An attractive plate of light purple amethyst balls, thin enough that the light comes through from behind. The balls in the middle stand up off the background plate. The lustre is generally matte, with some sparkle in places. A second generation of small quartz crystals is sprinkled along the lower third of the piece – with magnification, some of these show a growth habit similar to stilbite subparallel crystal groups. In excellent condition, a couple of very small incomplete balls at the periphery if you search for them. This is a really nice display specimen of grape amethyst.
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.