A quick reminder that the Mt. Hood Rock Club’s Rock and Gem Show is just around the corner. If you like rock and gem shows and/or spectacular gemstones, this is one you really don’t want to miss. This club knows how to throw a rock party! Here’s the details:
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org www.mthoodrockclub.com
Picture Tour of 2015 RHS1 Style: The Year in Member Rocks and Crafts
2015 got off to a rocky start, well…..a not so rocky start actually……….when the Memorial Day meet-up in McDermitt was canceled due to rain and ice. The year didn’t continue on that way for some members, though. For others it was a bit of a slow year for hunts and meet-ups.. You know how it is – sometimes life just gets in the way of getting to your favorite spots or hoped for exploration areas. That didn’t slow these insanely dedicated rockhounds on RHS1 down much though. It just gave them some time to do some work on their rocks…………and the outcomes were nothing less than spectacular.
So……………..grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy this little picture tour of 2015 RHS1 style.
Anyone who’s hung around the RHS1 forum for any length of time knows real well that if you stick a rock in front of coldwatergold it’s going to end up slabbed, cabbed, and wire wrapped. Whenever weather won’t permit him to be out playing Jacques Cousteau in the stream on his claim or wandering aimlessly across any area he can get to in search of more rock to play with, he’s in his shop working like an elf in December, slabbing, cabbing and wrapping anything he can get his hands on. Below is a small sample of some of his work.
I think you’ll agree that he does some pretty nice work. Of course, when you’re bringing home rock like the one below, I presume it makes it a lot easier to make great cabs, too.
Being from North Carolina, Lizziebird really enjoys seeing and trading for what those of us out in the west are picking up and bringing home. We kinda feel sorry for her – being stuck out there on the other side of the US from so many of us where she only has….um…..hundreds of minerals to hunt for must be a real trial for her. She sent the picture below to me describing these as some of the more “everyday” finds in NC. If these are everyday rocks for her, you can imagine what she considers a “great find”. Below the pic I’ve posted her description of these beauties that she cabbed.
Top row, L to R, agate from a creek in central NC, pink corundum from NC mountains, blue feldspar (amazonite) from abandoned mica mine in NC mountains, pink feldspar from same abandoned mica mine in NC mountains, and white feldspar (with moonstone-like flashes) from same abandoned mica mine in NC mountains. Bottom row is minerals from a quarry in central NC, including quartz, feldspar, jasper, epidote, and a touch of pyrite.
Cobbledstone might be fairly new to the forums, but he isn’t a newcomer to rock hunting or crafting. He’s been at it long enough to be a little bit savvy about seeing value in rocks that others pass up. I’m thinkin’ from the pics below he might be a little more foaming at the mouth crazy about rocks than we realized. Here he tells a little bit about his following pics:
This is my favorite creation of 2015, a necklace made out of beads that I crafted. The material is white chalcedony that I collected out of the Willamette River. In this area, there is some carnelian, but most of the time, the color in these rocks is only on the surface. Lots of folks consider these white in the center rocks junk, but I went out searching for them, and selected only one ones with the nicest creamy center. Then I made beads out of them. It took a 5 gallon bucket of rough to produce this necklace.
Cobbledstone also makes Christmas ornaments with this beautiful, milky stone.
For some members who are lucky enough to live close to the rocks or have the fortune of having time to get to them, finding the stones still remains their favorite pass time. Member Oxenkiller isn’t one to pass up an opportunity to be out there looking. Little does he realize that hanging around RHS1 as much as he does, it won’t be long before he starts getting an unquenchable craving to start making things out of stone, too. With finds like the ones in his pics below, none of us are going to be surprised when it happens.
On RHS1, Markphoto3 is our go-to guy for spheres. He does beautiful work, and a few other members are fortunate enough to have one that was done by him. I’ve hunted with him, and can tell you that this guy covers territory in the field like a bloodhound on the trail of a deer. You never realize how far he gets in just a little time until you pick him up on his way back and go rescue his backpack where he had to drop his too-heavy-to-carry-all-that-way load. The method in his addiction works for him though as you can see by these beautiful works below.
The first of these pics is my favorite because it’s made from the wood from a site I discovered earlier. Yes – that green rock is wood!
While Markphoto3’s specialty is spheres, he also does other things with his rocks – such as this set of bookends made from a Richardson’s Ranch thunderegg.
