Limonite, mineraloid of the day. Also known as the Lemon Rock

Filed under: Mineral of the day,regular postings — Gary December 27, 2006 @ 1:12 pm

limonite upon quartz Limonite_cubeslimonite_rough

Limonite is a hydrated iron(III) oxide-hydroxide of varying composition. The generic formula is frequently written as FeO(OH)·nH2O, although this is not entirely accurate as limonite often contains a varying amount of oxide compared to hydroxide.

Together with hematite, it has been mined as ore for the production of iron. Limonite is heavy and yellowish-brown. It is a very common amorphous substance though can be tricky to find when mined with hematite and bog ore.

It is not a true mineral, but a mineraloid, and it is composed by a mixture of similar hydrated iron oxide minerals, mostly goethite with lepidocrocite, jarosite, and others. Limonite forms mostly in or near oxidized iron and other metal ore deposits and as sedimentary beds. Limonite may occur as the cementing material in iron rich sandstones. Also known as the Lemon Rock.


Merry Xmas To All Rockhounds!

Filed under: regular postings — Gary December 25, 2006 @ 5:18 am

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!  Hope Santa was kind.   :)   Going to San Fran this week to see Van Morrison with some friends, (xmas present from my wife) should be fun, can’t wait to get out of this snow!  Here is a picture of me and my son at a Christmas tree farm last week- a little blurry as I captured it from a video.

Thanks for stopping by, Gary

Rockhound looking for Rough Opal, attending Pow Wow and Desert Gardens Shows in Quartzsite

Filed under: regular postings — Gary December 23, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

Hi, I’ve never posted before and don’t know if this is the right place to ask a question or not, but maybe someone can help. Does anyone know any opal dealers who will be doing the Pow Wow and Desert Gardens Shows in Quartzsite, AZ the last of January? I’m interested in buying solid opal rough.



Yes this rockhound blog is for anything related to rockhounding, so if anyone can help Sandra out here is her email. Thanks for the question…
E-mail :

Mineral Of The Day- Diamond. Structure, Hardness, Color, Clarity, Structure and Conflict

Filed under: Mineral of the day,regular postings — Gary @ 2:47 pm

Just in time for Christmas, Diamonds….

rough_diamonds rough_diamond_2diamond_1

Diamond is the hardest known natural material (third-hardest known material below aggregated diamond nanorods and ultrahard fullerite), and is the most expensive of the two best known forms (or allotropes) of carbon, whose hardness and high dispersion of light make it useful for industrial applications and jewelry. (The other equally well known allotrope is graphite.) Diamonds are specifically renowned as a mineral with superlative physical qualities — they make excellent abrasives because they can be scratched only by other diamonds, Borazon, ultrahard fullerite, or aggregated diamond nanorods, which also means they hold a polish extremely well and retain luster. About 130 million carats (26,000 kg) are mined annually, with a total value of nearly USD $9 billion. About 100 tons are synthesized annually.[1]

The name “diamond” derives from the ancient Greek adamas (αδάμας; “invincible”). They have been treasured as gemstones since their use as religious icons in India at least 2,500 years ago—and usage in drill bits and engraving tools also dates to early human history. Popularity of diamonds has risen since the 19th century because of increased supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques, growth in the world economy, and innovative and successful advertising campaigns. They are commonly judged by the “four Cs”: carat, clarity, color, and cut. Although synthetic diamonds are produced each year at nearly four times the rate of natural diamonds, the vast majority of synthetic diamonds produced are small imperfect diamonds suitable only for industrial-grade use.


Roughly 49% of diamonds originate from central and southern Africa, although significant sources of the mineral have been discovered in Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, and Australia. They are generally mined from volcanic pipes, which are deep in the Earth where the high pressure and temperature enables the formation of the crystals. The mining and distribution of natural diamonds are subjects of frequent controversy—such as with concerns over the sale of conflict diamonds by African paramilitary groups. There are also allegations that the De Beers Group misuses its dominance in the industry to control supply and manipulate price via monopolistic practices, although in recent years the company’s market share has dropped to below 60%.


Roll Call, tell everyone where you are from, if you belong to a club, or your fav spot to dig

Filed under: regular postings — Gary December 22, 2006 @ 11:06 pm

Leave a comment or email me at and I will post.

RockHound Poetry, Placed at the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies.

Filed under: regular postings — Gary @ 5:31 am

While surfing the net last night I bumped into several good sites owned by Terrell William “Terry” Proctor, J.D and on one site there was rockhound poetry.  Once I read it I had to ask if I could reprint it here as it was very good (it placed twice in 2 different competitions)…enjoy!

This poem appeared in the August 2000 Backbenders Gazette, the publication of the Houston Gem & Mineral Society.
“The Rockhound” won Fourth place in the 2001 competition of Adult Poetry
category of the South Central Federation of Mineral Societies & Eighth place
in the 2001 competition of Adult Poetry of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies.
“Used with prior written permission of the author, T. W. Proctor, J.D., which must be obtained before use elsewhere. Contact at

© 2000 Terrell William “Terry” Proctor, J.D.

The day is dark and wet and cold,
A high level of ozone and mold;
It’s a great day to stay at home,
This is no time to get out and roam;
It’s a time to write or paint or read,
Getting cold and wet, I don’t need.

But at home, I cannot stay,
Our Club’s Field Trip is TODAY!!!
Boots go on, hat on my head,
Hammer in hand, get out the lead;
First a drive, then a walk,
Find the place–from the talk.

