A crown of gemmy, transparent smoky quartz crystals adorning the top of a flat recrystallized shard of colourless quartz. The underlying colourless quartz is fully crystallized, with striations on the prism faces. The smoky quartz crystals are doubly terminated and sharp with absolutely brilliant lustre. Overall in excellent condition – one chip (tip of the left-hand side crystal) and one incomplete face (the latter is low on the piece and doesn’t stand out). This is a figured specimen, photographed in the article referenced below. A beautiful Pennsylvania smoky quartz from the John S. White Pennsylvania Collection.
About the Smoky Mountain Crystal Mine
The first finds at the locality were made by Kelly Hilmer in 2015, and this claim produced a small number of exquisite specimens in 2015 and 2016. It was considered to be potentially the most important new mineral find in Pennsylvania in 50 years. Kelly Hilmer worked the deposit and named/labelled it the “Smoky Mountain Crystal Mine”, so this is how the specimens are labeled. (Mindat and the article referred to below refer to it as the “Smoky Mountain Crystal Prospect”, which is a good description of the occurrence.)
Despite investment in excavation for specimens with heavy equipment, truly fine specimens proved rare. The occurrence of the crystals is quite unusual – they were found “floating” in a sandy layer above a hard sandstone bedrock. As excavations continued, the occurrence of crystals became very sparse.
John White and his good friend Skip Colflesh attended and worked at the site with Kelly Hilmer, and they ultimately had access to many of the best specimens available. The smoky quartz from this find is a second-generation growth over milky quartz crystals and crystal fragments. It has truly brilliant lustre, as good as it gets. John wrote of the lustre that it is “nothing short of breathtaking, among the best ever seen worldwide.” John’s article on the occurrence is published in Rocks & Minerals Vol 92, no. 4 (July/Aug 2017): 366.