Rockhound Website Design

Filed under: RockHound Design — Gary February 26, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

Need a rockhound website?  Have a Lapidary business?  Educational blog?  Needing help getting listed high on Google search results?   They can help- Quality work at affordable prices.

Check out

They are offering $50 off their already low prices for mini/full websites.  Just mention “RockHound” for their rockhound discount.

Quality Design At Wholesale Prices.  is now our main sponsor.  They have designed this blog as well as and numerous other sites.

Lowell Effect on Amethyst Author Needs Your Support

Filed under: regular postings — Gary December 20, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

I came across this rockhound on FaceBook (Jack Lowell). I do not know the whole story but people are showing their support by emailing Tempe City Council- . More info can be found on his facebook page:

I found out about this from Rodney Moore.

Rodney Moore 9:01am Dec 19

Hey everybody :
Jack is a friend of mine and he is pretty famous for having worked as a miner and managing the arizona four peaks mine. He is the one that is attributed as publishing and documenting “the lowell effect” on amethyst. Anyways, jack is about half-crazy ( but a good guy). I bet his back yard IS a mess. Anyways, it looks like the city is hassling the dude. Can you send off an email? Maybe share this with your friends. Here is what I (Rodney Moore) wrote : Hi, A friend of mine, Jack Lowell, has posted something on facebook about an issue the city has with Jack and some rocks in his backyard. It looks like this is going viral with word traveling thru the extended rockhounding community with many expressing concern if not even outrage. It would seem like the city would have bigger issues to worry about ( such as crime) than some rocks in a guys backyard. Please ponder this a bit. Thanks! Rodney Moore

Grawin, Glengarry, and Sheepyard Opal Fields.

Filed under: field trip reports,regular postings,Rockhound stories,Rockhound Travel — Gary December 5, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

I bumped into Steven and asked him if he would like to talk about the opal fields near his home.  He submitted this article and pictures.

Hi Gary,
Here is the brief history and present day story about Grawin, Glengarry, and Sheepyard Opal Fields.

The Sheepyard opal field is located approximately 75km west of Lightning Ridge, NSW and forms part of a triangle of opal fields consisting of Grawin, Glengarry and Sheepyard
Opal was first discovered at Glengarry in 1905 by Mr Charles Phipp who was working on Morendah Station at the time, but little mining was done there. The Grawin was established in 1908 with the discovery of the opal at “Hammond Hill”. Further discoveries in 1920 at “Richards Hill” put the unofficial village on the map. Since the first discovery of opal in the region, people have come and gone in tides with each new strike, seeking their fortune in search of the rainbow in the rock. At the time mining was done by candle light with a hand pick and the waste was removed by shovel and bucket and wound up by hand with a wooden windlass. In 1928 an opal weighing almost 450g, and the size of a man’s fist was found at Richards Hill and caused a rush of men to this field. The opal was named “The Light of the Worlds” and is still the best known opal from this area. After the Second World War things began to get more mechanical with the electric generator for light and motorised hoisting gear to make the removal of waste quicker and a bit less like slave labour. Then came the electric jackhammer and the amount of dirt that could be removed increased and the bucket was replaced by wheelbarrows and all sort of inventions to make the job better for the miner and in turn caused an increase in the number of people who came to have a go. The next major rush was started on Melbourne Cup Day in 1985 when the Sheepyard Rush was found. The Sheepyard area was named after a stumble on of opal near the fence of the old Sheepyard. By now the piles of dirt were starting to fill the landscape and this lead to the Short Throw self tipping hoist and tip trucks to remove waste. This led to the invention of the rickshaw to wheel waste to the hoist bucket. By the time the 90’s came along a new rush called Carters Rush had started and Blowers (Giant Vacuum Cleaners) were in use as well as underground hydraulic diggers and mini loaders and as many different inventions as there are miners are now being used in search of the thing that all miners, young and old lust after, “The Rainbow in a Rock”





Although mining at Glengarry was also going on for some time it was not until about 1970 when a find of some very good opal was made that Glengarry became the new “Hot Spot.” The Mulga Rush, which began in 2000, is the biggest opal rush since the Coocoran was discovered in the early 1900’s.

