TAR HEEL TAILINGS
Hello everybody. I would like to again thank everyone that volunteered and
helped make the show a success. If you were a volunteer, be sure that your name gets
into the hat for the scholarship drawing. A week at Wildacres or Williams Holland
can't be beat, and you might learn something...
I have just completed this year's Opal cutting class, and I am looking forward
to the Beginning Cabochons class, which will start in June. I enjoy teaching the
classes immensely, and each one proves once again that the teacher learns more than
the student. So... I thank all of the students that have taught me so much.
From the Editor…
Please notice below the availability of
refreshments. In fact, many months are
available. Unless a club member calls the
President and volunteers, we will NOT have
anything to eat or drink. Remember, the club
reimburses volunteers up to $75.00. PLEASE
CONTACT THE PRESIDENT TO SIGN
UP FOR ANY AVAILABLE MONTH.
Complete list of Refreshment Volunteers
May – Vitus Carroll
June – open
July – open
August – ICE CREAM SOCIAL
September – C & C Hummel
October – open
November – open
Chris & Susan Whitley
MAY FIELD TRIP
CALL SHIRLEY TO COMFIRM TRIP IS A GO!!!
FOR DETAILS CALL SHIRLEY
When – May 22, 8AM – 1PM
Where – Martin Marietta’s Raleigh-Durham quarry
Details – Meet at office and sign release form, age limits – 8 and above, bathroom available at office
Bring – Hard hats, boots, safety glasses, tools, buckets, flats, newspaper to wrap specimens, water,
snacks, sun and bug protection
Bob Crocker has graciously agreed to lead a gold
panning trip located near the historical Portiss Mine.
The group will be limited to current club members
only. Group is limited, seriously interested panners
requested. You will be in KNEE DEEP MUDDY
WATER. This has been a very enjoyable trip in the
past. We thank Bob for donating his time for the
event. Dates are not set, but it will be early June.
You MUST call the Editor to be on the list to attend.
Remember, group size is limited so call now.
Our own club member, Walt Milowic will present “Antarctica”.
This program will be complete with slides and specimens. This is
an interesting presentation. Plan to be amazed.
Chris Tacker gave a presentation on the minerals to be displayed at the natural science
museum downtown. The grand opening for this viewing will be July 17, 2004.
New members were introduced.
Bob Crocker thanked all the volunteers that helped with the display cases and the geode
booth at the show.
Corinne Hummel reported that the club cleared about $4,000 with some bills
Prep Maynard needs the names of all show volunteers from the chairpersons. The drawing for Wild
Acres or William Holland should be held at the next meeting.
The president, Robin Suddaby thanked everyone who participated during the show.
Robin received an e-mail from Willard Truckenmiller. Mr. Truckenmiller needs the club’s help, if
anyone knows a Mr. Jan Wilson who was associated with the hiddenite museum. Mr. Wilson
supposedly moved to the triangle area from Hiddenite. Contact Robin if you can help. Robin also
received e-mail from a new amethyst crystal mine. Details at the next meeting.
Bob won the drawing.
EMERALD – MAY’S BIRTHSTONE
The name Emerald comes from the French esmeraude, which in turn goes back
to the Greek root smaragdos, meaning green stone. Emerald belongs to the beryl
family, which includes aquamarine, heliodor and morganite. Beryl, or beryllium
aluminum silicate, is a six-sided hexagonal crystal and contains beryllium,
aluminum, silicon and oxygen. The color of emerald is derived from impurities
of chromium, vanadium, or a combination of both replacing some of the
aluminum in beryl's structure. Before 1963 the definition of emerald was limited
to stones containing chromium, but the discovery of a large deposit containing
vanadium in Brazil changed the definition. Varying amounts of iron will affect
the color as well, with atoms of this impurity increasing bluish tones. Emerald’s
hardness is 7-1/2 to 8. Inclusions are common, but other stones of this group are usually most
valuable when free of flaws. It has a poor toughness rating, being easily cracked or chipped. The stone
can lose its color when heated strongly.
A symbol of love and rebirth, the emerald has been treasured for over 4,000 years. To the ancient
Romans, emeralds were dedicated to the goddess Venus because it symbolized the reproductive forces
of nature. Early Christians saw it as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ. In the Middle Ages
emeralds were believed to hold the power to foretell the future. It was worn for strength and memory
enhancement and to ward off evil spirits. Emeralds were used to reveal the truth about love. They
were said to improve intelligence as well as the heart, they gave those who wore them the gift of
eloquence. They were believed to protect marriages, enhance fertility, ease childbirth, cure epilepsy
and nervous breakdowns, stop bleeding, cure dysentery and fever, and protect the wearer from panic.
