Bixbyite, Topaz (337)
LocationSolar Wind Claim, Thomas Range, Utah, USA
Size6,4 x 5,4 x 2,1 cm
|Here one specimen from Utah – some friends from Austria and Germany visited the locality together with the owner of Solar Wind Claim in April this year. This specimen is directly from the finder. I published an article about this discovery in Lapis Magazine September issue 2014. The particular belongs to the best material on sale.
First some locality information, that I got from John Holfert (owner of Solar Wind Claim): This story is about buried treasure at the Solar Wind claim, a claim that has produced world class specimens of Bixbyite, Pink Topaz and even Red Beryl. The story takes place in the West desert of Utah in the great Thomas Range near the famous topaz mountain. Fourteen years ago John Holfert sat on an excavator no more than a couple of hours before it was scheduled for pickup. The dilemma was to bury the most mineralized seam he had ever seen in his 40+ year career or leave it open and collect it manually over time. The trouble with that is it leaves the site open to high-graders and other illegal mining activity. The choice was clear - he had to bury it. Now 14 years later after a struggle to reacquire the mine after numerous bad dealing the time is finally here. The history behind Solar Wind: John Holfert in 1976 first discovered the location during one of his numerous exploration trips. On a educated hunch he checked out the area based upon his expertise of other similar areas in the Thomas Range. The alteration patterns and flows matched some of his other areas that contained bixbyite and topaz. He first found a corroded 'clunker' crystal of bixbyite about 30mm on a side. This was one of the largest bixbyites ever found for the time. He claimed the area. A small amount of exploratory mining was done between 1976 and 1983. However since this was the hay day of Maynards Topaz mine very little work was done. The best crystal found at this time was a 0.75 inch Bixbyite and Topaz combination. Renewed interest in the area came in 1997 where John Holfert and Jeremy Fuller decided to reclaim the area. The name of Solar Wind was given at this time because the area is always Windy and Sunny. From 1997-2000 several small mining operations were completed and world class specimens were mined during the time. Including the famous specimen nicknamed Big-Bertha. The specimen was a complete combination floater modified bixbyite over 30mm on a side with two beautiful pink topaz crystal over 20 mm each. Now more about the specimen: The recent discovery was large – about 2000 specimen were found. 90% single crystals and only about 20 matrix specimen. 20 of 2000 and this one of them. It features a main crystal with 12,5mm on edges – very big for the mineral. Associated with some tiny Topaz crystals. Usually Topaz from Thomas Range loos their color when exposed to daylight. Solar Wind Claim is different – Topaz from this small area switch their color to light pink when exposed to daylight – and this color is stabile (unique – only from Solar Wind Claim). And a combination of Bixbyite in this dimension with Topaz ON MATRIX is exceptional. The Bixbyite is sharp terminated, lustrous and undamaged. On the left hand side along the edge of the specimen you can see a second Bixbyite (also large – 1cm across), which is also complete backside, sharp and very glossy. The specimen is undamaged!