LW and light orange under SW. The Hackmanite will turn a PURPLE color after being exposed to prolonged SW light and then will return to a lighter purple color after being exposed to prolonged daylight. This process is 100% repeatable and in no way hurts the stone. This gem is nearly colorless, but it's definitely a larger stone and one of the better quality gems in this size range that I've seen. The stone is only very very slightly included, which is very difficult to find in this material, and make no mistake, this is a significant collectors gem. This material is retailing for HIGH numbers now across the board, and I recently saw some stones that were priced at $400 per carat !


RLKG10-207 - Bixbyite - $ 60
Utah

thumbnail, 5.0 x 3.5 mm ; 0.30 carats
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Bixbyite from Utah [db_pics/new2010/rlkg207a.jpg]Bixbyite from Utah [db_pics/new2010/rlkg207b.jpg]

This is one of the very few facetted Bixbyite stones that I've seen from Utah. This rare oxide is almost never seen in cut stones, and for any rare stone collector I can't imagine that you'd want to pass up this chance to add a very rare gem like this to your collection. The stone itself it opaque, but I personally see less than one of these gems per year, so you know it's hard to find. This "Pear" cut gem would fit in very well amongst a “black” stone collection. Most rare gem dealers don't even have a piece of this material to cut let alone to offer for sale in the form of a finished product.


RLKG10-193 - Samarskite (very rare and large!) - $ 1950
Afghanistan

thumbnail, 17.6 x 9.5 mm ; 10.51 carats!
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Samarskite (very rare and large!) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg193a.jpg]Samarskite (very rare and large!) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg193b.jpg]

Samarskite is a complex rare-earth oxide, and was named after Colonel Vasilii Yefrafovich von Samarski-Bykhovets who was the chief of Staff of the Russian Corps of Mining Engineers in the 1800s. This is one of the very few faceted gems of this material that I have ever had to offer in the gallery, and certainly one the LARGEST STONES of the material that I have ever seen. The stone is black and opaque, but is from a brand new find in Afghanistan ! For rare stone collectors, I'm sure that very few of you have one of these stones in your collection, and this is an incredible opportunity to obtain an outstanding example of this remarkably rare material. A great museum quality collector's gem.


RLKG10-194 - Sillimanite Cat's Eye - $ 600
India

thumbnail, 9.0 x 8.6 mm ; 4.87 carats
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Sillimanite Cat's Eye from India [db_pics/new2010/rlkg194a.jpg]

Sillimanite is actually trimorphous with Kyanite and Andalusite which means that they have the same chemistry, but different crystal habits create different minerals, just like Brookite, Anatase and Rutile. Sillimanite is sometimes called "Fibrolite" because of the fibrous nature of the material. This is actually pretty rare material, and one of the few I've seen in this color. This stone has a very distinct "eye" and a really unusual "smoky" purple color. The stone has good clarity as well. I photographed this stone with a strong penlight shining right on the stone to show the "eye" better, so it might not be as disticnt depending on what lighting in which you're viewing the stone.


RLKG10-197 - Beryllonite Cat's Eye (rare) - $ 385
Afghanistan

thumbnail, 11.0 x 6.8 mm ; 2.66 carats
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Beryllonite Cat's Eye (rare) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg197a.jpg]

Beryllonite is a very rare phosphate, and until this new find was made in Afghanistan, the only known cut gems were from Maine. This stone is not clean by any means, but it is a rare gem that would make a great addition to any rare stone collection. Typically Beryllonite has many small "tube like" inclusions and it is those inclusions that create the "cat's eye " in this "Oval Cabochon" cut stone. I've photographed the stone with a penlight to help show off the "eye" better, and this is one of the better stones of this material that I've offered in a while. These gems are not common, and with limited material coming out of Afghanistan, I expect the price will increase in the years to come.