Mulga Rush (Dusty)

Mulga Rush (Dusty)

The opal fields of Glengarry, Sheepyard, and Grawin. These towns are accessed via the small village of Cumborah. The roadway between Lightning Ridge and Cumborah is now fully bitumen and is bitumen to the Grawin turnoff. This makes it easier to tow the caravan out to the field. (This section is flooded now; you have to take a 30km dirt road detour!) Mining area roads are gravel in reasonable condition and driven at the right speed, are suitable for caravans and the like.


Mulga Rush fossickers

You can also fossick in the gravel pits nearby Comborah. Another 17 km along in a north westerly direction will bring you to the Grawin field. You can fuel up here and also get basic provisions. From here it is another 7 km to the Glengarry field where there is a pub and a golf club. Sheepyard is accessed from Glengarry and is the youngest of the fields.









Glengarry Hilton is the oldest pub on the Opal Fields and can be a great place to grab some lunch or a cold drink after your hard work driving and fossicking. You can grab lunch there from 12to 2pm daily and dinner is from 6 to 8pm every day. There are showers, toilets, and even backpacker accommodation if you are too tired to drive any further. If you manage to catch any yabbies in their dam they will even cook them up for you. There are locally produced arts and crafts for sale opposite. You can go fossicking at the famous Mulga Rush heaps for a day in another world…Noodling on the dumps is an interesting experience and can be rewarding. It’s fair to say that it can be hard work if you make it so, but there’s a lot of dirt between the good stones. The temps in summer can rise to 40 to 50 degrees Celsius. The opal fields of Glengarry, Sheepyard, and Grawin said to be like Lightning Ridge of 70-80 years ago, great opportunities to see opal mining operations and miners’ camps. Meets the locals on the final frontier of high hopes, tall tales and long beards, see the frontier-style opal field life.
The area is adjacent to the Sheepyard Pub available to campers and as tourists/fossickers in the area.









Showers and toilets outside the pub give ready access for those camping. While the toilets are typical of those in the outback areas, the male and female showers are very functional. You need to gather your own wood, which is abundant in the area, and light the chip heater which heats the water very quickly. After the dusty dumps, the shower is much appreciated. The cost for the shower is $2 as the water has to be purchased by the pub owners and transported in, this is a fair price. There is no charge for camping. Of course, being near the pub had other benefits. Mobil phone coverage, satellite TV in the pub and a cold drink if you needed one. You need to supply your own power and gather firewood for a campfire as you would in any other free camp.
The Sheepyard Pub has an active role in the mining community and is a meeting place for the community. A theme that runs within the pub and the community is respect for our ex service men and women. Visited ex service people are invited to sign their names on whiteboards, which are displayed throughout the pub along with armed service and Australian flags. The Memorial Committee along with the Walgett RSL has constructed a War Memorial honouring those serving in all wars.





Grawin General Store, next to the “Club in the Scrub”. The Store has a very good range of groceries and supplies suitable for the mining area and fuel is also available there. The “Club in the Scrub” is an outback pub and is the Golf Club headquarters. The golf course looks quite challenging with its sands crape greens. A toilet is available for camper’s use but for all other items you need to be self sufficient. Mobil telephone contact can made, otherwise a public telephone is available near the store.

Amateur Fossil Hunting

Filed under: field trip reports,NEW- fossils,Video — Gary December 3, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

Check out this new amateur fossil hunting site.  They plan on giving RockHoundBlog a field trip report every time they go on an expedition.  Check out their site!   Can’t wait to read what they send me.   Check out the fossil videos at bottom of article!



UKAFH is an amateur fossil hunting group formed in October 2010, founded by Craig Chapman and Rob Allen from Kettering, Northamptonshire.

Craig and Rob

Craig and Rob

With a keen interest in fossils and the prehistoric world Craig and Rob took an Open University degree in ‘Fossils and History of life’. They decided to attempt a couple of hunts in their local area to see what they could find. The first hunt was in April 2010 at Tywell Hills and Dales in Cranford, Northamptonshire. They began to search for other sites in the area but realised that there was not much information available for enthusiasts.

