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Joe dunleavy

How about Hiddenite? I stayed a few days at the Inn owned by the family that discovered all those Emeralds there a few years ago. The whole place had huge crystals of minerals displayed all over it and in it's flower garden. The owner of the discovery across the street wouldn't even let me enter his fields to look at his hole. I was called the Hidden Crystal INN. The young lady that managed the place was all almost as striking as the gems found across the street in the owners fields. After I sweet talked her for a while she said it would cost her her job if I set foot over there without himself's permission. So I settled for buying one of their tea (I don't drink coffee) mugs that has a picture of large crystals and their name on it.

Joe D.
Well Joe, let me tell ya.

Being in another man's claim.. might get ya shot!

Sweet talk'n a Southern Gal.. it might get ya shot too!

But.. drinking "unsweetened" tea from a North Carolina tea mug...

Too Funny
Joe Dunleavy

Those without grace and breeding drink coffee, us with these great gifts drink a more refined drink called tea, with purpose and pleasure. Certainly not the Southern variety called "Sweetened Tea", which is the overly sugar tainted cold form of watered down tea.

I still remember the warmth I got from hot coffee when I was employed by Uncle. As soon as it got cold I would spill it out and clean my cup. It warmed my hands and then watered the grass with it. What better use for the tainted drink called coffee. Just look at today's so called coffee shops, they try to mask the taste of that vile liquid with all manners of ingredients to sell it. Latte Dah I say and keep your Cup-o-chino and other masked varieties of that disgusting brew.

My brothers bet me when I was called up for service to my country that I would come back drinking coffee and that other vile brew called beer. I was never tempted enough to do so and came home untainted by these evil affluents. I stuck to wine and lots of high octane distilled spirits more in step with my tastes.

By the way do you ever come across any translucent red Quartz down there in Dixie? I have to make another trip down to my special place to check out the hill that has 2 6" veins of Hematite visible to the trained eye. I believe it is Hematite that gives the Quartz that lovely red hue so I'll see if I can find any Quartz nearby. I have some lovely Jasper that is called red but which is actually more maroon then blood red. All my red Quartz is either crumbly or closer to pink or salmon then the blood red. I thought I had found some nice pieces the other day in the crick but they turned out to be an opaque white or salmon color inside, when cut.

Joe D.


I must be one without breeding and grace because I love my coffee!

I've run into many different kinds of quartz, mostly along the edges of dunite or in faults. I don't know the different kinds with so many types. Many are a red or yellow, even some banded.
The pictures below show a type we found on the edge of dunite on the Gal. This area covered a strip 100 yards by at least 300 yards or more long. Also near this area was loose dirt with many clear points from 1" to 3" long.

Many of the pieces was much larger (10# plus) with many areas showing a deeper red and seem to be much cleaner. Color was pale yellow to orange to deep red. No hemitite was seen near this deposit.
Joe Dunleavy

That is another reason to visit the "Gal" once again. Your favorite mineral is colored red by Chromium impurities. Quartz is usually colored red by Iron impurities. #9 can be colored brown by iron impurities. Tourmaline and Beryl are colored red by Manganese impurities. Different minerals are affected by different impurities to achieve their perceived color in our eyes. A fascinating subject all by itself as well as how light passage through a mineral can change our perceived color of it. The molecular make of the ions found in and around each mineral can decide what color we see in that mineral at any given time period.

That red Quartz you found is a very good reason to visit the Gal again this winter on the way to or from Florida. I promised the bride that we will take a trip to Florida every winter now that her breathing problems in that area have been controlled. The humidity down there almost killed her a few years ago so we stopped making our trips down there. We got her some wonderful medicine that relieves her breathing difficulties in these areas so now we can travel again. When I was in the "Big Easy" the last time I thought we were going to have to visit the hospital with her. I had to leave the area before she felt better. Louisiana and the other Gulf states can be pretty sticky all year long. I like the four seasons and can't stand the warm weather all year round. About 2 weeks and I have my fill of the warm weather. I wouldn't mind if it was around the 50's all year round with a few weeks of hot and cold thrown in. The 80's, 90's and 100's I can live without.

