A Few New Additions to My Collection Lately

Recently I made a few purchases to add to my growing collection of Viburnum Trend Minerals…since I can`t go underground and get them myself, I sometimes have to purchase them, and these were from the old collection that my buddy Dave purchased a couple of months ago from a retired miner. I understand that he has several more flats available, and I am waiting for the word on acquisition of those as well. I will also be visiting my buddy Gary in southern Illinois in a few weeks, on my way to the Central Kentucky trip, and see what new material he has from the past few months of mining fluorite, quartz, calcites, and lead specimens in his area. I am looking forward to that trip and visiting with many friends down there over Labor Day Weekend, always a lot of fun for both Onyx and me.

Here are a few of the purchases I made in the past month….the first 2 images contain a beautiful smokey calcite with a thin piece of matrix covered with chalcopyrite, from the Brushy Creek Mine, likely from the Crystal Cavern that was discovered about 25 yrs ago…it is upper left corner of both images, there is a smokey calcite plate in the upper right hand corner of the images, with reddish yellow pyrite nestled in the cracks and corners of the plate, from the Casteel Mine, the only mine where the pyrite in these colors comes from, and the calcite plate in the bottom of the images is from the Sweetwater Mine and has a little bit of malachite on the plate…

The next three images show some of the Phantom Calcites I purchased from Dave back in June, and the 3rd image shows one of those crystals backlit….although many of the pretty calcites often come from the Sweetwater Mine, these came from Brushy Creek Mine….

the next two images show some very pretty blingey crystals, these are from the Casteel Mine…I can count on two hands the number of specimens in my collection that came from the Casteel Mine over the years…not very many, same goes for the Magmont Mine, not very many….

…this next image shows the underside of the calcite plate with the malachite on it…the underside of the plate is covered by quartz and simply gorgeous quartz….one of the reasons I liked it so well, kind of a two for one special…

This next image shows a few of the smaller pieces I purchased…not all of them are shown, as I purchased about three flats and only about one flat is shown here, so I am basically showing you the  highlights of my purchases….and some were sold within a week to friends who liked them as much as I did….

…the next several images show one or two specimens and many are covered or partially covered with chalcopyrite…I keep these in shaded and dark areas of my home to keep the chalco from oxidizing on me…luckily tho, there is a good and fast cure for that if it does still happen…

..I am often asked by new rockhounds, what colors chalcopyrite comes in…the image above and below should give you a good idea what colors and how bright they can be in the right light…

…and this next image shows a unique specimen with a chunk of calcite coming up out of one corner and anchored on the left end by big pyrite balls….

Beautiful stuff for sure. 🙂


Three Weeks in a Row

I decided I was going to drive down to the Park Hills Show on Sunday morning…I wanted to see if I could find some of those new agates out on the market, found in the country of Madagascar and some more of the chalcopyrite-bladed barite-sphalerite ball pieces found in the Washington County Quarry. Since I knew that would be at least half a day wandering around looking at everything and visiting with my dealer friend Johnny B from Mt Ida, who is always there, I decided to drive back to the Secret Spot Quarry on Saturday June 9th and see what else I could find there. We were up before the crack of dawn thanks to my new job, which requires me to get up at 4 am these days to get ready to go to work…and about fifteen miles down the road,  I looked back and saw the beautiful sunrise….

…and fifteen minutes later, the sunrise only deepened and got better….

…and then ten minutes later, we saw a beautiful rainbow…I was thinking, man what are we going to see next ??!!

…there were a few scattered thunderstorms on the radar before leaving the house, but going by the way they were moving on radar, it appeared they would miss the quarry, so I wasn`t too worried about getting wet this morning…soon after arriving about 7 am, it was clear that some were going by just east of us…

and another storm passing by east of us about an hour later….

