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: Rockhound Travel,Rockhound stories,field trip reports,regular postings — 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.

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-

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.

Filed under: regular postings — Gary October 19, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

A shout out to the Agate Lady.  Very interesting/artistic pictures she has posted on her blog.

After more than a million miles of corporate travel, I moved to my family’s home town of Grand Marais, MI in 1994. I now operate the Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum as well as earn a living as a mineral artist. I hope that this blog will help me share my adventures and art with family, friends, museum patrons, and customers. You can learn more about the museum at


Check out all her pictures here:

Graves Mountain, GA

Filed under: regular postings — Gary October 12, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

Anyone ever been to Graves Mountain?  If not here’s your chance!  I wrote about this place waaay back in 2006 -Click Here for that article-

Graves Mountain

Graves Mountain

Graves Mountain Map

Graves Mountain Map

Graves Mountain Field Trip 10/29-30/11

To All Rockhounds -

I am hosting a field trip to the Graves Mountain, GA area on 10/29-30/11.

We will spend Saturday, 10/29/11,  collecting at Graves Mountain.

You can keep everything you find.

The cost is free but a small donation to the caretaker is appreciated.

We will spend Sunday, 10/30/11, collecting at Jackson’s Crossroads Amethyst Mine starting at 9AM sharp.

You can keep everything you find.

No children under age 12 allowed.

The cost is $25/person/day, cash only. Please try to have exact change.

Headquarters will be the Jameson Inn in Washington, GA, (706)678-7925.

Rooms are $69/night and they have a washing station for rock hounds out back.

This field trip is open to anyone who wants to go.

You can attend one or both days.


Ed Tindell

2011 Field Trip Coordinator

Clear Lake Gem & Mineral Society

Humboldt Coast Rockhounding. Agate Beach and Trinidad Beach Jasper

I bumped into Stephan and asked him if he would let me put his adventure on my blog.  Here it is…enjoy !!!



Vacation on the Humboldt Coast, August 2011

Patrick's Point/Agate Beach

This year, for our vacation, my son, Justin, and I decided to explore a portion of the Humboldt Coast. The siren songs of Agate Beach and Trinidad Beach jasper have been in our ears for some time now. Additionally, a dear friend and fellow photographer has been extolling Trinidad’s virtues ever since I have mentioned a desire to visit. Her pictures of the area certainly piqued my interest further….

For my pictures, please see:


Justin returned from his mother’s house at 8:30 AM. I finished packing the car, and we (including Buddy and Buster, the wonder-wieners) were on the road by 10:15. Heading north in I-5, we were filled with excitement. In spite of the mild summer we have been experiencing in Davis, the air was hazy, and it became quickly evident that the northern valley (which does not receive the cooling Delta Breeze that we do) has not enjoyed this to the same extent. Within an hour from home, the temperatures were in the mid-90s (Davis had a forecast high of 88°F for that day), and the Coast Range, quite close to the freeway, was not clearly visible. The Sutter Buttes, also, were only visible in silhouette. When we reached Redding at 12:30, it was a sweltering 99°F, and the only thing I could see of Mount Shasta was a fuzzy outline of its snow-capped peak.

We turned west into the Trinity Alps. The three hour drive through the mountains on highway 299 was gorgeous and surprisingly hot. The temperatures hovered in the mid-to-high 90s until we were within about 10 miles of Arcata, at which point they dropped rapidly.

For lunch we stopped at Bagdad, on the Trinity River. I wanted to do a quick search for jade, but the area was designed for boat access of the river. Reaching the rocks would have required a swim.

All along the drive I saw numerous possibilities for future camping trips along the Trinity River (jade hunting kayak-trips, perhaps?). I imagine near Willow Creek will be the place, as it closer to the coast and somewhat cooler.

We arrived at about 5PM and set up camp. The campsite was nice: large and relatively private, secluded in ferns and bishop pines.

After set-up, we took a quick trek to Agate Beach (about a mile from our campsite), and found some goodies – mostly jasper.


I woke up at about 6:00, mainly to the sounds of crows, ravens, Stellar’s jays, spotted owls and woodpeckers as well as a few unidentified birds. There were very few human sounds. The noisy revelers were still asleep and the early risers respected the quiet. I stayed in my sleeping bag, listening, until about 7:00, and then got up for breakfast. I realized then that I’d forgotten to bring my coffee (d’oh!), but green tea was just fine.

At 9:00, Justin woke, and had his breakfast. Afterward, we proceeded to Sumeg Village (a model Yurok village), where a program was put on by local Yuroks. A tour of the village was performed by Skip: a Yurok as well a Park Ranger, which provided an interesting perspective (and one that was more accurate than the usual anthropological approach, I imagine). We learned, for instance that Yurok houses have small round door designed to keep bears out. Yurok tools were chiefly constructed of elk horn, rather than stone. Also, since Yuroks consider all things alive and imbued with spirit, represent physical features in things they build. For instance, every Yurok canoe has structures representing a nose, heart, lungs and kidneys – the essential organs.

