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Morrisonite Jasper and its rich history

Do you know the history behind the Morrisonite Jasper?

We are blessed with a lot of really cool rocks in Oregon. Morrisonite Jasper is one of the most famous picture jaspers in the world right here in Oregon. It’s not really mined anymore, but we are fortunate that local jewelry designer Steve Wolf acquired a good amount of it and sets it in his gorgeous jewelry, including pendants, earrings, rings and brooches. We have quite a few available in the store.

The History of Morrisonite “The King of Jaspers” By Philip Stephenson www.RareRocksAndGems.com

In early spring 1947, Boise rock shop owner Dudley Stewart was prospecting in the Owyhee Breaks in the southeast corner of Oregon. While scouting, he came upon a small thin older gentleman living like a hermit in a one-room stone cabin along the Owyhee River. This was James Morison (no, it’s not misspelled. That’s the way he spelled his last name, unlike how it’s spelled today). Morison lived alone, never married and had no family. He eked out a subsistence living off the land on his ranch. In the months that followed their meeting, Dudley would often visit James while in the area and would take him back and forth to the store for supplies. They soon became good friends.

James Morison enjoyed looking for Indian artifacts and found many pictographs on the rocks near his ranch. This area of the Owyhee desert teemed with a great diversity of animal life and plants, which made it a favorite hunting ground for the Indians. One late fall day in 1947, Dudley was working one of the cliffs and James came by and said “Look at this rock! Make something out of it.” Dudley looked at the amazing colors and patterns and exclaimed, “Where did you get this?” James showed Dudley where he discovered the jasper and Dudley soon after coined the name “Morrisonite” in honor of his friend James Morison. The Morrisonite madness began with theMorrisonite Jasper.

As word got out, people began showing up as early as spring 1948 looking for this Morrisonite Jasper. Morison became irritated at all these unknown people starting to show up at his ranch. He was thinking about closing the area off completely. In 1950, Dudley remedied the situation by getting the word out that organized group rock hunting field trips would be made by the Boise Gem Club. Dudley was the club’s president and one of its founders. But as the interest in this Morrisonite Jasper increased, so did the tide of people, trespassers and profiteers.

As the years progressed, the claim owners changed hands a few times and mining became more intense. Blasting became necessary and heavy equipment was being used to wench the Morrisonite Jasper from the mountain and pinnacles. No one really knows what happened to Jim Morison. Morrisonite, its amazing colors, layered orbs, outstanding quality and high gloss finish make it the most sought after fine jasper in the world and the uncontested title of the “The King Of Jaspers.”

Excerpted from Morrisonite “The King of Jaspers” By Philip Stephenson www.RareRocksAndGems.com

See more at our Facebook page.

Morrisonite Pendant $220Morrisonite Jasper Pendant $180 front

Morrsionite Jasper Earrings $140

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Dendrites: mini still life in stone

Dendrites can fool you

Dendrites look just like fossilized plant matter.  However, they are mineral formations, not plant fossils — and one of my favorite mineral formations!  The word dendrite comes from the Greek word dendron, meaning tree, and also describes the branched projections of a nerve cell.

A dendrite is a superficial deposit of manganese oxide that has crystallized in a multi-branching tree-like pattern.  This pattern is what fools us into thinking they are plant fossils.  Dendrites form as water rich in manganese and iron flows along tiny cracks between layers of limestone and other rock types.  Dendrites may also consist of iron oxides and other minerals, and can also form in quartz materials like agate and jasper. When it is found in agate and opal, it is called “dendritic agate” and “dendritic opal.”

Metaphysically, stones with dendrites resonate with blood vessels and nerves.  They help heal the nervous system and conditions such as neurdendrites from Germanyalgia. Dendrites can help with skeletal disorders, reverse capillary degeneration and stimulate the circulatory system.  It is the stone of plenitude; it also helps create a peaceful environment and encourage the enjoyment of each moment.  Dendrites deepen your connection to the earth and can bring stability in times of strife or confusion.

We have some beautiful dendrite specimens of dendrites in marl (calcareous mudstone), a sedimentary rock from Solenhofen, Germany that are 160 million years old.  Each piece is different, a mini still life in stone:  framed silhouettes of  trees, ferns, seaweeds, and bushes.  These dendrites are a great gift for anyone with a green thumb or who has a strong connection to nature.

