Saturday, July 25, 2009
Also, you should be able to access our new podcast directly from iTunes . If you have iTunes, click "iTunes Store" at the left of the iTunes main screen. When the iTunes Store screen comes up, click "podcast" at the left of that screen. When the podcast screen is up, click "browse" or "power search" at the right of the podcast screen. In the next screen to come up, type in"Mineral Bliss" for title or Jake Slagle as author, and hopefully you'll be there.
Sometimes we'll name the topics in the current issue of Rocks and Minerals or Mineralogical Record. Other podcasts will herald events of mineralogical interest within a 100 mile radius of Baltimore Maryland. Very likely, we'll also be doing podcasts that feature pronunciation and vocabulary pertinent to mineralogy and related earth sciences.
This past week, after preparing for the launch of our new podcast, I split for Asheville, North Carolina to catch the earth sciences exhibit at Colburn Museum before it closes for
Bele Chere. Soon thereafter, we'll be visiting the three extravaganzas associated with the annual Franklin, NC, Gemboree. Next week's post will share the highlights of that trip.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Even so, Fred Parker didn't become completely "hooked" on Maryland minerals until 1987. That happened when he and Maryland's "Mr. Garnet," John Ertman, uncovered a major pocket of gem quality grossular at Hunting Hill in Montgomery County. Twenty two years later, Fred still likes to refer to this locality as "my baby." In 2005, when The Mineralogical Record published the definitive Fred J. Parker piece, "The Minerals of Hunting Hill Quarry, Rockville, Maryland," the mineralogy of the Free State received a level of recognition not seen in decades
When addressing the Baltimore Mineral Society, Fred described history as where "the real adventures begin." He mentioned two long out of print books as especially relevant: They were Minerals of Maryland, by Ostrander and Price, published in 1940 by The Natural History Society of Maryland and Minerals of the Washington, DC Area by Lawrence R. Bernstein, published in 1980 by the Maryland Geological Survey.
To share the anecdotes that made his point would extend beyond the allocated space for this post. Just about every story deserves its own post. For example:
- The road cut near Columbia where autunite and torbernite ! covered the pegmatite.
- Rediscovering a long forgotten smoky quartz occurrence (check out our title picture) near Clarksville in excavations making way for future McMansions.
- The amazing amethysts near Laurel that the workmen threw into the pit to permanent burial.
- The man who took home a quartz boulder laden with gold from the Cabin John Bridge excavation and used it as a door stop.
- Buck Keller's major gypsum find in 2007 amidst excavations for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
- The presence of quartz crystals in soil beginning just south of Thurmont and extending almost to Harpers Ferry.
These stories are history now. But others are in the works. And there should be plenty more before too long.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
When we bring a crystal or stone into our electromagnetic field, two things occur. First the electromagnetic frequencies carried by that stone will vibrate with related frequencies in our own energy field through the physical law of resonance, creating a third, larger field of vibration. Your nervous system is attuned to these shifts in energy and will transmit this information to your brain, where the frequencies stimulate biochemical shifts that affect the phusical body, trigger emotional experiences, and shift brain function to open you to spiritual experience.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
This all relates to the issue of how much any given mineral is worth. Though rarity, and especially beauty are usually big factors, major exceptions exist. Micromounts displaying magnificent views of an enormous variety of minerals, both rare and common, can often be had for just a few dollars because they're tiny and a microscope is necessary to appreciate them. Many other extremely rare minerals, regardless of size, occasionally go for less money if they are ugly or if the market for them is limited enough. In the March-April, 2009 edition of Mineralogical Record, Rock Currier described it this way:
If the mineral is so rare that only two or three specimens were ever produced, most collectors may never be aware of them, and thus a market value for them cannot establish itself. Rather than pay a high price, the average collector will be merely puzzled by the specimen and view it as a curiosity rather than a valuable rarity. After all, if this is a highly desirable specimen, why don't their friends or local museums have one and why haven't they seen one in pictures? An absence of knowledge discourages purchasing. They have no yardstick by which to measure the desirability of the specimen.
As one who loves, collects, and acquires both rare minerals and micromounts, I'm often elated with this state of affairs. When selling them, however, the going sometimes gets tough. On both ends, the bottom line is the price for which one is willing to part with a mineral and what an able, willing, and available buyer who wants it will pay. The number of both sellers and buyers for extremely rare minerals is relatively limited. Knowledge and experience in this niche are key.