March 19th, 2009
The first oxalic acid bath is complete and while some of the stones need another, I’m posting pics of a few that are complete.
My camera doesn’t really do them justice, probably more because of my limited expertise as a closeup photographer than the limitations of the camera, but somehow blaming the equipment feels better.
It’s so amazing to gaze into the water clarity of some of these buried treasures that we dug out of the Arkansas clay. To see them emerge from the dust and rust to show their stuff is awe inspiring. Even the tiny ones have amazing personalities upon closer inspection.
If you’re looking for a field trip that will bring you together and restore a sense of wonder in our relationship to Mother Earth, this is an idea to consider.
While these clearly aren’t museum quality pieces, most of them are really beautiful and all are completely unique. Not bad for a single day on the mountain.
March 9th, 2009
This is another of my “where the heck are the snakes in this?” posts, but the Arkansas crystal hunting trip has been a significant sideline lately.
Quartz is far more common than diamonds (though not as much so as a certain cartel would have us believe) and therefore not worth much per carat, but the reason that it’s so pricey to own a large, unusual or exceptionally intact specimen is not only the rarity of such an occurrence, but the pain in the posterior it is to bring a collected specimen to market readiness.
Seriously, this is a lot of work. Detailed, methodical, repetitive and time consuming. Given my personality, I really shouldn’t be having as much fun doing it as I am.
The clay doesn’t just wash off. Stones that were soaking must then be dried so the clay contracts and another power washing session can remove more. These deposits prevent the acid bath that will follow from getting to some of the rust that prevents the natural clarity from coming through.
Not only that, but I’m trying to end up with usable clay sediments as a byproduct, because of its healing properties. Seriously, Joan took a nasty cut from one of the crystals she found and it bled only briefly, healed over by the end of the afternoon, and never hurt at all beyond the initial cut.
A nearby newbie miner asked John the guide for a band-aid after a cut. We heard him tell her, “It won’t stay on for more than a few minutes of digging. The clay will heal it.” It’s true.
Here are some pics of this stage of the cleaning process. Pieces that were barely identifiable under all that mud and clay are beginning to show their stuff, and the next drying stage is underway.