Treasure Hunting (aka Rockhounding)

I can't help it, I love to look for what my mind thinks of as treasure. I've never been one to look for what is conventionally called "treasure" - actual gold or other precious metals or gems. Instead, I look for what makes me happy and draws my eye - the "glassy rocks" of the name of this site you're on. In the Pacific Northwest, that can be anything from quartz, agates, and chalcedony to opalized and petrified wood and crystals and much more.

This past weekend, my very patient husband and I traveled to Central Washington to scour the piles of common opal left behind at mines that look for other materials (diatoms) and have to dig down through the opal to get to it. They leave piles of incredible common opal and chalcedony-type stuff just sitting there for the taking, as long as you don't get in their way and you don't get yourself in trouble. We went on a Sunday, as conventional wisdom dictates that they don't work on Sundays. (This is now false.) However, the truckers we ran into couldn't have been nicer.

Had I a winch and a pickup truck, I could easily have fashioned myself a coffee table out of some of these pieces, they are that big. Alas, I had neither, and settled for what I could easily carry back to the car. These pieces are stunning, and I hate to call them common - they are anything but! It's always a fun adventure to rockhound, and even more so when you know you'll come home with something amazing.

Now to figure out how to integrate them into my art - I can't wait to try my hand at slabbing...