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1  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Identification Inquiries / Re: Purple agate locality on: May 13, 2015, 01:19:18 am
Yep, that's the classic look of Burro Creek.  I've gone hunting it, and never found so much as a scrap, but the hiking in general in that area is just astounding, even if you never see a rock.  (You'll see plenty of 'em!)  I also see lizards and turtles and old mining sites.
2  The Gathering / Shows and Events / Re: Tucson 2015 Weekends 1 & 2 (pic heavy) on: February 15, 2015, 07:58:23 pm
I just got home from Tucson, with a pile of new tools and some great rough:  psilomelane, Tiffany stone and Picasso Marble.  I'm covered in rock dust from grinding on it. :)
3  The Gathering / Introductions / Re: Hello from Utah & Wyoming on: November 28, 2014, 11:20:01 pm
Howdy Neighbor!  I'm from Torrington originally, and Laramie for many years, though living in Colorado now.

I hope that white chunk you found really IS nephrite. You'll start a new jade rush if you find nice translucent white  in Wyoming!  If you're anywhere nearby, I'd love to see it!  Just got home from a Torrington Thanksgiving.
4  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Share Our Finished Cabochons and General Cabbing Questions / Tutorials / Re: Natural high grade US domestic Turquoise on: October 30, 2014, 08:44:19 pm
Has anyone worked with turquoise from The Bad Boys of Cripple Creek Mining Company? They say it runs between 6. 7 and 7. 7 on the mohs scale of hardness.

I've cut some Cripple Creek turqouise from the Bad Boys mine.  I saw him at the Denver show many years ago, and choked on the prices, but he had some small rough that was reasonable. I bought several pounds, and have cut a few small cabs, and mostly used the rough for inlay.  It is indeed much harder than any other turquoise I've ever cut.   I think you've seen this piece before, Grant, but for the benefit of the rest of the gang, I'll post it here.  This is all "Bad Boys of Cripple Creek"  material, inlaid so as to intentionally preserve some of the natural texture.  I also tried to use pieces in this bracelet that demonstrate the range of colors, from light to dark blues and greener colors.  The center stone demonstrates what it looks like when cut as a normal cabochon:

5  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Historical / Ancient - Evolution Of Lapidary / Re: Jadeite beads at one million each!!! on: October 08, 2014, 11:50:10 am
the chinese do love their jade; now if that was a clear ice jade necklace, I don't think the bidding would ever stop.

Read the story at the link Daniel posted. It was no Chinese who paid that crazy money, thought I suspect there were a few Chinese at work in the bidding process.
6  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Share Our Finished Cabochons and General Cabbing Questions / Tutorials / Re: Id help with funky green stone on: September 27, 2014, 08:02:03 pm
I'm with UncleStu:  it looks like Kabamba to me.
7  Custom Designed Jewelry / Silversmithing / Metalsmithing for Jewelry Design / Tutorials / Re: Reusing scrap silver on: August 06, 2014, 12:38:13 am
Fantastic!  Learning is always a good thing.

You're making me appreciate my mill a bit more. I often wish the flat roller was wider, but mine is two inches, which must seem generous to you!
8  The Gathering / Contests and Competitions / Re: Killer Cab Contest July 2014 on: July 24, 2014, 11:15:29 pm
Not so good slab? You would never know by that awesome cab!

You got that right!
9  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Rough on the bench and slabs off the saw (general minerals board) / Re: "black" jade on: July 24, 2014, 11:13:30 pm
There's lots of black jade in Wyoming, and it runs a huge gamut in terms of the qualities of the stone. Some of it polishes easily, some undercuts and creates huge problems. Some is translucent, while some is completely opaque. Some is actually green  when cut in very thin sections, but appears to be black when cut in standard cabochon thickness.

While there are some duds, most of it is beautiful if you take the time to figure out the secret to cutting and polishing that particular piece.

Good luck.
10  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Tool Hoarders Anonymous. on: July 23, 2014, 12:23:30 pm
From Sturlin ( The right tool for the job, etc. )  Uhh ! Is that why I resurrected the old blacksmith forge on the farm and bought a bunch of  O-1 tool steel so I could make repousse tools to fit the curves and lines of my work.

