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Steppegold2
21:51:14 Thu
Nov 13 2008

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Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

This is a short thread m'thinks. Im not allowed to post pics of the Hindu Kush (tut! - Ed), but here are a few of minerals for sale from dealers in Kabul.

This is the land where most (90%?) of the world's lapis lazuli comes from and it has been mined in the Hindu Kush since before the time of King Tut Tut (Tut? - Ed).

Here is a nice chunk for starters...

  
Steppegold2
22:08:18 Thu
Nov 13 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Here are chunks of rough Lapis Lazuli...
.

Lapis Lazuli is soft enough to be carved and polished fairly easily, but hard enough not to scratch too easily.

Anyone who wants to be put in direct touch with Afghan suppliers please PM me (I'm just a messenger boy, not a middle man).

To explain a bit (I had to learn this too!)...

...LAPIS LAZULI is a ROCK consisting mostly of the mineral LAZURITE (blue) in association with PYRITE (golden) and often with calcite (white). If you crush and powder Lapis lazuli rock then the end product is ULTRAMARINE, a blue pigment used by painters (and forgers - Ed).

LAPIS LAZULI forms by really deep metamorphism of dolomites followed by skarn mineralisation. A subduction zone would do nicely.

LAZURITE (a blue felspathoid mineral) should not be confused with LAZULITE ( a blue phosphate mineral) or AZURITE (a blue copper mineral).

Here are lots of lapis lazuli!


This piece shows a lot of calcite (white).



Here is some technical info for LAZURITE from www.galleries.com/minerals/silicate/lazurite/lazurite.htm
Color: brilliant blue with violet or greenish tints.
Luster: dull to greasy.
Transparency: Crystals are translucent to opaque.
Crystal System: Isometric; bar 4 3/m
Crystal Habits: Dodecahedral crystals have been found, usually massive as a rock (lapis lazuli) forming mineral.
Cleavage: poor, in six directions, but rarely seen.
Fracture: uneven
Hardness: 5 - 5.5
Specific Gravity: 2.3 - 2.4 (somewhat below average)
Streak: bright blue.
Other Characteristics: Index of refraction is 1.5.

Associated Minerals: calcite, some pyroxenes and most diagnostic pyrite.

Notable Occurrences: Kokcha River valley, Afghanistan; Ovalle, Cordillera, Chile; near Lake Baikal, Russia; Mt. Vesuvius, Italy; Cascade Canyon, San Bernardino Mountains and Ontario Peak, California and in the Sawatch Mountains, Colorado, USA.

Best Field Indicators: violet-blue color, pyrite association (unlike sodalite), locality and specific gravity.

  
BillA
23:57:37 Thu
Nov 13 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

one of the sadder things I saw were hundreds of ash trays made of Lapis (in Pakistan)

the jewelery grade was impressive, very dark w/o inclusions

Bill

  
billcosta_rica
00:00:57 Fri
Nov 14 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

steppe
good to see you back posting, i can hardly wait for the photos and stories. keep them coming.

bill-cr

  
captainmal
05:25:26 Fri
Nov 14 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Wow, that Lapis Lazuli is amazing looking stuff. Now I understand why you wanted the chess set.

Question for steppegold: Why does every picture I see of the Hindu Kush terrain has no visible trees?
[1 edits; Last edit by captainmal at 05:26:12 Fri Nov 14 2008]



---
If it weren't for gravity and physics, I'd be unstoppable.
 
 
Steppegold2
07:47:40 Fri
Nov 14 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Captainmal - you are right about the scarcity of trees. Frankly the Hindu Kush is a hostile environment for trees. The slopes are too steep (the mountains are still rising and the slopes are extremely loose), and the climate is semi-arid. I saw no rain and no mist. The pattern is one of earthquakes, avalanche collapse, badlands and huge erosion by cloudbursts, and glacier melts. The only lush trees are on floodplains, but the floodplain forests have mostly been cleared thousands of years ago for irrigated arable farming. That said, the maze of irrigation channels are lined with planted willows - coppiced for fuel and for roofing. On the mountain slopes the scrubby forests have been grubbed up for fuel (coal is desperately being searched for) and what is left is grazed out by goats.

So, that's why there are so few trees!

Steppe

  
jjedwab
15:13:55 Fri
Nov 14 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Interestingly enough, the process for separating ultramarine from lapis lazuli (known from Middle Ages) presents some kinship with the collection of fine gold. The powdered bulk lapis powder is mixed with bee-wax (if memory helps), put into a cloth, and knit by hand under running water. Accessory minerals (pyrite and calcite) are retained in the wax, and one gets a concentrate of the purest lapis, i.e. ultramarine. This treatment explained the high price of small quantities. Ultramarine was especially valued in the past for preparing the paint used for Sta Maria's coat....which had its share of gold too.

  
tvanwho
06:34:13 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, at least they make 1 good thing there

