Lake Superior Dist., Pewabic Lode Mines, Houghton Co., Michigan, USA
12.7 cm tall x 11.5 cm wide
Ex-collections Richard Kosnar, Dr. Stephen Neely, Joseph Freilich, Sandor Fuss, and Irv Brown. This piece was originally owned by B. S. Butler. Butler was one of America’s preeminent geologists who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in the early 1900s. B.S. Butler and Charles Palache, Harvard professor and curator, co-wrote The Copper Deposits of Michigan in 1929.
Sculptural, unique, and powerful, this copper is commonly referred to as the “Rodin” of Coppers, as if created by the great sculptor himself.
Only a select few copper specimens can vie for best of species; this is among them. This copper transcends its species, entering into the exclusive company of the greatest specimens ever discovered. The crystals are well isolated and exhibit sharp definition. The natural metal possesses a rich bronze patina with luster reflecting light back to the viewer.
Although the mine name is unknown, this copper comes from an identifiable pocket. There is one example in the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Texas, and another which Wilensky sold to the MIM Museum in Beirut, Lebanon. All share strong similarities in crystallization. However, this specimen is solitary in its sculptural nature and three dimensionality.
Copper is an element, one of nature’s pure substances. It is one of the few metals that can be used in its natural state. It is known to have been used by humans as early as 8000 BCE. The native people of the Keweenaw Peninsula began mining copper around 5000 BCE.
Michigan copper is unusually pure, often found as large copper boulders and sheets. Europeans arrived in the region in the late 17th century and were introduced to the copper deposits, but large-scale mining did not begin until the 1840s. For the next 100 years, the area experienced a copper rush similar to the gold rush in California. By the late 1960s, most of the mines were closed.
Rodin was the cover of The Mineralogical Record in March 1992.