Uh Oh ! Doesn't that mean more tools to store ! Oh No it's a self feeding tool monster.

I grew up with a blacksmith's forge in one of the shops on our ranch. I SOOooo wish we hadn't torn it out!
11  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Tool Hoarders Anonymous. on: July 22, 2014, 04:14:38 pm
I think it was Michael David Sturlin, a most excellent jeweler and instructor, that issued a challenge in one of his magazine articles, reduce you tools down to the minimum necessary to make jewelry and no more than that, declutter your work bench. His thought was to open up your ability to be creative again, not to worry about having the right tool. I know that some days I spend more time looking for the "right" tool than doing the job.We could still make beautiful jewelry with less tools.

Boy, that's a most excellent suggestion!  (Says the guy who spent hours last night trying to arrange space to store all the new tools in the hoard.)
12  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Tool Hoarders Anonymous. on: July 22, 2014, 12:45:13 pm

I still have some equipment (like a lapidary machine with 6 cupped, wooden wheels using diamond compound) that I don't know how to use it or what it is used for. . . . .. If anyone needs these, the price will be "right".

Yep, I suspect Debbie is right. That sounds like a spool polisher. I have one as well, though I do use mine frequently. The wooden spools charged with diamond grit sometimes manage to produce a polish on stones that would undercut if using a softer polishing medium.   The spool polisher also does a great job polishing stones quietly in the dead on night, when I can't use noisier polishing equipment for fear of waking SWMBO.
13  The Gathering / Our Place / Re: Recycling: My not so new hobby on: July 21, 2014, 11:52:20 pm
Good for you!  I look forward to seeing the creative siding when it's done!

We're committed recyclers around here too. We even manage to recycle most of the horse poop. I suppose you could say we turn it into hay, in a round-about way!
14  Custom Designed Jewelry / Silversmithing / Metalsmithing for Jewelry Design / Tutorials / Re: Reusing scrap silver on: July 21, 2014, 01:54:24 pm

I think the suggestion of tufa, cuttle bone, charcoal block & and other material for ingot moulds were suggested as alternatives to spending a lot of money on an ingot mould just to experiment with the process of making and ingot.

Yep. That's precisely why I suggested tufa: lots of people on this site seem to be looking for ways to enhance their hobby without spending a lot. I've been happily using tufa for many years, though I'm excited to try a proper steel ingot mold now that I've got my hands on one.
15  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Rock Hounding Trips, Tips, and Pics / Re: ATV (quad) for rock hounding... is it worth it? on: July 21, 2014, 12:34:40 pm
Another thing to consider. Some rockhounding areas are walk in only. Vehicles of any sort are banned, and rangers levy hefty fines for anyone caught.

Because I ride off-road motorcycles for entertainment, I'm all too aware of the motor-vehicle use regulations on public lands in the western US. With a few exceptions, motor vehicles of any kind are limited to use on existing roads and designated trails. If you get caught riding up a random hillside, you may face far worse than a fine: the BLM and Forest Service will confiscate your ATV, and the courts generally uphold the forfeitures.

In general, on Forest Service land, you are always restricted to roads, and even some existing roads are designated for reclamation, and closed to use by any vehicle. They are seldom well-marked, and even when they are, too many hooligans simply tear down the "road closed" signs.

BLM has far more areas open to genuine "off road" use. Each field office publishes their own local regulations, so you need to check your local office to determine what areas are open, and which areas restrict you to existing roads.  In New Mexico, roughly 1/3 of BLM land is open for use by OHVs pretty much anywhere. Roughly 2/3 of the land restricts OHVs to designated roads and trails.  That's where you'll find the heavy enforcement, so you need to know which area you are in if you want to keep that ATV.

I do a lot of rockhounding by motorcycle, but it usually involves riding to the end of a road, then getting off to hike. It's still a great way to enjoy two fun hobbies together. Carrying rocks home on a motorcycle will also encourage you to be more selective about which rocks are worth the trouble!
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