Posts from the ‘Showcases’ Category

Baumgartental East Side Update

Baumgartental Bed 2 Thunderegg

The above stone has been with me for a long time – a lovely little specimen from the Baumgartental East Side location (from the east side of the valley).  It is still one of the best Baumgartentals I have seen, and I have worked with quite a lot.  I have just updated the gallery with a few new stones – the best of the ones that have passed through my hands in the past few years.  And for the first time this begins to show just how changeable these stones can be.

For a long time, i was working with a distinctly different form with a far paler and more distinctly two-tone matrix.  Like this:

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It has to be said that once i acquired a stock of these they stuck to their basic formula pretty tightly – all very similar with very reduced agate and quartz ranging from decayed mess to glitteringly brilliant.

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They were beautiful stones, but not the most varied, i thought, so it became a game of finding one with slightly brighter quartz maybe – or a slightly better shape.  Yes – I was even getting what you might call board!  But of course – that’s the thing about a specific batch that you acquire – dug up from one patch of ground maybe – one small area of the infinite geology of the earth . . .

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Compare, for example, with the following:

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Both these last two specimens are tiny – just 4.5cm across.  And maybe this also changes the rules somewhat.  At any rate, finding these small stones, the very first ones to emurge from a small batch I acquired, suddenly opened the location up again!  Jolted me out of any weird Baumgartental reverie.  There will be more of these as I slowly work through them.  And the one thing they do prove is what an amazing location Baumgartental can be!

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Bear Mountain Beauty

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Bear Mountain, New Mexico is not a new location on the gallery, but this is the first time I have managed to track down specimens of any real quality that demonstrate what the location is capable of.  These two specimens demonstrate some interesting, not to say beautiful mineral growths and some nice mocha coloured agate.  Click here to visit the New Mexico gallery.bearmountain02

Kopfchens – Stressed and Shattered, but not so Ugly, Right?

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Click the image for a larger version.

These are Kopfchen thundereggs. With a few exceptions, the first batch of Kopfchens I got were somewhat on the scrappy side – tail end of a stock I think. So much so that I quickly labelled them one of the ugliest thundereggs in the world!  But I was very pleased to get a second chance with them just today. Of course, they are still almost always EXTREMELY rough and a deeply flawed thunderegg – they must have been through some dramatic stress even by the standards of German stones to end up quite this beat up. I suppose if you can’t stand cracks you won’t stand Kopfchens – but hey, I think they have an aesthetic and a character and a lot of nice colours to them, so maybe not so ugly now, right?

There will be more of these as I slowly polish through the stock – and yes, some will be for sale or swap.

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True Beauty – Whistler Springs

Not a new location or anything – I just wanted to share what may be one of the most directly beautiful thundereggs I have ever seen.

Whistler Springs Thunderegg

The Dramatic Thuringia Browns – New German Locations and Others

There is definitely something magical in the soil of Thuringia.  One thunderegg after another has emerged from the ground here – all very distinctively German.  Some are quite individual like the Nesselhofs, Spießbergs and Baumgartentals (see my gallery), but sometimes they can seem remarkably similar – all following the basic structure of a brown matrix with varying amounts/sizes of embedded grains and cores of quartz and maybe thin bands of agate.   As the ornithologists have their LBJs (‘little brown jobs’), so we thunderegg hunters have our Thuringia Browns.  Telling them apart can be a nightmare and the classification chaotic.  It all sounds rather expert territory right?  Loads of dull brown rocks, right?  The sort of things only a madly dedicated egg-head could possibly go wild over, right?

Well – I’m not so sure.  If you step back from the fun and games of classifying them, these rough and ready brown thundereggs have a real charm about them.  Colourful they ain’t (sometimes anyway) and they often suffer seriously from cracking but I think they have an earthy magnificence about them.  I have just launched three more of these Thuringia Browns on my gallery, but rather than just crow over the new locations, I thought it would be rather more interesting to present a nice overview of the very best of these wonderful stones – some new, some familiar if you have explored the gallery before.

To begin with a reference point – the most famous Thuringia Brown of all and the only one to be what you could call common – the Felsenschlag.  With their winning colour scheme, they are justifiably famous, even though only a small percentage of them are of any kind of quality.

Felsenschlag Thunderegg from near Gehlberg

You can see plenty more Felsenschlags on the gallery.  Note the few grains and inclusions in the matrix – we’ll be seeing plenty more of these.  Not far away are the similar Hölle thundereggs, characterised by their rather more ‘bubbly’ structure.

Hölle Thunderegg from near Gehlberg

And just incidentally, Hölle means ‘Hell’ – the thunderegg from hell!

Moving into the area of the town of Friedrichsroda, we encounter more thundereggs, including the weird and frustrating location called Seebachsfelsen.  It is frustrating because it is so rare, so interesting, and such a bloody nuisance!  The agate here is often so weathered and decayed that it is almost impossible to work with – even resin doesn’t help that much because the agate is usually white and any cracks still show up like writing on paper.  The following specimen is a beauty but significantly agateless, which is probably why it worked out so well.  The crystals are just amazing – some over an inch long.

Seebachsfelsen thunderegg – at least, I think so!

This stone was actually a bit of a mystery – it was identified by someone whose opinion I trust, but sold to me as something else by someone I also trust!  On balance, from my own analysis, I am coming down on the side of Seebachsfelsen though.

Also near Friedrichsroda are the Gottlob thundereggs – still with the familiar grains in the matrix.  These are very variable but again we are seeing the familiar bands of agate surrounding quartz.

Gottlob Thunderegg.