After some discussion they decided to create a website ( with the aim of meeting other people with the same interest and provide somewhere for people to share their knowledge, experience, thoughts and opinions. So finally KAFH (Kettering amateur fossil hunters) was born. Aidan Philpott joined UKAFH in November 2010 – he helped develop the UKAFH forum and developed a strong friendship with Craig and Rob. Craig and Rob decided to promote Aidan to co-head of UKAFH.

Kettering amateur fossil hunters

Kettering amateur fossil hunters

In September 2011 – after celebrating its first birthday – KAFH became UKAFH (United Kingdom Amateur Fossil Hunters) as the group had swelled beyond the realm of Kettering and become far more of an international affair involving members around the world and regular hunts organised across the UK.

UKAFH are not only an online group but fossil hunts are regularly organised with all members invited to join in. We have been to many sites including the Isle of Sheppey, Kings Dyke, Wrens Nest, Charmouth, Irchester Country Park, Grafham Water, Yaxley, Aust and and Tywell Hills and Dales. On these hunts we have found Reptile remains, sharks teeth, vertebra, seeds and plant remains, ammonites, trilobites, fossilised wood, coral, coprolite and lots more.


Reptile remains, sharks teeth, vertebra, seeds and plant remains, ammonites, trilobites, fossilised wood, coral, coprolite and lots more.

In October, we held our first UKAFH Weekender on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. This was great fun and highly productive, consisting of campsite merriment combined with two days of hunting the London Clays.

UKAFH has become an social community and educational resource for young and not so young alike – not only are we an expanding online community, we also host monthly fossil hunts and we have been into schools and local community groups with our museum grade collections to discuss and explore fossiling and prehistory with an informal, fun and interactive approach.

finding fossils

finding fossils

All with an interest – whatever age, experience, background, belief, geography, beginner, amateur or professional are welcome to join.

RockHound Job

Filed under: Geology Job,regular postings — Gary November 29, 2011 @ 7:39 am

This seems like a dream job 🙂

Recruiting a QUALIFIED Crystal Digger to work full-time with us at our mines in the Patagonia Mountains of ARIZONA.

Thank You, Gary, As in the traditions of Ed Over, Art Montgomery, John Oliver, etc. We are seeking dedicated artisan miners with experience in digging and patiently extracting (among other minerals): quartz, gem specie, and micro rarities, etc. Self-starters, independent ambitious hard-working, with realistic awareness of the mineral trade, willingness to spend time afield as well as doing specimen processing and sales, attending trade shows, etc. along with Full-Time mining with Timeless Mining Company working favorably decomposed deposits primarily by hand-tools. Equipment experience a plus, but not required; miners with tools, vehicle, camping gear, ability to be self-supporting, wanted. Whiners and those with ‘gold psychosis’ need not apply. Miners may benefit directly and receive the Finder’s Fee or nominate a recipient or club to recieve the reward specimens. Disabled Veterans are welcome. After attending gem shows like Tucson [one hour from our mines] many adventurous prospectors & mineral collectors wish for such opportunity with one of the well known domestic gem & specimen mines displaying at the show, or in this case, a NEW MINE going into production. Our big discovery simply means another new mining crew & many collectors will be part of mineralogical history in our small part of The New American Gem & Gold Rush.

We are asking the ‘grapevine’ to pass the word: for recruiting a QUALIFIED Crystal Digger to work full-time with us at our mines in the Patagonia Mountains of ARIZONA. Our MINING CAMP is open for reservations, large club groups are welcome; We need at least FOUR MINERS, two ATV’s and several mineral dealers to market our production. We offer Joint Venture Agreements. IF YOU SEND ME A MINER who works out, you get the Finder’s Fee, and the miners get a LIFETIME OF FULL-TIME WORK and shares. Call Frank @ 520-255-3830, or David, @ 520-604-1229 Timeless Mining Company 542 Harshaw Road, Patagonia, AZ 85624

They have asked when you call to tell them Gary at RockHoundBlog told you about this dream job/ opportunity.

Thanks, Gary-

Abandoned Mine Shafts – Beware!

