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Enough rock for all

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55fossil
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« on: February 05, 2016, 01:17:54 pm »

      Well, now that some of you think I am wanting all the rock for myself....  Spring is coming and the fires have cleared 300,000 acres of the brush and grass in the Owyhee Mountains. This spring after it dries out there will be a lot of newly exposed rock in the Owyhee's. Graveyard Point will probably knock your eyes out with all the shining agate waiting for you on unclaimed BLM land. I will even be out there collecting float and looking for a new vein of plume agate.
      Anyone who thinks you cannot find agate, jasper or petrified wood in the western region has not walked far from the road. Prineville, OR would be the best place for any amateur  with limited resources. The Owyhee's require a truck for certain and good hiking boots. Graveyard Point is great even for kids. While you have to find the right area, there is a ton of float. I have cabbed many pieces from this float material that pops up every spring. Oh, do not forget Glass Buttes for Obsidian. You have to dig for the best but the ground is covered with good obsidian.
     I have walked the hills and valleys for 30 years plus searching out rock. I am still looking for that precious opal find in the Owyhee's. Some days I only find a rock or two to carry home but other days I hit the jackpot and fill buckets from a small find that does not justify claiming.
    As for claims, most took years to develop and thousands of dollars. If not for the claim owner the rock would still be in the ground and not accessible to the average rock hound. The miner provides a service and most of us lose money at the end of the year. We work a day job so we can have fun and sell some of the rock to our fellow rock addicts out there. Miners are just rock hounds with a bigger addiction. The only reason claims provide the amount of good material is through the use of back hoes and excavators that cost thousands of dollars each month. Read Gene Mueller's stories on mining Morrisonite.  Dynamite, caterpillar tractors and living in the desert for months at a time. Only to bring back a few hundred pounds of cutting grade jasper. Great pictures and stories to say the least. The man is a legend. And he will let you on his Regency Plume Agate claims for a modest fee.
enough rock for all, really
      Here are a few cabs from float material I found in the Owyhee's on BLM land not under claim.


* 8-4-2010 003a.JPG (258.02 KB, 761x1005 - viewed 4 times.)

* C005.jpg (123.92 KB, 450x675 - viewed 5 times.)

* c1218r.JPG (163.49 KB, 350x561 - viewed 12 times.)
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Iwannarock
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2016, 11:27:13 am »

wow nice cabs, if my son was not  getting married this summer, I would seriously would love to hound that area
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member of Prairie Rock & Gem Society, Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
Kaljaia
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2016, 06:34:15 pm »

Gorgeous material! Hoping to be in that area a bit this summer too. What's the second material like?
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gjones
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2016, 04:40:21 pm »

What do you call the material in the first cab? It is beautiful!
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55fossil
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2016, 06:21:44 pm »

The first cabochon I call McKenzie Jasper although it cuts like opal. I have found only one location in a remote valley in the Owyhee's. I named it after a ranch family that has been very good to me out where I rock hound. Most of it is found as float in a seasonal creek but I plan on hunting down the source this year.
     I believe it may be a form of porcelain jasper but I have never seen the requirements for a jasper to be called "Porcelain". Anyone know the real requirements for a jasper to be a true porcelain jasper. That term is really getting abused on the internet now with people using it like the word rare.
thanks,  neal
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vitzitziltecpatl
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2016, 09:10:31 pm »

Hmmm. The "porcelain" jaspers... . Not the exotica/sci-fi Mexican material. There used to be a short list of jaspers fairly widely accepted as the "true" porcelain jaspers. Couldn't find that list in searches just now, but here are the ones Robin and I could remember.

Morrisonite, Carrasite, Willow Creek, Bruneau, and Imperial.

As always, any and all help appreciated in answering the question Neal raised.
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Kaljaia
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2016, 09:17:18 pm »

I had assumed 'porcelain' was in reference to the texture, but is it a location-specific term as well?
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Talusman
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2016, 07:04:15 am »

The geologist: "Mineral: Quartz var. Chert, Location: Willow Creek Mine, Ada County, ID.

The average rockhound: "Willow Creek Jasper"

The overzealous eBay seller: "Ultra-rare old stock gem willow creek porcelain Jasper showing killer orbs, streamers, and unusual coveted orange limonite spots"...

:P

-Jeremy

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vitzitziltecpatl
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2016, 07:31:25 am »

Where can I get me some of that eBay rock? That's gotta' be the best stuff ever!

Yeah, gotta' love eBay descriptions. The "porcelain" moniker does refer to the texture of the material, but when I first got started into cutting the ones listed above were said by some people to be the best.

At least one very good lapidary proposed adding Royal Sahara Jasper to the list after it hit the market, and I'm sure there are others.
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Talusman
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2016, 07:48:34 am »

The 'Original' porcelain Jaspers are indeed fine materials (I want more!) but I have to wonder if that moniker was initially used to differentiate them from the lower quality material from surrounding areas in ID/OR/NV. Many of the other picture Jaspers from that area are muddier and "grainier".

However, there are certainly many other Jaspers/Cherts with very fine working qualities from around the world. Some of the material used for lithic tools from my area had a remarkably fine glassy nature. Natives since paleo times trekked to quarries to use it. Porcelain? I wouldn't call it that, but I don't know how I would define porcelain Jasper. I don't think there's a mineralogical or morphological basis.

-Jeremy
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Talusman
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2016, 10:52:04 am »

BTW - that third one blows my mind... Looks like deep seawater under a microscope with little glowing organisms swimming in it. Any backstory on that material??

-Jeremy
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vitzitziltecpatl
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2016, 05:58:39 pm »

Yeah, Jeremy, many other fine materials indeed! I contracted this lapidary affliction initially by collecting only opal, but since then I've been continually amazed by the endless variety of beautiful "rocks" out there.

The cabs Neal posted to begin this thread are great examples of what you said. My attitude at one time was that there was opal, and the rest were just "rocks". Ever since then I've been playing catch-up and trying to learn more about all those other great rocks.
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55fossil
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2016, 06:24:00 pm »

Jeremy;  Third piece is an odd piece of Petrified wood ( I think ) that I collected in central Montana. Pretty sure it was just bug eaten and then was lucky enough to get a great paint job. Sadly it was just a small chunk.

As for Porcelain: I do know that it was a reference to the quality and super fine grain of the silica particles. Even some coarse grain material can take a superb finish that looks like porcelain. While I am open to any and all lapidary materials I do think the terminology has been allowed to get way off track. I would like to see the use of natural used for only stones that have had no treatments of any kind. That and any stone being sold needs to be honestly described. There is nothing wrong with stabilizing rock, just put it in writing. But when you crush rock, add color agents. pressure cook it and then call it natural Turquoise I blow a cork.
    I will do some research on what is porcelain jasper. Pretty soon we will have porcelain agate, very RARE.   neal
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hulagrub
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2016, 10:54:30 pm »

Nice!
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Kaljaia
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 10:41:48 am »

That's pretty stunning, unique material for petrified wood!
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