Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘rockhounding in Ontario’

Raw silver found as wire – sold at the Bancroft Gemboree

P1010606, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

If you want it you can find it at the Bancroft Gemboree.

Yeah – they look like fletched arrow spines, barbs on fish hooks or just poorly made hooks but as the vendor explained, they are naturally occuring pieces of silver wire.

I am especially interested in what can be found up in cobalt. There was a massive silver strike up there in the early 1900s. According to the fellow that I was speaking to he said he had no luck in Cobalt – shook his head like it had been a really distasteful experience. “Got these from California”. I suspect he was keeping me clear of a rich hunting ground.

These pieces of silver wire are sometimes found in tangled balls and at other times in thick strands like the branches of a dead tree.

Read Full Post »

Bancroft Gemboree 2008

P1010580, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This lady was selling pink buddhas at the Bancroft Gemboree. I have just got back from spending the weekend there and I have taken a number of interesting photos of the people and the minerals that were being sold. This was the first person that I saw as I walked in.

Read Full Post »

An experience of the northern rockhound culture

gemboree1 008, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Ontario rockhounds look forward to the Bancroft Gemboree, it is the biggest rock and gem show in Canada. I have taken a week off work to attend the gemboree and visit various rock collecting sites up in that area.

In my book (as of yet unpublished but still under review by a publisher) I write about the experience of the Bancroft Gemboree. There is a distinct division between the merchants inside and those without. As for deals – you are most likely to get a good deal where the dealers are not professionals. As I wrote …

“These outside dealers of rough stone and mineral oddities are shaggier and rougher than the smoothly coiffed gem merchants within. They are often amateur; this pursuit of beauty is their life’s calling, but not their full time job. It’s not about cash; it’s the love of rockhounding that drives them.

An aged lapidary was selling his polishing equipment. On a table beside him he had an archaic buffing wheel. He was willing to part with it for a mere $250. All around him he had 3-litre strawberry baskets filled with cut agate. I bought one on a whim and upon closer examination back at the cottage I regretted not buying more. It was an incredible mix of sliced nephrite, chalcedony, banded agates and jasper. There were all sorts of striped and spotted rocks, cabochons and nodules of every type, an absolute treasure-trove for $10.

“Why dump this beautiful stuff at such a low price?” I asked. Leaning on the table he smiled sadly at me, watery red eyes suggesting long hours at the grinder. “I’m getting on in years you know.””

Read Full Post »

Buying beads in Bancroft

gemboree1 027, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Rock enthusiasts of Ontario and surrounding regions – it is now less than a month to go before the Bancroft Gemboree. I try and make a point of attending each year as does my wife Maggie.

One of the trends that I see emerging at the gemboree is its increasing focus on semi precious beads. Beads have a long and fascinating history; they were amongst the first forms of adornment and also, because of their value, experts soon found a way to make simulations – the Romans were experts at various cleverly crafted fakes.

Myans and Olmecs were big on beads. In having visited the Jade Museum in San Jose we saw some amazing examples. Because of the labour involved in crafting beads of nephrite and other tough materials the bigger the bead found at a burial, the more important the person is assumed to have been.

What follows is a small quote from my book on Ontario’s rock and mineral deposits – just a tease in recognition of the trend …

” Himalayan shepherds sometimes find etched agate beads lying in their fields. The cultural origins are unknown, though the finds are considered a good omen as the bead is thought to be a talisman that will protect its wearer from disaster. Known as dZi beads, they are believed by locals to be petrified insects, or possibly beads that the gods had dropped due to their imperfection. Very few are found in perfect condition and in light of their supposed insectivorous nature, dust must first be thrown over the bead if you are to capture it in your hand. To simply grab it without the “dust tossing precaution” means that you risk the possibility of it wriggling away”.

If beads interest you , consider checking out Maggie’s online bead shop at http://www.maggiebeads.etsy.com – she sells various beading kits and ships within 1 working day.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts