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Storing beach stream bed rolled quartz varieties from dehydrating

Posted by Michael Harwell  
Michael Harwell July 17, 2017 06:38PM
After all this collecting I am now wondering if I should keep all my pebbles and small cobblestones in water til I can sort and classify them. Then I can add the "polishes". Ect. Or tumble them. But for now my collecting days are limited ( for now) and they are sitting in a room that does get hot periodically. Lots of coastal influence but it can get dry this time of year. It's mainly cryptocrystalline quartz and a vast mixture of other quartz varieties as well as lots of chert ( which could be , I am learning, is cryptocrystalline quartz in some of my cases ) jasper, carnillian ect ect And an assortment of crazy named quartz varieties yet to be classified by myself.
I don't want them to dehydrate and darken in color. I'm sure the jasper is good and others but it's all mixed up and there is a lot of quartz varieties. I'd like to ensure they remain in their current state of color.
Could it do any harm? Obviously I would use purified water with no added chemical such as public city water from our faucets.
FYI: Freezing rocks in mineral oil /water. and respecting the process keeps a shine to them. Freeze put in sun for a few weeks back in freezer with more water and oil. Not sure how much to do this as I just did some weird experiments and some of these rocks have kept their shine. Some now for almost a year. Or more.
Doing a mycelium and beach rolled quartz and other beach strewn pebbles currently. Using a mushroom extract from the store. Mycelium invades all parts of the large vase creating a web of something. Then heat ect put it dormant. Curious what comes from it this fall and winter.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2017 06:48PM by Michael Harwell.
Bob Harman July 17, 2017 06:55PM
If all or most of your beach finds are varieties of quartz or any other water resistant stout minerals and have little true value other than "looking nice", I think simply storing them in water with a very small splash of bleach or a light mineral oil should suffice. Personally, I am not one to spend either time or extra $$$ for any dubious additional results. I see water tumbled beach pebbles displayed in oil or water filled glass vases or something similar all the time. CHEERS.....BOB
Michael Harwell July 17, 2017 08:44PM
Hi bob, I don't sell or buy rocks. But I do love collecting and learning. And yes, tumbled rocks seem to be everywhere now a days. Real or fake. Hard to tell.
I'm glad you found value in what you collect and I do enjoy your posts. And yes, I would love to find a priceless "something" but I also find the journey just as or more enjoyable than the destination. in certain times. Going out on isolated beaches at the crack of dawn with no one around and walk, take pictures and collect beautiful or " nice looking" rocks is a great morning in my world. And time is precious so that makes my rock collection to be of great value to myself. And I bet you would be surprised at what I've collected from certain beach locations around the state. One has to wonder off the beaten path to find what I have. In the late 1800 "nice looking" pebbles or , stones from nearby this vicinity, where found in almost every single wealthy home in San Fransisco to the point they stripped the beaches clean. it was one of the most popular destinations for bloomer wearing city folk. They flocked there by the thousands on nice weekends. They sat around at night by lantern showing off their " nice looking" stones. 120-130 years later. Are the pebbles where they were. No. Have they returned? Yes.
Again, I estimate that 10-20 percent of my collection could easily sell if I wanted as individual pieces. Semi precious stuff. I don't live near gold country. So, Rough or made into jewelry. This 10-20 percent would be single pieces of jewelry each selling for 100 up. " if". Again I love collecting. And like you said, it's everywhere. My cost...zero. Zip O.
And some of it is a little better than " nice looking". Should I want to or my daughters wanted to they could make hundreds and hundreds of necklaces and or bracelets of very nice semi precious jewelry. The other 80 percent I could tumble and sell. Like you said....it's everywhere and we see them all the time. Is their a market? Looks Like there is. Could I unde cut everyone. If I wanted. Good thing my cost is zero. Actually I could add a positive because it makes me happy.
I just have to bend down and pick it up. Not buying and reselling. Gonna get rich....no. Have an exciting hobby, keep busy and make people happy? Yes. FYI. I'm hoping one of my girls will find enjoyment in making jewelry. Til then.....keep them in water or leave them dry.
Remember a stone that sold 25 years ago for 10 bucks is now around 80. Estimate.....
Jim Robison July 17, 2017 09:05PM

I think you have exactly the right philosophy about your collection. They are what they are, and they have been collected at times giving you great pleasure. Indeed, your collecting times are precious, and my family enjoyed a number of these when we used to go down to the Oregon beaches. Always liked to be there after a storm, when fresh gravels were exposed, and the overlying sand removed. Even found a piece of fossil whale bone on time, and have a full coffee can full of tiny to small agates. We are downsizing, and I hate to just throw the things away, so hoping I can find someone who has a use for them.