I spend more time talking to, and visiting and hunting with, Hotrocks than any other member of RHS1. She’s my niece. She was accidentally addicted to rock hunting one thanksgiving when I was at her mom’s house and was going hunting She was interested in doing that in preference to the usual family thing that year so I invited her to a crystal hunt and she’s been off and running, hunting, cabbing, etc. ever since. Not too long ago she and her sweetie started up a side business in custom leather craft and the rocks they cab now adorn leather items such as bracelets, journals, purses and so on. Below are some pics of some of their latest creations with cabs from some of their Nevada finds:
Member: HeySal – um, that’s me.
While I did get out hunting this year, life was throwing me some curves and I didn’t get the crafting done that I wanted to. I did manage to make one wire tree as a gift for my niece. I had a pic of it posted somewhere, but it wasn’t that great a pic and Jess just sent me a decent shot of it so you can actually see what the tree looks like. The base is black agate from Washington, the rock the tree sits on is blue opal I found at our 2014 meet-up at Succor Creek in Oregon, and the pink “buds” are pink garnets I found in Idaho, so the tree is about as all over the place as I tend to be myself sometimes.
So – as you see, throughout 2015, RHS1 members were pretty busy rockhounds no matter what life,work, and weather were throwing at them. We don’t expect to be slowing down any in 2016, so come on in and join us. The more the merrier.
While experienced hunters thoroughly enjoy a good day of garnet hunting, you don’t have to be an experienced hunter to find these dazzling little gemstones. In fact, they are probably the best stone for the inexperienced rockhound to begin hunting for. These gemstones are quite common and can be found in many US states and countries around the world. The rock which bears the garnet is very often peppered with the stones, too, so once you find a good garnet bearing area you will easily be able to take a very healthy cache home with you.
Garnets come in many varieties and the type of matrix rocks vary as well. The most desirable crystals will be a deep wine red to purplish, pink, or brilliant green. Even smaller crystals are quite distinct in their natural form and you will be able to recognize them when you see them. Matrix rock may be about any form of rock in the area.
Your first step in garnet hunting, as with all gemstones, is to check your maps and guides. When it comes to garnets, I never worry too much about a location being “picked over” as the stones are usually so plentiful. Next you will want to make sure that you pack all of the equipment you need to gather the stones.
You will want to take your rock pick and mallet and small chisels (an eighth inch blade is usually plenty big) for any stones you find in the matrix rocks. I use these a bit at garnet locations as every once in a while I will see a stone still embedded in the matrix rock that I just can’t pass up. Many times the rock bearing the garnet is soft and the stones can be removed easily with a small flat screwdriver or knife blade. A mallet can be used to break the rocks apart to find the stones. This is actually the hard way to get the garnets, however, and I don’t usually resort to bothering with the rock itself. The tools that I use most frequently hunting for this particular type of gemstone is a spaghetti colander, a screen, and an army issue fold up shovel.
Over time garnets erode from the matrix rock. By scooping the dirt in the area of the gem bearing rock and sifting it in the colander you can easily find handfuls of gems. I use a colander for hunting gem rock as the holes are about the right size to let the stones which are smaller than I am interested in keeping fall through. If you want to spend money at a hardware store for special screens, they do have different sized meshes that will allow you to choose how large the gems must be for them to be trapped by the screen. If an area seems to have been picked over, by digging down deeper you can usually find the stones that fell and were covered before the area became popular to hunters.
After “panning” the rock area, I like to also pan the nearby streams for the gems. Garnets will wash downstream from their source over time and are not as heavy as some other minerals so you don’t need to dig too deep to find good quality stones. Water currents can erode the natural facets of the stone however, so you may find many of the crystals in water are much smoother than those from the actual rock area, depending on how long they have been there. When I choose a spot in a stream I will use the colander again so I am only getting stones I want to keep. A gold pan works fine, too, but you will find yourself wasting time picking gems out that are smaller than you really are interested in keeping.
The normal sized screen I use for concentrated gem areas in streams where the stream bed is literally pink with small garnets. You will see this in many garnet areas. Most of these little garnets are not of gem size or quality, but they make great craft supplies. These I scoop up in the screen and just put in a bucket. Later at home I separate the small stones from the rest of the sand while watching television or talking on the phone.
Once you have found a few nice gemstones to use in jewelry, you will want to read up on panning for gold so you can find a nugget that one of your new gemstones will look nice with in a ring or pendant.