A prospector friend showed me a fair-sized piece of Eastern goldfields ironstone/quartz nestled in his two hands, sometime in the mid 2000’s., Towards the base of this sawn block of rock was a slash of native metal, seven mm wide and five to six centimetres long, and it was all gold, but how far did it penetrate into the piece? I had to have it as soon as I saw it, but it was going to be a gamble if it came off.
Now I had seen a good deal of gold over the preceding 25 years or so, but this association with ironstone, in this way, no not like this before. I eventually purchased the piece and completely ‘enjoyed’ every anxious moment of sawing it and working with it.
I cannot recall now how many times, around a bush campfire did we prospectors, heft lumps of quartz and ironstone guessing as to how much gold they contained, later to retell the yield they produced once they had been dollied, or as to the size of the cheque returned from the Perth Mint for such a specimen, to think how well we had done for ourselves, oh what opportunities lost!
Most of the pieces presented here come from the sheep station country north of Yunta in South Australia where some friends have been prospecting there for several decades (with permission always sought from the local station owner). After conversing many times with an old prospector who worked that area during the Depression era of the 1930s. It’s a picturesque and beautiful place and we’ve shared many happy moments in those rugged, quiet hills with just local bird call, wide blue skies and desert breezes sighing through the native pines for company, it is a very difficult place to leave. Nuggets are hard to find, specimen material even more scarce. The juxtaposition of rich yellow, noble metal up against a common weathering product, ironstone always astounds me. For these pieces I contract a fine (0.3 mm diameter) diamond wire saw to slab the original specimen as it yields the truest form and patterning of such multi media specimens, and the excitement that accompanies them when the internal character of such a specimen is revealed, a true wonder of the natural world we rarely ever see.
GOLD IN IRONSTONE
BRONZEWING AREA. WA
A prospector showed me a fair-sized piece of Eastern goldfields ironstone/quartz in the mid 2000’s. Towards the base of this sawn rock was a slash of all gold native metal. As we didn’t know how far it penetrated into the piece, it was going to be a gamble if it came off.
I enjoyed every anxious moment of sawing it and working it into some of the items you see here now. There were less than ten pieces in the end and they have all been a complete pleasure to work with. The native metal has been lightly glass bead finished to bring out the superlative colour of the metal.
GOLD IN QUARTZ
BETA HUNT MINE. WA
My attraction to specimen gold (ie, gold still partly contained within its original host) started developing after spending some time prospecting in the Murchison Goldfields. This material from the now legendary Beta Hunt Mine, here in Western Australia, is some of the best that’s available today. In fact, it really is world-class! The beauty of the rich golden hue of 92% gold intimately interwoven within a semi-transparent to opaque white quartz is a stunning combination, leading to multiple avenues of interpretation. Some specimens also contain other minerals of the host rock that held these mind-numbingly rich veins, such as chlorite, carbonates, pyrite and altered basalt, to name a few.