On this page, we post any remarks, replies to queries, news items, and the like.  Check this page frequently for updates, as it is like the gangplank to  "The Good Ship CORUNDUMINIUM": some items successfully board; while others fall off and drown.
     Most recent entries appear at the top of the page.  Breaks in the number sequence are the result of items being expunged or relocated.
     Click on thumbnails to see full resolution photos.  If you have any comments or opinions regarding these items, please e-mail them to me at webmaster@corunduminium.com
39Earth Treasures  (Friendship Rocks)
     We have finally gotten our mineral selling business off and running!  We will be expanding our "Catalogue" page to reflect the items we have for sale.  We hope you will support our website by purchasing a few of these outstanding specimens for your collection.  All profits from this endeavor will be dedicated to developing the business and funding the website and other Corundum Project activities (mainly, research and acquisition).  So, Mooo!  This is the cash cow for our expensive habit! 
     Periodically, we sell a few items on eBay using the ID "corundumaniac", so check there now and then for any additional specimens.
     Item 38 below mentions new Viet Namese discoveries.  We have entered into joint venture agreements with several Viet Namese nationals, resulting in our being able to offer specimens from micro to huge.  Below is just a sampling of what we are offering.  Contact me at collector@corunduminium.com for further details, or give us a while to present full descriptions and prices on the "Catalogue" page of this website.
On the left are "dog tooth" and prismatic rubies from Luc Yen, Yen Bai province.  These range from $5 to $20 apiece, with some discount for lots.  On the right is a superb, pocky twinned crystal from the same region, well worth the $400 asking price.   On the left  is a group of larger, partially recrystallized ruby masses from Luc Yen.  Asking prices range from $10 to $50.
     Below are four large cabinet ruby and spinel specimens from Yen Bai Province, Viet Nam.  From left to right, they are:  (1) - pink ruby or sapphire in calcite,  (2) - rubies in calcite (huge - weighs 55 pounds),  (3) - "ruby (red) spinel" with pargasite green) in calcite,  (4) lavender spinel in limonite and a yet unidentified greenish grey mineral.  Prices upon request.
     Item 36 below mentions the recent painite discovery in Burma, and we have a few.  Pictured below are:  (1,2) - HUGE (relatively speaking) painite with ruby encrustations [$5,000],  (3) - "spray" of lustrous radiating painite crystals,  (4) - matrix specimen showing fine painite crystals with rubies - the best I have seen [$2,500],  (5) - painite crystal section on matrix,  (6) - unique painite interpenetrant twin.
38: Viet Nam does it again!
     The two pictures to the right show a 3-1/2 pound blue  cluster and a huge multicolored crystal from new discoveries in Nghe An province.  My friends Long Nguyen (resident of Hanoi who owns the stones) and his partner Tan Pham (residing in America) made my day - the stones will soon be here to assume their new role as prominent spokesrocks for Viet Nam in our mineral presentations.    
     A few very rare octahedral spinel crystals (up to softball size) with corundum inclusions were recently found, and after cleaning one proved to be particularly striking!  Two views of it are shown on the left below.  Four other specimens are also pictured.
     If you are interested in obtaining outstanding Viet Namese mineral specimens or gemstones "from the source", please contact Tan Pham or me by email.  Tan's is becon@starpower.net, and mine is wheierman@corunduminium.com(12/3/05)
 37Historic corundum collection acquired
     Thanks to the special efforts and generosity of our patron Rob Lavinsky (irocks), twelve corundum specimens from the personal collection of Richard Hauck are now in ours.  Richard in turn obtained several of these from Hugh Ford and John Sinkankas.  To the right are a green interpenetrant twin and a pair of doubly terminated prismatic crystals from Transvaal.  Below, left to right, are a complex crystal from Mozambique, a bipyramidal ruby from the John Saul Mine in Kenya, a bitapered prism from Transvaal, a Russian sapphire, and a North Carolina Grimshaw Prospect) DTXL. (12/3/05)
36Oooo!   OoooOooo!   [Painite!!]
