Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cabbing Ice - Working With Bull "Snow" Quartz - The Polished Pebble

The Ranch in Wyoming looking out over the meadow.

Yes, it is winter. And no matter what the enviro - nut jobs say....there has been plenty of cold & snowy weather. But, we here in Bakersfield, CA have been snow free - stuck under a blanket of fog. Yesterday we finally got to see the sun...but today it is foggy again :(

We have been working on getting some cabochons & such listed on our website - The Polished Pebble and one of the pieces we listed was a cab made out of White Quartz. See the picture below.......

This is the first piece that we have had in our hands once it was finished to be able to list for sale. It seems that every other cab that we cut of this material seemed to be sold right after it was completed. A group of local wire wrappers just loved the look. And after working with this stone - We agree - it makes for some beautiful cabochons.

It looks just like ice! And to think that when we originally saw this stone, we dismissed it as too plain jane to cab. Boy, were we wrong. It seems that the plain crisp white & clear combo works well with an unlimited types of metals & other accent colors. Plus it doesn't seem to clash with anything. Making the jewelry that it is set into very versatile.

Our stone was found on the ranch in Wyoming were we go every year in Oct. They have an abundance of quartz & quartzite stone there. In fact, other than the meadow seems the whole valley is just a bunch of quartz rocks.

Once I had cut & polished a few cabochons last summer we knew that we were going to need to bring some more home to work with. So, one afternoon when the guys were in from hunting we went out to the ridge to pick up some pieces. Trying to find some stones that were a nice size to slab & were not iron stained was not as easy as we thought it would be. And as we looked around we noticed something. The white rocks that we were seeking were only in the top foot or so of the ground. There was an old rock pit & you could see that once they got past that first more solid white rocks. Interesting.....

We gathered enough to keep us in stone at least for the next year & brought it home with our other goodies from the trip. And we have been working with it ever since. You may have seen it other places called "Snow Quartz"....or if you have a mining background - "Bull Quartz". And after working with it...we are shocked that it is not offered more. But then again - it you saw it slabbed up next to a nice agate or jasper....most would pass it up.

You see, until you polished it out you don't see the true beauty of this stone. We have all heard Diamonds referred to as "Ice" - but that is just wrong....this quartz looks more like ice than any diamond that I have seen. And it is a heck of alot less money. :)

Don't forget to checkout our latest offerings of Gemstone Cabochons along with some very unique "Natural Finish" Gems at out website    The Polished Pebble

Later..........Connie  -  The Polished Pebble

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rock Hounding With The Wild Horses of Wyoming - The Polished Pebble

Wild horses....nothing says freedom quite like the image of a group of wild horses running free. No fences to hem them in. No borders they are not free to cross. A lovely thought - but hardly reality. But on the day I spent with them, it was hard not to feel the draw.

The day started out as planned. I was going to go out to an area that I had kind of skipped over before in my travels out rock hunting. A large basin surrounded by low to medium hills just north of Raulins, WY. Barren rolling ground with little more than sagebrush & native grass. Wild horses were nowhere in my plans.

I turned off the pavement onto one of the many dirt roads...scanning the sides for any interesting rock outcroppings or gullies that needed to be explored. Careful to stay in the well worn ruts & not damage this fragile land anymore than necessary. As the truck crested a low hill they came into view...a group of horses. They were lazily grazing when I first saw them.

Beautiful & strong I thought that they were the property of a nearby rancher. They looked extremely healthy & well feed. As I drove within 50 yds. of them they seemed unconcerned until I stopped to just look. It seemed that the minute the truck came to a halt all eyes were on me. I sat for just seconds looking & it became clear that they we not happy with me so close - so I continued on my way. After all, I was not looking to find horses. :)

I did find some interesting agates along the road not too far from where I saw the horses, so I pulled off the road & got out. Looking around I noticed that I had crossed another ridge & the horses were not visible from here. I was busy looking around, and picking up some of the agate & petrified wood that was in the area. I had wandered about 100 yds. from my truck when I heard the noise. The ground seemed to be shaking along with this thundering noise. As I looked toward the direction of this noise I saw the same group of horses heading my way at a dead run. Not a casual speed - a "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE" run.