Looking for a fossil, mineral or gem,
In a cave or a mountain rim;
Luck and skill, go hand in hand,
On private or government land;
Tension builds, how will I fare?
Only Leverite, or something rare.


Rock Tumbling – how to guide, Tumbling procedures, Step by Step. Lapidary

Filed under: how to?,regular postings — Gary @ 1:21 am

rock_tumbler rock_tumbler_grit
If you haven’t tumbled stones before,
or need a refresher,
these procedures may be of interest to you:

  1. Wash the stones thoroughly. Be sure there is no debris attached to the stones. Use a brush and soapy water if necessary.
  2. Sort your stones by size and hardness into groups or batches. Soft stones will grind away before hard stones are ready for the next step. Stones of nearly the same size will have more points of contact and therefore will produce a more thorough and faster grinding action. If certain shapes or sizes are desired, you may want to preform your stones by grinding them on a lap first.
  3. The amount of stones put in a tumbler barrel depends on the size of the barrel and the stones themselves. The best tumbling action occurs when the barrel is filled 50% to 60% of its capacity. Fill the barrel with your stones to 1/2″ above the half-way mark. Remove the stones and weigh them. This weight will help you to determine how much grit is needed. Record this weight for future reference. Use the following ratio to determine the amount of silicon carbide grit needed for your batch: (more…)

Rockhound VIDEO! Coon Hollow Camp Ground & Bradshaw trail-Roosevelt mine & Limonite Cubes

Filed under: Rockhound stories,Video,regular postings — Gary December 20, 2006 @ 9:03 am

This is Coon Hollow camp ground and a short trip to a couple of mines, one had a road that was really rough as you will see. Just off Wiley’s Well Road, see the video taking you on the road to all the mines.

Run report for the Rock Hound pre-run 9-22-06 thru 9-25-06 From Dick-
Ron and I arrived early the morning of the 23rd around 12:30 am. We were met by Dave. He helped us set up camp and told us of his story about getting lost on Thursday night and then about the bees swarming around there camp on Friday the 22nd,I thought the bee thing was just a one time occurrence, but no the next morning as soon as the sun came up the bees were back, so we checked the camp grounds other sites and found them to be also infested with bees. So I drove down to Coon Hollow to check it out and found no bees, so we all packed up and moved.
Around 11:30 we headed out for the McCoy Mountains, we found the trail in with out much trouble and also found the Limonite cube collecting area without much trouble; we spent about an hour or so picking up the little cubes of Limonite. Then on back to camp and dinner and a nice campfire. The next day, Sunday, Dave and his family backed up the gear then we all headed out for the Palen Mts. in search of Quartz Crystals, we found the road to the Iron Queen Mine it was washed out a short distance from the mine so we started looking around and Dave found a really nice Crystal with a bunch of green stuff inside of it, I found a small clear crystal, and Rachel also found a small crystal. We then went in search of another mine but did not find it, by then it was time for Dave and his family to head back to San Diego and Ron and I went back to camp. We had lunch then went off to find a couple more mines; one was the Roosevelt mine which was no trouble to find, it was or is a gold mine, then we tried to get to this other mine we could see from the Bradshaw trail, we got within a quarter mile before the road washed out and we had to back down this really steep, badly rutted, trail.
This was a good trip, and now we know where to find the Limonite Cubes and Quartz Crystals for the November trip. The short movie is of the Coon Hollow Camp Ground and the road in as well as the Bradshaw trail and the steep road up to the one mine, photos of the trip that I took are at-
Three topo maps used roosevelt mine/limonite cubes/crystals

Ammolite, calcentine, korite Gem, one of the three biogenic gemstones-imitation black opal

Filed under: Mineral of the day,regular postings — Gary @ 8:10 am


Ammolite is a rare and valuable opal-like organic gemstone found primarily along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains of the United States and Canada. It is made of the fossilized shells of ammonites, which in turn are composed primarily of aragonite, the same mineral that makes up nacreous pearls. It is one of the three biogenic gemstones, the other two being amber and pearl. In 1981, ammolite was given official gemstone status by the World Jewellery Confederation, the same year commercial mining of ammolite began. In 2004 it was designated the official gemstone of the Province of Alberta.

What is the story behind this gemstone?: This is an organic stone that, in spite of its name and origin, is not a true fossil gem material like amber. Instead, the shell from the ancient ammonite has been compressed to the point that the calcium carbonate has been recrystallized to form a new material called aragonite. For most of you this will not be important. But for gemologists you will want to take note of this fact later on. But for consumers, think of it as nature taking something old and beautiful, and making it into something new and beautiful that only occurs in one place and in one method.

Ammolite is also known as aapoak (Kainah for “small, crawling stone”), gem ammonite, calcentine, and korite. The latter is a trade name given to the gemstone by the Alberta-based mining company Korite International, the first and largest commercial producer of ammolite.


Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey, USA – table of longwave fluorescent minerals

Filed under: regular postings,rockhounding maps — Gary December 18, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

alleghanyiteAlleghanyite is an exceptionally rare member of the humite group, and this specimen is unusually rich with gemmy brown microcrystals to 2 mm flatlaying along an approximately 3-cm vertical axis on this specimen . The matrix is a typical mix of franklinite/calcite/willemite and is highly fluorescent.

The mines of Franklin and the Sterling Hill Mine at Ogdensburg, Sussex County in northwestern New Jersey are world famous and deservingly so. No other site can boast the same assortment of rare and interesting minerals. Over three hundred different minerals were found at these mines and most are listed in The Minerals of Franklin and Sterling Hill Table.