This is a ‘Rembrandt of the mineral world’ – one of the world’s finest mineral specimens. Its pale blue, transparent topaz (aluminium fluorine silicate) crystals on smoky quartz and albite is one of the finest ever produced from its Russian locality in the late 1880s.
Alabaschka, Murzinka, Urals, Russia
7.5 x 7 x 4.2 cm
It was originally in a Russian museum but was later acquired by the American millionaire J Pierpont Morgan as part of his second gem collection and donated to the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in 1901.
For 66 years it was displayed in New York but the well-known American collector Peter Bancroft persuaded a curator to part with it in 1967. It was later sold to David Wilbur, then to mineral collector and dealer, Ed Swoboda. Albert Chapman was determined to acquire this specimen and had kept track of its movements. In March 1984 he finally achieved his goal, purchasing it from Ed Swoboda.
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