Here, we post new material or references to it, so that by checking here frequently you may know what additions we have made to the website.   After a month or two, we will delete them in most cases.  Expect a lot of periodic changes, improvements, and additions.  We are absorbing the contents of the Original Site, updating the articles, and adding images whenever time allows. 

     Earth Treasures, set up to sell or swap redundant specimens to refine the collection and fund the "Corundum Project" has recently been updated.  Offerings include not only corundums, but also other minerals and fossils for collecting or lapidary work.  We are also back on Ebay, selling under the I.D. "corundumaniac".

     Images are thumbnailed - left click on one to see the full resolution picture. 

Last update:  September 18, 2015

  38:   Plans have been made for "Earth Treasures" to be a dealer at the Howard Johnson show in Tucson, January 30 - February 14, 2016 (Rooms 108 and 110).  The main inventory will be the foreign specimens from the corundum collection which I have decided to offer for sale.  Other items include a nearly complete set of the Mineralogical Record, older issues of Gems and Gemology, and a small library of books, magazines, and articles including proprietary communications  you are interested in anything before then, please email me at wheierman@corunduminium.com.  Please note that as I have retired, my college (wcjc.edu) email is now invalid.
        Manuscripts for a casual series of notes called "Mathematical Pattern and Discovery" are beginning to appear on this website.  As the name suggests, the game is to explore mathematical phenomena and disclose patterns which are then given symbolic formulation and logical proof.  Anyone interested in "brain teasers" may find the contents interesting and revealing.    They will be scanned and thumbnailed, so you make copies as you wish.  It is a work in progress. The URL for these notes will be http://www.corunduminium.com/college.html .  
  37:  I have decided to retire from teaching, after 52 years in the classroom, in May, 2015.  That will give me more time to prepare specimens for sale.  Most of the American specimens will no be sold right away, but just about all the foreign ones can be had.  Also, I will try to contact all my friends who have requested information or specimens. 
       Before the collection is too badly decimated, we will be making some Power Point CD's of the specimens.  They should be ready in late 2015.  I will announce them here (they won't be expensive, but they should be attractive and informative).  The plan is to make them suitable for presentation at mineral club meetings as well as for personal enjoyment (music to be added by the user).   As this website will be maintained for at least a while, you can copy any images and information here, except where copyright requests of other contributors are noted.
       A decision was made in the spring of 2014 to sell the corundum collection, as I could not find a loving future home for it intact.  More recently, we have decided to keep the best of Southeastern US and Montana suites for at least a while.  If you are interested in a specimen you see here, or something similar we might have, please email me at wheierman@corunduminium.com and I will get back to you so the dealing can begin.  This includes you who have asked in the past and gotten lost in the shuffle as I dealt with too many balls in the air at the same time.  I will be trying to renew and give first preference my earlier acquaintances. 
         July 15 - August 15, 2014 (approximate dates), we'll be digging gold on our claims and looking at several localities for sapphires in Montana.  We are also shooting the activities, so look for "Gold Dynasty" soon!
       In May, 2014, I acquired this suite of 63 specimens, which I regard as the finest single locality collection of American corundum crystals (with the possible exception of the Gochenour specimens from California).  It will be exhibited formally for the first time at the Houston Federation club show in November, 2014.  Specimens from the collection, taken in 2007, may be found on the Propst Farm page of this website (more may follow soon).   I had been drooling over it ever since first seeing it in a private showing at the Colburn Museum in Asheville in May, 2007.  Plans are to keep it intact as part of our Southeastern US collection at least for a while; and then hopefully to find a museum near its source where it would be displayed for many more to enjoy!   It will be displayed for the first time at the Houston Gem and MIneral Slow in September, 2015.
  33:  Tucson, February 2014:   This fabulous cavansite showed up at the Westward Look.  I also found a neat amethyst flower from a new discovery in India (note extremely lustrous faces and heart of citrine)..   I also got some unusual corundum specimens.  The first is an offset twinned hex prism from Madagascar, the second is a 90+ pound partially recrystallized sapphire mass from India, and the third, also from India, is a chunk showing what may be hydrothermal rubies in pale blue cordierite (never saw this association before)!.

Cavansite Family tree, cavansites and pentagonites Indian amethyst flower with some citrine Amethyst detail Madagascan sapphire Indian sapphire Karnataka Rubies in cordierite, Orissa
  31:  Large specimens of ruby in amphibiolite, and a huge ruby mass with fuchsite (Tucson, 2013)
These three specimens came from a new discovery in Karnataka province, India, which for now must remain proprietary.  That is a large garnet inclusion in the upper right of the first specimen.   I will weigh them later, but they are probably about 30 pounds, 15 pounds, and 15 pounds, respectively.  They were just unpacked,  and I will take better pictures in sunlight later.          (2/9/13)
This massive chunk of red to purplish red ruby with a seam of fuchsite (or possibly zoisite) was found last year in the same general area.  Apparently, no others of this size and quality have been found so far.  Though many would have big eyes on it for carving rough, we will keep it as a specimen.  It weighs about 89 Kg., or about 196 pounds, and it is the largest piece in our collection.    (2/9/13)
        Also found were some old Kashmir sapphire crystals from the classic locality collected before 1957 (according to the notes in the parcel), some very rare rare fancy-colored rough, and  a partial large blue sub-gem sapphire crystal from Haksu La (Hakshu La), a new Kashmir locality for us, located not far from the classic locality but almost 18,000 feet above sea level.  Could it be the World's highest gemstone locality?

