Amazonite is a pale green potassium aluminum silicate variety of microcline feldspar and displays a lustrous reflection which is caused by inclusions. This particular material is a new find from the Kandahar province of Afghanistan.
Amazonite is a potassium aluminum silicate variety of microcline feldspar and displays a lustrous reflection which is caused by inclusions. This particular material is nicely translucent and is a new sky blue variant from Brazil that shows occasional crystal pockets.
This calcium sulfate from Peru is actually related to gypsum. The unusual color is typically referred to as Lilac Blue Anhydrate but is also called Angelite. Most pieces are translucent and also sparkle when the internal crystalline structure is exposed to direct light.
This lovely material is known as Apache Gold. It is bright and shiny gold Chalcopyrite in a black Shist from Mexico. Chalcopyrite has been referred to as Fool's Gold because it is such a bright gold color and the black in this material is dark black, creating quite a striking contrast.
Green Aventurine Quartz is actually a quartzite composed of interlocking macrocrystalline quartz grains with disseminated grains of other color imparting minerals (in this case, fuchsite mica). This particular find is from Brazil.
This Canadian reddish feldspar material has a metallic glitter when polished. I also have selected pieces that are more unusual due to the use of the natural crystalline surface.
Dendritic Psilomalane is nearly as difficult to say as it is to spell. This black manganese oxide occurs here as a feathered or fernlike inclusion in a creamy white agate. There are occasionally quartz crystal inclusions that I like to show off whenever possible. This find is from near Medicine Bow, Wyoming.
Blue lace Agate (actually a variety of Chalcedony) , found in the quiet isolation of the African desert was first uncovered in the early 1960's. Aptly named blue lace because of the blue, lavender laced color. These agates are found in vein deposits with dolomite in the district of Karasburg, Namibia.
This silicate of magnesium and iron is from Brazil and it has a distinct fibrous structure. When this is pronounced, the sheen has a certain resemblance to that of cats-eye.
Spectacular new banded jasper from the active volcanic areas in West Java in the Bandung and Garut regencies. The unusual yellow and orange colors in this material is sulphur. This material is from a breached caldera on Mount Papandayan near the town of Garut. Due to the high concentration of sulphur, the sterling findings tarnish very quickly. These earrings are usually supplied with surgical steel wires to avoid the tarnish contacting your skin.
This material is a very hard purple Agate that comes from (oddly enough) Burro Creek in the Sonoran desert, southeast of Kingman.
Petrified wood is a type of fossil that consists of fossil wood where all the organic materials have been replaced with minerals while retaining the original structure of the wood. The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen. Mineral-rich water flowing through the sediment deposits minerals in the plant's cells and as the plant's lignin and cellulose decay away, a stone mold forms in its place. Petrified wood can preserve the original structure of the wood in all its detail, down to the microscopic level. Structures such as tree rings and the various tissues are often observed features. This colorful and strongly patterned wood from northern Washington exhibits the best of this property.
This material has developed several different trade names, including Red Creek Jasper, Cherry Creek Jasper and others. The coloring and patterns are wildly variable and it has been compared to Picasso Marble for the pattern. This find is from Guangdong Province in southeastern China. It is not yet well characterized, but I believe it to be a travertine based on the hardness and how it cuts.
This is a very dark green (nearly black) and white rock made up of Gypsum clay, Dolomite and Limestone, with internal crystals of Calcite, Feldspar, Celestite or Andalusite. The white patterns can resemble Chrysanthemum flowers or Star Bursts or Snowflake crystals. This particular variety is from British Columbia, Canada. Some pieces have a smaller and more dense pattern, closer to the size of a grain of rice.
