"LA MADONA ROSA"
Lavra Berilo Branco, Sapucaia do Norte, Galiléia, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil
The facts surrounding the origins of certain specimens often start in fragmentary and anecdotal records, and the details need to be teased out until a complete picture can be formed - thus is the case with this astonishing Rose Quartz. La Madona Rosa (the Pink Madonna) is an exceptionally large and beautiful specimen of Rose and Smoky Quartz bearing a strong resemblance to traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary. The Smoky Quartz "body" of the Madonna is an abstract composition of vaguely human form, bearing a multitude of scintillating crystal faces. The overall effect is completed by a wide ribbon or "halo" of sparkling Rose Quartz crystals, completely outlining the body of Smoky Quartz and enhancing the resemblance to those statues and icons. Measuring an impressive 15.5 x 8 inches (39 x 20 cm), it towers over all other known Rose Quartz specimens, and stands in a league of its own.
In late 1950s, miners working this small mine in Brazil, found a miraculous pocket of Rose Quartz: although only six inches (10-16 cm) wide and 12 inches (32 cm) high, the pocket extended for an amazing 16 feet (5 meters). It was filled with deep pink Quartz crystals draped sinuously over golden Smoky Quartz. The miners at Sapucaia (the mine's informal name because of its proximity to that town) had hit pay dirt: Rose Quartz crystals had never been seen before this discovery. Subsequent finds in Brazil also yielded Rose Quartz specimens (notably Lavra da Ilha and Alto da Pitora) but none approached the sheer size and beauty of the specimens from Lavra Berilo Branco - they are the "gold standard" for Rose Quartz. The most famous specimen from this historic find is The Van Allen Belt which currently resides in the Smithsonian.
Examination of the specimen's features, leads to the conclusion that, in all likelihood it came from the original Sapucaia (Lavra Berilo Branco) discovery. But attempts to pin down the history of this particular specimen break down. Some opine that it was produced during the original discovery of 1959 and remained hidden for decades in the collection of a Brazilian gentleman before emerging to the notice of the outside world. Another account states that it was "discovered" in Brazil in 1972 (the mine had been in sporadic operation until 1973). Whatever it's origin; it was acquired by a London gemstone collector in 1972 and was sold in 1977 to a U.S. gem collector. It resided in that collection for twenty years- it's significance unrecognized for decades. It surfaced at the 1997 Tucson Gem & Mineral show, where it was recognized for its considerable potential. Cleaning, trimming and stabilization measures were deployed and the end result is nothing short of spectacular. It was sold into the Hoppel Collection and held a central position in that collection since 1997- hidden from public view until now.
Enter La Madona Rosa, a 'Dark Horse' challenger for the title of world's finest Rose Quartz specimen since the Van Allen Belt.
Overall measurements: 15.5 x 8 inches (39 x 20 cm). Offered at no reserve.
Reference: Wilson, W.E. "Famous Mineral Localities: Lavra Berilo Branco. The Original Sapucaia Rose Quartz Occurrence, Minas Gerais, Brazil." The Mineralogical Record, September-October 1999, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 361-365.
Provenance: Collector's Edge [Hoppel Catalog # D1350]
[Scale: 1 inch, with mark at 1 cm]
Condition report available upon request.
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