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    Description

    ELBAITE (TOURMALINE): "THE BEER CANS"
    Himalaya Mine, Gem Hill, Mesa Grande District, San Diego Co., California, USA

    It is interesting how the politics of power on one continent can have a very specific effect on the fortunes of small groups on the other side of the world. That the Empress Dowager Cixi had a weakness for pink Tourmaline is well known in mineralogical and gemological circles. That fondness fueled much of the early operations at the Himalaya Mine, where mining operations for the pink variety poured rough material into a pipeline of Tourmaline headed for the skilled lapidaries of Asia, who were producing for the Imperial Court of China at the time. Cixi exited the picture early in the history of the mine, but operations continued off and on over the years since her period of patronage. During the succeeding years, numerous other minerals were produced by the mine, and a very considerable variety of colors, habits and sizes of the prime commodity being sought: Tourmaline. Over time, there have been enough specimens marketed for an accurate understanding of just what constitutes an exceptional specimen. The one seen here can be considered exceptional based on several criteria. It is much larger than most: measuring over 4.5 inches (12 cm) in height, but the real surprise is the very unusual thickness of the piece - 4 inches (10.3 cm). In addition, the massive (3.5 + pounds/1.55kilos!) specimen is atypically composed of three conjoined crystals. Atypical, since the majority of Himalaya crystals are singles. Due to the anomalous thickness of the group, the normally seen pastel color is replaced by one showing a much greater depth of color and saturation; particularly when back-lit. There is a small amount of white bladed Cleavelandite and a few patches of violet Lepidolite. Luster is glassy and condition is excellent with only a couple of dings. This amazing piece comes with a custom labeled acrylic base.
    Overall Measurements: 4.7 x 4 x 3.3 inches (12 x 10.3 x 8.5 cm)

    Provenance: Ex. William F. Larson Collection
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    Estimate: $50,000 - $60,000.

    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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2014
    28th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,196

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