…and a few hours later, I heard some thunder and figured maybe we might get grazed by this one…

and as it was, it came right over the top of us and I decided to head on over to my buddy Dave`s house…he notified me that he had purchased an old collection of Viburnum Trend minerals so I decided to go see what he had…as we pulled into his drive, I looked east and saw another storm brewing…

…this storm apparently hit the Park Hills area and paid everyone at the show there a visit, high winds, hail, and hard rain for about 90 minutes, from what I heard the next day when I was there visiting with everyone. Dave had quite a few nice crystals and minerals in the collection he purchased from a retired miner, nice ones that had been collected at least 75 years ago…

I was gonna crop this one off at the bottom of the image, then noticed Lola down there and decided to leave it…she is David`s guard dog for his Mom and a very pretty German Shepherd too. Those are some unique lead cube clusters above on the table, some with chalcopyrites attached. Closeup of the big one in the next two images….

…and some gorgeous never seen before pyrites with some deep reds, oranges, and gold colors in them, from the Casteel Mine, which rarely produces really pretty specimens…

…and there were some stunning calcites in this collection as well…golden honey yellows and orange yellows as well as several smokeys from Brushy Creek Mine….




MAGsters Rockhunt Missouri 2016

Members of MAGS, the Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society, a club I am a member of as well, came up to Missouri two weeks ago to go rockhunting with me in the Viburnum and Eminence areas. Also on that day, I was contacted by Bill from Rockhoundbill Blogspot….he had contacted me the week before by email, said he was an avid fan of my rockhunting blog site…this site….and that he enjoyed my stories and photos…I was floored, because I had been reading his site recently about some locations he had been to recently, and told him that I enjoyed reading his stories too. He and his girlfriend Debbie were up in the KC area at that time and would be traveling back to the Chicago area by way of the scenic route, they were planning to drive to Potosi to look for druse…I advised him that they might want to avoid that area, because recently many locations where we used to be able to go to and collect both druse and barite at, had become closed to rockhunters. Many of those areas are very rural properties, they have become infested with meth labs and overzealous rockhounds, so property owners in that area are no longer tolerant of rockhounds on their property there. I suggested that he instead join MAGS members on their druse hunt in the Viburnum area…he and Debbie stopped off at my home to visit with me and see my outside rock collection. Before heading on to Potosi for the night, they decided they would drive over to Viburnum the next morning to join MAGS as members and go with us for the druse hunt. 

Many of the MAGsters drove up on Friday afternoon, April 1st, some camping out in various areas, some staying in motel rooms…. Onyx and I drove down early Saturday morning to meet them at the Casey`s Store in Viburnum.  We arrived a few minutes before 8 am and soon after, Bill and Debbie showed up, and then some of the MAGS members started showing up as well. WC, the club President, had told me a week earlier that he was not sure how many were coming up for the trip, he figured it might be a small group, but as more and more folks showed up, I decided we had better relocate to the parking lot just north of the Casey`s, before we completely filled the Casey`s parking lot and smothered the small business.

While waiting for some of the members who had spent the night in Park Hills, Bill and Debbie joined the MAGS Club and I was able to meet Charles Hill, the Field Trip Director for MAGS..I have been talking to him for months but had no idea what he looked like and vice versa I am sure for him…it was nice to finally put a face to the emails. My friends Carrie, Jeff, and Bentley from the KC area, arrived soon after, camping just north of Viburnum, and I was able to visit with them as well. WC and a few other members arrived soon after from Park Hills, bringing Betty Marler with them…I hadn`t seen Betty in a couple of years and wondered how she was doing. One of her nephews brought her over to join us and she looked and sounded just great…it was a real joy to visit with her that day, she and her husband Lloyd were some of the founding members of the Park Hills Mineral Club, they host the Park Hills Show at the old Federal Mine each year, which over the years has become a well attended and well liked show each year in June.

We soon were all headed down the road to the druse location, everyone following me in single file and we soon arrived there…I pulled over and directed everyone into the entrance, some driving up a small hill to the right and others pulling in to the left side to park…we had several vehicles but had plenty of room for all to park off the road. From there, everyone booted up, grabbed tools and buckets and headed out in different directions to hunt for druse quartz….