Now, it is amazing just what goes thru your mind when you are faced with something like this. All I could think was "Dang, I left the camera in the truck!". Looking back now, I should have been afraid of being run over...but for some reason I didn't feel that way. As the lead horse spotted me - he veered to the left ever so slightly & the pack passed by about 20 yds. away. Each horse looking me in the eye as they passed.

The last horse in the group slowed as he approached me & stopped. the other horses had cleared the next rise by then. Standing there, it was very evident that he was sizing me up. Me, I was admiring this beautiful & powerful animal. He was stunning. We stood there for what seemed like along time...then on top of the ridge the rest of the group appeared & one of the horses made a noise. The horse by me turned & walked towards the others. And then they were gone.

I continued my quest for stone - but it was just not the same & I decided to call it a day. The drive back to the ranch was uneventful, but the memory was & still is very vivid to this day. I plan to make another trip to this area next year....don't know if I want to find more rock or just visit the horses again. Either way - it should be fun.

Connie - The Polished Pebble

*****One additional note - just before we left Wyoming....I read in a local paper that the BLM was going to do a Wild Horse roundup later that month in the area I was in. I wonder if the group I met is still roaming the range. I sure hope so.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mother Natures Little Gems - The Polished Pebble

We have been cleaning & cleaning again some of our latest additions. These are some small natural treasures from our Wyoming trip last Oct. Collected in an area near the Laramie Mountains. While alot of people working with stone collect large pieces that can be cut & polished, myself included....I still continue to be drawn to the smaller pieces also.

Such detail in a little stone - and Mother Nature has already finished these beauties off with a nice tumble followed by a wind polish. No extra work for me, right? Well, sort of. The job of cleaning these pretties off can be quite labor intensive....soaking & scrubbing - over & over again for some. But the end result is worth it.

I always thought that these gems deserved their rightful place in a beautiful piece of jewelry. Recently there have been a few talented artists that have agreed with me. I must admit, I am amazed at their ability to twist & wrap wire while showcasing these smaller stones. They are amazing!

The pieces above are the most interesting dark grey metallic stones. While we are not geologists, we believe them to be manganese. The look reminds me of some iron meteorites I have...but they are different. Just think of what these would look like in a wrap - they are definitely one of a kind items.

And every now & then - while cleaning up a small gem you uncover some sparklie crystal druzy. This piece has a fracture down the middle. The plan is to make a cut along the fracture & polish the agate. They will be small - but stunning.

Connie  -  The Polished Pebble

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Years Rumblings with The Polished Pebble

Ever notice that when you are doing lots of things & have tons more that you should be doing & even more that you need or want to do...and suddenly life makes you stop? No warning, no advance notice...just stop? Well, that explains the last couple of months here. And in that moment....all things that are important - really important become crystal clear.

We won't go into details, but it appears that the storm has passed and the clouds are passing. Looking forward - we have a renewed focus that you will see here and thru our business. We have many adventures that we have had that - for many reasons - just didn't get written up. And plans are to get them posted.

We have been working on inventory, both in new Cabochons & Display pieces. And we will be expanding our "Natural Stone" inventory. There has been great reception & demand for those pieces that Mother Nature has supplied the shape & finish to. Along with that we are also offering Gemstone Slabs thru our other website for those that would like to make their own Cabochons. Expect the same high quality in the slabs we offer there - as the hand cut and polished Gemstone Cabochons that we offer thru .

Currently we are working on photos of finished work & researching additional info on our stones so we can provide you with a more complete look at each stone.

The weather has not been very good for going out rockhounding as of late. Although, all the rain is sure to have washed off some treasures & there are trips planned and on the calender. Many out into the desert areas where the temps are cool enough & the bad critters are sleeping.

The only real thing that might put a damper on the planned trips would be the gas prices :( We will have to wait & see.

 As always, if you have some great stone or know someone who does...we are always looking. And if you are looking to find a particular stone or a certain special Cabochon....drop us and email, we'll be glad to help!

The cloud pictures in this post we taken after a recent storm. We always find clouds and their different forms, streaks & designs fascinating. And the sky - especially after a storm - just reminds us of how small & trivial things can be sometimes in the world.

Here's hoping the NEW YEAR brings all of you Peace & Joy!

Connie    -    The Polished Pebble