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Fulgurites – Struck by Lightning

What are Fulgurites?

Would you like a direct “pipeline” to Spirit?  Check this out!  Fulgurites are hollow tube-like formations that are created when lightning hits sand.  The sand is melted from the impact and reformed into a natural glass-like material.  They have a unique feel and when they clink together they make a really neat sound.  These are truly interesting specimens. The best ones are found in Florida and Africa.

The author of the Crystal Ally cards says that, “The hollow tube of the fulgurite acts as an amplification chamber for the energies that are constantly being released from the lightning-fused glass.  This hollow tube can be used as a type of prayer pipe, with the user blowing their prayer through the tube, and releasing it to the Universe.”  You might feel really silly doing this, but if you do it when no one is around….. ;).

The Book of Stones lists fulgurite’s keywords as:  manifestation of one’s higher purpose, enhancement of prayer, kundalini awakening, purification, and sudden awakening.  Author Robert Simmons says, “Fulgurites are among the most powerful stones for manifesting one’s visions through the power of prayer.”  He recommends sitting with one in meditation, deeply visualizing your prayers or intentions and then exhaling through the tube to blow out your prayers to the Divine.  When used in tandem with moldavite, it can be even more powerful.

Sounds really cool to me!  Just think about all of that electrical energy that it is infused with.  I think I’ll give it a try.

Happy manifesting!

fulgurites from The Fossil Cartel

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Lapis and Sapphire: Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox

Lapis and Sapphire will help us celebrate pumpkin and the leaves falling!

Happy Birthday to all of you born in the month of September, you get to enjoy Lapis and Blue Sapphire! Your birthstone is blue sapphire-a member of the corundum family (aluminum oxide). A 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, it can be worn in jewelry everyday and is found in a rainbow of colors (all except red, which is ruby). Most sapphires are from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar and Montana. Blue is the most traditional of the sapphire colors.

Sapphire represents the third eye/brow chakra (sixth) and is known as the wisdom stone. It is the stone for getting in touch with your intuition, helping with focus and finding peace of mind. This color of blue is most associated with peace, calming and self awareness/expression.

Happy birthday – enjoy Lapis Lazuli

September birthdays have an alternative birthstone of Lapis Lazuli-a sodium aluminum silicate with sulfur, chlorine and hydroxyl, white calcite and iron pyrite. With a hardness of 5-6, it can be worn and enjoyed daily with a little extra care. Most lapis is from Afghanistan or Chile.

Lapis also represents the sixth chakra and is known as the harmony stone. It harmonizes our intuition, intellectual and psychic abilities. It is the teacher stone. It is a good stone for meditation, visualization and dream work. It is the best stone to place by your bed for a peaceful, more restorative sleep.

As schools are back in session and we are approaching a change in seasons — the Autumnal Equinox coming up on September 23, 2015— we can all use blue sapphire and lapis for focusing our intuition, intellect — and yes, even our psychic abilities — on living with peace of mind, visualizing and manifesting peace on earth, and celebrating September birthdays!!

Next month, we will explore love and light with October’s birthstones: opals and pink tourmalines.

Lapis stud earrings

Lapis earringsBlue jewelry and lapis

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Agate, a fan favorite!

Is your favorite an agate?

People come into the store sometimes and ask, “What’s your favorite?” gesturing to include everything in the store. Many of us in that work here always have such a hard time answering that question quickly because we love all this stuff. We love the fossils, the minerals, the jewelry, the gems, the awesome books. All of it.

Now, we all have different “favorites” in the store. But a couple of us love the agates. Some that we love are the Brazilian agate slices, dyed or natural color, and the cool wind chimes made from them. We love the Botswana agates, Montana agates, moss agates, blue lace agates, crazy lace agates, polka dot agates, Laguna agates, purple lace agates, holley blue agates and the Oregon beach agates.

You can find agates wherever you go. You can be walking on a downtown sidewalk, feel an impulse to look down, do so and see right below an agate between your feet in mid-stride.  Have you ever gone agate hunting? You should try it!

