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smoky、quartz and Amazonite – a great collecting story (2)

Specimen known as the “Behemoth” still in situ. Ch. Borland photo.
Specimen known as the “Behemoth” still in situ. Ch. Borland photo.

   A few crystals remained attached tothe side.

 
  – That’s a good sign – Tim pointedthem out.
 
  But the quality did not look thatgreat. They were coated with oxides andaragonite drippings, possibly silicates,which would be even worse. They werealso stubby and the amazonite was shattered.
 
  The cavity mouth now open, Timstarted removing some of the breakdown.
 
  Chunks of aplite and graphicgranite began showing. He began tossingout the chunks of pegmatite, looking forany crystal contacts. He fingered achunk of pegmatite about 5 cm acrossand began to toss it out. He hesitated.
 
  Now he pulled it back slowly, like unsheathinga knife – two knives – two longsmoky quartz came into view. He tippedthe piece up. The base was a mass ofbrightly colored amazonites. No damage.
 
  Perfect terminations. Unrepaired. Unheardof. Later, we call it the “Two Pillars.”
 
21 cm “Behemoth” specimen is one of the best known from the area. M. Pospisil collection. J. Gajowniczek and J. Budd photos.
21 cm “Behemoth” specimen is one of the best known from the area. M. Pospisil collection. J. Gajowniczek and J. Budd photos.
 
  We sat in stunned silence before wefilled the woods with our wild whooping.
 
  If we did not find another specimenin the entire pocket, we had just savedour season.
 
  This was our Lucky Monday.
Freshly extracted “Behemoth”. Ch. Borland photo.
Freshly extracted “Behemoth”. Ch. Borland photo.
 
  We wanted to keep collecting, butnow had a problem. The pocket driftedinto the working face directly under oneof our topsoil piles. Fortunately, it did notdrift in the direction of the 992 excavatorwhich was broken down above us severalmeters to the left. Yep, we found the 992pocket under the 992 excavator at season’send.
 
  – We got to bury it and move thattopsoil pile – I broke the obvious news.
 
  Neither of us wanted to do so. Anytimewe buried a pocket we risked ruiningsome crystals and worse yet, hittingit with the excavator bucket when attemptingto reopen it.
 
  Begrudgingly, Tim and I packed thepocket with blankets and newspapersand then marked it with some flaggingtape as telltale markers for when wewould unbury it.
 
  George took the small excavatorto the top of the hill and worked his wayback down to get at the topsoil. Theday closed with him swinging the dirt afew meters to the side and below thepocket.
 
  We spent the night rather worried.
 
  Although we were a couple of hundredmeters from the excavation, more thanonce we had had claim jumpers come induring the night to rob us. I checked thepistol more than once and took our dog,Baxter, out to check the perimeter a fewtimes.
 
  – It’s buried, dad – Tim kept reassuringme. And it was – under a good 3.5m of rock. Thieves could dig all night and never reach it. But having already lost amulti-thousand dollar pocket once, I wasimagining the worst.
 
Joe (left), Ray Berry (center), and Tim examining “Behemoth”. Ch. Borland photo.
Joe (left), Ray Berry (center), and Tim examining “Behemoth”. Ch. Borland photo.
 
  Early morning, we had visitors. Iwas trying to be polite and showedthem around, but I was happy to seethem head over the hill to where theywere collecting. I wanted this pocketkept quiet.
 
Amazonite with quartz in situ. Ch. Borland photo.
Amazonite with quartz in situ. Ch. Borland photo.
 
  Using the excavator, we reopenedthe pocket, using our hands to removethe last bits of dirt. The blankets andpacking had protected it perfectly. Webrought in the water so we could carefullywash out the contents and keepfrom chipping any crystals. Already weknew the quality was superb. A goodnumber of the smoky quartz crystals wehad found had perfect terminations.
 
“Behemoth” after first wash. Ch. Borland photo.
“Behemoth” after first wash. Ch. Borland photo.
 
  We took out about a dozen smallamazonite groups, some with smokies(smoky quartz – ed.). Additionally, wecollect all the single crystals as some willbe reattached to matrix from which theyhave naturally separated. Painstakingly,we catalogued and photographed theirlocation for helping us find these fitslater on. We also tried to 21 cm “Behemoth” specimen is one of the best known from the area. M. Pospisil collection. J. Gajowniczek and J. Budd photos. collect pieces in the same order they were located in thepocket and packed them into the mineralflats in order.
 

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