Fluorite on dolomite, Shangbao, Hunan, China
description: 3" ac. Acquired from Michel Jouty at the Tucson Show in 1999. Although this piece is relatively small in terms of worldwide fluorite and fluorite from the Shangbao pyrite mine, I would consider this an elite fluorite specimen since: (1) The fluorite crystal is intensely colored. The deepness of the color does not obscure the clarity. (2) All of the edges and vertices of the fluorite crystal are pristine. Fluorite crystals in pristine condition from any locality are relatively rare since fluorite is a soft mineral (hardness 4) with perfect octahedral cleavage. It is not uncommon to see cubic crystals with their corners cleaved off and this often destroys their value to a discriminating collector. The faces of the fluorite crystal display a glassy luster. Even most fine but much larger Shangbao fluorite specimens are not as lustrous. (4) The fluorite crystal is on a well proportioned matrix of dolomite. The matrix is not of a size that causes the crystal to be "overpowered." (5) The contrast in color and texture between the fluorite crystal and dolomite matrix is pleasing. Glassy and purple on bright-white and somewhat earthy. (6) The fluorite crystal displays interesting phantoms which mark the generations of crystal growth. (7) The fluorite crystal consist of a simple cube with octahedral modifications on the edges of the cube. The modifies faces are frosted. The frosting on these minor faces does not detract from the general esthetics of this specimen. There is little doubt that Shangbao is one of the world's greatest and most highly sought after fluorite localites and this is a wonderful example of among the best pieces that were removed from this famous locality.
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