Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region, Namibia
Now that the fantastically prolific locality at Tsumeb, Namibia, is closed and flooded, large Azurite specimens such as this one are becoming not only increasingly rare but increasingly valuable as time goes on. The phenomenon is very similar to what happens in the art world when a renowned painter dies: the number of extant works becomes fixed and values start to appreciate. Large specimens (such as this one) and ones with historic provenance (like this one with a Smithsonian Roebling collection label, #R08495, indicating that this is a very early specimen) become much sought after. Washington Roebling; designer and constructor of the Brooklyn Bridge, was an avid mineral collector who endowed the U.S. National Museum with his collection and the resources to maintain and expand it. This specimen is a matrix type with multiple, brilliant Azurite crystals with some accessory Malachite, but very little alteration. With fine deep blue color and brilliant luster, there is some minor damage to some crystals and one invisible repair, otherwise in excellent condition. Between what it is and who has owned it: this specimen is a bit of history made real. The relatively low catalog number (#R08495) indicates that it was acquired early in the 20th Century. Overall measurements are 5 1/4 x 6 x 1 3/4 inches, with crystals up to 2 3/4 inches in length.
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