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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The day after meeting Sharon and getting her permission to visit her Gemfield mining claim, I came back alone from Tonopah to hunt for chalcedony jasper. Four miles of good dirt road west of US95 is no problem in the Transit, but a long motorhome would drag its tail.

View of the Big Empty from the mine site.
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Sign in at the big Joshua tree.
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Known for its red/yellow/gray jasper, there is another area a few hundred yards away where, when these rocks were formed millions of years ago, the water chemistry was different, resulting in green/gray jasper. I searched there and found a dozen or so rocks big enough to grind spheres. Didn’t have to dig at all. It’s everywhere around within 20 yards of the van. Camped overnight here by a Joshua tree.
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The ground is littered with the stuff, mostly small pieces. Zoom in on the center of this photo for a horny toad, desert horned lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos). They eat those mean red desert ants like popcorn.
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The next day I moved over to the red jasper area, and found about another 100lbs of suitable rocks. Went back to the first big Joshua tree to leave some cash in the mailbox, and Sharon showed up with a fresh sign-in sheet and more hand-drawn site maps, So I got to talk to her again, and pay her directly.

Red chalcedony jasper.
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I’m very pleased with my haul of rocks this trip. It’s hard to find good material to work with. Mostly they just look like dirty old rocks, but the polished spheres can be spectacular.

And I got to mess around on a dirt road. :)

http://www.gemfieldnv.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Would love to see some of your creations
Thanks for your interest. Don't get me started. >:D

A neighbor had a chunk of Yosemite granite that fell off Halfdome. He was using it as a gate stop, wanted a sphere, and I wanted to make one.

That stuff is REALLY HARD! Crystalline quartz and black chert.

It ended up about 3.5" (90mm) in diameter. Took forever to grind the Granite Planet.

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I'm just finishing a tennis-ball size piece of dark green serpentine from San Luis Obispo. Will try to post some photos tomorrow.
 

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Outstanding!


I have an odd fascination with manufacturing techniques and will have to research this some. Honestly I do not want to physically do it but love learning HOW to do it and I have some idea. However I have no clue how to make a sphere while doing so. This is very interesting to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was a machinist for 30 years, so rock sawing and grinding seems crude and dirty to me. But I got interested and built some of my own equipment.

May I suggest YouTube? Search YouTube for "Sphere Grinding Machine". The first five or six videos are about lapidary sphere grinding.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quwOc9gj45g&frags=pl,wn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFvnFumO7Dk&frags=pl,wn

I have learned that the more precise and accurate the "pre-formed" sawn octahedral shape is, the better the spherical grinding proceeds.

And I've learned that quartz is really HARD! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Perhaps having a few pintz while you grind would take the edge off. ;)
Mucho cerveza was consumed watching that rock dance around in the toy home-made grinder.
:D
 

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