A copper silicate frequently mistaken for turquoise. My Arizona material frequently has abundant quartz to give it great clarity and many pieces also show malachite and/or azurite intergrown in the native stone. Ray mine is an old time Arizona Copper mine and the material has mixes of Chrysocolla and Malachite, many other copper carbonates and a rare show of Azurite. This material is characterized by seams or layers of many different colors. The copper ore from near Contact, Nevada has many colors including green, brown and black. Many pieces have fern-like inclusions called dendrites. The Good Day Mine in northwestern Arizona opened in late 2002 and it has a wonderful variety of patterns and colors. The material is very hard and glasslike with many translucent pieces. The mine owner now sells his material as Blue Cloud Chrysocolla. Arizona's Inspiration Mine opens occassionally and yields chrysacolla and malachite in quartz. Some are very translucent pieces and some samples have chatoyancy. My Peruvian material is very similar to an Arizona material called "Apache Chrysocolla". A find from central Mexico (Chihuahua) with a delicate feathery pattern, shows inclusions of azurite and malachite and the occasional crystal pocket.
This unusual pink druzy calcite comes from the the copper district of Congo (Zaire). The crystals form in small pockets and fissures in the native rock and some pieces have the occasional show of Malachite.
Cobra Jasper (also called Script stone and Calligraphy Stone) is from India. It is not well characterized, but appears to be fossil shells in shale mudstone (hematite).
This natural lapis from Peru has a lighter color than material from Afghanistan and a light stippled pattern that give it the Denim look and name.
Yes, it's really fossilized bone ! Most of these pieces were collected from private lands in Utah. The colors range from brown to red with some occasional tans or creams. In some pieces, the fossilization did not include as much iron (which yields the more common red or brown color). The soft marrow portion of the bone ended up as a pale blue or white in this material. These more rare pieces come from Wyoming.
Eudialyte is a rare cyclosilicate mineral which was originally discovered in 1819 in the Julianehaab district of Greenland. Eudialyte can show distinctive colors of a red-violetmagenta, red, pink, blue, yellow and an attractive brown. This collection comes from the Kola Peninsula, Northern Russia. The locals also call this Dragons Blood or Almandine Spar.
This highly patterned volcanic glass is from Chihuahua, Mexico. There is a second “species” of this with small bursts of color and pattern range from pink to red called Orange Fireworks Obsidian.
This delicately patterned purple fluorite is nearly glass clear with bands of purple color and occasional pale yellow. Also called Purple Lace Fluorite, this originates from Guangdong Province in in southeastern China.
It is important to understand fossil coral is a natural stone formed from ancient corals. It should not be mistaken for protected and endangered coral from the modern oceans of today. Corals have been growing in the oceans around the world for almost 500 million years. The corals thrived in warm shallow marine waters and over time were buried in sediments by crustal plate movements as the oceans rose and fell. Temperature and pressure from compaction during burial resulted in those deposits, in time, becoming rock and part of the present day geological record. This material is from near Guilin (Guangxi Province in southern China) and has preserved the original delicate pattern of the native coral.
This dark green, almost black, magnesium silicate comes from a mine in San Benito County. It has a faint tortoise shell pattern and fine lightening shaped streaks of silver or white.
The pattern of this pale blue material resembles Rhodochrosite and the color matches the pale blue of Larimar. The rare druzy crystals are classified as a hydrated zinc silicate and are found in a lead and zinc mine. The colors can vary from white to blue, gray and brown.
This sedimentary clay colored by iron and manganese was collected just outside Death Valley. The natural pictures appear to make desert scenes and are highlighted by polished manganese with the effect of inlaid silver.
The coal mines near Oskaloosa, Iowa are the source of this remarkable find. The material was collected in the 1960’s and sat in a warehouse until this year. Each of the mineral specimens was hand picked, looking for the very rare iridescence that characterizes these pieces. The crystals are black or brown, with multi-colored iridescence across a full rainbow of colors (that, sadly, do not photograph very well). There are also a few whites and greys included. Come see these in person.
I normally have several variants of the classic jade and this brecciated species from Big Sur on the California coast was collected by a close friend.
Today jade is valued for its beauty. Its many colors are appreciated, but it's the emerald green color that jadeite produces so well, that is highly sought after by artwork collectors. This emerald green jade called Imperial Jade is colored by chromium. This British Columbia Jade is generally translucent with a nice apple green color.
A classic blue stone of sodium aluminum silicate that has been mined in Afghanistan for centuries.
Leopardskin Jasper is an opaque buff to orangey tan, brown, and ochre form of jasper that has sporadic dark brown to nearly black spots or rings. Its name comes from the pattern and coloration, which resemble a leopard’s coat. This type of jasper from Chihuahua, Mexico, formedas replaced limestone or dolostone or as veins and nodules in mineral deposits formed from hydrothermal or metasomatic processes is composed of fine-grained cryptocrystalline quartz that contains iron oxide impurities.
A white manganese carbonate with fine grey and black veins. The pattern strongly resembles a classic Carrera Marble. This find is from Zimbabwe.
A classic green copper carbonate from the Congo (Zaire). I cut these to show off and match the characteristic stripes and swirled patterns. I have a wonderful variant of this material from the Katanga mine with a surface of crystals.
These copper carbonates are natural combinations of at least two (and sometimes all three) of the listed materials. Together they frequently give the appearance of pictures of Earth as seen from space. These mixtures are the most popular color combinations in my collection. The pieces with dark blue azurite are the most rare and spectacular. The newest material from Peru has an unusually large amount of azurite with a broad variety of color intensity. There is also white quartz in many of these pieces that add yet another color and character to this wonderful and rare material.
A wildly colorful and patterned jasper from Western Australia in the Kennedy ranges (Mooka Creek) near Gascoyne Junction. This is among my most popular materials because of the broad range of patterns and colors.
Nephrite is usually only green and creamy white, while jadeite can have the full range of jade's colors.
Net-like patterns of green and black against a grey background in this marble from China.
This patterned chalcedony from Wyoming has white, brown and tan colorations. Some pieces have inclusions of crystals that sparkle in the light.
Materials are often named after who discovered them, sometimes after the places they are from. This very colorful orbicular and crystal pocketed material from Madagascar has large areas covered in barnacles. Go figure...
"Peanut wood" is a silicified (petrified) wood, generally of a black color with numerous borings, which were made by a marine wood-boring bivalve, Teredo.
This petrified wood was called peanut wood by the first people who found it, because they obviously thought that the light colored areas resembled peanuts. These light colored areas are what used to be boreholes in the original wood . Before the wood was petrified, it was washed into the ocean. It was then attacked by small marine shellfish called "Teredo" ...another name for these little clams is "shipworm". They bore a small tunnel into the wood & eventually the entire piece can be riddled with boreholes. When the wood became waterlogged, it then sank to the bottom of the ocean & settled into the mud. The boreholes then filled with the light colored radiolarian sediment. Some time later, petrification began.
The wood is of several varieties, the main ones being "Araucaria"...a conifer & podocarp.
It is found along the edges of the Kennedy Ranges about 100 miles inland from the coastal town of Carnarvon, Western Australia. The geological formation that it occurs in is called "Windalia Radiolarite". The age is Cretaceous.....which makes it around 70-120 million years old. (Description and characterization courtesy of Glenn Archer).
This patterned material from Beaver County, Utah has rich brown, grey and black colors that give interesting geometric patterns and occasional scenes.
The scenes in this grey blue travertine form scenic pictures. Combinations of gold, brown and dendritic black are truly unique. Also called Dali stone and this comes from Guangxi Province, China.
This fibrous serpentine from a South African tungsten mine is characterized by a rich cobalt blue with inclusions of a wonderful gold. The tigereye effect (called Chatoyancy) is unusual in this material due to the burl-like pattern of the silica fibers.
