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Quartz Question
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Loran Smith

Joined: 09 Jan 2020
Posts: 1
Location: Nederland, CO

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PostPosted: Jan 10, 2020 09:39    Post subject: Quartz Question  

Walking the dog on a corner of my property, I decided to check out the root ball of a 75+/- year old pine that had recently blown over. I have an uncanny knack for finding things in nature, and root balls can be good fun, especially in my work as a custom furniture maker.
Imagine my surprise when I pulled out what looked like a burl and found instead a volleyball size stone of quartz crystals on a quartz matrix.
I know what it is, how it was formed, etc. My question is: how ‘significant’ a find is this? Is it worth a couple atta boys from friends, or worthy of a trip to someplace like the CU geology dept or School of Mines?
The piece measures about 10” x 8” on the crystal covered face, 6” deep with additional small vugs and crystals on the sides. Largest single crystal is 1 1/8” long and 5/8” thick. The hematite coating overlays crystals of near transparent, to milky, to smoky quartz, often next to each other. One clear point shows surrounding growth rings in formation. Found in the BoCo ‘mineral belt’ 6 miles east of Nederland and south of Boulder Canyon (Magnolia) at 8100’.
No visible gold flecks seen with a jewelers loupe, no intrusions react to ultraviolet light, tastes similar to licking a saltine. I know that I could remove the iron coating to expose the underlying crystals with oxalic acid (which I already have for woodworking), but assume it’s best left intact. Vicinity searches for companion pieces will have to wait for spring thaw.
So, what say you? Shelve it or seek professional help?

 Mineral: Quartz
Front Range, CO
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Bob Harman

Joined: 06 Nov 2015
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Location: Indiana

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PostPosted: Jan 10, 2020 11:10    Post subject: Re: Quartz Question  

My opinion is that while you have found a really "nice" large specimen of quartz, it is not really so "great".

Quartz is very common. Large quartz specimens without gold or other associated minerals from many worldwide localities are very common. Many finds are much cleaner and more pristine than yours.

So what are your options. I think you have 3 options.

Option #1 is to do nothing, that is, other than hosing off any mud and attached crud, leave the specimen as is, displaying it in your garden or on the front porch etc.

Option #2 is to clean it up as best as you can with a vinegar soaking, maybe an iron out soaking (which, personally I would not do, as the example's aesthetics might not change for the better), followed by a rinsing. Then, as before, displaying outside or inside as a conversation piece.

Option #3 giving it to a professional mineral preparation lab. There is a good one in Colorado, near you. For a price they will really clean it up well. While it will look much better, the prep fee will be substantial.

My opinion is option 3 is not worth the price. Go for option 1 or 2. Bob
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Site Admin

Joined: 30 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Jan 10, 2020 12:01    Post subject: Re: Quartz Question  

Loran, You won‘t really know how good it is until after you clean it. It might be great... or just a good garden decoration. Either way, an impressive size for a self-found specimen!

If it were mine, I would put it into a 5 gallon bucket of hydrochloric acid for a month (the grade the hardware store sells for swimming pools), then put it into a bucket of citric acid or phosphoric acid for a week (which prevents yellow iron stains from developing after it dries), then rinse it in a bucket of pure water for a week, changing the water every day. Finally, then take it to the car wash and hit it with a high pressure jet of soapy water to get rid of any clay residues for the final cleaning. I would also split it into two specimens, but it might very well have separated into two parts all by itself, along that big fissure, after the month in hydrochloric acid. I am NOT recommending this, so don‘t sue me if you don‘t like the results; am just saying what I would do if it were MY specimen ;))
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Daniel Bennett

Joined: 12 Dec 2018
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Location: Montana

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PostPosted: Jan 14, 2020 17:04    Post subject: Re: Quartz Question  

congratulations. that is a very interesting find. especially because its from your own property. by the looks of it it didn't move much from its original location of formation. I would venture to say that big tree sent its roots into the open space where the crystals formed before falling down. who knows what else is down in the hole left by the upturned roots. most places I have collected quality quartz crystals there are always a range from high quality to less quality. the hematite coating is intriguing. I would be awake at night wondering what else is down there and counting the days until spring when you can find out. I wouldn't do anything to it before seeing what else is there. I have a feeling you're going to have a lot more soon. Keep us posted.
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