I just attended the Bancroft Gemboree 2015, Canada’s largest gem and mineral show. There are 3 distinct areas where rockhounds can explore their interest, the curling rink and the hockey arena which are both indoors and the outdoors trading stalls. In my experience the trading stalls are the best places to purchase minerals. Dealers come from all across the country, they have incredible stories and the prices are phenomenal. Check out my youtube video on the Bancroft Gemboree here.
Archive for the ‘looking for gems’ Category
Posted in Bancroft, Bancroft gemboree, book on collecting, book on collecting rocks and minerals, book on crystals, book on gemstones, book on rocks and minerals, collecting rocks near Bancroft, environment, fun things to do in toronto, gemology, gems, gemstones, geography, geology, Interesting, looking for gems, Nature/Outdoors, Ontario's geology, picture of, rockhound, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, Rocks & Gems, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, tagged Bancroft accomodation, Bancroft gemboree, Bancroft Gemboree 2015, Canada's largest, gem, gemboree, minerals in Ontario, rock and mineral, rock and mineral show on August 3, 2015| Leave a Comment »
Amazing discovery of a Crystal Cavity near Bancroft, Ontario – Rockhounds don’t despair, there is still more left there
Posted in abandoned mines in Ontario, adventure in Ontario, best things to do in Toronto, bizzare, book on caves, Buy The Book, Canada, Caves, Caving in Ontario, collecting rocks near Bancroft, cool things to do in toronto, exploration, feldspar, fun things to do in toronto, gemology, gems, gemstones, geography, geology, history, Interesting, looking for gems, mines in northern Ontario, My Book, my life, Nature/Outdoors, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, photo, Photography, picture of, rock collecting, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, Rocks & Gems, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, science, things to do in Toronto, tagged Bancroft, collecting minerals, collecting minerals near Bancroft, collecting rocks, finding crystals, Rochound in Bancroft, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, video on on August 26, 2012| 11 Comments »
I am by no means a professional rockhound. My education is as both a gemologist and a geographer, but I believe both rockhounding (collecting minerals) and my other great interest – caving have been in my heart since childhood. And where better to rockhound than Bancroft, but a word of caution, as both rockhounding and caving appear on my site. Both activities are related to rock, but neither should ever meet. Cave mineral deposits must stay in the caves and a caver who shares both interests (and there are many) should never let their inner rockhound loose beneath the surface.
Wearing my rockhound persona this past Saturday afternoon I headed out to the Bancroft Chamber of comerce to get a vibe on the local collecting possibilities. For a place that styles itself as the mineral capital of Canada, they do very little to encourage that reputation. Remembering back to my childhood, rockhounding was everything in Bancroft – now it is just faded memories and hanging onto loose and fragile threads. Fortunately mother nature takes care of basics and continues giving back. I left the Chamber of commerce disillusioned – not by the staff, not their fault, just the general malaise of the people who call the shots. No effort to justify the reputation.
Anyway I picked up an ice Cap from Tim Hortons and headed off on a kind of aimless ramble, and within about half an hour I’d come upon a spectacular crystal vug (cavity) from which I spent the next few hours scooping crystals.
The cavity is shown in my video – Click here for Crystal cavity in Bancroft video
It was a calcite seam within a road cutting that had been opened by someone else and then abandoned as they obviously did not know what they had found and if they had looked within the cavity when they hammered it open it would be they not me who was posting the pictures.
My point is, you just need to know what to look for. Bancroft is famous for its calcite intrusions, a mineral that solidifies last from molten rock and so it acts as a medium for other minerals to grow in. The vug that I extracted crystals from was predominantly filled with amphibole and feldspar crystals and lying loose in the bottom of the part of the cavity that I dug into were a few doubly terminated crystals – having grown in the medium as opposed to being attached to the cavity wall. In retrospect, looking at the video it becomes obvious that the seam runs on an angle and there is likely to be a lot more to be extracted if rockhounds just follow up and down along the incline of the seam. As this rock cut is in a public place I will just leave its exact location for you to figure out, but there is enough in what I have said and shown on the video for you to quickly pin-point the general vicinity of the deposit.
Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, Bancroft, Bancroft gemboree, beading, beads, Buy The Book, Caves, caves in Ontario, caving, Caving in Ontario, collecting rocks near Bancroft, crystals, culture, cultures, gemology, gems, gemstones, geology, Interesting, lapidary, looking for gems, My Book, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, Photography, photos, picture of, rock collecting, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, Rocks & Gems, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, tagged Bancroft, Bancroft accomodation, Bancroft fair, Bancroft gemboree, Bancroft show, Book on caving, Caving in Ontario, rockhounding in Bancroft on July 26, 2011| 1 Comment »
One of the more exciting events of my rock-related year is the Bancroft Gemboree where i can schmoose with other rock-focused people. You absolutely know that this weekend the accommodation in Bancroft and for miles around will be booked solid so either I will be staying with my sister or possibly in Peterborough.
