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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So before you get to Tonopah, NV, halfway between Vegas and Reno, you go through Goldfield. Very small town. Population 250. No gas at all. No groceries at all. Nearest is Tonopah - 30 miles. Obey the speed limit. Traffic tickets replace the light bulb in the one street light.

Abandoned Goldfield Hotel. Over 100 years old. Four stories, brick building, was once a nice hotel. Piano still in the lobby. Broken windows on the 4th floor. Now home to pigeons.

I’ve been through Goldfield six times in six years. Never saw a living soul. Nobody outside. No kids playing in a yard or riding their bikes. Nobody walking around. Nobody.

Mining town, Goldfield, hence the name. The hills are riddled with holes. The mines played out early though. Probably right after they built that hotel. But I thought maybe a second-hand store, cold sodas, souvenirs, rock shop. So I googled. Sure enough. There’s a mining claim a couple of miles out of Goldfield called Gemfield. It is a famous deposit of jasper, open to the public, only 4 miles of dirt road off the highway, sign-in sheet, honor system, $1/lb. Or sign-in at Goldfield Art and Business Services, Hwy 95.

So we’re slow-rolling through town and there are three people (THREE!!!) on a weathered board sidewalk in front of Goldfield Art and Business Services. So we pull over and walk across the street - US95, but zero traffic - you don’t have to look both ways. And there are cool rocks everywhere! Piles of them in the dirt, crates of them out front. And the woman says, “Hi, can I help you?”.

And I said, “I’m interested in going to Gemfield for some jasper”.

And she says, “Well you’re in luck, ‘cause I’m the owner and I can sign you in and you can even camp there if you want. Or you can buy some jasper here, but it’s $2/lb ‘cause I had to haul it to town”.

Here, y’all. Meet Sharon. She owns the mining claim.
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And jasper is a chalcedony (pronounced “cal-SED-ony), related to quartz, agate, onyx. Hard (7.5 MOS scale), waxy look, takes a great polish, fractures like flint - you can knapp an arrowhead or a spearpoint.
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But I don’t do jewelry. I like to find pretty rocks and grind them into polished spheres - baseball to softball size. So I’m looking for larger rough rocks with no cracks. Sharon says, “I test for cracks by throwing a rock on the ground”. And she picks up a soccer ball size of beautiful green&gray jasper and slams in down in the dirt. It doesn’t break. “That one’s good.”

“I’ll take it”.

“That’s about 25 lbs, plus the other little one you’ve got, so how about $25?”

“Well that’s a pretty good deal, Sharon. I was just hoping to find a little rock shop, and it looks like I’ve struck it big.”

“Oh this is not a rock shop. You want a rock shop? I’ll take you to a real rock shop. Follow me.” And she gets in her Toyota and heads down the street. We u-turn on US95 - you don’t have to look both ways - and follow her to the edge of town and down a dirt road to a tiny house made of beer bottles and soda bottles and mortar, with at least four other lean-to type buildings attached to it, trailing on down the hill, and a board sidewalk the whole way. She bangs on the door for awhile, a guy comes out and she says, “These people want to see your rocks.” And he leads us downhill, down the board sidewalk, to the last lean-to building, and unlocks the padlock, and into his rock shop.

Dust and dirt and shelves and rocks everywhere. Raw rocks, rough rocks, cut rocks, polished rocks, local rocks, petrified wood from Madagascar, jasper from east Africa, fossils from Morocco, meteorites, Asian jade, geodes, black obsidian, rainbow-sheen obsidian, mahogany obsidian, snowflake obsidian, agate with real gold veins, and more than I can remember, His prices are $5-$10 for beautiful exotics from around the world, rough, big enough to grind spheres. I’m in heaven.

Here, y’all. Meet Brian. He owns the rock shop.
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Our east coast jewelry friends and Brian are deep in discussing tips and techniques for polishing difficult stones. Leather pad or felt pad. Diamond paste or silicon carbide or cerium oxide or aluminum oxide. How to get a good hot polish without burning the stone. Brian knows his stuff. Bought a bunch of exotics that I’ll probably never find again anywhere.

Then it was getting towards dinner time. Everybody was hungry and thirsty. So we all said our goodbyes and slow-rolled back through Goldfield and on up to Tonopah. Such cool people we met.

And I got to go to Gemfield to hunt jasper the next day, but will post about that later.
 

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You don't hear about the great town of Goldfield often and I was glad to see your post.

I have an old acquaintance Randy Main from Yucaipa, CA that sold his locksmith company and bought an old saloon in Goldfield several years ago. He has been working to restore the old saloon since and claims to have the best root beer in town. I think he even got the old player piano working some time ago.

He's a great guy. If you pass back through and catch him open be sure to stop in and tell him an old locksmith from Clearstar sent you.

Randy is not a big internet person and I would love to see more pics of the area and his place.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You don't hear about the great town of Goldfield often and I was glad to see your post.

I have an old acquaintance Randy Main from Yucaipa, CA that sold his locksmith company and bought an old saloon in Goldfield several years ago. He has been working to restore the old saloon since and claims to have the best root beer in town. I think he even got the old player piano working some time ago.

He's a great guy. If you pass back through and catch him open be sure to stop in and tell him an old locksmith from Clearstar sent you.

Randy is not a big internet person and I would love to see more pics of the area and his place.
Thank you. When I get up that way again, I'll try to pass the message along.

I think Goldfield has the oldest saloon in Nevada. Maybe your friend owns that one. :)

And I might be wrong about no gas/groceries in Goldfield. If they have them, they're well hidden.

Amazed anyone here even heard of Goldfield. Degrees of separation. Small world. :)
 
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