     One of the World's rarest minerals is painite.  Until recently, only two or three crystals were known to exist from a single Burmese locality.  A second locality produced a few more, and some of these new ones had attached rubies!  We will be reporting on the findings here next year, but for now enjoy the images.  I am again indebted to Bill Larson for his gift - the far right specimen, which may be a ruby corundum pseudo after painite.  (12/1/05)    
35Corundosaurus rox
     A new species of dinosaur was recently discovered in Burma, and I must thank Bill Larson for donating the first mummified specimen to our collection....Thanks, Bill! (12/1/05)  
34Sad News for the Mineral World
     One of the World's most romantic mines and perhaps the producer of America's finest gemstone has shut down - perhaps, permanently!  The Yogo Creek Mine, which produced gemologically superior "cornflower blue" and violet sapphires, may  not reopen.  I am especially saddened by this news, as my friends who operated the mine devoted a tremendous amount of resourcefulness and effort to make it go; but I guess  increasing depth and decreasing volume of ore just made the deposit subeconomic.
     Perhaps, new technology or discoveries of reserves will improve the situation in the future.  This central Montana locality has come back from the dead before; and let us hope it will again.   Some of the finest stones the mine produced appear on our "Americas" page, near the bottom.
     We will keep you informed here if there are any developments.
33Some Tucson 2005 Acquisitions - Madagascar:
     Sometimes, persistence pays off!  It wasn't easy, but I found the dealer who had that huge Madagascan sapphire seen last Fall in Munich.  He had not sold it (probably, because we are the only succers who would buy such a boat anchor), and - well, you know the rest.  It weighs about 47-1/2 pounds, and can be seen in the Storage Bin at the bottom of the "Other" page.
     Ihosy, Madagascar produces outstanding, multicolored sapphires.  The first two pictures below show a superb bluish crystal in biotite schist, and the last two show a huge crystal with a unique, straw-like coating of sillimanite!  (2/23/05)
32Corundum from France and Alaska; and a Monster from Africa:
      I recently received a parcel with several tiny sapphires from France!  Jean-Claude Chervin, who found them and donated them to our collection, is our French Correspondent.  His extensive work has found sapphires in several drainages in central France.  Look for some photos and more details about the localities, to appear on the Europe page soon. (2/23/05)
     Arne Bakke, a resident of , Fairbanks, Alaska, donated several unusual specimens of sapphire corundum originating in syenite dikes in the Mentasta Mountains, Eastern Alaska Range.  These will appear on the "Americas" page in the next few days, and are illustrated in the e-magazine, "Canadian Rockhound" (Special Issue, soon to appear).    He also provided a most informative USGS paper on the occurrence.  (2/23/05)
     There is a huge corundum boulder in Africa (precise origin is proprietary for the moment), which might find its way to the United States soon.  If things go as planned, it may be displayed at the Denver Show in September.  It is a very interesting, geometrically zoned blue and white rounded mass, which may weigh more than 400 pounds; so it may be a World record of sorts. It can be seen in the Storage Bin (Images (7) and (8)) at the bottom of the Africa page.  I will post any updates regarding its fate.  (2/24/05)
31New Partner Joins The Project Regional Correspondents:
     In January, 2005, Brenda LaCroix joined our Project team.   She is also a corundum collector, and her seemingly boundless energy and expertise will add much to the depth and breadth of our activities.  There is a brief introduction on our Home page - welcome, Brenda! 
     One of our new features is a network of "Regional Correspondents" (rockhounds, scientists, dealers) who will be able to tell us about corundum localities around the World.  Look for contributions from these friends of The project, without whom we might never know ...!
30 Recent Acknowledgements:
      We would like to thank several individuals for their recent contributions (both material and cerebral) to our project. 
      Dr. David Baker (Monarch, Montana), Andrea Cade (doctoral student in Geology at the University of British Columbia, Canada), Amos Knapstad (Yogo Creek Mining, Utica, Montana), and I engaged in numerous theoretical discussions about the (hypabyssal?) origin of Yogo sapphires and identification of causes of observable surface features and inclusions.  Many distinctive stones had been accumulated over the years; and they are now together, undergoing photography and analysis.  I must also thank Sharon Voelkel and Don Baide of the Gem Gallery in Bozeman, Montana, for the loan of several additional stones from Yogo Gulch and heat treated stones from another western Montana  for comparative studies (first two photos below).  Look for followup on this website . 
