The 2000 Season at the Orchard Mine
Etched beryls found August 8, 2000.
August ,2000 Page 2
Pockets with Etched Beryls
that this blast had yielded little, we brought in the excavator to scrape
out the debris. During this process we noticed the tell tale rusty-muddy
material showing up. We immediately switched from diesel to man power to
continue the clearance. We had discovered a pocket in the very bottom of
the bench that was filled with smoky quartz crystals and beryl. Soon we
were at work we bare hands and our 'pickers' evaluating every piece. Here
Doug is admiring the latest piece while Mary reaches for another. One of
the 36 year old diamond screens from Venezuela can be seen in the image
accumulating the material. Just to the left of the screen are the
'pickers'. All of the material from a pocket is precious and is thoroughly
screened for small minerals. Often apatite and bertrandite as well
as pristine acicular beryls show up in the fines.
We continued working this pocket for about 2 hours. The pickings were getting slim and the debris mound was becoming a nuisance. Much to Mary's consternation we decided to bring the excavator back in and remove the last of the blast debris laying on the bench. While my approach is much more 'production' oriented Mary wanted to continue to work the pocket. Soon Doug and I were alone in the pit. Taking only a few minutes to do the final removal, Doug and I were back in with our hoes. Hoeing across a quartz pod sandwiched between microclines, smoky quartz plates began flaking off. Soon smokies were coming out by the handfuls. Lamenting to Doug that this may only be a quartz pocket, Doug reached in and extracted an etched aquamarine of a fine blue color. I called Mary at our 'mine shack' to reconsider her decision to leave. Her mind unfortunately was set. Continuing to work the pocket, we pulled back a quartz plate to reveal a huge etched beryl laying in the pocket. Again I called Mary and this time she relented and agreed to return. The landowners, the Bennetts, were called as well to witness this find in the pocket. Although it seemed like eternity , eventually the cast gathered for the extraction. The beryl was not attached at all for it was later found the it had become dislodged from its feldspar attachment about 1 foot further back in the pocket. The crystal was quite etched but the upper 1/3 of this 3300 carat specimen was fine gem. The gemmy end can be seen extending into the water. This pocket was found at about 3 in the afternoon. At sunset were were still removing beryl from its recesses. In fact this process continued sporadically for 2 more days.
Page 3-Visitors to the Orchard Mine-more stuff comes out
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