That lapis is beautiful stuff, especially polished. I do map dowsing for gold deposits and all of my pendulums and pointers are made of either Afghan lapis lazuli or blue obsidian and silver chains.
Yes, I have found fine placer gold at 3 spots in Indiana so far using this means of long range locating and 1 nugget from Ganes Creek. I detected there for a week in June,2005 and could not find any gold with my MXT, but when I switched to my LoboST and went on top of the hill behind the creek where they have the highbanker set up , I got an acorn size nugget specimen ( a whisper signal at 5 inches with my 3 x 7 coil) and another guy got a hens egg size nugget.I had map dowsed that hill top area for around 25,000 ounces of gold but I fergot to ask if it was still there or not? Doug Clark told me it was mined out and none there, but he did confess that 28,000 ounces of gold had come out of the area I had marked down so I about fell over when he said this.
Still am trying to figger out the long range dowsing thing? Its not easy when I have to do this all alone with no known gold mines/deposits nearby and no large gold samples to work with. My friends and fellow miners all think I am wasting my time. Gerry McMullen sent me some inspiring words about pursueing my dreams in the map dowsing for gold thing, otherwise life is not worth living if you don't at least try to reach for your dreams he told me ! .I reread his email from 3 years ago last night and got inspired again.
A wanna be dowser friend of mine and fellow gold hunter and I were at 1 of the spots I had map dowsed in west central Indiana. I had the spot marked for a measly 1/10 ounce per ton where 2 creeks came together. 2 other guys and me had dredged out a good size hole in a gravel bar where I had field dowsed a good spot.It wasn't worth jumping up and down over but there were hundreds of colors in our pans after going thru our concentrates. Jeff tried my homemade copper L rods over 1 spot ,dug, no gold. I had him go over by our dredge hole ,his rods crossed near the hole, he dug 1 shovel full, panned it out and got 3 decent size colors. He got really excited, his first gold found with dowsing rods!! I got excited too and had to bring some gravel home to pan out for me then. I told Jeff I was trying to get his self confidence built up.I think I half succeeded.
I invested in the best metal detectors I couldn't really afford ( MXT, Tdi, PulseStar 2 Pro ) but acquired anyway in my pursuit of the dream and also acquired this year a Shaw Backpack core drill demo unit with titanium tubes for 1/3rd the cost of a new one. I am putting my money where my mouth is, just hoping to make a big strike soon. My highbanker and 2.5 inch dredge are about perfected now too. Just wish my knees were not giving out already? Gas prices were a killer this year so I could not go exploring much and now winter is here.....
Anyway, I'd love to have some more Afghan Lapis for my dowsing tools? Nobody here in the States can fashion my pendulums and pointers for prices I can afford so I had to buy everything from suppliers on Ebay from HongKong, Singapore, Australia, England, Minnesota, etc.I guess the labor cost in US is too high to make Lapis items for a price normal people can afford? I found most of the Lapis is worked in Pakistan and India but custom orders for 1 item? Almost impossible to get. And Afghan Lapis is the best ,dark blue Lapis. The cheap stuff from South America is not worth looking at.
Would love to have a Lapis chess set at some point, never seen one tho, probably more than I can afford but that would be so cool !! Blue seems to attract gold I have found and red repels it- from dowsing tools anyway, have no idea why. Another strong reason to use Afghan blue lapis for gold map dowsing tools.

--Tom V in Illinois

  
Steppegold2
08:40:17 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Re: Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, at least they make 1 good thing there

Jedwab - as usual, you stretch our brains to the limit! I'm really interested in the wax method you mentioned - never heard of it before, except for the related candlewax method of gold separation (which also needs more research but my crude tests did get a promising result).

Ahem - not sure I'm prepared to crush and grind up my lapis lazuli chess set! But I will get some chunks of lapis on my next trip. Is there anyone on the Forum interested in real aquamarine powder - post or PM please!

Thanks Jedwab!

  
Steppegold2
08:44:27 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Re: Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, at least they make 1 good thing there

Tvawho - interesting post. In Mongolia, some gold explorers use shamans to dowse gold on maps - this does work, but m'thinks only because the region is so full of gold that anywhere you throw your hat usually has at least some gold if close to a stream.

I will have the chance to get more lapis lazuli from Afghanistan in spring. If you post here a drawing of exactly what you have in mind, then the craftsmen in Kabul who work the lapis will give me a price to pass on to you. It sure will be cheaper than any other supply.
:welcome:
Steppe

  
tvanwho
11:36:07 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Lapis and malachite please?