As far as selling tumbled stones, these usually are seen at rock shows, are cheap, and imported I am sure by the ton. So you may find that your selling opportunities are limited. And there will be a cost, because you have to buy a tumbler (re-usable) and various grinding and polishing grits which are not re-usable, and you may find your selling opportunities limited.

Does that mean you shouldn't do it? Absolutely not, if you have the money and time, and it gives you pleasure. You might consider joining a local rock club, and you might there find access to a machine you can borrow. And if you have opportunities to give away polished stones, say at a rock show, or other venues, you may find pleasure in doing exactly that. I wouldn't count on even making expenses, but only time would tell that.

And if you stick around Mindat you may find mineral specimens interesting in their own right, even if your opportunities to directly collect them are limited. Again, welcome.

In the meantime, welcome to Mindat. This is mostly a site for mineral collectors as opposed to rock hounds, but I say that cautiously because there are large numbers of mineral field collectors among us, and probably not just a few rock hounds. Many of us got our start there, and still do it from time to time.
Bob Harman July 17, 2017 09:06PM
I do not mean to offend you in any way and my reply really had nothing to do with monetary value or selling your findings, but colorful beach pebbles and their ilk are all over place and collected by many including me as a youngster. I spent many a summer picking them up on the beaches of Long Island, NY and many other beaches. Displaying them is all about being colorful pebbles in a liquid used to maximally enhanced their luster.
I see these beach findings simply displayed in water or mineral oil very effectively. That was your original question and that was my simple answer. CHEERS.......BOB
Michael Harwell July 17, 2017 09:07PM
Quartz is water resistant? Is chalcedony a form of quartz? Trying to learn.....
Bob Harman July 17, 2017 09:14PM
MICHAEL, Yes, chalcedony is microcrystalline quartz. The beach examples can be very colorful and are quite water resistant. Groups of these do make for nice colorful collection displays, especially when in water or oil filled glass vases or similar containers. CHEERS......BOB
Michael Harwell July 17, 2017 09:31PM
I shouldn't get defensive when folks point out that they are of no real value. collected them as kids....I'm sorry bob, but I don't see them everywhere in nature. And the thousand plus city folk in bloomers had many choices but choose here. I'm sure there are others like myself who have found and live near these locations but they hard to find locations or within state park boundaries. there are spots in Oregon and Washington I've heard. Along most coast lines but in very distinctive locations due to geological reasons. And then they fall within park systems. Rules. History: These particular rocks have been in 2-3 or more landslides a mile deep or bigger then covered ect...and somehow made their way back to the beaches to once again be drug back out to sea where they again were involved in a great landslide a mile or so deep and buried ect. This process repeats itself numerous times. Over and over again. Thus, great deposits of these colored rocks are not the norm for most areas. I guess you could stumble on a few but your not going to find large stock piles of them laid out by natures course.
Ps. I know you were not trying to be insulting and I know there is a preconceived notion amongst your profession that if you can't pin point its origin and it's not gold, diamonds ect then it's not worth the time or have any value. But most of us are simpletons just out rockhounding and having fun. We have to do with what's close to us. It's the thrill of the chase. And I rarely show my nice ones. Only particularly strange ones that draw my attention and I want to learn something. I'd say there is value in " interest" as well. I find them fascinating when they have multiple colors , nice clean smooth glassy feel as well as have translucent or transparent characteristics. And chalcedony alone is a marvel to hold and look at.
Great hobby!
Side note: geological report from the 20s or 30s. Stated that this area south of San Fransisco has the greatest variety of colors and beach pebbles in all of California. To be honest bob, that' was the icing on the cake after I found it. Reading that made my day. Other wise it's boring around here in terms of collecting.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2017 09:41PM by Michael Harwell.
Michael Harwell July 17, 2017 09:53PM
You make a good point JIM. They probably are brought in by the ton. But they all look fake. In my opinion.
I like the idea of Mosaics , vases, and a small stream bed? Tons of ideas on DYI. But tumbling and selling them........nope. I'll sort the top 20 percent and make beautiful art for myself family and friends. Easier to make a stream bed or lots of mosaics than tumble all that. Again I love being in nature and the thrill of the find. Anticipation!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2017 09:55PM by Michael Harwell.
Michael Harwell July 17, 2017 10:07PM
Bob, it was your post last week about your blue chalcedony that made me think of this. I was on the opposite side of the fence thinking water and sunlight would or had the possibility of dulling the color. Due to your post I changed my thinking. A great deal of what I have is chalcedony. . Yet, One of my favorite finds has been green jasper with pink dots. The dot colors vary but numerous numerous green with pink or purple dots. I think this look best in the vase. Those I doubt will fade color at all. It's my translucent ones I worry. They could sit for years before my girls or I get around to making jewelry. I hope one will or maybe I'll have the time......right....

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2017 10:10PM by Michael Harwell.
Don Swenson July 17, 2017 10:58PM
You might try coating some of your specimens with glycerin. It will keep them looking as they did when wet without having to deal with the "feel" of mineral oil. Glycerin keeps the periostracums of sea shells from drying out. It is water soluble so you will have check periodically to see if they have dried out (we're talking weeks or months, depending upon where you live) or store them in plastic. When you decide to enhance your specimens, a quick rinse in water will remove the glycerin. After coating put the specimens on a wire rack until the excess glycerin drips off.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2017 11:01PM by Don Swenson.
Ed Clopton July 18, 2017 02:34PM

The reason the beach stones that have attracted your attention were still there to be found is that they consist largely of quartz, which in general is very physically tough and chemically resistant. Otherwise they would not have survived in the surf environment. So stones you have found there are likely not to care whether they are stored wet or dry--already they have spent lots of time in both conditions and are none the worse for it.

As for "value", there's market value (what you can get someone to pay you for it) and sentimental value. We all have specimens that are of minimal market value but of great sentimental value: "I always liked the shape of that one . . . this one I picked up at [place] with [person] just before she died in 1971, turned out to be her last field trip . . . that one, Bobby found in the creek when he was 7 and dragged all the way home because he was sure it had gold in it; he's now an exploration geologist . . ." You don't need to explain that to anybody, unless it's important to you that they understand why you value this or that apparently unremarkable rock.

If you find a particular rock attractive or interesting, then that's what counts. If someone else does, too, then that's a bonus, and you can both enjoy sharing that appreciation in common.
Michael Harwell July 18, 2017 03:04PM
Thank you don and everyone, I hadn't heard of the glycerin oil. I'll look into that. Just got a tough shed from Costco and wife wants them out there. Maybe some of my resistance showed up here with you. My apologies. She thinks I waste my time with them too . Although she admits I do have a few really nice beauties. But, no room and time is getting the best of my playtime hobby. Wish I had gotten into this as a kid and became a geologist but kid rocks it is. I Needed to explore some last ditch options. I'll try a few different things with the rocks and see what happens. Add water with glycerin, mineral oil, water with some vinegar ect ect. I like the acrylic ideas. As well. .. Strangely. , I don't get to the beach during the summer that often. Too many people and traffic. Fog ect....I wait til everyone leaves and the weather turns the best. Or the weather turns stormy. Love stormy beaches. That's the best! Then I get the itch again.......so, since I didn't get anyone saying " no don't do that to your rocks". I guess I'll give in and move them out there. Yet, in my inexperienced eye, I have seen changes in some rocks left to the elements. And I just don't /didn't want to ruin all my effort in one swoop of a haul out to the shed.
Enjoy the day.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2017 03:06PM by Michael Harwell.
Jim Robison July 18, 2017 11:30PM
Michael Glad you are getting pleasures out of your treasures. And yes, some rocks in the surf zone are indeed not durable. Up on the Oregon coast there are many beaches with agates amongst the rocks. And, surprisingly some not very durable zeolite minerals which weather out of the same volcanic rocks which are the source of the agates. These are not long term survivors in the surf, but when you find intriguing little white banded stones, it is interesting. I expect you will find similar situations in many areas, and if they give you pleasure, go for it.

And I think it safe to say that many of us have spouses who don't 'get it' with our interest. And yes, storing them in the house can cause problems. We bought a house with an extra bedroom just to hold my display cabinet, and specimens, and before that a big pile of boxes. My wife is very tolerant within limits, the limit being the areas I can have things. On the other hand, I let her do her thing with decorative tin boxes, ceramic pitchers, etc. It is a balancing act. There are similar stories throughout Mindat threads. Welcome to the club. A shed, in your case, is a good option. Though eventually you will have to deal with your accumulated stuff (we are currently downsizing at the age of 75 and move to a smaller place). Been there, done that.
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