| 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.
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
Earth 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
Periodically, we sell a few items on eBay using the ID "corundumaniac", so
check there now and then for any additional specimens.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org for further details, or give us a while to
present full descriptions and prices on the "Catalogue" page of this
||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.
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.
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
| 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
email@example.com, and mine is
Historic 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)
Oooo! Oooo! Oooo! [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.
| 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!
Sad 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.
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.
Some Tucson 2005 Acquisitions - Madagascar:
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.
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!
Corundum from France and Alaska; and
a Monster from Africa:
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.
| 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)
New Partner Joins The Project;
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 ...!
would like to thank several individuals for their recent contributions (both
material and cerebral) to our project.
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).
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).
| 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.
Chatham Lab Grown Corundums:
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!!
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!
Montana Tech Sapphire Symposium: An
"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
| 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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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.
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.
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!!
"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
25: New 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
New York Mineralogical Club Almanac -
| The New
York Mineralogical Club has published the latest edition of a biennial
Almanac, which is a "compendium" of information for rockhounds of all
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.
Scanning Electron Micrographs on "Micro"
| 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
New 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
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!!
New 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"
Montana 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.
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
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
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)
Our 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.
Items 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
e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
| 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
Strange 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 <email@example.com>
for more details or if you are interested in acquiring some for research or
for adding to your collection.
Carolinas 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.
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
| 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..
New 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.
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 Gübelin] 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
| 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.
Gifts and Donations: We would like
to acknowledge several recent important gifts to the
collection [with their donors]:
McCall: double fist specimen of grey sapphire crystals in matrix. [ Terry Maple,
The Maple Tree, Marysville, WA, website:
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 ]
Zimbabwe (vic. Breitbridge): Doubly terminated modified hexagonal crystal, pale
blue sapphire [ Cathy Parisi, Stone People Songs, Dania, FL, e-mail:
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]
South Carolina, Nodule,
black corundum(?), for analsis and permanent collection [Denny Lawing]
Carolinas, 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