      Chris Cooney (Owner, Gem Mountain, near Philipsburg, Montana) donated a gem sapphire crystal found in his wash plant with attached rhyolite source rock (third photo; a rarity)!  Dale Siegford and Shirley beck (Sapphire Gallery, Philipsburg, Montana) donated a suite of Camp Creek sapphire crystals (fourth photo) and let me play in a lot of select Dry Cottonwood cuttable rough, in which I found several more outstanding specimens for our research. Chuck Borland (The Quartz Connection, Bozeman, Montana) donated an unusual euhedral ruby crystal from the local mines better known for their medium blue sapphires (fifth photo).
      None of these things would have happened if Dick Berg (Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology and Curator of the Montana Tech Mineral Museum, Butte, Montana) and his staff had not devised and organized the Sapphire Symposium so flawlessly.  Dick also donated a rare specimen from Japan, containing hydrothermal corundum masses, to our collection (sixth photo).
29Ramaura Rubies:  
 Judith Osmer and Virginia Carter (J. O. Crystal Co.) donated several of their "Ramaura" lab grown ruby crystals, selected for their surface growth features, for our reasearch.  Four are on display at present in the Montana Tech Mineral Museum in Butte; and here is a picture of one of the others.  
28Chatham Lab Grown Corundums
      We are indebted to John and Cindy Chatham (Chatham Research, Inc.) for their loan of a comprehensive suite of their lab grown crystals, clusters, and druses for our research into crystal formation.  Several additional specimens were donated to our permanent collection - thanks!!
      The specimens are grown in crucibles or along wires made of platinum, and platinum inclusions are common (and sometimes diagnostic of synthetics).  We hope examination of the surface features of the newly formed crystals in comparison with those on natural stones (which may have resided in hostile environments for long periods of time) may result in conclusions about the Earth's early physical and chemical environments.  Enjoy!
27Montana Tech Sapphire Symposium:  An Outstanding weekend!! 
      The "Sapphire Symposium", sponsored by Montana Tech and the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, held on Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24, 2004, was a great success!  It was coincident with the opening of a Special Exhibition of corundum specimens from our World-wide collection; and all of the approximately 100 Symposium attendees seemed to enjoy the collection, the presentations, and the new friendships and networking that went on behind the scenes.   Everyone attending agreed that Dick Berg (Symposium Coordinator) and staff members Ginette Abdo and John Foley were to be congratulated for their superb preparations and hosting of the festivities.  I am also particularly indebted to Ginette for her flattering display of the collection.
      Most of the guests assembled Friday evening for a Reception at the Montana Tech Mineral Museum gallery to become acquainted, to hear our comments about the specimens in the Special Exhibition, and to marvel at the Museum's World-class permanent collection.   If you are in the Butte area during the next year, you might enjoy both, as our specimens will remain on display until August, 2005; when I can return to pack them up and bring them back home.  
      On Saturday, there were a series of seven Presentations, by distinguished speakers and me.
      Bob Kane (Fine Gems International, Helena, Montana) kicked off the program with a photographic tour of World-wide gem ruby and sapphire localities, including the classic ones and some interesting new discoveries.  Having visited many of the sites, he was able to speak first-hand about the mines and their gem production.  His slides of outstanding specimens, gemstones, and jewelry pieces got everybody in the mood for what was to come.
     Will Heierman (corundum collector, Stafford, Texas; and yours truly) gave a general overview of both gem and sub-gem corundum, including a little about chemistry, crystallography, history, and geography.  Slides portrayed the diversity of corundum; as well as associated minerals, surface features, and inclusions which may be interpreted to identify origins and the environmental conditions in which the specimens formed.
     Leigh Freeman (Consultant, Evergreen, Colorado) explained the business plan for marketing the sapphire production of Yogo Creek Mining, which he is developing with the owners.  At present, the bottleneck is production (the ore body is underground and very narrow, and mining it is extremely slow).  The Montana market is buying up all the larger stones (those cut over about .25 carat), so there is no plan to try to expand the market for these at this time.  Ideas are being sought for the smaller facetable rough, thin flakes, and bird seed the mine produces in greater quantity - any ideas??  Mine development should increase production over the next few years; and if so, expect to see these legendary cornflower blue (and even more rarely, violet) stones becoming more generally available.
