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CHRYSOCOLLA

09610

Locality

Katanga Copper Crescent, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dimensions

28.4 cm x 19.5 cm x 1.5 cm

Weight

1,344 g

Description & Provenance

Of all the incredible malachite specimens recovered from the Katanga Copper Crescent of Congo, there is only one known incidence of a stalactite producing chrysocolla with stunning malachite “eyes,” and lovely azurite rings at this level of quality. This cut and polished slice is a segment of that single specimen which was an amalgamation of multiple, intergrown stalactites. The overall piece was cut into approximately twenty slices of varying sizes and degrees of detail. Due to the natural tendency for stalactites to thin and taper towards their tips, the slices from the thinner half were limited by their size and unable to exhibit as much detail or color as the larger segments that came from the base. The most ornate and impressive of the twenty amounted to less than a dozen large pieces that were closest to the pocket’s ceiling. In fact, even amongst the top ten pieces, the difference in aesthetics, quality and detail is significant. The finest two or three examples benefit from their size and have the greatest detail and impact. This example is one of those pieces.

It is unbelievable to imagine that its rind of malachite once concealed the utterly arresting, richly saturated chrysocolla, malachite and azurite inside. This interlocked system of colors is not only beautiful but much like the rings of a tree, they illustrate a slow, transformative growth that spanned the course of many, many years. One can surmise that the group of malachite stalactites formed first, and that environmental changes within the mine caused the chemical variation necessary for the azurite and chrysocolla to form instead, over the malachite. Eventually the girth of each stalactite blended the forms together, locking them into one massive piece. It created this singular, solid sheet of intense color. Its eye-catching display and unique formation make this a captivating addition to any collection.

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