Ok, so I am hyping it a bit … but there’s something ABOUT Albaum eggs. An obscure location that happens to be one of the oldest in Germany, they introduced themselves to me drearily. “A dull bland flawed core and a matrix that could be quite nice and serviceable with its red flecks – if it wasn’t surrounding such a dull interior and if it wasn’t so often worn down to a dispirited husk.” That was how I described it at the time. But like other ‘ugly’ locations, it itched! I wanted to see more – to see if I could get beyond the ‘ugly’ and find a proper connection with them. And when I got the chance to buy a box of uncut rough, I jumped at it. This was where I could finally take a serious look and see what they offered.
When they arrived, I was surprised how small some of them were – down to the size of a large pea. There was obviously no way I was sawing these tinys, so I put a few on my grinding wheel and just started grinding away at them. Essentially, I was going to grind off half the egg, leaving a single specimen. I wasn’t really expecting much, but what I got quite blew me away. Instead of the smudges of pale agate or carnelian I was expecting, tiny feature-rich geodes were appearing under my hands. I had never seen Albaum eggs like this before. They are among the smallest thundereggs I ever worked – all of the stones on this page are about 1.5cm across – and they are absolutely enchanting.
For comparison, the following (from the same batch) is closer to what I am used to seeing from Albaums – a better quality example of the pale flawed interior:
The nice thing about grinding away half of an egg rather than sawing it is that you can change direction as you begin to discover what’s going on inside it – as opposed to a one-shot at cutting through it. You find a hint of the core while grinding and you can change the angle so you catch it right. I rather like that! It allowed me to ‘home in’ on some quite nice faces through the middle of these stones. It is not easy to tell what these Albaums are like from the outside.
I have many more of these to grind/cut – so it will be interesting to see how the location develops. I am excited though – so far, working with these tinys anyway, they are showing a better quality rate than many far more respected locations. And one thing I will say is that I shall never refer to them as ‘ugly’ again!