Rare Stibnite Joins Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum

SourcingFeb 05, 2024

Rare Stibnite Joins Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum

The specimen, donated by collector Robert Lavinsky, is now on view.

A specimen of the rare mineral stibnite, measuring 39.5 inches long, 16.5 inches wide and 17 inches thick, has been donated to the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum’s permanent collection. (Credit: Chris Richards/The University of Arizona)
Tucson, Ariz.—A large specimen of the rare mineral stibnite has joined the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum’s permanent collection and is on display now for public viewing.

Its unveiling coincided with the annual Tucson gem and minerals shows, celebrated via a reception on Jan. 25 at the museum.

The specimen was extracted in 2003 from the Wuling Mine in the Jiangxi province in southeastern China and donated by Robert Lavinsky, a world-renowned mineral collector and science education advocate.

Stibnite is a compound of antimony and sulfur originating roughly 130 million years ago, the museum said, and visually, it appears opaque and metallic gray with long spear-like prismatic crystals.   

Stibnite specimen Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum
Stibnite is a compound of antimony and sulfur, and its name comes from the Latin word "stibium," meaning antimony.

The donated specimen is 39.5 inches long, 16.5 inches wide and 17 inches thick, which the museum said is exceptionally rare for its size, intricacy, and quality. Only a handful of such specimens exist in the world, all of which were extracted from the Wuling Mine in the early 2000s, according to appraisers.

Stibnite is brittle and soft, and it has a Mohs hardness scale—the measurement mineralogists use to grade the relative hardness of minerals—rating of 2 out of 10. Because of this, stibnite crystals are not often found intact.

The mineral’s history dates back centuries. As early as 3100 B.C., ancient Egyptians powdered stibnite to use as eyeshadow and to treat eye infections, the museum said, while in ancient Rome, stibnite was associated with Pluto, ruler of the underworld. 

Later, the Prophet Muhammad claimed stibnite cleared one's vision and promoted hair growth. 

By 1832, French mineralogist François Sulpice Beudant officially named the mineral "stibnite," derived from the Latin word "stibium," meaning antimony.

"The rare and intricate beauty and geological significance of this stibnite specimen serve as a powerful educational tool, fostering curiosity and exploration in the fields of geology, chemistry and natural history," said Violetta Wolf, director of the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum.

Stibnite specimen Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum
Violetta Wolf, director of the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum, (far left) celebrates as museum staff maneuver the stibnite specimen into its display case. (Credit: Chris Richards/The University of Arizona)

 Related stories will be right here … 

"I am incredibly thankful to Dr. Lavinsky," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. 

"His generous donation of the incredible stibnite piece places the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum at the forefront of global mineral exhibits and boosts the museum's ability to provide a unique opportunity for individuals of all ages to engage with the history and importance of minerals."

Along with being a longtime supporter of the University of Arizona, Lavinsky is the owner, founder and president of The Arkenstone, an online purveyor of minerals, and of the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium.  

He is also a mineral dealer, collector and consultant who works with museums and private collectors around the world.  

Lavinsky has been actively involved in mineral education and has made significant donations to various institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, museums in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California, and numerous museums in China.  

In recognition of Lavinsky's contributions to the field, a rare copper mineral from South Africa is named "lavinskyite" in his honor.  

Lavinsky has also donated a stibnite to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University. 

"Both Yale and the University of Arizona share my vision of a 'beauty first' approach to education, displaying valuable specimens of minerals as inspirational works of natural art," Lavinsky said.  

"As a lifelong collector, it is an honor to make this joint donation to two such worthy museums and to share the inspiration and awe that these specimens evoke in me." 

John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation, said the donation was “an incredible addition” to the museum’s mineral collection. 

"Thank you to Dr. Lavinsky and others who have made significant gifts to the museum's collection. The Alfie is a treasure of a facility, and an incredible point of pride for the university and Tucson community," Roczniak said. 

The Latest

Lightbox lab grown diamond pendant in yellow gold
Lab-GrownFeb 26, 2024
Lightbox ‘Significantly’ Lowered Its Prices in Q4

The De Beers-owned lab-grown diamond company dropped the price on its standard offerings from $800/carat to $600/carat.

JA New York signs
Events & AwardsFeb 26, 2024
JA New York to Bring the Diamond District to Spring Show

The upcoming show will have an immersive “47th Street Experience” for attendees.

GIA Dubai laboratory
GradingFeb 26, 2024
GIA Opens Lab in Dubai

The new DMCC Laboratory at Uptown Tower will initially serve clients in Dubai free trade zones.

GIA id100
Brought to you by
Full Disclosure at Your Fingertips

Distinguishing natural diamonds from laboratory-grown stones – now more available than ever – has been difficult for jewelers. Until now.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 with affirmations
WatchesFeb 23, 2024
Rolex to Open New Watchmaking School in Dallas

The Rolex Watchmaking Training Center will welcome its first class this fall.