At the Bancroft Gemboree there is every natural crystal from the beautiful to bizarre – a booth of Columbian emeralds, Pakistani Peridot dealers and Russian fellow who sells black power pyramids of some unnamed substance. You stand there long enough he’ll have you convinced to put one in your living room – an investment that will turn your life around. Well if you believe that crystals will heal your warts, you’re well advised to see him as you’re likely thinking along similar lines. I’ll get a picture if he’s there this year and see what he has to say.
If you are into crafting, beading, crystals or geology, or just looking for gems, rough or cut, the Bancroft Gemboree is an event that goes beyond the material presentation of those goods, it’s a cultural event that bonds a motley crowd of locals to a throng of rockhound and crafting visitors. There are two huge venues, though I have always found that the better gem-stuff is in the venue lower down the hill. The best deals at the gemboree are typically outside at the top of the hill though last year I was disappointed.
Maybe next year I’ll get a booth and flog my upcoming Ontario cave book there.
Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, Bancroft gemboree, Buy The Book, Canada, Cobalt, collecting rocks near Bancroft, Education, environment, gemstones, geography, geology, history, Interesting, Life, looking for gems, My Book, my life, mystery, nature, ontario, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, Photography, photos, picture of, rock collecting, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, Rocks & Gems, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, Uncategorized, tagged blood diamonds, Canadian diamonds, Cobalt Ontario, Cobold, Cobolt, Diamond, diamond bearing breccia, diamond breccia in Ontario, diamond mine in Ontario, Diamond mining, diamond mining in Ontario, diamond rock, Diamonds, diamonds in Canada, diamonds in Ontario, finding diamonds in Ontario, kimberlites in Ontario, rock in which diamonds are found on January 23, 2011| 9 Comments »
Ontario’s first really big diamond was discovered in 1906. Father Paradis, a missionary in the Nipissing district, reported that he had found a 101 carat yellow diamond in glacial overburden; the stone was said to have a rough exterior and be about the size of a hen’s egg. Most surmise that the gem had been picked up somewhere near the father’s mission along the shores of Lake Timiskaming; it was auctioned at Tiffanies and has since disappeared below the radar.
Few should be surprised at the discovery of gems in Canada. For over thirty years now geologists have known that diamonds are associated with continental cratons. The Canadian Shield is but one of several cratons in the north; it is the largest such structure in the world.
The discovery and subsequent mining of diamonds just outside Yellowknife precipitated a wholesale mineralogical scramble. In recent years the search has moved in a southerly direction and it will continue right across the Shield until its rock dips down under the soil about an hour’s drive just north-east of Toronto.
Just recently there have been some astounding discoveries outside New Liskeard. Several kimberlite pipes were found and at least half of them are diamondiferous. Though diamonds are typically found in kimberlite these New Liskeard diamonds are embedded in the breccia along the side of highway 11 (above photo).
Ralph Schroetter, a local gemologist hunts for New Liskeard’s illusive crystals at night, in a nearby stream bed; he uses ultra violet light. As he explained, “Some diamonds fluoresce when exposed to that kind of stimulation. It makes them easier to spot”.
Check out the big chunk of raw silver that I found on the mine dumps in Cobalt – here (raw silver)
Check out the dirty world of blood diamonds here ….
And on the other hand as Shirley Bassey sees it – out of the mud and on to the finger … Diamonds are Forever
Posted in abandoned, abandoned mines, abandoned mines in Ontario, adventure in Ontario, Adventures, backpacking, bizzare, books, Buy The Book, Canada, collecting rocks near Bancroft, Education, environment, exploration, feldspar, gemology, gems, gemstones, geography, geology, guelph, Hamilton, health, health and safety, hiking, history, industrial archeology, Interesting, Life, looking for gems, mine, mines in northern Ontario, My Book, my life, mystery, nature, Nature/Outdoors, ontario, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, Personal, Photography, photos, picture of, rock collecting, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, Rocks & Gems, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, strange places, underground, underground Ontario, urban exploration, tagged Abandoned mine in ontario, abandoned mines in Ontario, collecting rocks near Bancroft Ontario, Croft Mine, finding the Croft Uranium mine, mine in Ontario, Mines near Bancroft Ontario, mining in Ontario, old mines in Ontario, rock collecting in Ontario, rockhounding in Ontario, uranium mines in Ontario, uranium mines near Bancroft, where to find crystals in Ontario, where to find minerals in ontario on January 15, 2011| 4 Comments »
Between 1953 and 1955 Croft Uranium Mines worked the area for radioactive minerals. They found betafite, uranite, uranothorite, allanite and pyrochlore. Their appearance is flagged in the pegmatite by a dark red color and quartz that has darkened to a grayish-black. There are also said to be small pink garnets in the gneiss and larger specimens in the pegmatite – some reaching up to 3 centimeters in diameter.
