Sperrylite, Norilsc, Siberia
description: 1 1/2" tall. I acquired this piece from Robert Lavinsky in late 2010. Sperrylite is a species which deserves to be in the top caste of the collector minerals (if it is not already) with phosphophyllite, proustite, scorodite or a Tsumeb gem pocket mimetite. Sperrylite is the only esthetic mineral species which contains platinum - a precious metal which is more prized and valuable than gold. Chemically, sperrylite consist of platinum diarsenide. The world's finest examples of this ultra-rare species are from Norilsc - a mining town which is one of the most inhospitable in Siberia. A very small number of larger loose crystals were produced by a mine in South Africa but I have never seen one in a private collection or heard of a private collector owning one. This picture sperrylite specimen is of very high quality and traits that put it ahead of sperrylite crystals on matrix from Norilsc are as follows: (a) The luster of the sperrylite crystal faces is mirror bright. The crystal faces can double as tiny mirrors. (b) Most of the crystal is not embedded in the matrix so the crystal shape is easily appreciated. (c) The matrix is in an esthetically pleasing proportion to the sperrylite crystal. Hence, the specimen displays a pleasing crystal to matrix ratio so the piece has a desirable "composition." (d) Since the matrix is chalcopyrite rich, it is brassy colored. The color contrast between the matrix and the sperrylite crystal is esthetically pleasing. (e) The sperrylite crystal is a relatively large example of the species. (f) Most specimens of sperrylite that I have seen consist of groups of smaller crystals or are "busy" specimens which may be larger, more important and which contain more sperrylite. I prefer my fine small miniature matrix sperrylite specimen which consist of a single reasonably large sperrylite crystal as an obvious focal point of the specimen. (g) Other specimens of sperrylite that I have encountered (some substantially more expensive) exhibit faces which exhibit esthetically detracting surface imperfections. My piece is not flawed in this way. Compare this piece with the one illustrated in the Freilich auction catalogue published by Sotheby's for the auction of the Freilich mineral collection in New York city in early 2001. I prefer my piece although since it is yet to be illustrated in at least one famous publication, it is less significant in terms of provenance and history.

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