In 2006, while vacationing in the North Carolina mountains, We stopped along the road at one of those "Gem Mines". Sure most are like you buy a bucket and sift through sand or mud or even bucket of all rocks..
But his was a real gem mine.. Aquamarine in fact.. and we decided to pay the fee and take the trek back into the woods. Down a slope we noticed workers heading for the hills sort of speak. This indicated that they had just placed some small charges or explosives through out an area of where the aquamarine vain was located.
Boom.. or more like a large pop.. and rubble flew everywhere, other then in our general direction.. Then a small backhoe move in and dragged up the debris left over from the explosion.
At this point everyone who registered for the dig was able to enter into the pit and search for the Aquamarine. Most of the stone was pale light blue/green.. and really didn't consists of anything desirable.. Until I noticed this one stone with a dark are running through it.
Image by Wizard (Raw Aquamarine From Gem Mountain, Spruce Pine, NC)
Not a bad find.. the stone look as clear as water, but with some small inclusions running through and about the inside of the stone. We gathered up our tools and I packed away the minerals in my plastic coffee cans... and headed home..
Several weeks past and I finally got the nerve to tinker with the stone. Originally I wanted to have someone cut the stone out and facet it to some degree. But after speaking with my wife, we decided to free hand the stone just to see what would happen. Mind you I was taking a chance that I could damage it while in the shaping stages.
Image by Wizard (Here you can see where I have been slightly cutting away the host or raw martial from around the clear but darker part) Image by Wizard (Cutting and shaping as not to disturb the are which I was after) Image by Wizard (Finally something to work with.. I had cut away the raw and unusable part)
After a bit more shaping and cutting I ended up with this:
Image by Wizard (Note the inclusions inside the clear area.. The faded or blurry part was due to me trying to level one side on my diamond blade Dremel bit. when the stone is wet.. the true colors come through)
Now its all a waiting game.. trying to find the right grit for sanding and polishing the stone.. My wife loves it and what I have done.. One thing I could have used is a dop stick.. because everything was free hand.. My wife feared I would hurt myself due issue with my hands.
I think at this point if I'm unable to get the dop wax.. and sanding pads, I'll see if one of the gem Mines will polish this up for me next time I'm down that way.. it's been brought to my attention that using a regular fine gain sand with a mixture of water and some polishing compound, will polish these stones.. Soon I may test this option and edit the post afterward.To Be Continued