     Eugene Hodge (Helena Mineral Society, Helena, Montana) focused on the "Missouri River" gem sapphire deposits. Originally found by gold miners whose sluices were being clogged by these irksome stones, they were subsequently mined extensively as sources of gemstones, instrument bearings, and abrasives.  Pictures included historical images of old operations and equipment, and microphotos of alluvial stones recovered from several mines in the riparian benches along the Missouri River below the Canyon Ferry Dam.  A rare matrix specimen, belonging to the Montana Tech Collection, was also displayed.  It was lamented that very little opportunity remains for rockhounds to dig these stones (but the Helena Mineral Society owns claims where members and their guests occasionally find some neat ones).
     Dale Siegford (Sapphire Gallery, Philipsburg, Montana) discussed the gem sapphires of Rock Creek (Gem Mountain and adjoining deposits) and Dry Cottonwood Creek, both in western Montana.  He illustrated the differences in color and morphology typical of these placer deposits, and offered the theory that surface features on stones from both localities may have been created during upward transport in magmas after the crystals were formed deep in the Earth.  When properly heat treated, these stones can be striking, and are valued as American sapphires in the gemstone and jewelry trades.
     Aaron Berger (Montana Tech, Butte, Montana) discussed a deposit located on private land along Silver Bow Creek which he has prospected extensively (with permission of the owners).  He had collected a suite of stones showing not only several colors but also differing degrees of degradation subsequent to formation (presumably due to resorption).  Aaron, who earned his Master's degree from Montana Tech, performed these explorations on his own time.  He showed how he traced the deposit from the gravels where they were first found to their primary lode source, and discussed ongoing research with his mentor and collaborator, Dick Berg.
     Dick Berg (Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte, Montana) concluded the invited addresses by discussing areas showing potential for sapphires but which have largely been unprospected.  His ideas, acquired substantially through his extensive field explorations, gave everybody the sense that there may be other deposits waiting to be discovered; and a series of maps showed where they might be. 
    The group then adjourned to the Museum gallery for encounters of a more social nature.  Topics of conversation included brainstorming about sapphire crystal formation; exchange of marketing ideas; loans, swaps, and donations; and plans for the future.
     Symposium formalities concluded with a Saturday Evening Banquet.  After the repast, Dick Berg made a presentation in absentia to Marc Bielenberg.  Marc, who could not attend due to his health, was given a plaque for his life of contribution to Montana's mineral heritage: in particular, to the Montana sapphire.  Then I presented a whimsical talk on corundum (worst joke was a picture of a wash plant shown upside down to show what recovery looks like in Australia).  We all had a great time, concluding a most remarkable Sapphire Symposium!
     On Sunday and Monday, two one-day Montana sapphire field trips followed.  The first day was spent at Gem Mountain, where owner Chris Cooney discussed the geology and business plan for his venture (to operate a site for the casual digger rather than a high production mine).  Participants were given two free buckets to screen for stones; and one of our group got a fine greenish blue estimated to be worth about $600, in the rough!  On the way home, Dick Berg took us to the Silver Bow Creek locality to observe the geological features noted in Aaron's presentation the day before.  On Monday, twenty lucky participants went to the Yogo sapphire mine, where they saw both surface and underground operations.  Though I did not go on that one (having been there before), I was told that it was special!
     In conclusion, I would say that it was the most productive and successful professional gathering I have ever attended (and being a mathematician, I have been to quite a few)!  It was both an honor and a lot of fun to be part of such an event.  Dick will say that there would not have been a Sapphire Symposium if I had not offered the loan for the Special Exhibition, but if so it was the tail that wagged the dog.  Miners, scientists, dealers, and collectors all found the Symposium informative, constructive, and motivating - if I had to summarize the greatest point the Symposium made in one sentence, it would probably be the affirmation:  "The Montana Sapphire is not dead!"  In fact, it is very much alive - wow!!