That's why I loved the great northwest as they call it out in Washington state. I didn't like the soft weather though. I counted 93 days in a row of rain in my first year out there on Puget Sound. That's why those areas are always that pretty green color. I loved Mt. Ranier though. There aren't many places where you can go during the summer and have a snow ball fight then go swimming in a lake an hour away. The first time I took a swim in Puget Sound I thought I was going to die, you see that water never gets warm. That's why the octopus love it out there. It's a great place to collect rocks also.

Joe D.

Joe D.


The mountains in the southern part of the Appalachia holds many secrets, and new ones are found every year. A rockhound can just about choose any type mineral or metal he would ever hope to find. I'm happy living here, although the 6 or 8 weeks in mid-summer can be hard to live with in the Tennessee valley with the humidity and temps in the 90's. But, a quick dip in a mountain stream can remove it in a heart beat! I've noticed the leaves on the popular and walnut tress are getting a few yellow leaves, this tells me fall will be here soon, even if the temp is above 90 today.
With Mom living with us since Thanksgiving a year ago, our trips to the mountains has been limited to 3 or 4 a year and not like a weekly thing before then. You will never know the void I have.
One day I will return, even if it's my ashes scattered across
Chunky Gal Mountain!
Joe Dunleavy

Yes, it's starting to head toward fall here in Peeay also. My chery trees are starting to lose their leaves (they are always the first to go) and the acorns on the red oak and pin oaks are starting to fall. The next aign will be the deer returning in the dark hourd to try and beat the squirels to the red oak acorns. They can smell them a mile away it seems.

I got a new set of arrows for my bow and will have to get some practice in before hunting season. I haven't shot anything in 20 years but would like to take one more big one before I become fodder for petrification. It's only supposed to reach the high 80's today and low 80's for the rest of the week so maybe it's time to start getting out again.

I have a trip that I want to take to an old site that can produce just about any mineral at any given time that is about 30 miles away that I want to make first for my fall rock hunts. I need some practice with the bow also but am afraid I'm going to destroy whats left of my elbow strength and won't be able to pull back the bow for hunting. I think next year I'm going to try and get a waver from the state and use a cross bow. Next year is the last year I will have to pay for my licenses for hunting and fishing here in Pa also. We have a 65 and over license that you buy once and it gets renewed each year for free thereafter. At least there is something us old folks get that is worth something. Then again the politicians just legislated a huge raise for themselves and we will have to pay for it somehow.

I see Mikey was just in Peeay and I didn't know about it. He was up in one of my other favorite spots also, Bancroft, Ontario Canada. We will have to wait till he writes his trip up to see how they did.

Joe D.
Mindy Newton

Thanks for all the info. Are Chert and Flint not minerals because they aren't igneous? (I hope you didn't type all those Chacedony names in!)

Tell me more,
Howdy folks.

I have hunted Ellensburg Blue for thirty years.

Go ahead and ask questions about this particular agate if you'd like.

Please keep the questions to the technical characteristics of the stone. Not the locations, geography's etc. Cause that is a subject all in itself.

There are many rumors and misconceptions about this particular type of agate.

The really neat part about this agate we have found that it can be grouped in about seven to eight different types. Time and time again we can pidgeon hole each find into one of these sub groups. Something that was not discussed in the original Thompson book.

The VERY BEST of the ellensburg blue IS the finest blue agate in the world IMO. The second best of the ellensburg blue is rivaled equally by very fine varities from Turkey, Mt. Airy, SweetWater, and African(at the farm edge). The stone pictured above is not the best. Please don't take it personally. We are talking about the stone, right ? Its color we call about a 7. Its clarity we call about a seven. There is a 10, 10 ellensburg blue and it is EXTREMELY rare.

And a thank-you to Walt T as he is looking on from above at all things Eberg Blue. It's a way of life you know.......

jay bates
The agate your are refering to in the picture is mine. I also have some Mt. Airy Blues and African Blues. I also have some Blues from Burro Creek Arizona and Holley Blues. I have also seen blues from Utah and California. Where is this 10/10 Ellensburg Blue located? Can it be seen by the public? How do you acquire better quality El Blues?
Hello jay

Let's not forget the blue agate from both Montana and Nebraska also. The Burro creek is a fine one, isn't it ? The best purple jel I am aware of.

