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Post Info TOPIC: Gemstone Fossicking


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Gemstone Fossicking


Are any of you Grey Nomads gemstone fossickers?

Everywhere I go, I like to have a poke around in streambeds and gravel deposit or around old or new mines. I have found quite a few reasonable sapphires and zircons, a few bits of topaz and smokey quartz and some interesting pieces of opal, I don't do much with them at all after collecting them. It's the thrill of finding a beautiful rough gemstone out "in the bush" that appeals to me.

If any of you fossickers are out there and have some interesting tales to tell, I'd like to hear them.

Here is a pic of some rough sapphires and zircons found near Inverell.

Cheers,

Roy.20180509_145906.jpg



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Sounds like good fun.



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Hi Roy,
Some good looking stones there. Looks like you have at least two cutters among them, unless they have inclusions or are delaminated.
We used to frequent the Central Queensland Gemfields but have not been there for four years. Since then, I have endured a knee replacement, which has slowed me down and caused me to retire. We have fossicked all over Queensland, around Glen Innes, Emmaville and Torrington in New South Wales, and also done a bit over in W.A.
Only problem with fossicking is that when you get home, you are wanting to start planning the next fossicking trip!
Message us back and we can share some good spots to visit.
Regards
Dave


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Dave (Nutgrass)

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Nice stones! I also have an interest in fossicking although most of it was in the UK. I did camp last year near the Aga Khan Emerald mines and found plenty of Beryl and quite a few Emeralds but none big or flawless enough to cut (VERY cracked). That area is great to camp in and there are some "Devil's Marbles' that you can hike to that are lovely and set above an interesting plain. I did do some detecting as well but the area has been well covered so no luck there.

I also did the 'Sapphire Trail' of Inverell many years ago and found a few big enough to cut along with some very nice jellybean quartz and other crystals. Also done Thunderegg hunting at Mt Tamborine in Qld - got some poor samples but intend going back.

I know Qld has some great spots and also want to cover some interesting sites in WA as well. I've heard some tales of Green Diamonds to be had in North WA but understandably, the teller was reticent to reveal the exact location. Same guy also told me of a place in WA where you could get opalised tigereye (or was it Cat's eye). It was many years ago when he found it and before GPS so he no longer has the exact location but is planning going back in the spring to try and find it.

Any suggestions/locations would be appreciated. Just want it for the fun and interesting stones and not looking to make money.



-- Edited by MikeL on Tuesday 10th of July 2018 11:01:15 AM



-- Edited by MikeL on Tuesday 10th of July 2018 11:04:44 AM

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Marramamba tiger eye in west Australia floatingstones.com.au/tigereye.html

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AKA; Ali El-Aziz Mohamed Gundawiathan

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Possum3: Nice - I've got some WA Tigereye but a bit reticent to work it (it is basically asbestos).

These guides might be of interest to anyone in or visiting WA

dmpbookshop.eruditetechnologies.com.au/product/gemstones-of-western-australia-second-edition.do

Open the 'PDF' link and it will load up an embedded viewer - there is a download option at the top of the viewer next to the printer symbol so you can download and view at your leisure.


lapidaryworld.com/pdf/gemstoneswa.pdf


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Mike, You should be wearing a P1 mask when grinding and cutting EVERY type of gem stone as well as having a water stream running over stones as well. I think you may be mixing up Jasper with Tiger eye re asbestos. Mined at Marble Bar there are also some gold fields around the Bar which are worth a fossick.

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Gidday All.
I have sent the biggest of those stones above to Thailand for assessment and cutting.
It's been cut and is on its way back to me. When I get it, I'll post a pic of it here.
Re fossicking various places and for different stones, at Inverell, where I found the stones in the pic above, there is a fossicking area there where diamonds have been found.
At the van park we were staying at in Inverell, we met a very knowledgeable fossicker who had found diamonds there.
I'll have to go back there sometime for another scratch around.
I've found opals at Lightning Ridge, White Cliffs, Yowah and Yaraka; Sapphires and zircons at Rubyvale and Inverell; smoky quartz crystal and topaz at other places, names not remembered.
I met some fossickers at Forsayth who had been looking for gold using metal detectors. They'd been there 3 months and "Had done quite well".
I just love the relaxed scratching around for gemstones and the excitement of occasionally finding something good.
Cheers,
Roy E.