Filed under: RockHound Safety — Gary November 16, 2011 @ 12:53 am

A lesson to everyone.  Please be careful…

Nevada mine shaft

Man who fell 190ft into Nevada mine shaft dies after rescuers abandon attempts to save him
A man who was injured after plunging 190 feet into a rural Nevada mine shaft has died – after an attempt to rescue him while he was still alive was called off.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Doran Sanchez says the 28-year-old man, from Battle Mountain, Nevada, was pronounced dead at 12:30pm on Friday by the Pershing County officials.
But federal officials did not release information about the man’s fate until Saturday afternoon.
Authorities say the mine shaft was so treacherous that they abandoned efforts to reach him, even though they had evidence that he was still alive.

Rescuers called off attempts to save a man, who has not yet been identified, after he accidentally fell into part of Murphy’s Mine Complex in Jersey Valley, Nevada, on Wednesday.
A video camera determined the man was still breathing, but there was no movement. A priest had been called to give the last rites.
JoLynn Worley, also from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said: ‘The mine is so unstable that walls were crumbling and rocks were hitting rescuers on the head when they tried to reach him.
‘They’re people who will make every effort to save someone, but they really can’t get to him. It would endanger the lives of rescuers.
‘It appears that due to the hazardous and dangerous conditions of that shaft, the rescue efforts were stopped.’

The footage showed he had suffered serious head injuries. Images taken on Thursday night revealed he had been moving his hands.
Rescuers from sheriff’s offices in Pershing and Landers counties, as well as teams from the Newmont Mining Corporation, Washoe County and the U.S. Navy have been trying to locate him.
Several descended into the shaft, but were not able to reach the man.

Authorities kept monitoring the shaft until the man stopped breathing, Ms Worley said.

‘I know some of his family members were out there,’ she added.
The man was working in the area with a geothermal drilling crew and had visited the shaft with two friends while off duty.

It is among 10 such openings in the Murphy’s Mine Complex in Pershing County, which was originally worked around 1895 and was last worked in 1945.

Between 265,000 and 310,000 abandoned mine shafts and openings are scattered across Nevada. Federal and state agencies have an ongoing advertising campaign urging the public to stay away from them.
Around 50,000 of them have been identified as the most hazardous, but the shaft where the man fell was not among them, Ms Worley said.

Authorities have been closing shafts that pose the most danger near towns and recreation sites.

She said: ‘People’s curiosity sometimes gets the best of them.
‘These were way out in the middle of nowhere where few people would venture.’

How Granite Is Mined and Processed

Filed under: Video — Gary @ 12:44 am

Interesting videos on Granite-


The Gem & Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches

Filed under: Club Rollcall (hello's),Coming Events — Gary @ 12:10 am

A shout out to the Gem and Mineral Society of Palm Beaches.  They have been around since the 60’s and going strong!

The Gem & Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches has a rich history starting from 1966. This rich history is documented in
scrapbooks and photo albums from the beginning to present. The “Big Book” along with several photo albums are
available for viewing at the club meetings.

Show info:

The Gem and Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches will hold its 45th Annual Gem, Mineral, Bead, Jewelry, and Fossil Show November 19-20th at the Americraft Expo Center East on the South Florida Fair Grounds 9067 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach.  Hours are Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm; Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Dealers from all over the country will offer merchandise ranging from fine jewelry, southwestern Indian jewelry, beaded jewelry, loose beads, rocks, minerals for specimen collecting and cutting, loose precious and semi-precious gemstones, settings and findings, fossils, meteorites, tools, books, and more.
The show offers a wide range of educational activities and exhibits.  A number of classes are being offered and students will be able to take home a finished product in these beginner’s classes.  Demonstrations by society members include faceting, cabachon making, chain making, and bead stringing.  Hourly door prizes will be awarded and a Scholarship fundraising raffle will be held.   Attendees will be able to dig for fossils, mine for gemstones and have geodes cut.
For more information and a money-saving entrance coupon go to:

The Gem & Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches holds regular
meetings on the third Thursday of each month.

We hold our meetings at the Palm Beach Garden Club,
located at 4800 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach, FL 33405
It’s directly across from the South Florida Science Museum in
Dreher Park.

Meetings begin at 7:30pm, and usually last until 9:30.