Its magnificent green color was said to rest and relieve the eye.
Several famous historical artifacts were made of emeralds. Among them was the Crown of Andes,
worn by the last Inca king of Peru who was taken prisoner by Conquistador Pizzaro in 1532. The
crown was set with 453 emeralds, collectively weighing 10 ounces (1523 carats). Royalty in Babylon
and Egypt wore emeralds. Tools dating back to 1300 B.C., during the reign of Rameses II, have been
found in emerald mines in Egypt. Queen Cleopatra's emeralds were believed to originate from mines
in Southern Egypt, near the Red Sea.
When the conquistadors first arrived in South America from Spain, they saw
native rulers wearing emeralds. Large quantities of emeralds were taken from
the Peruvians during the invasion but the mine was never discovered. Then
in 1537, the Spaniards found Chivor in Colombia, now the location of an
important emerald mine. They also took over the Muzo mine following the
defeat of the Muzo Indians. Mining operations
at Muzo have continued almost uninterrupted since the Spanish invasion. It
is now perhaps the most famous emerald mine in Colombia and is said to
produce the world's best emeralds.
In the twelfth century, Crusaders returning from the Holy Land brought an emerald Grail to the
Genoa Cathedral. The Cup is said to be over 700 years old. One of the largest emeralds in the world
is the Mogul Emerald, originating in the year 1695, weighing 217.8 carats and is about 10 cm high.
One side is inscribed with prayers and the other side engraved flower ornaments. This legendary
emerald was auctioned at Christie's of London for 2.2 million dollars to an anonymous buyer. The
New York Museum of Natural History not only displays a cup from pure emerald, which was owned
by Emperor Jehingar, but also a Colombian emerald crystal weighing 632 carats. The collection
owned by the Bank of Bogota contains valuable emerald crystals weighing between 220 and 1796
carats. The Irani State Treasury contains the emerald tiara of ex-Empress Farah.
A huge emerald unearthed in the North Carolina Mountains failed to sell at a New York auction on
December 7, 2000. The rare stone drew a high bid of $460,000, which auction officials said was below
the minimum they had set for the stone. The 18.8-carat Carolina Queen is considered by many gem
experts to be the rarest combination of size and quality produced in the United States. The stone was
cut from a golf-ball-sized, 72-carat crystal from an abandoned mine site located near Hiddenite,
Alexander County in 1988. The same crystal had earlier produced another emerald called the
Carolina Prince, a 7.85-carat stone that was sold to a private buyer in 1999 for $500,000.
Emeralds are most frequently found inside a form of shale, a fine-grained sedimentary rock. Emerald-
bearing shale has undergone recrystallization due to changes in the physical environment such as
pressure and temperature. Beryl develops in pegmatites and certain metamorphic rocks. It occurs with
quartz, microcline, and muscovite in pegmatites, and with quartz, muscovite, and almandine in schist
of regional metamorphic rocks. Emeralds are predominantly found in Colombia-South America,
Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Australia. The center of world emerald mining is in South America
with Colombia and Brazil as major producers. The finest quality emeralds come from Colombia's
Muzo Mine, producing emeralds for the last 400 years. The African
mines that supplied Cleopatra's passion have long since played out.
Today the African continent is second only to South America in
production, with mines in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Nigeria.
Zambian emeralds are a richer color, being slightly darker green than
Columbian stones. Zimbabwe’s famous Sandawana mine produces
smaller, very fine, deep green stones. Emeralds were discovered and
mined in the Ural Mountains of Russia around 1830. In the United
States, emeralds can be found in North Carolina. Each world locale
typically produces a certain color, size and clarity -- so much so that the
term "Colombian" emerald has often been used to describe vivid, slightly
bluish green stones of medium-to-medium dark color, no matter what their actual geographic origin.
Likewise, emeralds of lighter color are sometimes called "Brazilian", even if they were mined in
Africa. The USA and Japan together purchase more than 75% of the world's cut emeralds.
Because of inclusions, emeralds are more fragile than other beryls and must be treated more
gently. Emeralds may develop internal cracks if banged hard or subjected to extreme
temperature changes. Most faceted emeralds, up to 95%, are enhanced with colorless oil such
as mineral oil. This process evens the color of heavily fractured or included stones. This
process is not permanent and may bleed out eventually revealing fractures or inclusions.
