Dec.20 to 22:SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: Wholesale and retail show; Gem Faire Inc.; Scottish Rite Center; Fri. 12-6, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5;
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 Post subject: Re: idea for a new thread here
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 5:17 pm 
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Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Dan&Sally wrote:
It seems a world apart when you walk into the jewelry store and look at all the beauty on the shelf and then think of the really odd characters out there scratching at the dirt to provide that. Not every miner out there is a societal hide out. But they are generally very resourceful with the tools they have to work with. Inventing machines to help do the work. Sometimes with great success.
When my shop opens and customers walk in they will be greated with a book on the counter with tales of miners and prospectors. Some photos. And maybe when they walk out they will take with them a piece of jewelry and a better appreciation for the effort it took to bring that to them.


Spot on Dan.

I think there is very little general understanding and appreciation out there of just what it takes to bring these rare Earth treasures to the jewellers window. A lot of gemstone mining is done by small-scale miners who have to endure dirty, back-breaking work under adverse conditions in remote, isolated areas usually far from the convenience of modern cities.

And one of qualities that makes a gemstone a gemstone is that they are bloody hard to find! You can bust your guts for days for nothing sometimes. And then when you do find what you're after, it's often not of gem quality and useful only as a specimen or for industrial abrasive. The stones are often there, but there's usually a lot of dirt mixed in with them! If rocks could talk, the sparkling gems in the jewellers window would tell you about the huge volumes of dirt that had to be moved and of the high portions of low-grade ones of their kind that had to be found just so that those few perfect specimens could sit there in dazzling jewellery pieces.

Every stone has a story to tell.


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 Post subject: Re: idea for a new thread here
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 6:47 pm 
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Now here's one that people might find hard to believe without photos :) Further up the hill from Inky, there lived a Hungarian couple named Fred and Joanne. There were a lot of European immigrants on the field in those days - Hungarians, Romanians, Italians, Germans etc - everyone out to try and make their fortune in the 70's sapphire boom. Fred and Joanne had quite a nice little cottage up there on the ridge top, built with character and typical miners ingenuity, the outdoor shower was built entirely of beer bottles cemented together. These were the larger, thicker glass "tallies" as we call them here, about the size of a wine bottle, not the small "stubby" around half that size. The amber glass let the light in without letting anyone see in and was a pretty good insulator.

I was too young to drink but I remember them all - with dad, uncle and grandad joining in - getting stuck into various wild concoctions like slivovitz and other nameless things which could possibly have contained anti-freeze or brake fluid :D Plum brandy mixed with cheap read wine and a handful each of brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon, heated on the stove and sipped during winter. I remember a saucepan of it boiling over, hitting the stove element and catching alight, Joanne running desperately through the cottage holding out a saucepan with blue flames streaming from the top - strong stuff. The least appealing would have been their habit of hanging a pumpkin in a mesh bag over a bucket and filling that with brown sugar and red wine and letting the stuff drip into the bucket for later imbibing - must have been enough live yeast cells there somewhere to kick-start a fermentation and it must surely have been a hideous concoction to drink.

But the most remarkable thing about Joanne was her smile. Now it's not that uncommon for people to have gold teeth - but how many people have sapphires for teeth, ground into the shape of the tooth it replaced? She had about four or five good-sized sapphires embedded in her gums, probably thousands of dollars worth today. Problem is that many sapphires need good light to show transparency and the mouth is not the best place for that to happen - her smile could be called a "black-tooth grin". I guess that as one of the most durable materials on Earth after diamond, her dentures will never, ever wear out at least :)

Like everyone we knew out there then, they are long gone from the place and only old Inky remains. The lady caring for him convinced him to give up smoking when he turned 80 but he still drinks his......well, whatever the stuff is :)


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 Post subject: Re: idea for a new thread here
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 10:05 pm 
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Stephen Challener wrote:
This isn't 100% on point for the prompt, but I really enjoyed reading this story in particular:
http://www.hafizgemstones.com/Peridot-minetrip.htm
His English isn't perfect but it just adds to the charm.

Huh, didn't know this guy had his own website store with a blog.
The first time I encountered his stuff was on Ebay under "pakistan-minerals-paradise" selling for best offers, at 2USD per carat for a parcel of varied tourmaline colours he definitely found a new customer.
Only thing I can criticize about his selling methods is the lack of information about the lighting and photography setup he uses, while it is great for highlighting any flaws in the rough, it interacts weirdly with red and brown materials making them appear to be far stronger in saturation, compare the listing with the attachment below, particularly the large brown crystal.

It's good to see that he is ensuring that more recent parcels have images in other lighting though, his stuff is very good value for money and the multi-colour parcels give more reason to buy in higher quantities.
Tempted to pick up some fluorite next as that is the first I've seen it in such varied tones and good saturation, the soda-glass green and lilac colours always seem to be too light to get anything eye-catching.


Attachments:
File comment: Tourmaline Rough, far blue is stepped, not cracked.
IMG_20160512_111926.jpg
IMG_20160512_111926.jpg [ 23.66 KiB | Viewed 1000 times ]
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