Weekly QuizFeb 22, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Guzema Freedom heart pendant for Ukraine
CollectionsFeb 23, 2024
Piece of the Week: Guzema’s ‘Freedom’ for Ukraine Pendant

Ukrainian jewelry designer Valeriya Guzema’s charitable “Freedom” collection is inspired by hope for the country’s future.

Elton John’s leopard print Rolex Daytona watch
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Elton John’s Leopard-Print Rolex Roars at Auction

Two Cartier watches also topped their estimates at Christie’s “The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road” evening sale.

flashforge pic.png
Brought to you by
WaxJet: Revolution in Jewelry Manufacturing

The WaxJet 400, recognized as the world's fastest wax printer, is bringing in a new era of precision and efficiency to industry.

Buccellati header
TrendsFeb 22, 2024
Buccellati to Open ‘Prince of Goldsmiths’ Exhibition

Set to be held in Venice, it’s a look through the maison’s history.

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell of Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Heritage Auctions Adds 2 New Hires to West Palm Beach Office

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell, frequent appraisers on “Antiques Roadshow,” will join the new office.

National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsFeb 21, 2024
On Data: January Was a ‘Mixed Bag’ for Independent Jewelers

Sherry Smith dishes on the month’s highs and lows and the two categories consumers were loving ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Stock image of diamonds
GradingFeb 21, 2024
GIA’s Same-Day Service Now Available Everywhere

The new service, introduced to stem fraud related to lab-grown diamonds, will be offered at no cost for the time being.

Jam + Rico Claire’s jewelry
CollectionsFeb 21, 2024
Jam + Rico Debuts Second Claire’s Collection

Founder Lisette Scott was inspired by the intricacy, colors, and symbolism of African art and architecture.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsFeb 20, 2024
Squirrel Spotting: Life After Rolex

Peter Smith shares advice from independent jewelers who used losing this cornerstone brand as a catalyst for reinvention.

Neile Adams McQueen and Steve McQueen
AuctionsFeb 20, 2024
Jewels from Neile Adams McQueen Shine at Bonhams

All 13 lots belonging to the actress and first wife of Steve McQueen sold at the recent “California Jewels” sale.

Stuller bench jeweler
Events & AwardsFeb 20, 2024
Stuller to Host Bench Jeweler Workshop in March

Registration is also open for its “Battle of the Benches” challenge.

Mary Ball Gorman of Henry B. Ball Jewelers
IndependentsFeb 16, 2024
Mary Ball Gorman of Henry B. Ball Jewelers Dies at 99

Gorman was an industry trailblazer, serving as the first female treasurer of Jewelers of America.

Jade Ruzzo gold and diamond Tennessee Torque necklace
CollectionsFeb 16, 2024
Piece of the Week: Jade Ruzzo’s Tribute to Tennessee

The movement of the 18-karat gold and diamond “Tennessee Torque” necklace is subtle.

Jared Goff and Claudia Cividino
MajorsFeb 15, 2024
Detroit Lions’ QB Jared Goff Going to Jared

Goff, whose fans hold up “He Went to Jared” signs at games, has signed a partnership with the retailer.

De Beers Venetia diamond mine
SourcingFeb 15, 2024
De Beers’ Production Down 8% in 2023

The company recovered 31.9 million carats of diamonds in 2023, compared with 34.6 million in 2022.

Gina D’Onofrio Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 15, 2024
Heritage Auctions Names New Co-Director of Fine Jewelry

Industry veteran Gina D’Onofrio has rejoined the auction house.

Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association (IDCA) awards
Events & AwardsFeb 15, 2024
IDCA Hands Out Awards in Tucson

The association also celebrated its 40th anniversary.

A selection of engagement rings
TrendsFeb 14, 2024
5 Engagement Ring Trends for 2024

From three-stone rings to fancy shapes, experts weigh in on what consumers could be looking for this year.

Boucheron Power of Couture
CollectionsFeb 14, 2024
Boucheron’s New High Jewelry Collection Pays Homage to Ceremony, History

“Power of Couture” recalls Frédéric Boucheron’s love of fabric using diamonds and rock crystal.

Rough diamonds from Gahcho Kue diamond mine
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
De Beers’ Rough Diamond Sales Improve Slightly

The diamond miner and marketer said “solid” holiday sales in the U.S. helped stabilize the industry.

Jonker I Diamonds
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
‘100 Carats’ Exhibition Opens at LA Museum

A new display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County features dozens of gemstones each weighing 100 carats or more.

Grand Seiko New York City flagship
WatchesFeb 14, 2024
See Inside Grand Seiko’s New NYC Flagship

Located on Madison Avenue, the store is its largest in the world.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy