Friday, 26 September 2014

Smashing good fun!

It was quite a while ago that Nick told me about olivine fossicking at Mount Shadwell. As peridot (gem quality olivine) is August's birth stone, I thought it may have been a good outing for my birthday but the quarry is only open during the week.

I was still hopeful of going in the not-to-distant future when our lapidary club scheduled a field trip - hooray!  Other members drove up for the day but as the quarry is 250km from home, we elected to stay a few nights at Mortlake and enjoy some local exploring too.

It was our first time fossicking for stones other than opal.  We had so much fun breaking rocks to reveal green and other coloured crystals inside!

Mount Shadwell is a working quarry which produces road base.  A few people mentioned that some gravel roads in the area were also sites where crystals could be found!

There was no charge to fossick at the quarry.  We took safety vests and glasses but it seemed that some were also available at the site.  As we were part of a club outing, we were included on a group indemnity form.  Had we travelled as a family group, we would have needed to complete and submit forms prior to entry. 

Obviously we all needed to follow the important safety rules, which are detailed on the link above.  Nick read them out while we were sitting in the car - and Vaughan received a few reminders during the day!

You can see the huge piles of rocks we were looking through.  One of the quarry workers used a machine to spread some more.  Not all rocks contained crystal but many did - the telling point was the weight of the rock.  Those that were heavy for their size often held "treasure" within.  Not all the centres were hard, some burst open and scattered tiny sand-like jewels onto the dirt!

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