The above is a quite classic specimen I think – deeply fractured agate forming an elegant shape and framing quartz (actually smoky quartz in this case).  It took a lot of work to polish and requited consolidation with resin three times to get a good surface.  Here is another Gottlob, this time with less agate and with an impressive growth of amethyst:

Gottlob Thunderegg with Amethyst

Gottlob translates as roughly “Praise God” – in conjunction with the Hell thundereggs, this is starting to give me an odd feeling.  See more Gottlobs here – and watch this space as I have several more lovely specimens to polish in the near future.

Köpfchen thunderegg from near Steinberg-Hallenberg

The Köpfchen displays considerably more granularity in the matrix – almost verging on the untidy – but there is still the same basic structure of banded agate surrounding quartz.  This is the best specimen in the box I managed to locate by quite a considerable margin.  Most were pretty terrible, but at the same time they are extremely rare.  You can see more on the gallery.

The next location is an old favourite of mine – Mönchstal, or Monk’s Valley.  By this time we are starting to see those matrix grains growing very large indeed and here, combined with the characteristic vivid red agate, the results are sometimes stunning.  The following is a classic specimen – a fine geode with thin red bands.

Mönchstal Thunderegg Geode

Mönchstal Thunderegg with Massive Pseudomorph

The above Mönchstal is a rather more unusual one that really caught my fancy for some reason.  The beautifully shaped core is rather more muddled than usual and has a massive square pseudomorph embedded in it (the ghost of some old crystal still showing in the structure).  See more Mönchstal thundereggs on the gallery.

Very similar and quite close by is the Hölle thundereggs . . .

Hölle Thunderegg

Now wait a moment – did I just say Hölle again?  Hölle as in ‘Hell’?  Well yes I did.  I think I may have been here before in a previous post, but yes, the Germans have not one but two thunderegg locations called ‘Hell’.  This stone maybe looks the part more than the Gehlberg ‘Hell’, with is massive grains growing in the matrix and blood-red agate.  It looks almost alien – and by this time it is beginning to dawn on us that we have arrived at some pretty weird thundereggs among these Thuringia Browns!

I will conclude though with one of the most spectacular and rarest of the new locations, which takes us back to the village of Gehlberg where we started – to a new location called Brand (which seems to mean ‘fire’).  These are like the mean older brother of the Felsenschlag – a rich brown matrix filled with some spectacular granulation.  These two stones are already among my favourite new German specimens for quite a while – and as they are also extremely rare I shall have no hesitation in squireling these two away for myself out of the small stock I acquired.

Massive Brand Thunderegg with Smoky Quartz

Rare as they are, these stones somehow seem to act as an archetype for all these Thuringia browns – the rich brown matrix, the intense inclusions in it that stand out in such a high-contrast pattern and the massive quartz growth.  They are a return to the basics and, in doing so, they find a simple drama that has an earthy and pragmatic presence.  The above stone grew into a massive geode filled with huge smoky quartz points, while the following grew a beautiful four-pointed core of clean white – again with  those thin bands of agate that are so familiar here.  Just lovely!!

Brand Thunderegg – an almost perfect X

Stein’s Pillar Thunderegg Showcase

 Hot off the polisher today – a Stein’s Pillar thunderegg and possibly the best I have seen yet.  This has always been one of my favourite locations of all, thanks to its meaty matrix and warm colours.  So let me take the opportunity to present a showcase of what is actually a quite varied location.

Red mineralisation and very sharp levelling lines.

Small and simple with banded agate, showing off the colours beautifully.

A cluster thunderegg with some dense moss filling the core.

A hollow geode specimen with only a thin band of agate.

A moss agate thunderegg that I find truly beautiful. To me, possibly among the best moss I have ever seen.

And lastly a bit of a mystery. This was sold to me as a Stein's Pillar but is a quite startlingly different stone. What do you think? A lucky strike or similar that somehow got into the wrong box? A bizarre Stein's Pillar variant? I am really not sure. All I know is that I love it, with that amazing burst of pink mineral growth.

Click here to see the full Stein’s Pillar page on the Eibonvale Gallery.

Donnybrook and it’s Younger Dutch Brother

Donnybrook is an old classic – famous and beloved for its magnificent green matrix.  I was recently able to get a bag of uncut specimens to play with, which was a fantastic experience!  Working with these is like polishing the best olives ever grown.  There are several of these on my gallery, but the following is one of the new ones – a beautiful cold green in colour.

The next stone showed a rather bizarre fuzzy nature – as though the stone developed a soft mineral growth before entombing it forever in agate.  This one also has a much yellower colour to it.

The nice thing about Donnybrooks is that even the duds can be pretty beautiful!  The following caught me by surprise.  There is not much of the thunderegg about this, though there is a tiny agate core on the left side of the rock.  This is a mix of matrix and surrounding material filled with striking parallel lines.  Red flecks of Cinnabar complete it.

And lastly, a curiosity.  Not the greatest thunderegg ever but proof that Donnybrooks are not always just green!  This is the only time I have ever encountered a RED donnybrook.

Click here for more Donnybrook stones on the main gallery.

However, just recently, a new thunderegg bed has surfaced just a short distance away from Donnybrook.  Discovered by Dutchman Ed Pieters, who named it Dutch Donny, these stones have been causing a bit of a stir lately.  Compared to Donnybrook, they are surprisingly different considering that they are just down the hill – washed through with brown and red and yellow and exquisite flow-banding, they have a sweet pretty nature that is very different to the classic powerful green of the Donnybrooks.  Warmer, gentler and more immediately approachable.

Lastly, here is a larger and more complex Dutch Donny thunderegg – a triple basically and quite feature-rich.

At any rate – the Dutch Donny stones seem set to become a classic, just like it’s near neighbour.

The Dutch Donny stones is just one of the many updates awaiting attention on the main gallery.  Have patience folks!  I will get to that soon!