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Sunday, August 17, 2014

6 Fine Mineral Specimens for sale (incl. Jonas Tourmaline)

Fine Mineral Specimens for sale incl Jonas Mine Tourmaline

1.  Blue Tourmaline (elbaite "indicolite") from Alto Ligonha, Mozambique;
2.  Rubellite Tourmaline with Lepidolite from 1978 strike, Jonas Mine, MG, Brazil;
3.  Golden Barite on yellow Calcite from Elk Creek, South Dakota;
4.  Multicolor Tourmaline (elbaite) crystal from Himalaya Mine, Mesa Grande, San Diego Co, California;
5.  Australian Opal carving of winged horse "pegasus";
6.  Azurite with minor Malachite, Milpillas Mine, Sonora, Mexico.

ON EBAY OR THE DOMINION EXPLORATION WEBSITE for $5,000.- until August 31st!  The Jonas tourmaline is worth the price alone and has been valued by one of the most respected and knowledgeable mineral dealers in the USA at between $5,000- to $8,000.-!!!  There is a video for each specimen.  To see this offering, click the following links:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rubellite Tourmaline from the Jonas Mine

Rubellite Tourmaline mineral specimen Jonas Mine Brazil for sale
Cranberry Rubellite (Elbaite) Tourmaline with lepidolite, from the legendary 1978 pocket,
 Jonas Mine, Conselheiro Pena, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil;
4.8 cm long, Christopher Wentzell Gem Trust collection.
  For interested parties, it is for sale.

Rubellite Tourmaline mineral specimen Jonas Mine Brazil for sale

Rubellite Tourmaline mineral specimen Jonas Mine Brazil for sale

Rubellite Tourmaline mineral specimen Jonas Mine Brazil for sale

Here is a rare piece that I have out of my private Gem Trust Collection, from the Jonas Mine.  It measures 4.8 cm overall; the deep red/cranberry colored tourmaline is 3.5 cm long nestled between light silvery-purple lepidolite clusters at both ends and also has an aesthetic lepidolite crystal cluster attached to one side of the tourmaline crystal part of the way up.  For those in the mineral collecting world, this is one of the "holy grails" to add to your collection-- they hardly ever come up for public sale and are normally traded between private collectors.  This one is a complete floater all around- no damage.  Most affordable matrix specimens from this find have the tourmaline embedded in lepidolite and only viewable from one side, but this one you can see the tourmaline all the way around.  Interested parties can contact me about the specimen, and it is for sale on the new Dominion Exploration website.

 The Jonas mine was featured in Peter Bancroft's Gem & Crystal Treasures book (1984) and more recently in the May-June 2012 (Vol. 43, No. 3) issue of the Mineralogical Record magazine  To learn more about Jonas Mine Tourmaline and the historic find which produced this specimen, consider viewing the following links:

You can view other specimens of Rubellite from the Jonas Mine at Mindat by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bill Magee, The Gem Miner

I am sharing this wonderful film about Bill Magee, a gem miner who mined the pegmatites in Pala and other regions of San Diego County, California.  It was produced by Magee Films.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Golden Barite from Elk Creek, South Dakota

The famous Elk Creek locality is located in Meade County in western South Dakota.  The region consists of primarily private ranch land, and is part of a crescent-shaped region in which world-class barite (also called "Baryte") has been found.  The barite and calcite forms in hard, calcareous concretions within the Pierre Shale and mudstones.  The concretions are broken open by collectors with sledgehammers, prybars, and chisels.  It is rare that a concretion will have barite, and is stated that only 1 out of 15 to 20 will.  Based on my experience with the region, it is more like one out of 50 will have barite.  Most specimens, when recovered, will have some trivial damage, imperfections, (and sometimes repairs) resulting from breaking open the hard concretions.  It is truly a miracle that any are recovered intact.  The Elk Creek locality was 1 of 50 American localities featured in the American Mineral Treasures Exhibit at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show in 2008 and the corresponding book featuring America's most treasured mineral localities and specimens.  Click HERE for a link to a photo of this display on Mindat.  Many worldwide Barite and mineral collectors will say that the finest barites in the world come from Elk Creek, and I can't disagree with that.  Most specimens from Elk Creek are comprised of nearly transparent golden honey to dark brown "root beer" colored barite with accents of yellow calcite crystals.  Many of the larger barites from this locality have interesting growth helices on the crystal faces.  As to collecting, most existing exposed deposits have been depleted and, unless you know someone in the region who will let you collect on their land, collecting and trespassing is prohibited.  Specimens from this locality are very collectible and in high demand by mineral enthusiasts.  With so little being found, prices for specimens from this locality can only be expected to rise and existing specimens becoming harder to find.  To see the Elk Creek Locality page on Mindat Click HERE.  To see what some of the finest Elk Creek specimens at Tucson 2012 looked like, read my blog post on Tucson HERE.   Several specimens appearing in this blog post are for sale on the Dominion Exploration website, to see them CLICK HERE or go to:!elk-creek-barite-specimens/c15tq

Exposed concretions of the Pierre Shale at Elk Creek

Closer view of exposed concretions

yellow calcite elk creek south dakota
Yellow Calcite from Elk Creek

elk creek concretions
Another exposure of  the Pierre Shale with small concretions

Large, 4.7 c long contacted Barite, but shows crystal faces.

