This one is mainly for the rockhounds in the crowd but I'm sure others can relate to it.
Last weekend I went hunting for the elusive Ellensburg Blue agates. It was my first time out for them so I was just getting oriented to the area in general. There was still a lot of snow in the upper regions so hunting was a bit more sparce than I had hoped.
Now I have hunted agates in Oregon and Idaho a lot. In fact, I used to live about a half hour drive from Graveyard point. When I think of agate hunting I think of walking around and picking up all sorts of great stones just laying around the countryside. Even if I actually get into digging, it's the same thing - scores of great stones just under the surface. So what did I think when I went after the blues? Heavy sigh.
I wish I had known then what I know now. For one thing, blues are rare. Even if you are in the correct area for them, you can consider ANY find a good one. Had I known that, I'd have stayed in one place longer and might have picked up a bit more treasure despite the snow limitations.
I did find one small one - and the rest of my lesson comes in after I got that little gem home. It was only the size of a penny or so. Nice blue though - very pretty little thing. I thought that maybe I'd send it to a pal back East for a "sample" of what I'm doing out here. Long story short...I ended up losing the stone. What I found out next put me into a futile search for this little thing.
It seems that blues are worth up to $100 per ounce! They are not only very scarce, they are very hard - 7.5 on Moh's scale. Put that beautiful blue on top of that hardness and you have a lapidary's dream stone.
For the life of me I can't figure out what the heck I did with it. After checking the front "rock garden" where I figured I tossed it and turning up no blue, I searched inside the house. I have searched every area of this place I can't think of anywhere else I might have stashed it. It's gone.
Lesson learned. Check out the rarity and value of what you are going after before you go -- and keep your finds until you find out their value when you get em home.
Guess I'll be going back next week.