2CN01 Stibnite
Wuning Mine, Qingjiang, Wuning Co., Jiujiang Prefecture, Jiangxi Province, China
32x 7.3x 7.0 cm

My favorite piece from the trip, and probably one of the most beautiful examples that I have seen of the species.  Rarely is an example with such large crystals this well balanced, or so clean of damage.  Most pieces one encounters are single crystals (especially in this size range), or if there is a cluster then the crystals will be arranged in a less appealing way—either too densely packed or just having loads of peripheral damage. Now, there are three very small chips on one edge so it is not 100% perfect, but compared to the obvious and unslightly breaks and chips one usually encounters, I would consider this acceptable. 

The cluster even has a piece of matrix clinging to the side, almost perfectly balancing it visually.  The presence of any rock matrix is almost unheard of for pieces from this locality—they are usually just sitting on a mass of dense, ugly stibnite crystals, if on anything at all.  In this case the bit of rock serves less as a matrix than a visual accessory, and interestingly enough it doesn’t show any point of attachment either.

In my opinion, even the large 6 figure pieces with their huge nests of crystals, impressive as they are, lack the balance and beauty of this one.

It really is a spectacular piece-- I saw the thing once and passed because of the price, but I knew I would regret it if I did not bring it back with me.  I will also point out: it is not cheap, but my asking price is about 40% of what a “big dealer” would have marked on an inferior piece of similar size 

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