By Brecken Branstrator
This gold jewelry box is set with 51 gemstones, including amazonite, bloodstone, sapphire, tourmaline, quartz, malachite, agate and opal, among others, and is expected to sell for between $25,000 and $35,000 at Bonhams later this month.
New York—A selection of pieces from a pioneering mineral collector and dealer are heading to auction.

According to a website dedicated to the life and collections of Rock Currier, his early collecting days started in Boron, California, where he became interested in borates.

He then moved to New York, where he began building a photographic library of specimens and expanding his own knowledge of minerals and localities.

He decided to become a mineral dealer in 1972, making his first trip to India that year, and started buying for Jewel Tunnel Imports.

The late pioneering mineral dealer traveled everywhere in his search to source specimens and was pivotal in in developing mineral markets in India, Namibia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Russia, China, and Mali, among other places.

While he was gathering specimens for sale, Currier also amassed an impressive personal collection. At the 2003 Springfield Show, for example, he displayed more than 50 cases of his own pieces.

He was also a prolific writer, and worked on behalf of online mineralogical database Mindat, sharing his knowledge and documenting what he knew about localities, including posting more than 10,000 messages on the site and sharing more than 10,000 photos.

He died in September 2015.

A selection of Currier’s personal collection is set to go up on the auction block at the upcoming Bonhams Lapidary Arts and Gems auction in Los Angeles on Oct. 26.

Highlights of the sale include a nodule opal from Lightning Ridge, Australia with a black base color and play-of-color dominated by reds and oranges with minor flashes of green and blue, weighing about 41.40 carats and measuring 37.99 x 22.07 x 7.06 mm (estimated to sell between $60,000 and $80,000), and a large chrysoprase specimen from Papua New Guinea (estimated between $3,000 and $5,000).

Both are seen below.

20201013 Minerals 1

It also will include the 530-carat cushion-cut kunzite from Brazil (estimated from $20,000-30,000) pictured below at left and the 19.11-carat “royal blue” cushion-shaped sapphire ($200,000-$250,000) seen at right.

20201013 Gems

Rounding out the highlights are a smoky quartz carving depicting dolphins, carved in China ($3,000-4,000), below left, and a large specimen of quartz from Minas Gerais, Brazil with a hexagonal outline with polished faces and at least two distinct stages of phantoming within ($3,000-4,000) at right.

20201013 Minerals 2

There will also be a rare suite of demantoid garnet from the Ural Mountains of Russia. Featuring 60 circular, brilliant-cut green garnets weighing a total of 58.87 carats—the largest at 1.66 carats and the smallest at 0.45 carats—the lot is estimated to sell for between $80,000 and $100,000.

“Rock Currier was a remarkable man and a great influence in the world of gemology. He collected whatever caught his fancy, whether it was an agate marble, polished piece of quartz, gemstone, or world caliber mineral specimen, it all went into his collection,” said Bonhams Co-consulting Director of Gemology, Claudia Florian.

“The lapidary items presented in the auction are what caught his fancy over the course of 60 years, and it’s a great privilege to have been entrusted with them.”

To view the full catalog, visit

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