03010205 Bill and Debbie of Chicago


…while there, one of the local neighbors, who lives on down the road, and had invited us to her property when we finished collecting there the year before. stopped by to visit with us and see how we were doing. After collecting there all morning, we drove over to a second location, an area that I have often referred to as the secret spot. There were some MAGsters who had inquired about getting some larger druse, and so we drove over there because as Onyx and I had discovered a few weeks prior on a scouting trip, there were several large chunks of druse quartz there, and the members that drove over there looking for them, found several nice ones to take home with them. We were there for a couple of hours and then I led a few of the rockhounds still with us, down to the home of a good friend of mine who is a Viburnum Trend mineral dealer…he doesn`t charge an arm and a leg and is very knowledgeable about the minerals that come from the area mines as well. He had several pyrite encased double terminated calcite crystal pieces as well as lead cubes…..

01 Calcites With Marcasite08 Pocket 31 Pieces14 Pyrite & Chalco Calcite PiecesCrystals Available For Purchase 3

….and those who purchased from him left very happy. Most of the MAGSters headed to Salem or Eminence to spend the night, while Onyx and I headed home, scheduled to meet them at Eminence the next morning at 8:30 once again. Once home, I loaded up the bed of my truck with twelve buckets of grab bag material for the club`s annual show which is held the last weekend in April each year. 

Early the next morning, a fire truck woke me up going by my house at 4 am, enroute to a house fire north of town…Onxy and I drove out to the location, where I photographed the fire for the local paper….which I do quite often. It was a devastating fire, the family escaping with only the clothes on their backs and had to break in a front side window to get their grandson out as well. 

02 Fully Involved on Arrival

Forty five minutes later I was back home, editing up a few photos for the paper before heading south to Eminence to meet the MAGSters at the quarry. Onyx and I took Hwy 63 down there and came down Hwy 106 from Summersville…when we reached the top of the hill above the Jacks Fork River, there were some redbud trees fringing the side of the highway and down below, I could see fog rising above the water of the stream illuminated by the light of the rising sun….

08 Jacks Fork River09 Hwy 106 Near Alley Spring Mill


…and soon we dropped down the hill and I decided to stop and stretch our legs a bit, see if there was some fog down at the spring pond by the Alley Springs Mill as well….

11 Alley Spring Mill15 Alley Spring Mill

…lo and behold, there was a nice mist coming up off the waters there…..

17 Alley Spring Mill18 Alley Spring Mill19 Alley Spring Mill

..and then we drove on over to the quarry, arriving a little after 8 am, to find a couple of members from Mississippi there waiting, and soon after, Charles, Mike, and a few others arrived, having spent the night in Eminence. It was about thirty minutes later that the members who spent the night in Salem, arrived…finding out that Highway 19 is a bit curvy and hilly, requiring one to slow down from the Shannon County line south…soon after arriving, we all proceeded down to the coved wall area of the quarry….

23 Eminence Quarry

…..and spread out to look for goodies, which were high in abundance that day, including many dogtooth crystals found laying all over the place, prime for the picking….


24 Eminence Quarry26 Eminence Quarry2930

I walked up on the knob in front of Charles in the middle of the center mass of rock and found a pocket at the base of it…everyone was busy with their own finds, so I grabbed my new mini mattox and was able to dig it out shortly after….


…soon after that, Chuck Reed and his daughters and wife showed up from the St Louis County area…Chuck and his daughter Mackenzie recently joined MAGS…he and I are also members of one of the St Louis area clubs, however MAGS is very proactive with field trips for its members where many clubs these days are not…field trips can be the very lifeblood of a club these days. We hunted there for another couple of hours before folks started heading for home…while I was out helping others find some nice crystals to take home with them…Bob Cooper, the Membership Director for MAGS, transferred the many buckets of grab bag material that I had transported down there in my truck, over to his heavy duty diesel truck to transport back to Memphis. If you find yourself down in the Memphis area the last weekend in April looking for something to do and see, The Earth Wide Open is a great rockhound show to attend there, something for adults as well as the kids. More info can be found on the show at www.theearthwideopen.com 

