Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Namibia
8.9 cm tall x 7.6 cm wide
Dioptase is amongst the most desirable of all mineral species. The glowing emerald green crystals have fascinated collectors since they were originally discovered. In the late 18th century, miners unearthed what they thought was the greatest find of emeralds. When tested, scientists realized this was a new mineral species. In the late 19th century, the most wonderful and important deposit of dioptase was mined at the now legendary Tsumeb Mine in Namibia. This mine is considered to be the ultimate for the species.
This example has a stalactite-like form with bright and flashing gem green dioptase growing over a white calcite matrix. The white calcite is a very important feature, giving the specimen just the right amount of contrast. The sharp and green dioptase crystals sparkle like small faceted gems. The last time dioptase was found at Tsumeb was around 1995. This mine has since closed and will likely never open again.