What agates are easy to find?

Carnelian is a form of agate. You can find carnelian all the time. You can find a piece embedded in the concrete of the street in front of your home. 4000 years ago, the ability to find carnelian without trying might have been a moneymaker. But now, in the modern era? Not much more than a hobby. Fun for you but, so what? Right?

Of course it can come in handy if you work at a rock shop, the rock shop in the town where you live, which we all do here at The Fossil Cartel. That’s why most of us are here: because we love the agates and everything else in the store. So, now we’re going to turn the mic on you and ask, what’s your favorite?

Stone jewelry in oregonCool Agates and minerals from Oregon - CarnelianCarnelian Stud Earrings

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A Tribute to the Fossils

Fossils tell us a story about life

Fossils are a part of geologic time, which can be a hard concept to grasp. We say that dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago, but do we really even understand just how long is a million years?

The currently accepted age of the earth is 4.6 billion years. That is 4 billion, 6 hundred million. That is a 4,  then a 6, followed by 8 zeros – a ten digit number. When it’s all written out, it looks like this: 4,600,000,000.  Yet, no matter how many different ways I try to convey the grandness of the age of the Earth verbally, it still just sounds like a really big number.

Here at The Fossil Cartel, we sell a number of fossils from all over the world spanning many different time periods, and all kinds of varieties of species. We like to provide our customers with information about the specimens and fossils they purchase, and in the case of a fossil that includes the age of the fossil. I chose just a couple of our most popular fossils to place on the time line, in order to get an idea of where they fall in geologic time.

Fish Fossils

The Green River Formation in Wyoming yields many many fish fossils. These fish became fossils approximately 40 million years ago. On the time line rope, that is a mere four feet from present day. If you were to walk 460 feet from The Fossil Cartel located at 333 SW Taylor Ave. to Pioneer Place (the mall downtown), that would be about 2 blocks along SW 4th.

Trilobites

Trilobites flourished during the Devonian period. But early species of trilobites lived starting 500 million years ago. On the rope, that would still be only 50 feet away from present day, or less than 1/9 of the way in geologic time!

Come let us show you our wonderful collection of fossils for sale!

Fossil guidesFossil Fish from WyomingFish Fossils at The Fossil Cartel

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Natural Gemstone

What is a natural gemstone?

In the world of gems and minerals, most people would equate the word natural with a stone that was recovered from the earth and not treated or enhanced in any way. This is mainly true with mineral specimens, although some crystals may require an acid bath to remove iron staining or other mineral residue. It is a routine procedure that illustrates how a little help from humans can make a natural gemstone even more beautiful. Wouldn’t most people prefer a clear, bright, shiny crystal to a dirty brown one?

Another common way to alter rough material is with a rock tumbler. Polishing most stones brings out their colors and patterns, accenting the beauty that’s already there.

If the natural gemstone has been shaped and polished, does that mean a tumbled stone is unnatural?

When it comes to gems and jewelry the issue gets more complicated. Not only have the stones been faceted (few people would have a rough sapphire set in a ring), but the vast majority of them have undergone some sort of treatment to improve their color or stability.

  • Heating is by far the most common treatment with a natural gemstone and is almost always done to change, deepen, or lighten the color of a stone.
  • Other enhancements include irradiation, fracture filling, and bleaching.
  • Treatments not only make gems more attractive, they make them more available.
  • Both Citrine and Tanzanite are rare in nature and would be very expensive if heat treatment did not exist.
  • Also, it’s not as if humans are adding color (with the exception of dyeing of course) or taking it away. It is the gem reacting to the forces it might naturally encounter in the earth’s crust. So is a treated gem unnatural?

If you pull a carrot out of the earth, you will at least wash it off before you eat it. You may decide to cut it up. You might possibly cook it. More than likely you won’t be setting it in a gold ring!

Ultimately everyone has their own idea of what “natural” means to them. When it comes to buying stones, do a little research and ask questions. Most importantly realize that treatments or enhancements are not meant to deceive, they are simply a way of taking something from the ground and turning it into something to be treasured!

Natural Gemstone Blog PostNatural Gemstone Blog