Welcome Sign-In | Register
Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
includes Buyer's Premium (BP) 


Pala Chief Mine, Pala District, San Diego County, California, USA

The jewelry firm of Tiffany and Company needs no introduction. It has provided jewels to the aristocracy, stained glass and art glass to collectors, medals to the military, and enough other items to make the turquoise blue "Tiffany" box instantly recognizable by millions of people worldwide. During the 160 years that Tiffany & Co. has existed, Tiffany employees sourced many of the exotic jewels incorporated in the their jewelry. That select group of experts included two gentlemen intimately connected by the Kunzite specimen of this lot. The most famous of the pair was George F. Kunz: self-taught mineralogist, collector, author, research curator, special agent for the U.S. Geological Survey, Vice President of Tiffany, and other achievements too numerous to mention. The pink gem variety of Spodumene was named for him, and it is this specimen of Kunzite, presented by Kunz to his Tiffany co-worker, George Wild, that is up for auction in this lot.

According to accompanying documentation, the Kunzite of this lot was mined about 1905 at the Pala Chief Mine in San Diego County, California. It was presented to Mr. Wild during the period 1909-14 while both of these gentlemen were working for Tiffany. It was later sold to author and collector Dr. Peter Bancroft of Fallbrook, California, probably around the 1975 date of a letter about the specimen, signed by George Wild. Included in this lot is a 35 mm slide and print of the same, taken by Dr. Bancroft that shows Mr. Wild holding the specimen. The Kunzite crystal matches, both in size and appearance, the one Mr. Wild is shown holding in that photo.

Physically, the crystal is 10.88 inches (27.5 cm) in length and 3.31 inches (8.46 cm) in width. Maximal thickness is 1.80 cm (just under ¾ inch). The overall shape is that of a flat blade with a diagonal termination with a combination of beveled and straight sides. All surfaces with the exception of the 'bottom', show surface growth features indicating that they are crystal faces and not cleavages. There are a number of 'tube' type inclusions, originating within the crystal, and terminating in triangular 'etch pits' on the front and back faces. The Kunzite is so transparent it could be described as "water clear." It shows the typical variation of color, depending on orientation, with the most saturated color visible when viewing down the 'C' axis of the crystal. Two areas on one of the faces show iron staining within incipient cleavages. These match those seen in the Bancroft photos: another key authentication point. As noted before, all but the basal surfaces are original and therefore condition is at the very least: excellent if not pristine. Comes with a custom acrylic base and a lot of documents and photos addressing provenance. Offered at no reserve

Provenance: Ex. Dr. Peter Bancroft Collection, ex. George Wild Collection, ex. George F. Kunz Collection

[Scale: 1 inch, with mark at 1 cm]

Condition Report*:

Condition report available upon request.

*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

Service and Handling Description: Requires 3rd Party Shipping (view shipping information)

Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

Glossary of Terms

Auction Info

Auction Dates
June, 2013
2nd Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 2,450

Buyer's Premium per Lot:
25% on the first $50,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $50,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

Heritage membership

sold in the last year

Join Now - It's Free

  1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
  2. Bid online
  3. Free Collector newsletter
  4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
  5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your

Consignments wanted

Consign to the 2016 June 24 European Art Signature Auction - Dallas.

Learn about consigning with us

Heritage Auctions takes a personal interest in client success, acting in policy for an absolute positive result and reflects this direct client interest in the quality account services you provide. Evaluation in product placement, optimum exposure and maximum result is more than appreciated in our fast pace world today.
Scott W. Halvorsen,
Sandy, OR
View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. To compare for yourself, visit:

Video tutorial

Getting the most out of search

Recent auctions

2015 October 14 Illustration Art Signature Auction - New York
2015 October 14 Illustration Art Signature Auction - New York
REALIZED $1,907,464

© 2015 Heritage Auctions | All Rights Reserved