“La Madonna Rosa” Rose Quartz - Sapucaia, Brazil - 39cm - Shaw Collection #minerals
Perhaps the most famous of all rose quartz specimens, “La Madona Rosa” is notable not only for its size and superb crystallization, but also its resemblance in overall form to traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary. -
In the late 1950s, miners working a small mine near Sapucaia, Brazil, found a now legendary pocket of Rose Quartz. Measuring only six inches wide and 12-18 inches high, the pocket extended for 16 feet in length. It was filled with deep pink, Rose Quartz crystals contrasting perfectly with smoky Quartz — a unique association rarely seen.
Later finds in Brazil also yielded Rose Quartz specimens (notably Lavra da Ilha and Alto da Pitora) but few approached the sheer size and beauty of the specimens from Lavra Berilo Branco. The only other major example known from this historic find, is the "Van Allen Belt" which currently resides in the Smithsonian.
No one knows with certainty the story behind this iconic specimen’s discovery and early ownership. Records indicate it was acquired by a London gemstone collector in 1972 and later sold in 1977 to a U.S. gem collector where it remained in relative obscurity for twenty years.
In 1997, La Madona Rosa caused a considerable stir at the Tucson Gem & Mineral show, where its vast potential was recognized. Its current appearance owes to modern cleaning and trimming techniques. It subsequently occupied a position of honor in the “Hoppel Collection” until 2013 when it sold at auction (Heritage Auctions) for $662,500. It now resides in the Shaw Collection.