Jason Hinkle on Amethyst, Carnelian, Plume and Moss Thundereggs & Bio

Filed under: interviews(new),regular postings — Gary January 28, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

opal_agate rock_pic

…If you share the same interest or just want to talk rock,feel free to email me and I’m more than happy to chat. Or if you happen to travel through my part of Oregon, be sure to swing in and say Hello…

The story of a growing addiction
Since the time I could walk I can remember my parents taking me into
the woods camping, fishing and our favorite hobby was collecting shed
antlers. Just like many young kids, I can remember picking up rocks while on
my adventures into the woods. Agates, Jaspers, Petrified Woods, Arrowheads
and more all made it home in my pocket. It wasn’t until the early 1990′s
when I was still in Middle School at the age of 12 or 13 I took a unusual
interest in Gold Prospecting. I worked on a farm and used my pay
checks to buy gold pans, vials, and eventually I saved enough to buy a
sluice box and metal detector. Rather than our normal shed antler collecting
grounds, we found ourselves traveling from the Pacific Ocean at Sixes River
to the east side of Oregon in the Sumpter / Granite area chasing the elusive Gold.
No matter where I went chasing gold, there was always a “cool rock” to be found
and stuffed in my pocket. As time moved along and my gold vials never really
seemed to fill up, I kept acquiring a high interest in Rocks, Gems, and
Minerals and slowly kept bringing home more of these treasures to sort,
clean and pile anywhere I had a empty void.After a year or so of collecting I made a visit to a second hand/antique
store here in my local town and made my first discovery of a stone
called The Thunderegg. I made several visits to this place until I purchased
every last Thunderegg in the wooden box where they rested. These
Thundereggs were already cut to expose the amazing variety of agate
interiors they held and is the start of a personal addiction, and the origin
of my now box upon box full of cut and polished Thundereggs.It was shortly after I caught the rockhound bug I was introduced to a
relative of mine who has been rockhounding for years. During hours
of visits I made to his home I started to learn the steps on how the rock
became the polished jewels you see in every rockshop.
This relative
“Howard” showed me many interesting rocks and taught me much
of what every new rockhound should get started in was Tumbling,
Cutting and Polishing. Although I was slow to start tumbling rock, I did
purchase a home made sander and polisher from a elderly fellow
who was quitting the hobby. Once I obtained these tools I started to shine
the Thundereggs I’ve kept on my shelf for months now. Now that I
was doing stuff on my own I was hooked. I couldn’t find enough cut stone
to sand and polish. Anything and everything that had a cut face and was a
rock I tried to sand and polish it. Soon after I wanted to move on to bigger
and better things. So how was I going to cut rock? I tried everything I
could think of, including a metal cutting bandsaw which was housed in my
Fathers garage. I will admit I did cut my first rock, but the blade sure
didn’t last long. As time moved along I was blessed with the help of my
Grandparents and Howard who both pitched in and bought my first Rock Saw.
Man was I in heaven! It was a 18″ saw which was one of many Portland, Oregon
companies who built equipment in the 50′s and 60′s. The first thing
I did was clean the saw and give it a fresh coat of paint, jet black with
red trim. I cut rock for hours and hours each evening after school and on
the weekends. Anything and everything had to be cut.As I felt more comfortable with the finished Thundereggs I produced, I
slowly started to offer my jewels for sale at local shows and across the
Internet. My first original Internet debut was in 1997 when I sold many
of my items across Yahoo Auctions. This did fairly well for me especially
still being a Senior in High School. It paid for my gas and let me travel
around the state to dig more Thundereggs.In 1999 I made my first appearance on Ebay and still to this day continue
to offer my items for sale through the company. I tried various outlets to
show off my Thundereggs and my first attempt at a website was a free
service provider which was pretty neat. My first website was basically
a informational site with Thunderegg photo’s and ID labels. After a year or
two of having this site, I finally got tired of the “pop-ups” which came along
with the privilege of this “free” site. After some serious thinking I finally hit
the delete button and eliminated that site. It was then I found my current
provider who hosts my current site and the
owner of the hosting site Dino was wonderful in helping me establish my new
site and give me some how-to for using HTML code.I’ve had my current website now for several years and it keeps growing!
Thanks to the thousands of customers who I’ve served worldwide.
Without the support of these great folks, I wouldn’t be where I am now!
At the current time I am 26 years old and have roughly been into the rock
hobby and gold prospecting for about 14 years. I have seen many places
throughout the Northwest and dug tons upon tons of rock with many great
people! I’ve had the experience of digging Thundereggs with several people
from Germany, New Zealand, Tasmania and more! I never get tired of
meeting new people who share the same interest as I do. Besides the website
I have a small shop which I house all my finished stones in and open on a
appointment type basis. If you share the same interest or just want to talk rock,
feel free to email me and I’m more than happy to chat. Or if you happen to travel
through my part of Oregon, be sure to swing in and say Hello!
There’s been many stones over the years I’ve found and I really hate to point fingers
as to which specimen is my best, but I would have to say it was when my Father,
a good friend and I all found a small deposit of Ochoco Thundereggs which I currently
own claim on. It was a dream of a lifetime to locate, dig and establish my own mining claim.
In addition to this claim I also dig small Opal filled Thundereggs full of Jelly Opal, and
if real lucky you’ll find a piece of Precious Opal or Conta Luz. I feel lucky as some things I have found
over the years are more than the average person could find, but the hours upon hours
I spent hiking the mountains I feel this is my rewards for the efforts. A few other stones
I’ve found in my travels are Fossil Fish (in Oregon), Plume Agates, and my favorite
Thundereggs. To this day I’ve located beautiful Amethyst, Carnelian, Plume and Moss Thundereggs
Regardless where a rockhound travels I feel there’s one special rock with your name on it.
Once you find this stone, trust me it will fuel your fire to keep on looking for more.
A few extra words I’d like to say to some of the new generation of
Rockhounds. Spend as much time as you can with the older rockhounds.
These guys have seen amazing things and have a brain full of knowledge.
I regret not being able to spend more time with the guys I thought as great
friends or family. Although I’m pleased with the information they passed along,
I have much more to learn asI continue with this hobby/business.Thank youJason Hinkle
Hinkle’s Rock Shop
The Dalles, Oregon

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