RLKG10-195 - Sapphire (bi-color) - $ 120
Sri Lanka

thumbnail, 5.1 x 3.5 mm ; 0.60 carats
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Sapphire (bi-color) from Sri Lanka [db_pics/new2010/rlkg195a.jpg]Sapphire (bi-color) from Sri Lanka [db_pics/new2010/rlkg195b.jpg]

Bicolor Sapphires are not common on the market, and this attractive little gem is a good representative stone from Sri Lanka. For the most part the gem is yellow in color, but hosts a few small blue patches creating a true bicolor stone. Sapphires are well known for occuring in virtually every color of the rainbow, but the bicolor gems are hard to find. This VVS clarity stone has a Step Pear cut, and would make a nice addition to any Sapphire suite.


RLKG10-196 - Zircon - $ 300
Sri Lanka

thumbnail, 7.4 x 5.9 mm ; 1.68 carats
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Zircon from Sri Lanka [db_pics/new2010/rlkg196a.jpg]Zircon from Sri Lanka [db_pics/new2010/rlkg196b.jpg]

These are some of my favorite Zircons in the world. They have the most distinctive green color with a slight "hazy" quality. It's very hard to describe as they seem to appear almost slightly metallic. Nonetheless, the color is beautiful, and green Zircons are not common on the gem market. This stone has a standard "Oval" cut, and is very slightly included. You do not see many of these gems on the market these days, and a stone like this can help to complete any Zircon suite.


RLKG10-198 - Epidote - $ 325
Khyber Pass, along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border

thumbnail, 9.25 x 7.25 mm ; 3.29 carats
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Epidote from Khyber Pass, along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border [db_pics/new2010/rlkg198a.jpg]
Epidote from Khyber Pass, along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border [db_pics/new2010/rlkg198b.jpg]Epidote from Khyber Pass, along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border [db_pics/new2010/rlkg198c.jpg]

Epidote forms an isomorphic series with Clinozoisite and Zoisite, and is a relatively rare gem in the world. This stone has the distinct pleochroism for Epidote, showing a golden-honey color one direction, a brownish-green color another direction and an yellowish-brown color in the third direction. This stone is very slightly included, but is a very good size stone, and does not appear "black" as so many cut Epidotes often do. The gem has a standard "Emerald" cut, and is certainly one of the finest gems of this material that I have seen. For the prices being asked for these gems, these stones are becoming very difficult to replace for the same value. Do not miss out on this one, as it is the best gem of this material that I have to offer.


RLKG10-201 - Star Garnet - $ 750
Idaho

thumbnail, 16.7 x 13.5 mm ; 24.13 carats
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Star Garnet from Idaho [db_pics/new2010/rlkg201a.jpg]

Garnets are often seen in cut stones and sometimes in cabochons, but the "4-rayed Star" effect that is seen in this material is not very common. The "Oval Cabochon" cut stone has a very deep reddish-purple color and is nearly opaque. You need to put in under a strong light for the "star" to show up, but it is a unique gem, and unusually large for the material. You don't see these very often on the market, especially in this size range.


RLKG10-192 - Apatite - $ 125
Brazil

thumbnail, 9.4 x 7.5 mm ; 2.43 carats
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Apatite from Brazil [db_pics/new2010/rlkg192a.jpg]Apatite from Brazil [db_pics/new2010/rlkg192b.jpg]

Apatite from Brazil is becoming more and more difficult to find as the best deposits for the material dried up years ago, and is only being found in small sporadic areas. I don't see many green Apatite stones from Brazil these days. The stone has a lovely green-yellow color. It is very slightly included with a Step Pear cut. A good representative Apatite with a fairly hard to find color.


RLKG10-191 - Smithsonite (rare yellow color) - $ 350
Masua mine, Sardinia, Italy

thumbnail, 12.2 x 5.9 mm x 2.79 carats
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Smithsonite (rare yellow color) from Masua mine, Sardinia, Italy [db_pics/new2010/rlkg191a.jpg]Smithsonite (rare yellow color) from Masua mine, Sardinia, Italy [db_pics/new2010/rlkg191b.jpg]

The Masua mine in Sardinia, Italy has produced some of the most impressive and eye-catching yellow Smithsonite from any locality. This material is most likely either Cuprian and or Cadmian Smithsonite, but there's no denying the beauty and sheer impact of the electric yellow color of the material! This stone is a wonderful, bright lemon yellow color stone with a "Pear" cut. The gem itself is translucent, but I have never seen completely transparent stones from this locailty. As a matter of fact, I have only seen a handful of these gems in my life, and yellow stones are certainly hard to come by, especially anything that comes close to the intensity of this stone. The gem looks good in the photos, but even better in person. A wonderful opportunity for a collector to snag this attractive and rarely seen gem.