We were finding alot of dogtooth crystals laying all over the floor of the quarry, as well as in several of the berms next to the walls…there were many pockets high up on the wall and it appeared the they had likely rolled out of the pockets and fell to the floor, many of them undamaged by the fall. Needless to say, many who found them, were quite happy with their finds, much easier to pick them up then to have to work a wall pocket to find them. Chuck and his family followed me up to my mineral dealer`s home shortly after everyone took off for home, and we purchased a few more crystals there before heading home as well. A long weekend for sure, but a very worthwhile and nice time visiting with good friends.

if you have any questions, give me a shout at jwjphoto7@gmail.com


Life After Arkansas

Took all of two weeks after my return from Arkansas before I was driving down to Eminence once again, this time it was just Onyx and I making the trip. We arrived about 10 am and discovered one large blast pile right in the middle of the quarry, and two smaller piles remaining from prior blasts, one to the right and one over to the left in the coved wall area. This one was spread out extensively and covered the back road going around the crusher to the coved wall. It was huge and I photographed it from right to left in four photos….

01 On Arrival New Blast Pile in Middle02 On Arrival New Blast Pile in Middle03 New Blast Pile Cuts Off Back Road04 Piles All The Way Over to Dumpster

Onyx and I got out and stretched our legs a bit and then as I was getting ready to hunt, he got in a couple of wind sprints and then returned to walk up the right side of the new pile with me…within fifty feet I started finding crystals and clusters laying all over the place….I was finding so many initially that I decided to drive my truck over to that side as well…

05 New Blast Pile in Middle

…and took this photo looking back at the front side of the pile and how scattered the rocks were toward the entrance….

06 New Blast Pile Fringes

…within a few minutes, I had two bags full of loose crystals and small clusters, many appeared to have a white sugar frosting poured all over them…and I started finding several yard rocks toward the middle of the pile as well…some I carried over to the far side and stacked them up on the edge of the pile so I could simply drive over and pick them up later. I didn`t take my camera up there with me, and just got them cleaned up this weekend so will snap some photos of them once the soggy rains stop in the next day or two and post them on here. I can safely tell you that I was afraid I wasn`t going to have enough room in the bed of my truck nor enough wrapping cloths to protect them either. As it was tho, I had just enough room in the truck, utilizing the front and back floorboards for many of the yard rocks. Afterwards, I drove over to the coved wall area….

08 Coved Wall Remains of Blast PIle

…where there was a small pile remaining…very steep tho, so wasn`t gonna be climbing it up the middle.  I was able to scramble up the sides tho and check the wall for pockets, and near the top discovered a few small pockets with some beautiful red colored calcite crystals that resembled hexagonal nuts rather than poker chip formations. There were also some pockets with the calcite that resembles cavelike formations, most of those I left there due to damage to them. 

09 Coved Wall Remains Up Close

…I filled another bag here, giving me a total of six bags, five at the new blast pile…and many yard rocks…by this time I was ready to leave and head home to get a nap in and grab some dinner. First I had to drive back over to the western side of the new pile to load up the crystals I stacked up on the edge….

10 Can Only Go So Far

I was a bit soaked from the light rain that had begun to fall shortly after we arrived, and Onyx had stayed in the truck when I got over the coved wall area…by the time we were leaving, he was nearly all dry once again.  I changed shirts and into my street shoes before leaving, planning to stop off and see a new miner friend on my return, not wanting to track mud into his house….he had some interesting pieces that I had not seen before, and I was able to pick up a few of them from him, one was a very small set of twin calcite crystals with malachite color at the base of the crystals. I`ll get a photo of it posted soon as well.