Stones that were treated to mask these internal flaws should never be cleaned with an
ultrasonic jewelry cleaner or washed with soap. This will remove the oil and expose the hidden flaws.
This oiling process is accepted as an enhancement in the jewelry industry.
Inclusions are normally eye visible in emeralds, eye clean gems are much more expensive. There are
three types of inclusions in emeralds. The three-phase inclusions can occur as a liquid, gas, or solid. It
is best to stay away from gemstones that are heavily included, opaque, heavily fractured, or pale in
color. These characteristics greatly affect the overall value of the stone. Emerald is generally cut in
round, oval, smooth-domed cabochon and emerald (octagonal step-cut) shapes and only occasionally
seen in pear or marquise cuts due to the difficulty of cutting these shapes. Since emeralds are
extremely sensitive to knocks, gem cutters invented the “emerald” cut to protect the stone. The price
varies greatly based upon place of origin, clarity, and intensity of color. Colombian stones of a carat or
more can easily sell for several thousand dollars and gem quality can exceed ten thousand dollars per
If you wish to bring a love into your life, buy an emerald and charge it
with your need through visualization, perhaps while placing it near a
green candle. After this ritual, wear or carry the emerald somewhere near
your heart. Do this in such a way that others cannot see it. Emerald is
also advantageous for business and money ventures.
I have recently re-opened a long abandoned amethyst mine in Georgia and using machinery I have
brought up fresh material. I am a hobbyist and the only way I could work this area and afford the
machinery is to let people dig thru the tailings. I am a member of several clubs in Georgia, one being
Carroll County Gem and Mineral Society. Their website features my dig area (Ivey farm) on their
home page. The link to view this is www.ccgms.us. Author Mike Streeter visited the place. View the
incredible pictures of what he found: http://www.mcrocks.com/page18.html. If the link doesn't work
then try www.mcrocks.com and go to fieldtrip report section. Lastly I would invite you to visit my
website www.dixieeuhedrals.com which has info and directions. This place is the real deal and not
a salted gimmick mine. Individuals and groups can contact me and make arrangements to go dig. I
am hoping your rock club will be interested in a fieldtrip. Please forward this e-mail to anyone who
you think will be interested in the place. Thanks, Rodney 770-380-8917
The Agate Cameo
During the time of Shakespeare, the agate cameo was very popular in England and
went by the name of agatestones. Cameos of exquisite workmanship were worn by
the nobility and were in the crown jewels.
Cameo is a subject about which comparatively little has been written and much
deals with cameos of years past. Practically nothing has been written regarding the
techniques of cutting shell cameos.
The old Italian cameo cutters spent their lives in the work, and the secrets of the
art were handed down from father to son for generations. Usually the apprentice
would start work as a young boy so it’s to be expected that a number of highly
skilled cutters could be developed.
Cameo is a gem carved with figures that are raised in relief. The term often refers to a gem that has
layers of different colors. The figures are cut from one layer against a background of another color.
Stones commonly used for cameos include onyx, sardonyx, agate and tiger’s-eye. Shell and coral are
also used, but the agate and tiger’s-eye have long retained their popularity. This is due to the fact that
a well-executed portrait on one of these hard gemstones lasts for a lifetime.
Beautiful artificial cameos are made from various kinds of shell and fine glass. Shell yields very delicate
cameos. Both the Romans and Greeks produced excellent cameos. Cameos were introduced for
decorative purposes about 300 B.C as a contrast to the older forms called intaglios, which were
incised below the surface and also served as seals. Cameos and intaglios present the highest form of
carving, since the cutter is truly a sculptor as well as a cutter.
The cutting is done by means of a small lathe fixed to a table on a bench. The stone to be worked is
held in the fingers and freely manipulated against the revolving tool on the lathe. In the 16th Century,
cameos were carved from a single stone of five layers, each a different color. Cameos are much in
demand today by collectors and are one of the latest fashion accessories.
Via Hound’s Howl 2003
Tips & Hints
Fluorescent rocks have to be viewed in the dark. To make labels, which can also be seen under
the UV lamp, mix quinine and water to use as an ink. It glows a bright bluish white under black
Cutting slabs: Cut thin chunks of rough on the bias (diagonally) to yield larger slabs.
Fisherman’s Friend: Beaders – crimp split shot sinkers on your line to keep beads from slipping
off tiger tail while you take a break from your work.