Novembr 16-18—COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: Annual show; The Columbia, SC Gem and Mineral Society; Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 12-5
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 Post subject: Seam agate
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:19 pm 
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Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Maybe it's my accent but I have a lot of difficulty saying that without making it sound like "sea maggot" :D

Wandered down to the sand quarry on Saturday. There's no access by the front so I parked beside the highway and walked through the bush to the old part of the quarry. This section was mined out of sand perhaps 30 years ago and the machines are working between half a mile and mile further down.

The material is lying here and there but I found a concentration of it. There's a lot of it in this one little patch but I went over it to try and pick out the bits with the brightest colour, best translucency and more pronounced banding.

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Picked up about 40 pounds of material which I then had to drag half a mile through the bush to get back to the car.

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It's not quite mind-blowing as far as agate goes but the few bits I've cabbed have surprised me and turned out more pleasing to the eye than I had expected.

Anyway, I don't think I'll run short of cabbing material any time soon :) I'll do a few of the more banded bits and the monochrome but brightly coloured and translucent bits and see how they look.


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:52 pm 
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Very cool! 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:19 pm 
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Looks like you've got some good cameo material in there. :P
This stuff certainly looks a lot less fragile than the carnelian I usually get a hold of, which is an opal-like stuff that can't handle heat or rough handling.
With seam agate in the area, I wonder what else could have formed?


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:39 pm 
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Shifter55 wrote:
Looks like you've got some good cameo material in there. :P
This stuff certainly looks a lot less fragile than the carnelian I usually get a hold of, which is an opal-like stuff that can't handle heat or rough handling.


A mate is just starting to learn carving - I think I can supply him with plenty of material :) I've never carved but I think it probably would make good carving material. There is nothing fragile about this stuff, it is hard and exhibits that particular toughness property agate is known for. As a cabbing material, it's growing on me - some of the deeper oranges look brown when finished but the lighter oranges and yellows actually look quite nice, especially when alternated with white stripes.

One other thing it exhibits is a very thin, translucent white coating around the outside of many pieces - this blurs and masks the detail inside which has surprised me, saw through a piece and the banding and colours inside are often more pronounced than I was expecting.

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With seam agate in the area, I wonder what else could have formed?


This is something I never stop wondering :D Granite outcrops, ranges and volcano cores stretch in every direction (as they do up and down much of the east coast and adjacent inland) but the only people who ever really combed the hills and gullies were looking for gold and nothing else, they had zero interest in agates, coloured pebbles etc. Unless it was suspected of being a diamond, in which case the test was to put it on an anvil and bash it with a sledgehammer - if it broke it wasn't a diamond :shock:

The stones are out there - I guess it's up to me to find them :D


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:27 am 
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Good luck, and don't forget to show us the photos.


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:51 pm 
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Alan F. wrote:
Good luck, and don't forget to show us the photos.


Cheers Alan. It certainly takes a helluva lot of persistence and endless optimism to be a prospector out trying to find something that no one else has, or did but the location has been lost. Sapphires, zircons and several garnet varieties were all recorded in my local area but there is either no access (farmer with a shotgun :shock:) or the exact locations are lost to history.

A friend of a friend has property in the area. A few years ago, a team of gas exploration geologists went across his property. They told him that they had done tens of thousands of test holes across the region and that any rockhound would drool if they only knew what was in the ground in their own back yard (but not in his unfortunately). Of course, geologists working for the gas extraction industry have a level of access that I do not.

I have found sapphires in a place that no one else seems to know about - though they are few and far between at the site. And I was shown a piece of very nice opal that the bloke swears he picked up in the local area (I've heard rumours of it's existence previously - it would probably be a hydrophane type like Welo I'm guessing). And my old grandfather's (a mad rockhound he was) collection contains green and pink tourmaline that it appears he collected himself, though dad doesn't know where.

