PORTLAND – All Outdoor’s People seem to instinctively pick up pretty or interesting stones along the beach or in stream’s gravels.
The cover photo shows some Oregon’s Emerald picked up in a stream in central Oregon by the author last summer.
The sea & stones seem to naturally attract or endear themselves to our basic human’s spirit. Maybe former President John F. Kennedy is on to something here:
“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”
John F. Kennedy, 35th president of US 1961-1963 (Life 1917 – 1963)
The real reason Oregon (and many states or regions) has so many varied and beautiful stones all over are the simple fact that this State is basically a prehistoric volcano jigsaw puzzle.
Sadly, many people collect pretty stones and quietly ask “What is this?” and when no one explains, we often simply dump these outstanding stones in a shoebox inside the house or in a flowerbeds outside. Collections just collect dust!
A great 2012 New Year’s Resolution is an attempt to simplify OREGON’S GEMOLOGY. Gemology is essentially a “Study of natural gems making”. We all know precious parts of our Oregon!
First, there are three basic types of stones in an ancient jeweler’s eye.
1) LEVERITEs: (Leave it right there!”)
“Leave ’er right here” is a very broad-base classification or examples of very soft dirt, sediments and other natural abundant stones like hard Basalt lava to sandstone that basically hide or bury our ability to see the good, very rare, outstanding or valuable jeweler’s stone.
Modern gemologists or jewelers use a Moh’s Hardness Scale to EASILY & quickly determine gem quality stones outdoors.
In a nut shell, a stone’s hardness is a measure of its ability to hold a shiny attractive polish forever. A chocolate cake is obviously too soft to polish and display forever. However, the mineral SiO2 (a combinations of natural elements) or “rose Quartz”, Agate, Amethyst, Obsidian, Chalcedony, Jasper, shiny Petrified wood or Flint is or are considered semi-precious stones. These stone types are worth taking the time and effort to polish to make perpetual or forever pieces of jewelry.
As a test case in the outdoors for families, one often find fat white streaks in rocks found all over Oregon. Most often, these fat white streaks are either softer, interesting calcite/gypsum seams or white “bull Quartz”
A simple, small, universal, cheap, stainless-steel pocket knife has a tested typical Moh’s Scale hardness of 5.5 and its blade will scrape or carve the softer white calcite or gypsum with a Moh’s scale around “3” – in this very basic soft to harder scale from 1 to 10.
However, this steel blade will leave metal streaks on White Quartz with a hardness of “7”.
Thus, many or common semi-precious jewelry stones are often made from two of the most abundant natural element on Earth silica and Oxygen or SiO2!
3) PRECIOUS GEMS: or fabulous-historic “crown jewels”, are made from those typically very rare & very hard outdoor stones like the Oregon emerald crystal mentioned above.
Emeralds are even harder than Quartz! A one-time, man-made polish or “Emerald-Cut facet” can literally last forever or for sustainable generations! This is why Britain’s Queen Elizabeth’s Crown has “crown jewels” made of emeralds and other various precious gems –past done for generations!
Reader’s the Moh’s Scale insight will be helpful outdoors to decipher the jewels or “keepers” from the “Tossers”. Yet there is nothing wrong with keeping colorful sands or sandstones or other stones that simply speak to you or your family.
Fortunately, Oregon State Laws allow families to pick up a handful of personal stones off a beach for personal use. However, You need a “local permit” – if you want to sell these stones on EBAY or elsewhere.
Now that we basically comprehend what jewels actually are for family enjoyment; let us briefly look over why “man-made gemstones” exist in the first place.
Gemstones actually come from unique, complex, periodic Earth geologic episodes or chemical & mechanical changes.
To totally comprehend our Earth, one can use a common red apple for a very simple comparison.
“A crude geological model of our Earth can be made by using an apple. The Earth’s crust or top layer (ranging from 3 – 25 miles deep, only 1% of the Earth’s volume) is represented by the thin skin, its mantle accounting for over 80% of the volume is represented by the flesh (over 1800 miles thick), and the core is represented by, what else?, the core.”
One will find this Gem Formation’s website very useful for family reading later! A Geology degree or career – actually both will be necessary to comprehend geologic subtleties.
One article should cover one topic well and remember the Moh’s scale for value-added extra fun during next warm seasons outdoor recreation. Creative people and families can help each other find a wide spectrum of things to do outdoors.
A dad can be fishing while mom is photographing wildflower or butterflies with junior; and daughters can be collecting stream stones to make jewelry for friends during the next cold winters.
Portlanders, Please Go take a Hike!
OTHER QUOTES TO CONSIDER:
Make for Me an altar of earth and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your sacrifices of well-being…; in every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come to you and bless you. And if you make for Me an altar of stones DO NOT build it of hewn stones; for by wielding your tool upon them – you have profaned them.
BIBLE BOOK CHAPTER EXODUS 20: 24-25:
Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, you have to find them. Each one is unique. ~ Jaclyn Smith(b. Oct 26, 1945. American Actress, One of Charlie’s Angels)
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“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matter compared to what lies within us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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