Once the open pit crew started breaking into the oxide zone at the DeGrussa deposit in earnest ‘it was on, for young and old’. I was employed in a senior position within the Exploration group there, stationed nearly 2 km away. To say I was somewhat conflicted would be an understatement, but generally I could manage to get out to check over the paddock-dumped, 100 tonnes piles at least once a day after my work was completed.

What an exciting time it was. After rain was the best, when the whole bush celebrated the new flush of water and rivulets carried away the dust and pulverised rock to uncover magnificent chrysocolla lined vughs in massive cuprite and torso sized blocks of malachite and my favourite, chrysocolla-malachite and jasper all swirled together giving off the vitality and effect of a blue ringed octopus emerging from under the offensive streaming muck. It was slippery, muddy and heavy work but the adrenalin, leaving the question. How much more is there under all of that lot…not much sleep that night.

I have had the rare pleasure to be able to commission a 40cm sphere from the ‘octopus’ rough, weighing some 80 kg for Sandfire Resources among many other pieces for corporate use. Thank you to the Board and management of Sandfire Resources for the privilege and opportunity to do so.


A great fellow lapidary and prospector Tom, who just happens to live in Tucson Arizona spends some of his time trekking the Catalina mountains, east of Tucson. In recent years Tom has recovered some quite beautiful chrysocolla and malachite saturated by silica. It is tough and takes an extremely high polish. I have rarely come across copper based material that has presented so many options to the cutter I hope you enjoy the way that I interpreted the rough material.