26:  "Canadian Rockhound" Special Issue:
     Plans are in the works for a Special Issue of "Canadian Rockhound" devoted to American (U.S. and Canadian) corundum; to appear on the Internet early in 2005.  Contributions in the way of information or photographic images, especially regarding open sites where collecting may be done, are welcomed.  We shall be glad to acknowledge any contributions, and will make available whatever we find out.  Please send any correspondence regarding these matters to collector@corunduminium.com
25New Alabama Corundum Discovery :
     Early in 2004 a colleague, Randall Nix, sent me an email informing me he had been finding  corundum in Alabama; and in May he and I explored several sites not far from Dadeville in the northeastern part of the State.  Though the existence of corundum in the general area had been reported (reference to be supplied), his field work established several sites (whose exact location must for now remain proprietary) showing interesting potential.  The material collected resembles some of that from Corundum Hill, North Carolina, and I think the deposits may somehow be geologically related.  A fine blue and white sapphire mass weighing about 2,000 carats, a cluster of hexagonal prismatic crystals imbedded in schorl, and a pink sapphire are pictured on the left.  (The first two have been ground to show the interior, and all three are ex coll. Randall Nix.)  The next photo is a detail of a massive fragment I found, and the last two on the right show details of specimens donated by Randall for our research.
Randall will be offering some of his Alabama specimens for sale to collectors.  Interested individuals please contact him directly by email at randall_nix@yahoo.com(5/21/04)
23New York Mineralogical Club Almanac - Corundum Article:
     The New York Mineralogical Club has published the latest edition of a biennial Almanac, which is a "compendium" of information for rockhounds of all kinds  I contributed an illustrated article, "Musings of a Corundum Collector", describing our activities and a little about how they came to be.  Copies of the Almanac are available for $20 apiece, with all proceeds going toward the Club's activities and programs.  You may email Mitch Portnoy at  MitchPNYC@aol.com  to order your copies of this wonderful gift for your "mineralogically undernourished" colleagues.  (11/22/03)
22Scanning Electron Micrographs on "Micro" Page:
     Dick Berg, Senior Research Geologist, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, has sent us several SEM's of gem Montana sapphires, showing various microscopic surface features which may be used to distinguish stones from different localities. These striking images may also reveal information about how the stones formed.  (11/07/03)
20New Developments in Kashmir: (Oct. 1, 2003)
        Ed Cleveland of Kashmir Blue in Denver, Colorado, has donated several specimens for study and display from new discoveries near the classical  Kashmir sapphire locality.  The most exciting is a gemmy pink bipyramidal crystal!  Ed, who finds himself in Kashmir whenever he can, has a lovely website, http://www.kashmirblue.com, in which he describes his exploits and the latest state of affairs.  If you are interested in Kashmir, this site is a must!  The pink crystal may be seen on the "Research" page there (it is the one on the left).  To my surprise, Ed donated this and several other interesting Kashmir specimens to our collection!  Thanks, Ed!!
19New Inclusion Photos: (Oct. 1, 2003):
       Feng-Ming (Alan) Yen, a colleague from Taiwan, has sent some interesting photos of corundum inclusions and observations regarding Kashmir origin determination for sapphires.  These are presented on the "Micro" page of this website.
       Vincent Pardieu, a French Gemologist living in Southeast Asia, has sent some photos of blue crystals of as yet unidentified composition inside Burmese rubies.  These also appear on the "Micro" page.
18Montana Trip - Mixed Feelings!
     The item below was written after our 2003 trip to Montana.  I have modified it to reflect the situation as I understand it in May, 2004.
     The Gem Mountain Mine is still allowing people to sort through sapphire gravels brought down to the gift shop area, but diggers are no longer allowed to tunnel into the high benches (because one did, and died in the resulting collapse).  Two local dealers are selling loose cut Gem Mountain stones (heat treated in most cases), matched sets, and finished jewelry.  One (Robert E. Kane) is a co-author of a seminal article on heat treating which appears in the Summer, 2003 issue of  GIA's quarterly "Gems and Gemology".  If you are interested in more details, please contact me through the website at collector@corunduminium.com.
     The Missouri River mines,  El Dorado and Lovestone, are I guess closed for good.  I heard that there will be a housing development on top of the former - are you thinking what I'm thinking?  Spokane Bar is still operating I guess, but I have heard recoveries have high salinity (are sometimes salted).  Rumors of Idaho Garnets and a tumble polished Yogo having been found were circulating around Helena.  Even knowing this, it's fun to pick them out of the gravels.