Barite crystal with calcite

Unique large contacted barite wich shows individual welded crystals
with yellow calcite fringe.

elk creek barite south dakota
A large 5.5 cm long Golden Barite with smaller barites to 2.8 cm
on yellow calcite from Elk Creek.

golden barite elk creek south dakota
A 5.0 cm, twinned Golden Barite crystal on a 12.5 cm long matrix
with yellow calcite crystals, from Elk Creek

Nice golden barites to 2.8 cm on a large 11x11x9 cm matrix with both a fine
dusting of lemon calcite and larger crystals of yellow calcite.

A small golden barite in matrix of yellow calcite

A view of the Elk Creek locality, which area has produced some
of the world's finest barite specimens

Yellow calcite

A nice golden barite (repaired) on yellow calcite

Golden Barite on yellow calcite

a nice specimen of yellow calcite

Holding a very small Elk Creek concretion.  These typically do not contain much
except small crusts of calcite

A fine, gemmy, chisel point golden barite crystal from Elk Creek

A small concretion, split open showing only thin crust of yellow calcite and
one small pocket of yellow calcite.  These things are HARD to break open which
is why pristine specimens are so rare.

A nice miniature of golden barite on yellow calcite, 6.6 cm long with
the largest barite measuring 3.2 cm.

Golden Barite crystals

barite crystal

barite crystal

barite crystal, a nice clear to honey color

Another view of barite crystals grouped together

Friday, May 24, 2013

The most recent Rose Quartz finds from our Mining Claims in South Dakota.

While out performing the annual assessment work on our claims in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Ron and I found some of the best rose quartz yet to come from our claims.  This new material was found along an extension from the older workings along the pegmatite.  Some "highgraders" had obviously been doing some work up at the mine when we were not there, and made a dig into an exposure that I had been saving for later.  They obviously made off with some good material, very facetable dark pink material.  I could tell from the mess and damage they left behind as well as all the broken pieces.  They probably ruined more than they got.  But what they got away with was not as good as what I found next:

The most recent quality of deep Rose Quartz recovered from our claims in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

On the left is a high-quality piece of rough red rose quartz from the Scott Mine near Custer, South Dakota, which I
recently purchased from a local miner.  On the right is a piece of rough rose quartz from our adjoining mining claim
dug the last weekend of April 2013 when we were performing the annual assessment work on our mining claims in
the Black Hills.  The piece from our claims on the right (higher up on the same vein) is only one degree of a shade
lighter than the piece on the left from the Scott Mine, which has been called the finest red rose quartz in the United
States.  Christopher Wentzell photos and collection.

We will be making several more trips over the summer to get more material even though we have completed our annual work, as I would like to build up a larger stockpile of rose quartz for future use.  I'm not going to announce when we will be up at the claims because I would love to catch the highgraders on video and then pursue relief in the Courts for civil mineral trespass, theft, damage, and loss of income.  I normally freely invite people to go out to the claims with us if we are there, but I cannot allow collecting when we are not there due to this type of activity.  Perhaps placing some hidden game cameras on the claims that can catch images of illicit diggers will deter future highgrading from our claims.  I'll have to consult the Forest Service about how to proceed.  In the meantime, happy adventures everyone-- get out and dig some rocks!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Help save black opal mining at Lightning Ridge, Australia, by signing the Petition at

     Our friends at Lightning Ridge, Australia, need our help.  The opal mining industry at Lightning Ridge, home of the world's best black opal, is threatened.  Here are a few quotes and excerpts from the Lightning Ridge Miner's Association website,, that describes what is happening:

                      “THE END OF LIGHTNING RIDGE?
The opal mining industry is imminently close to collapse due to government policy and inaction and pressure from a handful of western lands leaseholders.
Lightning Ridge was built on the opal mining industry.  The facilities you enjoy today such as the hospital, school, and sporting complexes were all built on the back of a strong opal industry along with all the tourist venues, opal shops and numerous businesses.
The future of our town also relies on a strong opal industry.  Without a secure supply of black opal over a thousand miners are out of work, the local opal retail stores and tourist attractions will not be in business and every other business in town will suffer.  Ultimately all the services we take for granted will be drastically reduced.
Economic welfare is only one aspect.  People’s lifestyle and community will also be radically impacted by the demise of the opal industry.
We need to make a huge impact {…} to ensure government takes notice of the importance of the black opal industry to our town, region, state and country.”  

Here is the link to the LRMA petition at which YOU can (PLEASE) sign to help:

Let's do what we can, from wherever we are in the world, to help this community and the opal mining way of life, by signing their petition.