A superb smoky quartz crystal from the Smoky Mountain find. This crystal is sharp and transparent, with absolutely brilliant lustre. Upon close inspection one can see beautiful growth patterns on the large triangular face. At the base are small, colourless parallel quartz crystals. In excellent condition – one tiny edge chip, not an issue – the termination is entirely crystallized with no damage (any uneven look in the photos is due to crystallization patterns). This is a figured specimen, photographed in the article referenced below. A beautiful gem 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.