     The Helena Gem and Mineral Society owns sapphire claims in the Missouri River benches not far from Helena, and members and their guests can casually dig for stones.  Every now and then, somebody does come up with a "nice one"!
     I found out a lot more about the "Bozeman to Dillon Complex", which produces subgem rubies and sapphires.  I am particularly indebted to Jim and Cheryl Holzhouser, residents of Twin Bridges, and to Steve Cox of the Red Rock Mine between Alder and Virginia City; who walked with me over Alder Gulch corundum locality and donated some nice specimens for the collection (since I got skunked)!  More will be said about this complex, and some new theories regarding its origin, later.
     The Yogo Gulch mine is under expansion, and I think there will soon be more opportunities to acquire blue sand (yuppie fish tank gravel), specimen crystals including matrix pieces, and cuttable rough of this rare and spectacular sapphire material.   The new operator, whose nom du jour is Yogo Creek Mining, LLC, has expressed interest in my assistance with new markets, including those for other interesting minerals (iron pseudomorphs, aragonites) and fossils, recovered as byproducts.  Negotiations are underway, and I will report here on any material developments.
     Two outstanding faceted Yogo sapphires (right photo).  One is a 2.05 carat trapezoid belonging to F. John Barlow (in my possession on memo), and the second is a 3.72 carat deep modified oval belonging to Yogo Creek Mining.  I have not seen finer body color on any sapphire, and consider these to be important American gemstones which, if I could afford them, would both be in our collection.  I also begrudgingly left two large rough crystals (10 ct.+ and 11 ct.+) in Montana.  Contact me if you are interested - serious inquiries only, please!
     Please stay tuned for further developments.  If one thing is certain about Montana sapphires, it is that there will be further developments.  (5/21/04)
17Our new banner (part 2)!
     Our new, more colorful banner is from a JPG of American rubies and sapphires.  The rubies are from Caler Creek, Cowee Valley, North Carolina.  The cornflower blue crystals are from Yogo Gulch, Montana, and the other sapphires are from several other Montana localities (the Missouri River deposits, Gem Mountain (Rock Creek), Pole Creek, and Dry Cottonwood Creek).  The full resolution picture can be seen as the last photo on the "GALLERY" page on this website.
16Items for sale - updates:
     After a successful trial run on eBay, beginning in late August we will be selling items there regularly.  You will be able to find them listed under my Bidder ID "corundumaniac" (what else?) or by putting "CORUNDUM" in the eBay search window.
     However, I recommend you not wait to see it on eBay if you are interested in it.  Once it's there, you will have to compete with my cadre of rabid bidders to win what you could have had a lot cheaper a day before.  Our "CATALOGUE" page outlines our offerings, and includes many items not to be found on eBay. 
     Please e-mail me at collector@corunduminium.com if there is anything in particular you would like to have, and I will ransack our drawers to see if we can part with one.  We are always willing to consider trades, too.
     All proceeds from sales go toward to refinement of the collection and survival expenses. I have had some offers from corporate sponsors, but our desire not to let the website look like a race car has kept us more or less on our own.
14Malaysian Corundum:
     A recent corundum discovery in Kuala Lumpur is producing both specimens and heat treatable gem corundums.  So far, treating has been somewhat successful, and  a few attractive blue sapphires have been faceted.  The samples (below right) are of decent color but are highly included and seem to show consequent pitting.
A large, 25 kilogram (55 pound) pale blue sapphire mass (far left) was recently unearthed, indicating that the mineralization is probably massive, with the potential to become a significant mineral and gemstone source.  The dark blue cobble (near left) weighs about five pounds.
I am indebted to Andrea Tan of Merlin Worldwide (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) for this information and the photographs.
13Strange Corundum from India:
      I recently received a parcel of specimens from extreme northwestern India which contained some very unusual corundums.  Some may be smelter products (the area is rich in platinum group metals), but as they were obtained from an old stockpile or dump for an emery mine some may be natural formations.  Samples will be sent for analysis, and this material will be offered for sale.  Please e-mail me at <collector@corunduminium.com> for more details or if you are interested in acquiring some for research or for adding to your collection. 