Peruvian pink opal is relatively rare and is only found in the Andes Mountains near San Patricio, Peru. The pink opal derives its color from trace amounts of included organic compounds known as quinones. These opals range from opaque to translucent, and depending on how the stone is cut, the color will either be clear or show the stone’s matrix and inclusions. (Like agates, some Peruvian opals show the scenic fern-like dendritic inclusions.) Peruvian opal is also known as Andean opal. Opal was formed many millions of years ago, when a combination of silica and water flowed into cracks and spaces in the ground. This then gradually hardened and solidified to become opal. Opals contain water, which makes them very sensitive to heat.
This very rare gray and white semi precious stone known as Pinolith or Pinolite was actually first discovered in 1873 and comes from only one location in the world-the magnesite deposit at Sunk, Hohentauern, Niedere Tauern, Styria, Austria. Pinolith was mined in WWII for its high manganese content. It is a metamorphic rock containing magnesite as white crystals in a gray dolomite and graphite matrix. It is named Pinolith or Pinolite because the magnesite inclusions resemble pine cones in shape. (characterization courtesy of Paul Barlow.
Today jade is valued for its beauty. Its many colors are appreciated, but it's the emerald green color that jadeite produces so well, that is highly sought after by artwork collectors. Other colors are influenced by iron (green and brown) and manganese is thought to produce the violet colors. My purple Jade is from Turkey and some pieces have quartz veins
A new find of purple opal from Jalisco Mexico. The patterns of purple and white resemble the Beryllium Nodule (also called Tiffany stone) from Utah.
The small blocky crystals of pyrite on limestone were found in a pocket of the Linwood Coal Mine near Buffalo, Iowa.
This stalagtite / stalagmite material is sometimes called Inca Rose. The warm coral pink color is a manganese carbonate that formed in a cave near San Luis, Argentina.
This manganese silicate varies from a brownish red to pink to flesh color. This material is harder than rhodochrosite and usually has black veins of manganese oxide. I have material from several continents, but these pieces were created from a find in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia.
This material is very similar to the Ruby in Zoisite from Tanzania but is much lighter in color. This particular material comes from southern India, near Karnataka.
These two related minerals from Tanzania provide a stunning contrast in color. The red Ruby is a very hard Aluminum oxide (corundum) second only to diamond in hardness. The green Zoisite with black hornblende inclusions is much softer and that makes the material difficult to properly cut and polish.
Rutile refers to the titanium dioxide needles which, in this Brazilian material, occur in quartz. The net effect is to have needles in sheafs or clusters visible inside the clear quartz. The most prized pieces have an optically clear quartz and very distinct needles. The rutiles will occur in several metallic colors, from gold, to copper to black.
Rhyolite exhibits a typical banded structure produced by its flow pattern. Rhyolites were formed in profusion in the Yellowstone Park area and throughout the southwestern portion of the United States.
The Lake Bakal region of Russia is the source for this green chatoyant serpentine.
A very special banded serpentine with highly refractile (chatoyant) fibers that give this an eye catching look of banded green tigereye.
The original descriptions and discoveries of Shattuckite were from the Shattuck mine in Arizona. The hard copper silicate is characterized by dark azure blues with lighter streaks of blue. This particular find is from the Congo.
Not a true onyx, but similar in appearance. This banded material from the Mojave Desert features white and cream colors with fern-like patterns called dendrites.
Snowflake Obsidian - California (new for 2019)
This is a variant of black obsidian (volcanic glass) with white or grayish spots called spherulites composed of needle-shaped cristobalite, a type of quartz. Obsidian forms when lava cools quickly. When lava cools more slowly, crystals can begin to form, giving the rock a more textured appearance. As those quartz crystals form, they can have the appearance of snowflakes, and the rock assumes that namesake look. My material is from the area of the Mt Lassen volcano in northern California.