       The Haksu La mine is located near the summit of the pyramidal peak shown below.  One look at the adit explains why even locals rarely go there.  Any rumors that the mine was found by crocodile hunters are probably false.   (2/19/13)


  28:  Killer Jegdalek, Afghanistan ruby cluster (and a not too shabby tanzanite)
This 2-1/2" long ruby cluster was brought to America from Peshawar in August, 2012.  Its purplish color is unusual for the locality.  The 5" long Tanzanite crystal was obtained from a friend in June, 2012.     
  27:  The Houston Fine Mineral Show is, as its name suggests, a place where you can lose your shirt, but unlike Las Vegas you come away with more than memories you would rather forget.   On the left is a huge Bdakhshan sapphire in matrix (the largest I have seen).  It was featured in the Blue Cap video, "What's Hot in Tucson 2012".  The conspicuous saw marks will be removed with air abrasives, which should also elevate some of the smaller embedded corundum crystals.  The next three pictures show sapphires from the Umba Valley, Tanzania.  The caramel color is unusual, and the terminal faces are striking.  The attached matrix on the third is unknown right now - may be epidote.  The far right photo is a Chinese scheelite crystal - not a corundum, but worth a look (it's in Hermie's collection). 

     My friends Aisha and Arif Jan at Rocksaholics told me at the Houston show about this stone - a 11.72 carat bay cut oval sapphire from a newly discovered proprietary (for now) origin in Azad Kashmir (not far from the earlier reported Batakundi locality).  It has a slightly unusual body color and flashes of "peach fire" I have not seen in Batakundi stones, but it does seem to share the unique "blue veil" which we think is due to Rayliegh scattering.   Its large size and gem quality make it an important addition to our collection.   05/07/2012

  26:  SAD NEWS
       Needless to say, underground mining is dangerous business, and recently it claimed the life of a friend and colleague.  Mike Roberts, owner and operator of the Roberts Yogo  Sapphire Mine, was killed in a mining accident earlier this month.   My thoughts go out to his family, those who worked with him, and all his many friends around the world.  I cannot say it better than this:   http://www.ruby-sapphire.com/mike-roberts-yogo-sapphire.htm .  Thank you, Bob and Richard, for such a heartfelt story!  3/25/12

   In 2010 and 2011, these superb specimens were found by the local miners.  The gem dogtooth crystal on the left was obtained in Tucson, February, 2011.   Below are images of the other two, both floaters (no visible point of attachment).   The one on the right arrived today (pictures to be taken).  1/19/2012

 The large crystals on the left are from Tanzania, and the polished section sawn perpendicular to the C-axis on the right may be from similar material – note the hex phantom inside.   The color of the crystals may improve as acid seems to be removing brownish ironstain which was prominent when I got them.  The pale green crystals are also Tanzanian. 



   In the same collection were the tabular blue crystal from Africa (probably Mozambique)  and a doubly terminated ruby from Fröland, Norway.  The huge pyramidal crystal to the right is from Sri Lanka



     Madagascar produced these crystals, from Betroka (left), Ampanihy (near right), and Ihosy (far right).  The pale green twin is quite unusual (ex coll. Alexandre Delerm).


    There is a recent discovery near Batakundi in Azad (Free) Kashmir that is beginning to produce striking fuchsia and pink sapphires.  The two on the left are the finest I have seen.  The pink oval weighs 3.57 carats and the purplish pink trilliant weighs 3.27 carats.  They were purchased from Akira Kono (Seraph & Co., Osaka, Japan).  Akira had obtained the oval from Ed Cleveland (Kashmir Blue) who slightly recut it to enhance its brilliance.   The trilliant exhibits a "blue veil", something not seen before in corundum and whose origin is not yet certain (it may be due to Rayliegh scattering).   On the right are three more stones donated to our collection by Akira, who sent several additional stones to be forwarded to Americn museums for their collections after their first exhibition at the Houston Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show, November 11-13, 2011.  
      In addition to allowing us to acquire specimens from his personal collection, John is scouring Europe for others.  On the left are two very old specimens from Madagascar.   The incomplete hex prism (first two images) is from Vohitany (Ampanihy), and is ex coll Henry Bessaire.   The large laterite coated poker chip is from an unknown locality in Madagascar (ex coll. Alexandre Delerme).   The blue oval in the next photo is a 3.55 carat sapphire from Chimwadzulu Hill, Malawi.  The last image shows a trio of ruby crystals from "north of Lilongwe, Malawi".