Tomorrow I'm heading to a property about 45 minutes down the road where there is amethyst. The property belongs to the grandparents of one of my wife's co-workers, they are camping beside the creek down there (it's quite a nice spot). They have done very little fossicking and have asked if I can show them where I found the crystals on their place since they want to have a dig. I can take them to the spot, finding the stuff is not a problem - finding good faceting grade material is more difficult. Lots of nicely coloured material - but nearly all too badly cracked for faceting. But the good stuff is there, I'm confident. Just gotta keep on searching.


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:55 pm 
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What's prospecting like in your area? Is it all private land, or do you have room to play?

I've got friends working in the Canadian high arctic, but I suspect a month or two spent in Australia would be more productive at a similar cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:19 am 
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Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Icehut wrote:
What's prospecting like in your area? Is it all private land, or do you have room to play?

I've got friends working in the Canadian high arctic, but I suspect a month or two spent in Australia would be more productive at a similar cost.


Hi all - ive been here in trpical far north Queensland for about a week and a half and the in-laws have no internet! Using wifes phone here, calloused andclumsy miners fingers are damn hard with these touch screens. Be home in a couple of days.

Its mainly all private land icehut but there are designated prospecting areas. Heaps of potential given the vast tracts of igneous geology but getting access can be a problem. There are public foseicking areas not far away (topaz, agate, sapphire zircon, peridot and moonstone) but im i the north at a bad time of year and the .onsoon has prevented any digging this time.

Belated happy new year to all at gemology online, blogging again soon. Cheers.


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:10 am 
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Went back to the quarry on Saturday and had a really good walk up and down the length of the area, hoping perhaps the floods had exposed something new. More of the same stuff, I'm satisfied now that there probably isn't anything different looking to the stuff I've found so far, except perhaps the very occasional piece.

The deposit is concentrated on the lower slope and peters out as you climb the rise. It appears to continue under the main road and into the land on the other side - but I have no access to that area. Probably nothing different anyhow.

Still, some bits do make nice enough cabs. I picked up this tiny piece on Saturday that looks a little more like the sort of agate I'm chasing. Perhaps there's some different-looking stuff in bands deeper down in the decomposing granite but I have no way to find out.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:19 pm 
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Lefty wrote:
Went back to the quarry on Saturday and had a really good walk up and down the length of the area, hoping perhaps the floods had exposed something new. More of the same stuff, I'm satisfied now that there probably isn't anything different looking to the stuff I've found so far, except perhaps the very occasional piece.

The deposit is concentrated on the lower slope and peters out as you climb the rise. It appears to continue under the main road and into the land on the other side - but I have no access to that area. Probably nothing different anyhow.

Still, some bits do make nice enough cabs. I picked up this tiny piece on Saturday that looks a little more like the sort of agate I'm chasing. Perhaps there's some different-looking stuff in bands deeper down in the decomposing granite but I have no way to find out.

Image



Lefty with material like that I would get back into cabbing.


I have been busy with other projects and have net been able to facet for a while, but things may be settling down. I will do at least two practice cuts of an oval and then gut that sapphire you sent me.

But it may still be a few months.


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 Post subject: Re: Seam agate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:35 pm 
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Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Hi Ted. Yep, that piece would make quite a nice cab, shame it isn't bigger. Some of the stuff that you can pick up by the drum there does look quite nice cabbed, I've just always been hoping to find stuff with stronger banding/patterning in it. It appears that only the very occasional piece like that exists there. It would be really interesting to see what lies deeper down in the decomposing granite but the quarry are only interested in sand and have simply scraped the several feet of sand off the top and then moved on as soon as they hit the granite, so there's no deeper excavations there to check out unfortunately.

If it's thick enough I might end up cabbing that little piece. I haven't done any cabbing for ages, been concentrating on faceting. My friend came out last weekend to use my cabbing machine for some opal and all the fine water tubing was blocked up with algae growth, took about and hour to clear everything out.


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