This dark blue material is named Sodalite in reference to the sodium content (it is a Sodium Aluminum Silicate Chloride). It is found in light to dark pure blue color and is the only feldspathoid which contains chlorine. Although very similar to lazurite and lapis lazuli, sodalite is never quite comparable, being a royal blue rather than ultramarine. Sodalite also rarely contains pyrite, a common inclusion in lapis. It is further distinguished from similar minerals by its white (rather than blue) streak. My 2016 material has a much darker hue and many pieces are translucent.
A grey and red dendritic rhyolite from the the Sonoran Desert of Mexico. The strong colors and striking patterns of this material are quite varied. The material is in limited supply since it is dug by hand.
Hematite is an oxide of iron which is used as an ore of iron. Near Lake Superior many millions of tons a year are mined and used for this purpose. This formation was deposited as sediments from ancient streams and rivers. The name hematite is derived from the Greek word for blood, as sometimes hematite can be red. Hematite can be found in many forms. In color it can be red or a reflective silvery black called specular hematite as shown here.
This dark purple materials is named after Robert Stich, general manager of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, Dundas (Tasmania). Stitchtite is found in serpentinite rocks associated with Chromite. This find is from Kaapsche Hoop, Barberton District, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
Named for Professor Ken-ichi Sugi, who discovered the mineral in a non-gem form in Japan in 1944, the first gem grade, commercially exportable deposits were not found until 1979 in the Wessels' Mine area of the South African Kuruman manganese fields. Although pure Sugilite, a complex silicate which gets its purple color from manganese, is a mineral species, much of the more variously colored material commonly cut into cabochons, and called Sugilite is technically a rock composed of both Sugilite and chalcedony. Sugilite was formed in deep beds of manganese-containing metamorpic rocks that were later invaded by silica rich hydrothermal fluids. Sugilite occurs as a microcrystalline aggregate and ranges in color from dark to medium purple, with variable amounts of dark or light mottling when chalcedony is present. Although a small percentage of the rough is translucent, most pieces seen on the market are opaque. The one and only source is remote (in the Kalahari Desert near Botswana), and it must be mined 3200 feet underground. I have no doubt that it would be buried still, if it were not a profitable sideline of on-going industrial manganese mining. In the early 80's, attempts were made to market Sugilite under various tradenames such as "Royal Azel", "Wesselite" and "Lavulite", but none of these caught on.
A brilliantly colorful chrysocolla from Sonora, Mexico. The colors are the typical blue turquoise of this mineral, but also with bold inclusions of black tenorite or red or orange cuprite. Also referred to as Sonoran Sunrise and Sonoran Sunset.
Spectacular black crystals of Tenorite over malachite and chrysocolla. These very rare crystals come from the Katanga copper and cobalt mine in southern Congo.
Tigereye - South Africa
A banded highly chatoyant tigereye from South Africa. Some pieces are gold with bands of metallic hematite and others banded with blue and gold tigereye. New material for 2017 is called "hawks eye " because of the striking and strong chatoyancy.
Tourmaline is a crystalline boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminum, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium. This material from Brazil shows the pink variety in clusters of small crystals in a white quartz matrix.
An intense blue turquoise from the Nacozari Mine in Sonora Mexico. My green variant for 2014 resembles a Chinese turquoise or Variscite. My 2016 material from this mine is a soft teal hue.
The Turquoise naming is unfortunately a trade name, not the actual composition. While this material does strongly resemble Chinese turquoise, it is actually a closely related phosphate mineral.
Variscite is a pale green hydrous aluminum phosphate, Al(H2O)2(PO4) and it is sometimes confused with turquoise, however, variscite is usually greener in color. This variscite specimen comes from Australia.
This material from the Gila wilderness area of southern Arizona, came to us through a native american friend where it is highly prized. It is called Wild Horse because of its 'Pinto' pony look. It is sometimes referred to as a white turquoise (which it certainly is NOT !).
A black and white striped agate from Mexico with a pattern reminiscent of the name. Many pieces have crystal pockets and inclusions.