Thru the week, I received emails from Nathaniel and Chuck, both asking if I intended to drive down there again the next weekend…I had a couple of holidays to burn before the end of the year, so I took Sunday off to make the return trip. Nathaniel rode down with Onyx and I, while Chuck and his daughter Mackenzie, drove down the scenic route of Hwy 21 and 106 to arrive shortly after Nathaniel and I did. It was Mackenzie`s first time there and I think she was pretty impressed with the place. Nathaniel and I had only been there a short while before they pulled in, enough time for me to scout out some in floor pockets for her to check out, with some nice looking loose crystals and small clusters laying on the surface. She and Chuck started digging in when I pointed it out to them…while Nathaniel took off to check out the coved wall pile, which looked much the same as it did the weekend before when I was there. He climbed up the right side of the pile and was checking out wall pockets when I glanced over there about an hour later. For whatever reason, probably because I simply forgot, I did not take any photos at all that day, but I can tell you that we all did well…I only filled one bag with crystals that I found, but they were very nice crystals and plates from a few pockets that I discovered down the east wall…and after picking up a few plates, I called Chuck over and let him work the rest of the plates out of it. There were a lot of druse pockets along the wall as well and I pulled a few nice plates of those out as well as some druse pieces with poker chips attached to them….those always make beautiful sparkly plates to display…I have about four shelves of them at home…they glitter in the light like you would not believe, and are second to dogtooths in my book. By 1:30 pm, we were tired and happy, and headed up the road to see one of my miner friends to see some new material…both Nathaniel and Chuck wanted to get some nice Viburnum Trend minerals and we were able to do just that. I`ll get some of those posted soon as well. This weekend I took advantage of the beautiful unseasonably warm weather for December to move some rocks around in the backyard and made room for more. Today while it was raining outside, I high graded my crystals on the inside and made room for more that I have collected recently, including my Arkansas quartz crystals. 

if you have any questions or wanna say hi, give me a shout at jwjphoto7@gmail.com


New Addition to my Rock Garden

One of the last trips Missy made with me was down to St Louis County to pick up a huge Dogtooth Calcite Crystal Cluster with Chalcopyrite and Galena Lead attached to it, that a guy was selling…he was downsizing from a house to an apartment and could not take it with him…he had purchased it from a friend of mine at the Park Hills Show a few years ago and had it in his front flower garden. He had told me it was quite heavy and recommended that I bring someone with me to help lift it into my truck, so I contacted my nephew Zack and he said he would be glad to help me with it. I picked up Zack at Eureka and drove on over to Dennis` residence in Fenton to pick it up. I backed up my truck into his driveway as close as I could get, which left about twenty feet for Zack and I to carry it…luckily that was as far as we had to go with it, cause Dennis was right, it was pretty darn heavy with all that galena lead attached to it, and we had to handle it carefully due to all the crystals on the front face of it…it measures about 18 to 20 inches high and about 15 inches wide, at least ten inches thick, if not more. Luckily Zack had his wheaties that morning and was able to help me lift it just fine. My neighbor Glenn helped me unload it when I returned home with it, and I was able to get the truck quite close to the spot I intended to set it down at…here it is in that spot on display….

Huge Crystal Centerpiece

Huge Crystal Centerpiece 2

Huge Crystal Centerpiece 4

Chalcopyrite & Galena On Backside

Fletcher Mine Additions to My Collection

I picked up some beautiful calcites and chalcopyrite to add to my collection back in May from my friend Dave….

01 Yellow Calcites With Chalcopyrite

02 Yellow Calcites With Chalcopyrite

08 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite



12 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

14 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

15 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

17 Dbl Terminated XLS


20 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite

22 Calcite XLS in Dolomite & Chalcopyrite


…then a few weeks later, he let me know that he had some stuff in that was even prettier, double terminated calcite crystals many of them three to four inches in length, and surrounded by, even embedded in clusters of gorgeous pyrite !!  I had to go take a look and to say I was astounded would be an understatement….

38 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

05 Dbl Terminated Calcite & Marcasite

06 Dbl Terminated Calcite & Marcasite

40 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

41 Dogtooth Calcites In Marcasite & Chalcopyrite

…so here is what my collection from the Doe Run Mines looks like now…well should say this is one countertop out of five now….

01 Calcites With Marcasite

…then there is this shelf as well…..

06 From Pocket 31

…as this one….

12 Pyrite & Chalco Calcite Pieces

..and then I changed the first one around a little….

14 Pyrite & Chalco Calcite Pieces

…hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do…I picked up another batch of them from him on Friday, do not have them photographed just yet, not even unwrapped yet…but I will get there eventually. 🙂