12Carolinas Trip a Success
     The second half of May, 2003 was spent travelling around North and South Carolina, looking at private collections, rockhounding, and gathering historical information.  Three collection sites were visited (trips to two others were rained out), and approximately fifty regional specimens were acquired, adding about six localities not previously represented in the collection.  We shall add several images of the specimens to the "Americas" page of the "Gallery".
     I visited a black corundum locality in York County, South Carolina, with two friends, Denny Lawing and Rob Whaley.  It had rained the day before, and we had great success picking freshly washed specimens from the bright red clay (both Denny and Rob occasionally sell pieces from there on eBay).  We also did some swapping, and I must particularly thank Rob for his substantial additional donation of several self-collected and documented Carolina specimens for our research and origin determination programs.
     Another South Carolina site (in Cherokee County) produced a few small corundum crystals in the float rock, and large boulders (some the size of SUV's) which may be high in corundum.  Samples were taken for analysis - stay tuned.
     The third locality visited (a well-known fee-digging site) was a disappointment - not because of a lack of specimens, but because I felt the proprietor did not care about the enjoyment of his customers.   The visit resulted not only in no transaction but also in an alienated potential client.  [Enough said about that one!]
     Plans are to do it again the same time next year, and to host a one-day "show and tell" gathering, probably in Asheville, North Carolina, of persons interested in the regional corundum deposits.  As the gathering takes shape, details will be posted on this page.  Please e-mail me if you are interested in attending, and I will add you to our list..
10New Banner and "Coming Soon" Icon:
The stars of these shots are my pair of pet hyacinthine macaws, Nuuanu and Woodstock, several years ago.  The ruby in the banner is a paste-up job, but the eggs are not.  Though Woodstock is only bragging in this picture (the eggs were clear), both birds subsequently went into a breeding program and I understand have done their share to preserve this most rare and beautiful species.
9: John Koivula Inclusion Photos:  I am pleased to announce that John Koivula, Chief Research Gemologist with the Gemological Institute of America's Gem Trade Laboratory in Carlsbad, California, has offered to let us display a selection of his remarkable photomicrographs of inclusions and other microscopic features within ruby and sapphire gemstones.  As they are sent, they will appear on the "Micro" page of this website.
    These copyrighted images may be enjoyed; but must not be downloaded, otherwise reproduced, or used in any manner for profit.  John, who "wrote the book" on inclusions ["Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones", co-authored with Dr. Edward Gbelin] is not only a valued colleague but also a personal friend.  If any unauthorized use is suspected, I will have to remove them, and we will all lose this unique opportunity!  Thank you, John and GIA, for providing this very special opportunity!
    If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the book, it may be obtained from the GIA Bookstore through the  website  www.gia.edu.
8:   Recent Gifts and Donations We would like to acknowledge several recent important gifts to the collection [with their donors]:
    AIdaho, vic. McCall: double fist specimen of grey sapphire crystals in matrix. [ Terry Maple, The Maple Tree, Marysville, WA,  website:  http://maple-rock.com ]
    BKenya and Madagascar:  Selections of translucent prismatic and bipyramidal ruby/sapphire crystals of fine color and translucency.  North Carolina:  suite of crystals.  [ John Scimeca, CJS Services, Valley Stream, NY, e-mail: MrLukki@aol.com ]
    CZimbabwe (vic. Breitbridge):  Doubly terminated modified hexagonal crystal, pale blue sapphire [ Cathy Parisi, Stone People Songs, Dania, FL, e-mail: CRosenparis@aol.com ]  
    D: Montana:  Suite of specimens from the Bozeman-Dillon Complex [Dick Berg, Montana State Geologist and Curator of the Mineral Museum at Montana Tech, Butte, Montana]
    ESouth Carolina,  Nodule, black corundum(?), for analsis and permanent collection [Denny Lawing]
    FCarolinas,  Suite of self-collected and documented specimens from several North and South Carolina localities; important for research and origin determination  [Rob Whaley, private collector, Charlotte, North Carolina area]
    We appreciate these generous additions and the valuable information regarding their origins!  Thank you, my friends!


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