     This unusual crystal was shown to me in Tucson (February, 2011), and it was recently added to our collection.   Aside from its large size, it has some interesting twinning and rutilization.         



       Sadly, my truck was burglarized in Tucson in February, 2010, and among other things an iconic "Mount San Jacinto" California sapphire cluster was stolen.  Police reports and World-wide searches have not found it, so I am assuming the thieves did not want to deal with it and trashed it.  
    In February, 2011 I found out there was another, which serendipitously became part of our collection.    It is in the center of the photo on the left, which shows our entire family of fourteen "cone heads".   It appears with "The Whale", perhaps the most notorious specimen from the locality,  on the right.  


      These crystals occurred in sections in the host rock and had to be laboriously extracted, cleaned, and epoxied together by the two brothers (Ken and Dana Gochenour) who found them.   They are not only unique American corundums, but fine examples of "art imitating nature".   This coming summer, I will be updating the terribly obsolete information presently found on the SOUTHWESTERN U.S. page of the website.     (4/30/11)
  18:  TUCSON, 2011  SPECIMENS 
       The two left specimens are from Winza, Tanzania (note gem blue kyanite on the first).  Next is a Sri Lankan corundum that resembles a jawbone segment (gift of Rob Lavinsky).   Two Mogok, Burma crystals appear next.  Last is a ruby in gemmy, deep green fuchsite from Karnataka (Mysore) Province, India (gift of Nikhil Zhaveri).

  17:  ACQUISITIONS  FROM  JOHN  SAUL  (January 20, 20i0)
      I received an email from John Saul, who had seen our Mineralogical Record article and wanted to know if we would be interested in some of his old specimens.  After the excited “Do bears go in the woods?” reply, we got down to business; and now there are several more great specimens from his collection in ours.   Because of this provenance, the suite will be kept together. 

     The John Saul Mine in Kenya is well known to collectors, jewelers, and gemologists as a highly regarded source of rubies, including large quantities of sizeable stones suitable for the manufacture of fine cabochons.  It is also the one place on Earth I am aware of where secondary deposits included rubies in silicified clay containing fossils (opalized land snails). 

  The specimen pictured on the left had been owned by John, who reminisced about it in recent email conversations.   It has been in our collection for about ten years.  On the right was John's plastic model of the finest ruby crystal to be found at the mine.  Unfortunately, the real one was "lapidated"; but with this very accurate replica we can still admire it!

     The Longido, Tanzania locality is famous for its red and green “ruby in zoisite”, also called “anyolite” in the gemstone trade.  There is a lot of legend surrounding the discovery of this site, which is well expressed in two Internet articles.  One, written by John and published on his sons’ website, is entitled “The first gemstone discovered in East Africa” (URL is http://www.swalagemtraders.com/news/2008/02/06/7-the-first-gemstone-discovered-in-east-africa).  Another is “Longido Ruby”, by Ed Swoboda.  It can be found on Bill Larson’s website at URL http://www.palagems.com/swoboda_longido.htm.
     The two stories cannot be totally reconciled, but what we do know is that Prince "Stash" Sapieha gave John two very early specimens from the site.  It would not be unreasonable to think of them as the first to reach gem or mineral dealers’ hands.  Both are now part of our collection.  The specimen on the left was acquired in 2000 from Cal Graeber, and the other (right) just arrived in a parcel from John.   

 This incredible breccia included polished freeform anyolite is almost certainly from Longido.  It was the subject of the cover photo on the Abatract of the 31st International Gemmological Conference, Arusha, Tanzania, 2009.      


Texas corundum is very rare, and this is our first Texas  specimen.  Though I had heard of some minor occurrences in Big Bend country, this euhedral doubly terminated ruby crystal is from a proprietary locality in the Hill Country northwest of Austin.     (Gift of Rebecca Whittaker, Balcones Gem and Mining, Bertram, Texas)      Dec. 19, 2010

  Once I contact the person who found it and check the provenance, I may be able to say exactly where it came from.

Legend has it that two giant Kashmir sapphires were found "lying on top of the rocks as the glacier melted back".  Both were purchased by Ed Cleveland (www.kashmirblue.com) and sent to us on memo.  Being broke at the time , we sent them back and crossed our fingers.  The twinned crystal on the left is about 65 carats, and it is now ours.  Note the gemmy green tourmaline crystals attached, which should look even better after we clean it. The one on the right was about 122 carats before it was cut.   
       I am greatly indebted to my friend and mining partner Amos Knapstad, who donated this incredible Yogo Gulch, Montana sapphire to our collection in August, 2010. 
 What makes this 4.04 carat "absoluely flawless" gem unique is the large and well-defined violet phantom inside the cornflower blue body (visible in the photo to the right)!  It was found by Yogo Creek Mining, maybe round 2006.  Amos, who was on the YCM staff at the time, purchased it to save it from the crystal killers who would have turned it into a bay cut oval; and now it is safely ours!