Wulfenite Crystals with Mimetite on matrix

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Lot 2170
Wulfenite Crystals with Mimetite on matrix

Sold for US$ 19,520 inc. premium

Natural History

6 Dec 2009, 11:00 PST

Los Angeles

Provenance: ex. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Collection
Wulfenite Crystals with Mimetite on matrix
San Francisco Mine
Cucurpe, Sonora, Mexico

This is an outstanding specimen of the rare, showy, and delicate mineral wulfenite; it is a classic example from one of its most significant localities for collectors. Broad tabular yellowish-orange plates of wulfenite, up to 1 ½ inches across, show truncated square or irregular outlines. All are translucent or transparent. Bright orange mimetite balls, in clusters up to ¾ inch across, snuggle among the wulfenite crystals—an association which is a hallmark of this locality—and characteristic of the most desirable specimens from the mine. The matrix is gossan, that is, iron oxides and hydroxides found in the oxidized region of a metal ore deposit.

This specimen was probably collected in the early 1970s around the time of the original find and the likeliest collector would have been Jose Cobre, who brought out most of the best specimens from the San Francisco Mine at that time. Arguably, the finest wulfenites in the world have come from this mine; these specimens are favorites with mineral collectors. The mine is no longer commercially viable, so specimens of this caliber may never again emerge.

The museum-quality display specimen was in the collection of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum until the present owner acquired it last year. As it is an exceptionally large plate, only a few specimens of this size were recovered; its size indicates its significance to the museum, measures 9 ½ x 9 x 3 ½ in
Offered on a custom-fitted Lucite base.

Footnotes

  • Provenance: ex. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Collection

    Accompanied by an original collection label from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and numbered 923.
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