Kearsarge Lode, Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA

Dimensions (H x W x D)

11.5 x 8.5 x 3.6 cm


330 g

Description & Provenance

Only a few places on earth produced crystallized copper, including Arizona and Kazakhstan, but none compare to the fame, volume or consistent quality of the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. The best examples have the sharpest, most geometric, lustrous crystals of the species, and all in the largest sizes. With few rivals, Michigan copper is among the finest of its kind. The region’s copper reserves are believed to have first been discovered by Native Americans around 5,000 years ago. Although the native Ojibwa tribesmen did not mine copper (which they called “red metal”) themselves, they sparked copper fever in the early French explorers.

The Kearsarge Lode was a mining deposit within Keweenaw that was first exploited in 1886. The mines in this area were the world’s leading producers of copper in the 19th and 20th centuries. Both Kearsarge mines may have been closed by 1956, but not before producing brilliant examples of crystallized copper. This is one such example, composed of sizeable copper crystals in an arborescent formation. Sculpturesque and attractive with its branching structure, it resembles a work of modern art, despite being a natural formation. It has a rich, warm, copper color and a smokey patina that adds a tremendous amount of character and depth to the piece. As a native metal and an old-time classic, this artistic example from a significant (now closed) locality is fit for the finest collections.


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