RLKG10-190 - Hemimorphite (rare blue color) - $ 165
M'Fouati, Brazzaville, Congo

thumbnail, 9.0 x 4.0 mm ; 0.82 carats
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Hemimorphite (rare blue color) from M'Fouati, Brazzaville, Congo [db_pics/new2010/rlkg190a.jpg]Hemimorphite (rare blue color) from M'Fouati, Brazzaville, Congo [db_pics/new2010/rlkg190b.jpg]

A beautiful and certainly uncommon vibrant blue Hemimorphite gem from the renowned copper deposits in the Congo. Typically, Hemimorphite is colorless, and with that said, stones are very few and far between. I have only seen such rich blue Hemimorphite like this from a few world localities. The important aspect of this stone is the fact that it is NOT opaque, but actually translucent ! The stone has a "Rectangle" and even in low light, the intense blue hue truly stands out. A rare and beautiful little stone.


RLKG10-189 - Serpentine (Bowenite) (Chrome bearing) (huge stone!) - $ 1500
Afghanistan

thumbnail, 18.4 x 10.6 mm ; 7.66 carats
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Serpentine (Bowenite) (Chrome bearing) (huge stone!) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg189a.jpg]
Serpentine (Bowenite) (Chrome bearing) (huge stone!) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg189b.jpg]Serpentine (Bowenite) (Chrome bearing) (huge stone!) from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg189c.jpg]

This material is rarely seen in faceted stones, and RARELY in 7 CARAT gems that are gem quality ! Bowenite is actually a variety of Antigorite which was first found in Italy. The name Serpentine is applied to a group of minerals and is not a valid species. This stone came to me labeled as being a chromium bearing gem, and it comes from a trusted source. The material is extremely rare in any quantity, but to find a stone with such great gemminess is really impressive. The stone is translucent and has a rich emerald-green color. The gem has a Shallow Emerald cut and is simply one of the best stones of this material that I have had to offer. If you're a rare gem collector, you can't afford to miss out on such a beautiful and large stone for the size and quality.


RLKG10-188 - Aeschynite-(Y) (very rare) - $ 240
Norway

thumbnail, 9.2 x 6.2 mm ; 2.81 carats
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Aeschynite-(Y) (very rare) from Norway [db_pics/new2010/rlkg188a.jpg]Aeschynite-(Y) (very rare) from Norway [db_pics/new2010/rlkg188b.jpg]

Aeschynite is a rare earth mineral that rarely forms in crystals large enough for facetting. This stone is Aeschynite-(Y) because the majority of Aeschynites found in Norway are the Yttrium dominant species, and are often found in larger, blocky opaque crystals. This "Oval" cut stone isn't gem quality, but it is a unique gem from a metamorphic contact in Norway. The stone is essentially black, but I doubt very highly that most collectors have even seen a cut stone of this material, let alone have one in their collections, ESPECIALLY IN THIS SIZE ! This is a super rare gem and would make a perfect fit in any rare stone collection !


RLKG10-187 - Pollucite - $ 350
Afghanistan

thumbnail, 12.1 x 7.7 mm ; 2.61 carats
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Pollucite from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg187a.jpg]Pollucite from Afghanistan [db_pics/new2010/rlkg187b.jpg]

Pollucite is a very rare Cesium bearing Zeolite mineral, and one of the very few facettable Zeolites in the world. Cut stones are extremely rare, and are highly sought after by collectors. Strangely, this Zeolite is most often found in granitic pegmatites as opposed to Igneous deposits like most Zeolites. Some great gem quality Pollucites have been found in Afghanistan over the last few years, and they really did a lot to help bolster the supply of gem Pollucites in the world. This gem is a remarkable, VVS, colorless stone with a "Pear" cut. This material is prized for its rarity, and all great rare stone collections need to have a good Pollucite in them.



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Rob Lavinsky, rob@irocks.com

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