Not a new location for the gallery but a significant upgrade on the previous specimen and a great one to share in it’s own right. This is from the so-called Succor Creek Opal Bed – a beautiful pale thunderegg with a core of swirled and patterned white opal.
Keeping to the north-west of the American continent, we have a new location from Canada to publish, which is a very rare event. Star Spirit Thundereggs are found in colourful indigo and orange clays on the island of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (formally known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). They are relatively large and feature a very attractive colour scheme of greys – a deep grey-green matrix surrounding clear grey agate, often with bands or waterlines. The beauty is also in the bold shapes they tend to form.
On both these specimens, the polish was somewhat problematic and I really need to rework them a bit one day. For now though, here are the specimens with a little bit of processing to minimise the issues, and hopefully that wont stand in the way of appreciating what a fine and powerful location this is.
I have finally uploaded three First Creek specimens to the Washington State section of the gallery. This is an obscure but very interesting location producing relatively large eggs with a distinctly elongated and sometimes lens-shaped appearance. The cores tend not to contain fancy agate, but a complex blend of minerals, sometimes very attractive in an earthy way.
Langer Rain thundereggs recently appeared on the scene from Germany, causing a little excitement as a possible new find – similar to the classic Felsenschlag, yet different. I quickly bought three of them. Unfortunatly, the realisation came soon enough that these were just stones from the so-called ‘New Hole’, which isnt so new now. HOWEVER, Langer Rain is a much more poetic name, so I am happy to add it to the gallery anyway. There’s a limit to the usefulness of names like New Hole, after all, and people should be more creative with these things! The stones I managed to acquire are also a nice upgrade on my one previous ‘New Hole’ specimen.
It’s no easy matter to distinguish Langer Rain / New Hole from the classic Felsenschlags, but set them side by side and you can see that they do have a certain identity, being characterised by darker and less red agate – verging into chocolates and mahoganies.
Here they are:
It’s a big page on the gallery – but if ever a location deserved a big page, it’s this one. Here’s a few new images and details.
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!
I wait for years to track down a specimen of this rather obscure Nevada location, and then three come along all at once, including one really nice larger specimen! They show a great depth of blue grey agate.