This one is a little different – they key feature is the cluster of crystal balls at the heart of the specimen. These amethyst balls have bright, sparkling lustre, and light lilac colour. The balls are stacked up off the plate of quartz that forms the main part of the piece. They are slightly colour-zoned, with somewhat darker centres. In excellent condition, all the balls in the centre are pristine, some incomplete ones at the margins. The sparkle of this piece is as good as it gets, and the crystal balls are beautiful.
About These Indonesian “Grape Amethyst” Specimens
Originally referred to as “grape agate”, specimens were first found in the Mamuju area in 2015. These specimens are recovered from clay, in the spaces between the “pillows” in pillow lava. Although they were first known as “grape agate”, they are not cryptocrystalline (and therefore are not agate) – they are balls of radiating crystalline quartz. When the find first came to market, there was a large amount of material, much of which was poor quality. With the passage of time, the diggers began to produce higher quality specimens. The recent article on this material in the Mineralogical Record (Nov-Dec. 2018) observes that the production of fine specimens is beginning to decline, although there are still a few very active teams working the deposits. The article speculates, based upon local sources, that all specimen mining of the pillow lava deposits will likely cease within the next three to four years. As with all mineral specimen localities, the ultimate accuracy of such speculation varies. In this case, the limited geographical extent of the known pillow lava deposits is a key factor.