An exquisite thumbnail-sized combination specimen from this find, featuring a complete ball of yellow stilbite crystals and a flat radial disk of yellow stilbite crystals, both perched on a ball of light green prehnite. The stilbite has good colour, lustre and translucence. Minor epidote crystals and a partial fan of stilbite are in association. In excellent condition – there is no damage to the top stilbite ball, no damage to the radial group (although there are two negative-casts at the bottom left where epidote crystals were) and otherwise there is minor peripheral chipping around the back of the prehnite. The base of the piece has been ground flat to optimize the angle at which it sits for display (this is only visible from the back). This is a superb specimen.
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About These Stilbites
These beautiful yellow stilbite balls from Mali made their debut at Ste. Marie 2014. Although there has only been a small trickle of fine specimens since then, the deposit at Diamonkara has once again produced a number of very fine pieces. As in 2014, moderate-to-significant damage was almost ubiquitous, and high-quality specimens like the ones in this lot are very uncommon. As a side note, although there has been a push to sell these as specimens of stellerite, none of the analytical work done to date has confirmed any stellerite identification, to my knowledge (and I am aware some analytical work has been done).
As for the specimens themselves, the good Diamonkara pieces are absolutely some of the nicest and most distinctive stilbites I’ve ever seen from anywhere, with beautiful colour and form. They are perhaps not yet appreciated for what they are – these are striking, colourful display specimens of a mineral that is often pale and drab.