Huge topic of discussion here that could go on for several days BUT to respond to your questions posed.........

How does one acquire better qaulity Eberg Blue ? For one...don't get tricked. There are many fine examples of blue agate from around the world (as you know). There are telltale signs that give the Eberg variety away but that is only learned from years of gathering and sorting experience. Different canyons will yield different hues of authentic Eberg variety. That can add an even greater challenge to proper identification. Case in Point...As a general canyon with have a very slight greyish tint compared to reecer and green canyons. Ever so slight but it will be there.

How does one acquire a better quality Eberg Blue ? Buy, trade, ask, look, search, log a few thousand miles on your feet. You know....the usual rockhound methods.

One thing. An Eberg Blue will not knap (concoidial) edge fracture like most other varieties from around the globe. That is one thing I have found that is a major difference regardless of coloration and transparency compared to others.

If it easily fries on a fragile edge then the chances are it is not an Eberg Blue. Might look like one but probably not one. The Eberg Blue is not fragile in that respect.

nice chat. I don't hit the computer too often.

Hey Guys,
some of you agate experts explain the difference between Ellensburg Blue and Holley Blue. I bought out a old collection a couple of years ago and got some clear, clean, translucent, slightly off blue into the lavender shade pieces that have been rough tumbled to knock the rind off of them.. In doing a Google search, I get a lot of hits on Holley and some references to a Holley Ranch. Is this in the same general area as Ellensburg or are the two terms interchangable?
jay bates
Ellensburg Blue comes from around Ellensburg Washington. Holley Blue comes from near Holley Oregon. Holley is near Sweet Home. Holley Blue is a lot more available and cheaper than Ellensburg Blue, although Holley Blue has risen in price in recent years. Ellensburg Blue is very scarce and very little is found each year. Also many of the areas where Holley Blue were previously field collected have been closed to field collecting thus driving up the price. Holley blue is more of a lavender color while Ellensburg Blue is a more translucent sky blue. I also think Ellensburg Blue is harder, even though both are chalcedony. There is not many places that blue agate is found. For instance the Burro Creek source of blue plasma agate is depleted or nearly depleted. The Nevada blue comes from an active claim. Most of the locations are mentioned above. Because of the high cost of Ellensburg Blue, you have to be very careful that what you are buying is really Ellensburg Blue and not a blue from another location. Besides Holley Blue there is quite a bit of African Blue also floating around as compared to Ellensburg Blue. Most of the Ellensburg Blue is cut locally in Ellensburg Washington. Because most of these locations where blues are found are limited, you can expect the prices to keep going up, if a new plentiful source is not found.
BTW, the pieces mentioned in my first post came in a fruit jar with a old yellowed piece of paper labeled "Holly Blue, Oregon" so it's not a guess as to where it came from.
Thanks for the good answer,
Found some awsome pieces of blue agate at I wrote them to try and buy some, but they don't sell. I signed up for a sale they have every now and then. . . . Hmmmmm
Thanks for all the great info here
Hi Gang,
I had intended to post a couple of pix of the Holly Blues way back when but got sidetracked. Since the thread has come back to life today, I will put them up for a little "eye candy". As you can see, one pic is backlighted to show the translucency. Jay gives a good description of these above.

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My great grandfather found this piece in ellensburg years ago. I am not sure if its true e blue but its purty anyways. He had more and some bigger pieces but they got lost after he passed away.

jay bates
The color is right. I would say it is an Ellensburg Blue.
Peter Yohann
The last week in June a friend and I were staying at my dad's ranch in the Teanaway and decided to go to Red Top and dig some stones.
This was our first time ever looking for agates and we had a great time. Included are pictures of what I believe qualify as the famous Ellensburg Blue, what do you say? it is next to a plain looking piece to compare colors and they were both washed in Muratic acid. Thanks,

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Jim Adams
Here's a little blue agate that one of my co-workers left for me at the antique mall. She picked it up at a garage sale, and was told it was from Nevada. I put the word out that I was a collector, and things just started coming "out of the woodwork", and into my mailbox.

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