These articles were mostly written for newspapers. We are starting with ones my father wrote, but I'm adding my own work as well. We updated them for this site to make them more current, but if you notice any glaring errors, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it!
UFOs and Green Glass
The year was 1884. It was a June afternoon in the Dundy County ranch land, and a cattleman was riding out for a roundup with several of his hands. The last direction any of them expected danger to come from was above. But that was how it happened.
Let me think now. How was it that it began? It was down in Larry Kidner's basement so long ago. I was just nosing around in lapidary at the time. I remember him, the seasoned faceter, showing my new bride and I his faceting machine and his dizzying array of cut gems. The astonishing precision and the in-depth knowledge that would have to be achieved was so intimidating that I couldn't imagine even beginning to be interested in actually setting out to learn it. I was enthralled by his stones but I left his house that day without an inkling that someday I would be faceting as well...
I don't know how I came by my first chunk of Mexican Leopardskin Jasper, but I know since I got it I was always impressed with it. It was such a beautiful, striking material, always bringing comment and requiring a second look. Of course, it was the perfect choice for a leopard carving. In fact, I kept telling people, "Someday I'm going to carve a leopard out of it", until I realized if I didn't get on it, I was just lying to people. Maybe it was a carving of a pig out of Leopardskin Jasper I had seen that became the catalyst. I looked on it with such disdain because the material seemed such an inappropriate choice for a pig. It was clear I must carve a leopard...
Jewelry Buying Consumer Tips
We are safe to assume for the purposes of this article there are three types of jewelry: Quality Jewelry, Respectable Jewelry and Fast Sale Jewelry. There are various shades of these one sees and are often identifiable by the price tag, but not always. All of these want to look like quality jewelry, so the consumer needs to know which kind he or she is in the market for and how to tell the difference. Unfortunately, because most jewelry must have a high polish at the time of purchase and be in a lighting situation the consumer possibly isn't accustomed to, many times the difference only becomes noticeable through the wearing of the article...
Many have heard terms such as "cat's-eye" and "color-change sapphire", but there are many who don't know what these terms indicate. These are names for certain types of unusual stones called phenomenal gems.
Here is a continuation of what happened in our pursuit of gemstones while vacationing in Idaho in the summer of 2001...
I did a carving of a leopard in Leopardskin Jasper back about 1991. In our travels with our gem business, the carving created a bit of a stir wherever we went. Because of it, a lady commissioned me to carve a gecko from Leopardskin Jasper. This is how it went:
Garnet- A Gem For All Tastes
Gem cutting was my hobby for almost four years and, because of the recession, it became my profession. Now this intense interest has gone beyond occasional flights of fancy and at times, in the midst of the excitement of the gem chase, I feel like the luckiest man alive. Not only do I get to see finished gems at their finest, but I get to know them in their raw state. Rugged uncut beauties fresh from the treasure vaults of the earth, the dry smell of dust still on them, newly liberated from the dark into the bright day. I get to ponder them, and finally decide how they should be cut to bring out the best in them. Best color, best brilliance, best weight, best shape. I'm on the lookout for the finest quality at the best price...
Amethyst, The Purple Quartz
What a beautiful stone, what a color! The February birthstone can be pale or dark and all the shades in between. It can be expensive or inexpensive. Some stones can exhibit a color change from red purple to blue purple depending on the lighting, and amethyst can occur in a number of different ways...
Cutting Stones for the Queen
The message came by email from one of my rough gemstone suppliers in South Africa. "How would you like to be able to tell your grandchildren you cut stones for Queen Elizabeth?"
Star Garnet Hunting in Idaho
My brother-in-law planned the whole thing. A family reunion at an out-of-the-way resort in the wilds of Idaho for fishing, amusement parking, parasailing (for my Mother-in-law), cruising on Lake Coeur d'Alene, and rock hounding. Though I was most interested in the rock hounding I must say my heart rate must have hit its peak on the "Timber Terror" and "Tremors". Both of these wooden rollercoasters are able to make a man stagger with fear. Actually I've developed a way that, for me, has rendered these Amusement Park rides rather humdrum. See, what I do is, when I sit down in the car, I pretend that I am, in fact, driving and therefore I am fully intending to tear at break-neck speed down these gut-wrenching drops. Without regard for my life or the lives of my passengers I mean to careen wildly through those hairpin turns even if it means running that car right off the track. As an added bonus, I've found that it even relieves the boredom of screaming myself inside out. As we were leaving the ride I could tell my niece, whom I rode with, was impressed with my control. She looked down at the seat and said, "Nice control, Uncle!" and then she couldn't help adding, "Do you think it might be a thyroid problem that makes your eyes bulge like that?" Well, enough about that, I've got an article to write...
The Ghost is a Rockhound
When I was a small boy I dreamed of owning a rock shop. I can't say that I've spent my life devoting all my energies towards that goal, but it seems that since May of 1990 my dream has become my reality. We carry a huge variety of gem materials from all over the world. The building I use is an inheritance from my mother. I have stocked it with six different collections of gemstone the largest of which had its beginning in 1935.
I know it is old, although I have no idea of its early history or the year it was built.
Polar Bear Carving
I don't know where they came, from but there they were in my hoard of rocks. Some of the odds and ends of one of the collections I've come by. Just two or three pieces of white alabaster, white as the driven snow, dimpled and peaked. I often contemplated they must have been pulled out of a stream. Fast moving water must have made those shapes. I remember looking at one about five by six inches across and thinking how beautiful it looked, and how very like the Arctic snowdrifts, wind sculpted and burnished...
Agate - The Total Original
To ponder upon agate is to ponder upon the infinite. Well, maybe not, but its close, and at least it's a good way to "kick-start" this article. I've always been amazed at the extraordinary variety of this gemstone. Just when you thought you've seen it all, you'll come on one that gives you that surprise and once more you realize how vast is agate...