Following the tour, we were treated to Yurok songs and prayers to prepare us for a salmon feast. The salmon was delicious, slowly spit-roasted over a redwood charcoal pit. I even partook of what is considered a delicacy – the head, which was moist and quite delicious, particularly the cheek meat.

Well-fortified after lunch, Justin and I biked into Trinidad, about 5 miles away. This turned out to be slightly more challenging than I imagined. Although Justin and I are both avid bikers, I did not have my regular bike – a cargo bike is too large for my roof rack. Instead, I was riding Justin’s “spare” bike, which even at its tallest setting is too small for me. Unlike Davis, Trinidad actually has hills, which are quite tough to bike when your knees are nearly smacking you in the chin.



Upon returning, we headed to Agate Beach for our first serious agate hunt. We hit a beach packed with agate hunters, over half of whom were armed with “agate scoops” – essentially three-foot-long slotted spoons. Most of these were identical and presumably purchased. A few, though, were creatively home-made: one was constructed of a golf club handle and a small kitchen sieve, another of a wooden dowel and a kitty litter scoop. These folks had a distinct advantage as they were able to reach agates that were further away without diving for them. Most of these folks also seemed focused only on agates. Many had pint-sized Ziploc bags significantly filled with agates.

I, on the other hand, found two agates. This is probably due to several factors. I do not seem to have “the eye.” Many of the hunters have been coming here for years and know what to look for, and take only agates. I, on the other hand, was distracted by the amazing array of jasper and jade that can also be found (in fact, they are more plentiful than agates). Also, without a scoop, I simply could not reach many of the agates that I did spot, since they do not remain in one place for long before the next wave moves them again.

Blue Trinidad jade

Blue Trinidad jade

Speaking of jasper, I found one piece of classic brecciated tan and pink Trinidad jasper with a gorgeous seam of agate running through it. More common are pieces with brown or tan landscapes and blue sky in colors reminiscent of Rocky Butte jasper from Oregon.


At Justin’s insistence, I woke him up early for some just-past-sunrise, low-tide “agateering.” The beach already sported the hard-core hunters. As we searched, I chatted with a few of these old-timers. One was a San Francisco man who has been coming with his family every year for 40 years. Amazingly, he was not aware that there is also an Agate Beach in Bolinas. In any case, he shared some of his hints: the area where the water is an inch or two deep is best. The agates are briefly still, and give off a blue “glow.” This did not help me greatly, as every blue glow I saw was either 20 feet away, in someone’s scoop, or a “false positive” – grey chert. I again found jasper and jade more frequently than agate (once again, I found two agates, which were slightly larger than the previous day’s finds).

By about 10:00, the morning fog had almost completely burned away making all the stones on the beach sparkle in a very distracting manner. Nevertheless, after lunch, Justin and I joined a ranger-led hunt. Her presentation confirmed my suspicions about two brown stones I had found in the morning – they are petrified wood. During this hunt I actually found three agates (!), two more pieces of petrified wood (okay, auto complete just tried to turn that into petrified woodpeckers, which would be an extremely cool find), and a fairly large black piece of whalebone (a piece of rib, perhaps?). Justin found several agates and an egg-shaped piece of Trinidad jasper that makes me drool (see the pictures link to see it).

Petrified wood

Petrified wood

That night, our campfire was slightly less relaxing than usual since we had some new neighbors: one family began arguing the moment they pulled in, another had three small squalling children that went on shrieking for hours…


Monday morning dawned perfectly clear. Justin once again slept in. After a short morning agate hunt (I again found two), we opted for a road-trip to Fern Canyon. On the way, we stopped for pictures of one of the local herds of Roosevelt elk. They were amazing to see, but at about half a mile distant, so I don’t think we got a full appreciation of how huge these beautiful critters are. Getting to Fern Canyon involved driving along eight miles of bumpy and dusty, but decently graded, dirt road and making four water crossings. The ranger assured me that my car (not a four-wheel drive) could make it, but the first one made me a bit nervous. Luckily the crossing contained sufficient gravel that tires did not sink into mud.

The short hike (no dogs allowed) at Fern Canyon (where parts of the Jurassic Park movies were filmed) was totally worth the bouncy drive. We first crossed a meadow with a very clear creek, tall bushy horsetails, prolific wild-flowers and dozens of dragonflies (black saddlebags, I’m fairly sure) that absolutely refused to land and pose for pictures. The canyon itself is only half a mile long: a deep trench lined with four different species of ferns (so that’s how it got its name) and waterfalls. Downed logs were decorated with mosses and unusual fungi, including one growing a red, brain-shaped jelly fungus of some sort. At the end of the canyon Justin and I opted for the loop hike ascending what one kid described as the “endless stairs” for a small wood-land like. We crossed another meadow with numerous dragonflies (some sort of darner this time, I believe), which were equally camera-shy. This is a perfect flip-flop hike: wet and not at all difficult.

