National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Rare mineral specimens to go up on the block

By Brecken Branstrator

April 23, 2014


This rhodochrosite specimen, called “The Porcupine,” came from the Kalahari Manganese Field in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It’s expected to fetch between $35,000 and $50,000 in Bonhams May 20 auction.

Click through this slideshow to see four of the mineral specimens to be offered at Bonhams May 20 auction.

Los Angeles--A number of mineral specimens from estate sources will be up for sale at Bonhams “Gems, Minerals, Lapidary Works of Art and Natural History” auction scheduled to take place on May 20 in Los Angeles.

The top lot of the sale is a collection of 27 rhodochrosites, commonly known as “red gold,” ranging in hue from a light rosy color to the rare cherry-red shade. The group is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $250,000.

The rhodochrosites were mined from the Kalahari Manganese Field in South Africa, representing a collection gathered over many years from a region that is no longer producing.

The Bonhams sale also will offer a large group of varied mineral specimens from the estate of Carey A. Parshall of Stamford, Conn., obtained mostly on buying trips from the 1950s through the 1980s to Morocco, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, and India.

The collection features vanadinite, smithsonite, azurite, stibnite and zeolite.

It will also include a 228,000-carat ruby crystal in zoisite--making it the largest ruby crystal to be offered at public auction--expected to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000.

Other highlights of the sale includes an exceptionally rare and large demantoid garnet, expected to go for between $130,000 and $180,000, and a life-size obsidian carving of a bald eagle, expected to garner from $80,000 to $100,000.

Additionally, the auction will offer a multi-gemstone gold and drusy onyx necklace known as “The American Ingenuity Necklace,” designed and fabricated by Jeffrey E. Appling with an expected sale price in the range of $60,000 to $80,000.

In addition to the fine minerals, the 431-lot Bonhams auction also includes mammal, dinosaur and plant fossils; loose and rare faceted gemstones; lapidary carvings by German masters; jewelry; amber; petrified wood; meteorites; gold nuggets; and rare, natural pearls.

More information on the auction can be found at Bonhams.com.