The famed Rose Quartz La Madona Rosa specimen a spectacular, wildly artistic piece of natural history, discovered by Brazilian miners in the 1950s and so named for its resemblance to traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary is expected to bring $200,000+ as part of Heritage Auctions
' landmark presentation of The Hoppel Collection, the finest and most comprehensive mineral collection to come to auction in modern times.
La Madonna Rosa is a specimen comparable to and thought to be better by many than the other major example of rose quartz currently known to exist: the "Van Allen Belt" specimen presently residing in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. La Madona Rosa practically towers, at 15-1/2 inches tall, over the 9-inch tall Smithsonian example.
The collection debuts June 2 in Dallas as part of Heritage's Nature & Science Signature® Auction, featuring nearly 400 lots of fresh to market discoveries, and will continue to be offered across several events over the next two years.
"This is art of the highest caliber, made by and unseen and spectacular hand," said James Walker, Director of Fine Minerals for Heritage Auctions. "You don't have to be a scientist to appreciate the sublime beauty of all the pieces in this collection; you just have to love exquisite things."
Considered the most significant private mineral collections ever to be auctioned, the Hoppel Collection's more than 2,000 specimens is a defining moment for the mineral collecting community hobby in two ways.
"The Hoppel Collection holds items that, simply, are rarely seen outside of museums or institutions," said Walker. "It will also create a body of publicly-available, searchable information on fine, gem-quality minerals. This will move the category away from ambiguous, covert pricing, toward open, market-driven pricing. Collectors will now determine the worth in a transparent auction setting."
Heritage unveiled The Hoppel Collection at the 2013 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show and is currently preparing to exhibit highlights during the first China (Changsha) International Mineral & Gem Show, May 16-20, 2013. The entire collection will be offered at no reserve in a series of Heritage Signature® auctions through this year and well into 2014.
From the Home Sweet Home Mine in Alma, Colo., comes a gorgeous and textural Rhodochrosite specimen, expected to bring $150,000+. The example is rare for its size, an impressive 11-1/2" long, from a mine closed since 2003.
Making a rare appearance at auction is a significant and imposing multicolored Tourmaline crystal discovered in Brazil's Sapo Mine, expected to bring $60,000+. A full 16" tall, it's comprised of a multitude of crystals with pink bases and cores, over-coated with transparent blue-green Tourmaline. One of two unusually large tourmaline specimens in the collection, the example is notable for the unusual pastel blue-green coloration at the very tips of the crystals, which appears to be similar to a slight dusting of snow on rooftops.
A rare, crystalized native gold specimen found in Mariposa County, Calif, is expected to bring $30,000+. The dramatic fan of pure gold is prized among collectors and institutions alike, with similar examples from the same mine now housed in Houston's renowned Museum of Nature & Science.
The auction also features a rare example of well-formed crystals of Lazurite from Afghanistan, expected to bring $6,000+. Generally found as the basic component of lapis lazuli, used since 3,000 B.C. for jewelry and religious objects, The Hoppel Collection specimen is presented with an unusual and desirable separation of cobalt-colored crystals of lazurite, golden pyrite and white calcite, basically, Lapis Lazuli deconstructed.
A number of rare gemstones and semiprecious gems are in the collection as well, including a large example of a natural Colombian Emerald embedded in its original dark gray Calcite matrix, which is expected to bring $7,500+, and a 237 carat mint green fluorite faceted gem fashioned from material from the Wise Mine of Cheshire County, New Hampshire, which may bring $5,000+.