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Press Release - June 2, 2021
Hit the Motherlode with Stunning Minerals Shimmering in Heritage Nature & Science AuctionEvent also features strong selection of Meteorites, Fossils, Gemstones and Lapidary Arts
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"This auction has an incredible array of quality treasures across all categories of Natural History, specifically Fine Minerals, Fossils, Meteorites, Gemstones and Lapidary Arts,” Heritage Auctions Nature & Science Director Craig Kissick said. "From 'one-of-a-kind' and singular specimens to multiple examples of popular groups like Petrified Wood and Opals. Size, quality, uniqueness, rarity and locality were among the criteria we used to put together such an impressive assortment of finer specimens. From the beginning novice to most seasoned collector, there is something for everyone with an interest in the natural world including Outer Space.”
Gemstones and Minerals
A Sweet Home Rhodochrisite (estimate: $60,000-80,000) comes from the Colorado mine that produces some of the most celebrated American minerals. The offered example includes a grouping of well-formed "rhomb” crystals, the largest of which measures 2.29 inches and is surrounded by additional sharp crystals and a spattering of dark metallic Sphalerite.
The gemmy rhombohedral crystals are 'floaters' and accompanied by a custom metal armature base. This exquisite small-cabinet specimen has excellent color and has been professionally repaired after slight secondary damage. Due to inherent softness, Rhodochrosites are commonly repaired. This world-class offering is incredibly aesthetic and exhibits what collectors covet in this highly collectible material.
A 3.14-inch Tourmaline (estimate: $60,000-80,000) comes from Brazil's Pederneira Mine, the source of stones that are famous for their elongated form and distinct and elegant coloration. This matrix specimen features six significant Tourmaline crystals and a number of secondary crystals. These well-formed, vibrant crystals appear to grow out from a bed of stark white, bladed Cleavelandite, clear Quartz and patches of tertiary pink Tourmaline.
An untreated 6.84-carat Sapphire (estimate: $50,000-70,000) comes from Burma – some gemologists have said produces some of the highest-quality Sapphires in the world. This is a spectacular example of the rich color often associated with Burmese Sapphires. The offered example weighs nearly 7 carats and displays a coveted medium blue hue. The stone features an oval shape with mixed cut facets.
A massive Fire Opal, Mexico (estimate: $30,000-50,000) weighs in at 51.52 carats, and is stunning both in sheer size and in dazzling color. Much of the Opal-producing area in central Mexico was heavily mined in the 1960s and 1970s, making it far more difficult to find quality Opals today – a factor in the rising demand for magnificent stones like the one offered here. This unique offering is of a polished Mexican Fire Opal free-form. The stone features a 360-degree polish and displays an organic shape with undulating surfaces and divots. The Opal has an attractive orange bodycolor, lighting up with neon like flashes of red, green, orange, yellow, blue, pink and purple in a broad patchwork pattern.
Other top lots include, but are not limited to:
Rhodochrosite, South Africa (estimate: $30,000-50,000)
Beryl var. Aquamarine with Albite "The Ram's Horn” (estimate: $25,000-35,000)
Sapphire, Madagascar (estimate: $20,000-30,000)
The criterion for collectible Ammonites – a group of extinct marine mollusk animals in the subclass Ammonoidea of the class Cephalopoda – is the complexity of the suture lines on the fossilized shells.
Among the top Ammonites in the sale is a dazzling Gem Ammonite (estimate: $30,000-50,000) from the famed Bearpaw Formation near Alberta, Canada. Compressed due to its fossilization between layers of shale rock, it presents a spectacular array of color, including primary shades of electric green and warm gold as well as secondary hues of rare teal blue and violet purple. This specimen is magnificent in both color and size – its diameter exceeds 20 inches. This colorful material is known as Ammolite, originating from the fossilized shells of uniquely preserved Ammonites. It is classified as both a fossil and gemstone, earning the latter designation in 1981 by the World Jewellery Confederation.
A spectacular piece of the Moon, paired with Tisserlitine 001, that was found in Mali, NWA 13261 Meteorite (estimate: $30,000-50,000) boasts a dark and highly textural primary surface contrasted by a "bleached” reverse side that presents an orangish hue. The duality of the coloration coupled with the amazing shape of this offering weighing 380 grams results in an outstanding collectible piece of the rare type. Tisserlitine 001 is the only lunar meteorite to be classified with hydrothermal alteration. A massive specimen with many beautiful physical characteristics, this is an incomparable, important lunar meteorite with regolithic attributes and indications of secondary partial hydrothermal alteration due to its history.
From northern Sweden comes Muonionalusta Meteorite (estimate: $20,000-30,000), likely the oldest meteorite known on the Earth, a behemoth made more special by its arctic region locality. Immediately notable because of its massive size (20.94 kilograms), this spectacular metallic space rock is covered with incredible crystallization patterning and includes several enormous Troilites (rare mineral inclusions), as well as some cratering where other large Troilite inclusions once resided. This naturally sculptural example with the giant and unbelievable surreal Troilite masses is amazingly attractive and an outstanding specimen for any serious collection. The entire specimen is covered with incredible crystallization patterning, indicative of an underlying Widmanstätten patterning.
Other top meteorites include, but are not limited to:
Brenham Meteorite (estimate: $12,000-18,000)
Campo del Cielo Meteorite (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
A spectacular Mammoth Tusk (estimate: $10,000-15,000) measures roughly 39 inches across and 45 inches on the curve. This reflective polished fossil is slick and exhibits an elegant gradual curve over its finished exterior surface. The blending hues of brown, cream and tan provide the earthy-toned "Ice Age” relic with a high degree of visual appeal and major decorative impact. The slender girth of this piece is consistent with it having originated from a female, and relatively younger, member of the proboscidean variety.
A Dinosaur Claw (estimate: $10,000-15,000) is one of the bigger and better specimens from Morocco. This example, from the Kem Kem Beds dating to the Late Cretaceous, boasts large size, good condition and prominent curvature. The tan-taupe offering measures an intimidating 6.5 inches from end to end and is an incredibly visually striking "manus” claw used as the primary tool for killing prey. Claws are inherently rare and much less common than teeth, so any larger, quality specimen like this is sure to attract attention.
A Fossil Cave Bear-Like Skull (estimate: $10,000-15,000), while not a true "Cave Bear,” has many attributes that make any fossilized bear skull a collectible example of a prehistoric mammal. It's origin in Russia, rather than Romania, makes the species uralensis, rather than spelaeus, precluding any claim to being a true Cave Bear. The dentition in this 13-inch "Ice Age” example is superb with four outstanding diagnostic canine teeth.
A Megalodon Shark Tooth (estimate: $5,000-7,000) is one of three in the auction. Teeth recovered from rivers often tend to be in better condition than those harvested from the ocean because of the lack of weathering and other destructive elements. This massive tan-brown specimen measures 6-1/2 inches on edge. In relatively pristine condition, this example of beastly, prehistoric dentition once belonged to a Megalodon – the apex predator of the ancient oceans. This fossil shark tooth has an excellent blade, with superb serrations, a nice bourlette and a relatively complete root structure.
Additional top lots in the auction include, but are not limited to:
Gold in Quartz with Arsenopyrite (estimate: $15,000-25,000)
Cerussite & Malachite (estimate: $15,000-25,000)
A Petrified Conifer Board (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
A Muonionalusta Meteorite and Woolly Mammoth Knife (estimate: $5,000-7,000)
For images and information on all lots in the auction, visit HA.com/29153.
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
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