The state of California is home to one of my favorite sub-gem corundum localities, often referred to as "Mount San Jacinto".  The strange elongated crystals are usually found in sections, even when encased in host rock (see second thumbnail below).  Two Californian brothers, Ken and Dana Gochenour, searched out the source and harvested a couple of dozen outstanding specimens.  They are also responsible for the extensive and striking preparations, sometimes requiring as much as one hundred hours for a single specimen!   

     Fourteen of these "Cone Heads" are now in our collection.   "The Whale" in the right center (arguably the finest from the locality) and the cluster immediately to its left are two of my favorites (see also right).   There was another fine cluster, but unfortunately it was stolen from my vehicle in Tucson in 2010 before I could get it to the hotel.   Below are a few more images of these remarkable rocks - not only neat mineral specimens, but also superb works of art!


         The main crystal is in "The Whale" is about 7-1/2" long.  The Gochenours' longest is about 9" (center).    The last two thumbnails show one with a flattened hexagonal cross section, and another twinned crystal.  Though I have been called greedy, there are no plans to deaccession any of these.  

    The same general locality (also known as Mount Edna) has produced corundum as float or in decomposed host rock for at least fifty years, including sections of crystals that may have been up to 24" long.  However, it was Ken and Dana Gochenour who found complete crystals and displayed them at the Costa Mesa show where they became an immediate sensation.  I met them in Tucson a couple of years later, and a friendship developed which resulted in the assemblage you see here. 

       I shall soon include some remarks from their unpublished paper on the site and its geology with Dana's permission (unfortunately, Ken passed away in 2009).   This collection will probably be exhibited at the Houston, Texas club show in November, 2011.   Although the exact location is proprietary, plans are in the works to visit the site with Dana and prospect for more in 2012.   For now at least, just about all of these are permanently incarcerated in private or museum collections.  
   There is another California locality that produces small, intensely fluorescent rubies...