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Spodumene

08555

Locality

Resplendor, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Dimensions

21 cm x 11 cm x 6 cm

Weight

2,216 g

Description & Provenance

Spodumene occurs in lithium-rich granitic pegmatites and is typically used industrially as a lithium ore for ceramics, automotive and cellphone batteries, medicine and in flux agents. It was first recognized as a new mineral in approximately 1800 and has been known to occur as: colorless, pale yellow, a full spectrum of greens and sometimes pink. Fine examples of spodumene are transparent, gem clear, and display lovely, even color, and many of the best and the largest examples are from Minas Gerais, Brazil and specifically, Lavra de Resplendor. In 1990, a significant pocket of seven hundred kilos of spodumene was recovered from the mine. The lot was groundbreaking, not just for its enormity, but the quality of material which it produced. The spodumene from this find had an unbelievable degree of optical clarity that was further heightened by its stunning array of beautiful colors. The most popular colors included pastel pinks, and purples, and occasional pastel pinks or purples in combination with pale green. The combination of clarity, luster and color made the lot highly desirable and much of it was bought up as gem rough for jewelers.

Mineral collectors also loved this pocket because in addition to all of its other striking characteristics, it had interesting texture in the form of striations and/or corrosion figures. Corrosion figures in spodumene are believed to be a result of floridric liquid that gradually bore away at the cleave plane of the crystal faces during formation. In spodumene, they can be subtle or quite deep and can retexture the crystal’s surface with what can be likened to an intaglio effect. Interestingly, they are typically quite orderly and can be recognized as rhombohedra-shaped holes on the crystal faces.

This example has a combination of textures present on each of its crystal faces. Some areas are incredibly smooth, while other portions have subtle texture in either striations or corrosion figures. The corrosion figures in this specimen can be identified as shallow triangles etched into its surface. This specimen also exhibits stunning, vitreous clarity, glassy luster, and a well saturated lemon-lime coloration, an unusual tone for the find since most contained some degree of pastel purple or pink. At 2,216 grams, it is significant in size and further impressive as its entirety is composed of gem-quality crystal. This specimen, along with a small group of specifically lemon-lime crystals was reserved by a Brazilian gem dealer who held on to the group long after many had had their spodumene crystals cut into gemstones. He finally decided to sell his spodumene specimens at the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Mineral Show of 2012. Daniel Trinchillo of Fine Minerals International acquired the piece upon recognition of the singular superiority of this crystal for its fine shape, beautiful textures and uniquely intense lime coloration.

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