After this hike, we decided to head to Big Lagoon, a dog-friendly beach. One of the Patrick’s Point rangers had told us that nearly every beach in Humboldt County, with the exception of Agate Beach is dog-friendly. She had also told that many local search for agates there when it isn’t sandy, since there are fewer people. It was sandy. A sign sported a very amusing typo in reference to dogs (see pictures).

The beach excursion did not last long, since the dogs were being brats, escaping their harnesses repeatedly. Justin and I opted for a hike at the camp-ground instead. We toured the Yurok ceremonial rock, and then explored Mussel Rock, Lookout Rock and the Wedding Rock.

At night the kids across the way cried and screamed for three hours. Lovely.


Another early-morning agate expedition. It started off foggy, but by 9:00 the fog was down to thin wisps. This was apparently good for Justin’s “agate-eye,” as he found a good 20 pieces, including two that resemble faces. I found four agates, but struck an absolute jade-jackpot. I talked with an old-timer couple, who, like me, had a more eclectic focus, also pursuing jade and jasper. The man told me that the blue and brown Oregon-jasper-like pieces I had been finding could often be cut to reveal black agate in thunderegg-like formations. I will have to try it.

After brunch, Justin participated in a Junior Ranger “slug slam” program where we learned that slugs breathe through a hole in the side of their heads, and we also made artificial “slug-slime” – yellow oobleck.

Next on the agenda was a trip to Trinidad. We arrived to perfectly clear weather and headed to the lighthouse overlooking the bay. I have to say that this is one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. This place seriously gives Kauai a run for its money in terms of sheer, breath-taking scenic beauty. I vowed on the spot that we will return next year. Since the dogs had been brats on the beach the day before, we decided that they would not be going to the beach today. To make up for this, we took them for a nice hike of Trinidad Head. This was a long enough hike to tire them out (Buddy, the 14 year-old, had to be carried for the last bit). The views were stunning, and I saw many wildflowers with which I am not familiar

The next item on the agenda was exploring Trinidad State Beach which contains spectacular boulders of multicolored jasper with tafoni-like features, caves and off-shore sea-stacks, one of which is 10 acres in size and covered in bishop pine. The beach also contains a creek that is the source of Trinidad Beach jasper. I managed to find three pieces. Two look promising, but one revealed many fractures after I cleaned the creek-slime. No worries. We will return here! When I know whether I picked well, I can get more. I also lugged a few 30-pound landscape boulders through a half mile of deep sand. A very good work-out.

Trinidad jasper

Trinidad jasper


Our last full day dawned to weather that is more typical than what we had been experiencing: heavy fog. Our last agate hunt lasted only about two hours. The fog wasn’t burning off, and Justin was thoroughly chilled. During our time there, I did have the time to speak to an old-timer, who claimed that agates are getting more rare with more people coming. He claimed that it used to be possible to find 100 – 150 agates in an hour, and that he is lucky to find 20 or 30 a day now.

After warming the boy up with oatmeal and green tea, we decided that an inland hike of the big trees would be in order. Once 101 turned inland after Orick, it soon became sunny.

Parking at Big Trees, we found a nice, shady spot for “the boys,” since dogs are not allowed on the trails. We picked a nice 6-mile hike off the map and got going. Evidently this map marked trails “as the crow flies,” since it did not show switch-backs, which expanded the hike to at least 10 miles and made it moderately strenuous. It was Justin’s first exposure to totally wild, dense vegetation, and he became convinced that we were lost, and was visibly relieved with every trail-marking sign.

This hike earned us a substantial dinner, so we headed to eat at the Trinidad Eatery and Gallery, which had been recommended by a friend (the same friend who raved about Trinidad itself). Justin and I shared a plate of calamari for the appetizer, followed by clam chowder for him and an excellent cioppino for me. For dessert we split some dynamite blackberry cobbler.

Justin fell asleep by 8:30, and I read by the campfire. The screaming, sobbing kids were gone!


Homeward-bound. The last day of vacation is always a melancholy event. I am usually blissful from the experience, but sad to be leaving. This time was no exception. After one last hike of the campground trails, Justin and I packed and headed out, opting for the highway 101 to 20 route, to make the trip a loop. Just like 299, this is a beautiful drive, though much of it seems studded with tourist traps (Bigfoot themed and redwood themed). I saw many possibilities for future explorations of the area, and also managed to lose count of the number of times we crossed the Eel river (Justin insists it was 29).