Our meetings include a business session and a program on a
subject relating to our earth science hobby, with a break for
refreshments in between. The program may include
demonstrations, slide shows, videos, auctions, show & sell, or
lectures on various subjects.
Past programs have included

  • Florida Black Coral
  • The Ancient Art of Chainmaile
  • Ruck’s Pit
  • Crystalography
  • Flourescent Minerals

Everyone is welcome to attend the monthly meeting, but if you want to
take advantage of all the club has to offer, you should become a member!
As a member, you will have access to:

  • A fully stocked lapidary workshop including:  3 different sized rock
    saws, full range of cabbing and polishing wheels, faceting equipment, a
    flat lap and more! (Certification needed to use some machines.)

  • Classes taught by skilled club members.

  • Monthly newsletter, “The Rockhound”.
  • Check out some issues on the newsletter page.

  • Informational programs at our monthly meetings

  • Social picnics, member show and sells

  • Field trips to collecting sites

Sacramento Mineral Society Gem Show Review

Filed under: regular postings — Gary November 15, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

I came across this blog and wanted to share it.  Looks like it just started back in August 2011.  Interesting gem show review…

I will contact Stephan and ask if I can do a bio on him and his blog.  In the mean time enjoy his review-

Click here for blog/review.

Sharing the stage on which auction takes place, is the skeleton of a Siberian cave bear (approximately 50,000-70,000 years old).  It is on display courtesy of Applegate Lapidary, and is the last time this skeleton will be shown to the public.

Rockhound Movies!

Filed under: Coming Events,Rockhound Movies — Gary @ 12:01 pm

The Culver City Rock and Mineral Club invites you to join them at their next monthly meeting and presentation “Bryan Swoboda, Blue Cap Productions”.

Bryan Swoboda, president of Blue Cap Productions, will be our speaker. Bryan literally grew up with mining in California and remembers “running in the pitch-black tunnels of the Queen Mine” which belonged to his father, Edward Swoboda. Bryan produces mineral-related films like “What’s Hot in Tuscon 2011” and was recently in Munich filming. His new series of films “The New Crystal Hunters” shows kids how exciting and rewarding mineral collecting can be. The series currently has three episodes: Pala, CA; Arkansas for Crater of Diamonds and quartz; and Smoky Hawk, Colorado for smoky quartz and amazonite.

Culver City Rock and Mineral Club
Multi Purpose Room in the back of the Veterans Memorial Building
4117 Overland Avenue at the Corner of Culver Boulevard.
General Meetings are free and open to non-members
November 14, 2011 7:30pm – 9:30pm

For more information visit the Club’s website at

Please check out this great cause.  They are giving away dvd’s to kids who are interested!

With this new DVD we’re hoping to show other kids how exciting and rewarding mineral collecting can be. Our goal is to put a FREE copy of this DVD into the hands of every kid who wants one but we need your help. Please consider helping out by making a generous donation of DVDs to help our next generation.

Free rockhound DVD's

Geology DVD's

The New Crystal Hunters was created out of an idea Bryan Swoboda, President of BlueCap Productions, had to create a kid-centric video program that would get kids excited about mineral collecting.

“Everyone I talk to seems to say the same thing. That this hobby desperately needs an infusion of new blood – the next generation – to keep it going.” says Bryan.

“I was incredibly fortunate when I was a kid because I got to grow up with one of the grand-daddies of the hobby – my father Edward Swoboda. I remember running through the pitch-black tunnels of the Queen Mine when I was a child with nothing more than a candle and the certainty that I was about to find Tom Sawyer’s treasure. That sense of adventure, searching and discovery is one of the things that makes this hobby so great. We can’t let that slip away. Sit in a room with a bunch of passionate collectors and just listen to the stories they share. It’s better than any adventure show on television especially because you know it’s real!”

“The more I got involved in putting together mineral-related films, the more I kept hearing about the lack of new kids in this hobby. I’ve spent a lot of time working with kids and putting together special programs for them so I figured that maybe there was something I could do. That’s when I decided that if BlueCap Productions is going to be working in this hobby, it needs to do its part in helping to fix this problem.”

Prior to starting BlueCap Productions, Bryan started and ran a non-profit organization that helped kids fighting cancer. This organization put together, financed and filmed international, nature-based, adventure trips that would be taken by young cancer survivors. These young survivors would use the film to reach out to kids currently facing cancer, share their stories of survival and give them hope for the future

Bryan’s passion for empowering kids has never left him and it was with great excitement that The New Crystal Hunters was born.