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I used to have a business next to the Prospector's Patch in Midland, WA and was friendly with the owners - they used to bring in gold to show me. One time they brought a bucket in with about an inch or so of gold nuggets on the bottom. They said it was worth about $80,000 and that the people who brought it in were regulars and did this as a means to funding retirement. I asked how long it took the regulars to get this amount and they said 10-14 days prospecting a year!!! Of course, nobody ever knew where they went and they were very secretive about their 'patch'


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Hi Possum3,

Thanks for the advice but I only haver a tumbler at present and even that is non-functional until I get new drive belts but when I was cleaning the tumbler out, I always wore a good mask although I will have to check what the rating was. We will be downsizing sometime over the next few years and it's my intention to get myself a decent cabbing machine as well as a vibro tumbler to work on anythign I find in our travels. I suspect that faceting is beyond me so I would probably send anything I found to be cut elsewhere. 

From a quick bit of research, it appears that Tiger Eye is not a particular asbestos risk but yes, a good mask is essential when grinding/polishing. I do know the difference between Jasper and Tiger Eye and yes, Marble Bar is on my list of places to visit so thanks for the heads up!

 



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Possum,
I found some of that WA Tigereye & it was as MikeL said it was "basically asbestos". My stuff came from a town that people are not supposed to visit anymore - Wittenoom! I was there on holidays in 1973. Heat exhaustion in that area knocked me for a six.
On discovering it was blue asbestos, I disposed of it. I did buy some but that is encased in epoxy.

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20180719_113641.jpgGidday All,
I got my cut sapphire back, considerably smaller than when it left here but that's no surprise. I have now sorted out a lot of my bigger sapphire, some zircons and some pieces of topaz, all found in QLD, to send to Thailand for cutting, cabbing and polishing. Here is a pic of the cut (faceted) sapphire.
Cheers,
Roy.



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Roy, It would be interesting to know whether the value of the stones increased beyond a selling price by having them done in Thailand. To have them cut and polished locally the work would exceed their value in most cases, that's why we always did our own.

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So, how does a newby go about learning the basics here?
This sounds interesting.
I had a think about tumbling stones when I was a wee tacker. Never got it working properly though. Too young to think problems through back then
Jim

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Jim, are you just wanting to tumble stones or do a bit of scratching to find some as well? If you want to fossick I, along with a few others on this thread, can give you some pointers. If tumbling stones, I suggest you have a look at gemstone tumblers on Google. There is the Lortone rotary tumbler and vibratory tumblers such as the Gyroc A, which I had some years ago. I found that, to achieve the desired result with the Gyroc, I needed much more time than a friend who had a homemade rotary tumbler.
If you want to learn how to cut stones, visit some lapidary clubs, they may be able to assist.
Also, if you want more info, please feel free to pm me and I will help where I can.
Regards
Dave

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Dave (Nutgrass)

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CBD51840-4A49-44A1-B427-183E78DD2430.jpeg



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Dave (Nutgrass)

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Carpe Diem - Seize the day!

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The above pic is of a 3.85 carat star Sapphire I dug at Yomahawk Creek about 14 years ago and I had it cabbed by a friend who cuts stones, then got it set by Fay, at Fays Jewellers at Rubyvale.

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Dave (Nutgrass)

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Carpe Diem - Seize the day!

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Thank you for your reply Dave,
I don't know what I want yet. This just sounded interesting as something I could get into.
I'll do some googling, now that I know the word I'm searching is "lapidary"
I'll take you up on your offer to PM if I have any specific questions I can't find answers to
Cheers
Jim

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Hi Jim,
No worries. The big key is to get the right lapidary equipment for you. For example, you would not want a large slab saw, as it would be a bit heavy unless you were travelling in something like a 45 ft tag axle coach where you could set it up in a thru bin on a slide and just slide it out when wanted. I suggest a small trim saw, small faceting machine and a small rotary tumbler. There are places around the country where you can but your consumables such as dops, dopping wax, tin oxide, etc. One place I know of is in Rubyvale in Qld.
I do not recall the name of the place but the owner is Max Woels and he is in Keilambete Road. There are other suppliers scattered around the country, so it is just a matter of shopping around to get what you want.

Cheers

Dave

 



-- Edited by Dave1952 on Sunday 29th of July 2018 08:20:17 PM

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Dave (Nutgrass)

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Carpe Diem - Seize the day!

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