Much of this drive was quite a bit cooler than the trip in, until we neared Laytonville, and from there until past Clear Lake and Williams, temperatures hovered near 100°F. As we drove south on I-5, it cooled very gradually until we hit Woodland, which is apparently as far as the Delta Breeze reaches.

Justin’s favorite hot-and-sour soup welcomed us back to town. Everyone (including the dogs) took a thorough shower and relaxed in our own beds.

The dogs are still sleeping as of Sunday….

I am very grateful for this experience.

Happy Hunting,

Stephan in Davis, CA.

What is flintknapping?

Filed under: regular postings — Gary December 3, 2010 @ 10:58 am
Michael Miller

Michael Miller

Archeologist Specializing in the Art of Flintknapping.

Michael Miller has been fascinated with rocks since early childhood; his mineral, fossil, and rock collecting took him to interesting places but, none as addicting as the realm of flintknapping. What is flintknapping? Technically and archaeologically, knapping is shaping of conchoidally fracturing stone to create an objective piece, be it an arrowhead, gun flint, scraper, etc. Numerous types of stone can be knapped, a short list includes: flint, chert, obsidian, chalcedony, basalt, and jasper. Lithic material for use in flintknapping can be found just about everywhere humans have ever called home. Michael grew up in Ohio and even after traveling all over the world as a professional archeologist he prefers the cherts from the Midwest. His favorite material to knap is Upper Mercer chert from south-central Ohio; it is a black to blue chert that is often mottled and occasionally has quartz inclusions. Some of the most colorful stone for knapping, Flint Ridge Flint, comes from Ohio too. Flint Ridge Flint is highly revered for the numerous colors, distinctive banding, and inclusions that make it so unique.  Michael enjoys digging for his stone but, also participates in an ever growing trade-network of knappers and exchanges his rocks for exotic and interesting cherts from all over the USA and world.

Flint Ridge

Flint Ridge

Flint Knapping

Flint Knapping

How do you get started in flintknapping? As with other rock hobbies, learning to knap takes dedication and time. Michael recommends that beginners look to the pros; flintknapping has a long tradition of being passed down, and the best way to learn is from another skilled flintknapper.  He says to go to a “knap-in”, this is when a bunch of knappers get together over a weekend for the sole purpose of banging on rocks, trading/selling rocks, learning new techniques and talking rock with fellow rock knockers. Ask almost any knapper for a lesson, and they’ll happily share their time, rock, and skills with you. If you can’t get to a knap-in, the Internet offers tons of resources, as many knappers have spread their specialized knowledge in the form of pictures and videos. Michael’s website,, offers a large selection of links to those looking to learn more about the art.

Michael spends his days working as a lithic analyst, an archaeologist that specializes in the study of stone artifacts. He uses his in-depth knowledge of flintknapping to help inform him about the artifacts that he studies; by correlating the practices of prehistoric humans with modern day experiments, he gains invaluable insight into the lifeways of our ancestors. On his off time, you guessed it, he plays with rocks and devotes untold hours to his website,, which has grown over the past ten years into the largest flintknapping website out there, showcasing the work of over 40 knappers and listing thousands of replicas for sale.



Southern California Rockhound

Filed under: regular postings — Gary November 10, 2010 @ 9:33 am

Just a hello to a fellow rockhounder in Southern California.  He seems to be very busy with all his rockhound activities but enjoying it none the less.  I found his blog while checking where my traffic was coming from (backlinks).  Thought I would give his blog some exposure since he is sending visitors my way.

A blurb from his blog…

I’ve also been busy with the three local rockhounding clubs thus far this year (Santa Lucia Rockhounds, SLO Gem & Mineral Club, and the Orcutt Mineral Society). of which I’m a member of each and a vice president in the former two.

Central Coast Rockhounding

My Central Coast Rockhounds Yahoo Group is thriving of late with lots of great content provided by a core group of contributors including your’s truly.

This activity seems to be a reflection of the renewed interest in the rockhounding hobby in Central California this year.

I have not made it out to rockhound this year which amazes and distresses me given this has been an El Nino rainy season with lots of runoff and wave action to promote erosion, a rockhound’s greatest friend.

I hope next week to get out and get after it so we’ll see.

There are many options: Ant Hill in Bakersfield, Templeton biconoids, Highway 46 West Summit biconoids, San Simeon State Beach, Villa Creek, Shell Creek fossils, Toro Creek/Hole-in-the Fence Beach, Montano de Oro State Beach, Cuesta Ridge, Salinas River, Adelaida-area mercury mines, Gaviota Coast, etcetera.

Read more here-

Rockhound Websites

Filed under: regular postings — Gary November 9, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

Interested in starting a rockhound related website?

You need a brandable domain name so everyone will remember it plus know what it’s exactely about just by reading the name.  These two are perfect for rockhounding and are for sale-

Contact for more details.