Each month at the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club Saturday club workshop our President (who doubles as our Collection Curator) brings along something from the club collection to raffle off to all who attend the workshop. This month she arrived with a superb spread of unpolished slabs of Rain Forest Jasper, a very specific form of jasper from the Mt. Hay volcanic field in central Queensland, Australia.
Who likes purple minerals? It seems just about everyone likes purple minerals and there will be a few choice ones at the Wayne Country Gem and Mineral Club auction on February 14th. Yes, the auction this year is on Valentine’s Day. Someone is going to go home with a brilliant amethyst piece, but you will have to come to the auction to see how purple it is and whether it is from Brazil or Uruguay. There might also be lepidolite or bismuth or fluorite or other purple goodies.
But this note is going to focus on another purple favorite. Almost every month someone arrives at the workshop with a small slice of purple charoite. The color captures the eye first, but the mesmerizing swirling pattern of the bands of charoite is irresistible if not a bit hypnotic.
Rob Webster arrived at the WCGMC February workshop with 11 pounds of colorful rock he had recently acquired and slabbed. He had purchased it online, where it had been identified as “kaleidoscope jasper” (or agate) from Utah. It did not, however, appear to be jasper and Rob said it had cut really easily. So, I took a picture and went home to investigate.
All who attended the January workshop of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club acquired a nice unpolished slab of morrisonite jasper from the club collection. Most present at the event struggled to identify the “best” piece remaining when their raffle number was drawn. It was all so colorful and each piece was unique. I went home with my piece and decided to learn a bit more about my newest acquisition.
Published in the July 2015 WCGMC Newsletter
I have a confession to make. Yes, I admit it, for the first few decades of my adult life I collected minerals while scoffing at the notion of cutting rocks and polishing their surface to produce symmetric reflective surfaces. Cabochons, smabochons, … spheres, smears, I would say, or something to that effect. Well, since joining the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club I have come to realize that some rocks, even some minerals, are best displayed and enjoyed after they have been carved, sliced, ground, and polished. What is more, that process can be fun and there is art involved in the creation of a polished stone. I am not a total convert, I still cherish and generally prefer natural crystalline specimens, preferably on matrix and often in association with other minerals, but I am now capable of collecting, and yes even, horrors, purchasing a polished cabochon.
OK, with that admission of past guilt, or new guilt depending on your persuasion, I decided to peruse the GemFest floor for particularly interesting pieces that had been butchered by a saw and then beautified by some process of trimming and polishing. I found several that caught my fancy. But I must warn you, beauty, color, and symmetry are not enough. The rock or mineral must tell an interesting geologic story and just like a classic mineral specimen it must have a provenance, a banded agate from somewhere just won’t make my short list no matter how beautiful it might be. So what did I find?
Those of us who visited the Rochester Lapidary workshop for an open house in March were both fascinated and impressed by their pair of sphere making machines. But while most of us went home wishing we had one, Glenn Weiler went home and actually built one! When we all arrived on April 11th for our monthly workshop Glenn was working on his fifth sphere. While he admits the “contraption” needs a few design improvements before achieving perfection, Glenn’s ingenuity was once again demonstrated. Below is a picture of the machine and his first five products. The small blue sodalite sphere at the top is gorgeous. The layered orange sphere looks like Jupiter to me, except it is not made of gas! Glenn will have a complete Solar System soon. And can you see the Herkimer diamond at the right end of the vug in the largest sphere?
On December 13th, 17 Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club members convened for a day of sawing, polishing, faceting and camaraderie. The event marked the inaugural session in the club’s newly christened workshop. With several saws, three polishing machines, and a faceting machine the fun commenced. The cover photo shows Gary, Ed, Ken, and Sue working on their rocks.