A couple of hundred meters along the mine road I got Maggie to pull over in a little clearing and I continued on foot, leaving her there with the understanding that I would be back as soon as I had found the mine and explored the dumps. She had Shaka with her for company and I had my whistle that I tooted on intermittently so as not to walk unexpectedly into a hunter’s ambush. The whistle also served the dual purpose of letting bears know of my presence as the bush was thick and close to the path and I had no wish to meet the “mother of all bears” in a circumstance of mutual surprise.
The road dropped steeply down into a valley and I soon realized that leaving the car above was a wise move. There was nowhere to turn around, the ruts got deeper, and the track was soon entirely underwater. Beavers had built a stick and mud palisade that held back a stinking organic tidal wave that would one day inundate the swamp below. As for the road, forget it. I climbed across on logs and waded knee-deep in mud, thinking what it might be like during bug season (What looks like a stream in front of the beaver dam is actually the mine road).
On the other side of the beaver dam the track began a slow and steady climb upward. I noticed the appearance of crushed granite where I walked and of course the telltale patches of eastern hemlock. These trees tend to grow in clusters wherever the natural forest has been disturbed. They tell you where to look for hidden human habitation.
I soon discovered the mine dumps on my left and in a marshy gully I unexpectedly found the adit.
Posted in abandoned mines, adventure in Ontario, Adventures, Bancroft, Bancroft gemboree, books, collecting rocks near Bancroft, culture, cultures, Education, environment, exploration, feldspar, fluor-richterite, gemology, gems, gemstones, geography, geology, guelph, Hamilton, history, Interesting, lapidary, Life, looking for gems, mine, mines in northern Ontario, My Book, my life, nature, Nature/Outdoors, ontario, Ontario geography, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, people, Personal, Photography, photos, picture of, rock collecting, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, Rocks & Gems, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, Travel, Uncategorized, wierd, tagged apatite mine, Bancroft, collecting crystals, crystals in Ontario, fluor-richterite, fluor-richtertite, Fluorichterite, gem mine, gem mine in Ontario, minerals, ontario, rare minerals, rare minerals in Ontario, Rochound in Bancroft, rock and gem, rock collecting, rock crystals, rock hound, rock Hounding, rockhounding, Silver mine, sodalite on January 8, 2011| 1 Comment »
At first glance the Essonville Road Cut looked much like many others in the area – gnawed upon by rockhounds and strewn with shards of calcite and sand. Most immediately obvious were the huge black crystals that protruded from the calcite – a dyke that is theorized to run off into a southerly direction onto private property. A sign on the fence behind the cutting advertises “Rockhound Eco-tours”. A rockhound eco-tour? It almost seemed contradictory.
“You’re a rockhound?” I asked the fellow crossing the road from the pickup he had parked on the opposite shoulder – “You might say that”, I was told with a grin. “I am more a prospector and I operate the eco-tours – like to show the minerals on my property but we prefer not to set pick or hammer to them. We like to think of ourselves more as stewards”. “Stewards?” “Yeah, caring for the land. I know it sounds hokey, but I think we were meant to have our property – to look after it. Collecting can be destructive”.
I kind of edge my rock hammer around behind me. “Is there a problem with us collecting here I ask? Nah, its public land. Place is already trashed with all the blasting”.
In reverent terms Mark explained, what had formed in the cutting was Fluor-richterite. You will notice that some of the crystals have a metallic sheen – kind of stained by an iridescence, Its only a skin of goethite, beneath it is still fluor-richterite, one of the few minerals that can really be called “totally Canadian”. It was only distinguished from hornblende and recognized as a separate species in 1976”.
“So, in truth, you would have a hard time distinguishing between the two?” “Not really” my eco-teacher told me. “They are both amphiboles and they form a solid solution series, but fluor-richterite has a scaly white surface and it forms in prisms that are longer and thinner than those of hornblende”.
“Do you sell any specimens?” I ask hopefully. “How can you put a dollar value on them?” I am chastised.
As fortune would have it, I found myself in the company of Lee Clark later that afternoon. Having seen the township’s blasting Lee had asked for the debris to be dumped beside his barn; he had scooped the lion’s share – enormous boulders with fluor-richterite spines and as Lee pointed out hexagonally appearing prisms that cleave away in flakes. “phlogopite mica; they used it for windows in the old wood stoves.
Having weathered out of the calcite there were doubly terminated prisms lying amongst shards and unusually shaped prisms that appeared fully formed on the one edge and flattened on the other. I was in the process of trying to decide what unusual growth condition had so stunted the crystals when Lee apparently read my thoughts “The prisms frequently cleave down their center,” he slipped me a smaller perfectly formed specimen that he had been carrying in his pocket. “It’s my worry stone” he explained, “You take it; folks down south have greater use for that than I”.
Check out my visit to Princess Sodalite mine here …
Check out the Richardson Fission Mine here … Richardson Fission Mine
Check out abandoned silver Mine in Northern Ontario here … Abandoned Silver mine
Collecting apatite in Bancroft here … Apatite in Bancroft