I'd love to have a pendulum made of dark blue lapis and malachite,half and half, with a 6 inch x 1mm gold chain attached and a price on chess sets? I am also using various size dark blue and calcite pyramids for my pointers altho the smaller ones seem to work better as do small scale maps.I seem to get the most accurate gold amount readings on maps of 1:6,000-1:10,00 scale and color aerials are good too to see whats actually there..Pinpointing seems to be the key ingredient to getting the map dowsing to work at actual recoveries and a good field dowsing rod.I am using an Al Rossmiller rod now and it seems to ignore red objects that copper rods have issues with. Long range is only about 50 feet on this rod but thats good enough for me.The inventor has passed on and I am afraid to open it up to check why it works so well but my curiosity may get the better of me this winter with time on my hands. The rod is made from 1/8 inch stainless steel and i believe there is an electromagnet inside altho I have yet to attach a battery to the leads. I tried using only 1/8 inch stainless L rods and my results were poor.
Mind if I ask how to contact you off the forum? I have gotten chewed to pieces about the map dowsing for gold thing on other forums by the skeptics.Glad to see you have a more open mind?
Where I live in the midwest US, there is a little glacial gold. But my map dowsing is indicating huge amounts of gold in one area of the state.I just can't seem to find any yellow color there yet? Unfortunately, I threw away a super heavy ,fist size black rock I found 2 years ago with my rods, the map dowsing and my MXT and it even looked like somebody had been doing some serious placer mining/dynamiting thereabouts.The spot was a mile in from the road on a mud bottomed creek that just happened to turn into red limestone bedrock and tons of positive black hotrocks right at the spot where I had map dowsed for 7K of gold.I always repeat the map dowsing numerous times over several months for a spot and if the reading hold true, I know I better go check it out.
People keep telling me that iron and gold go hand in hand? Unfortunately, that area is so rugged, and with my bad knee and exercise induced asthma, I can hardly get in there anymore to explore on foot. Not to mention the strange incident I had in there and was too afraid to go back last fall. I don't want to get laughed at unless you need to know?.4 strange incidents have happened to me while woods exploring for gold the last 2 years now. I now go with a 10x Optical zoom digital camera and just got a 34 x optical zoom, flash memory, camcorder with image stabilizer for use as an optical monocular and camera combo plus my Garmin 60CS gps and a whistle. I will be about ready for the next strange incident.I have all the gadgets in a special hunting vest I got so I know right where the stuff is all the time now when I want to go explore.

-Tom

  
Steppegold2
13:25:39 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Re: Lapis and malachite please?

Hi Tom, to contact me directly by private message (PM), just click on the Steppegold2 next to the wavy flag.

cheers

Steppe

  
baub
15:15:45 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Re: Lapis and malachite please?

Another great post ! Nice pix and data. Thanks Steppe.
Tvan, sometimes you have to ignore the skeptics my man. They mean well, but can be a real impediment. Do your own thing and keep us informed. Good luck !!

b

  
kringle_mining
17:16:32 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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The imposter

Here are to pictures at differing angles of the same speciman of a rock from Southwestern US
The mineral assemblages / association assist in identifying the blue mineral as azurite.

1.Green mineral is malachite
2. the lightest sky blue mineral is turquoise
3. The darker blue is azurite which is a dead ringer for Lapis luzilli






Notice on geo Steppes specimans that it can be observed a metamorphic foliation or plainer laminations of striations through the blue lazurites mineralization layered with calcite, micas, and micro pyrites

As steppe mentioned lapis luzilli is of the blueschist facis metamorphic assemblage. It forms in an extreme high pressure environ with low temperature as at a subduction zone

These are the same temps and pressure of formation of jade which is also of the blueschist facies


The tom foolery may occur when interpreting a "skarn" deposit. AS Steppe mention lapis luzilli forms in skarn situation but so does the azurite,malachite and turquois association.

The Copper Skarn ore deposit would be formed from a hydro thermal waters in an oxidation reduction reaction of limestone rock against a plutonic rock which is a high temperature to moderate to lower pressure regeime involving a fair amount of H2O in the reaction process.

A lapis luzilli skarn reaction would have pyrite present plus a H2S gas reaction instead of water? At deeper depth and the pluton would not be of a granite nature but lower silica bearing monzonite to mafic to olivine basalts.

One is a skarn at high temp/ lower pressure/granitization proximal to limestone with H20 being MEZO to EPI in depth.

The lapis luzilli may form as a skarn reaction of moderate temp/higher pressure basalt olivine-ultramafic proximal to limestone with H2S?
A low redox reaction with no water an minimal Oxygen comming off the limestone? or No limestone but instead Carbon dioxide?

Man this mornings coffee was a little burnt and high test sorry

Welcome back Steppe and jjwab good post
I'll edit this later.
Bilbo kringle
[1 edits; Last edit by kringle_mining at 18:24:47 Sat Nov 15 2008]

  
Steppegold2
18:12:01 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Re: The imposter

Oooh Kringle! What have you got there?

Let's see. Hmm, there is an outside chance its lazurite, but IF the green mineral is a copper mineral (eg malachite) then lazurite would be impossible (according to what I've read) and the blue would have to be azurite or somesuch thing.

So much for the green. Er, if there was a smatttering of pyrite, then lazurite would be a good bet, but without pyrite then a good chance is sodalite.

I'll take a guess and say its SODALITE with some green silicate.

Whatever it is, its a great specimen!

cheers

Steppe
[1 edits; Last edit by Steppegold2 at 18:24:55 Sat Nov 15 2008]

  
Steppegold2
18:45:18 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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Re: The imposter

Aaargh - Kringle, I made my guess before you had finished your post with the answer. I rarely see such good azurite.

Good post.

Stand by for a second Imposter....

Steppe

  
Steppegold2
18:54:58 Sat
Nov 15 2008

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The big quiz for Kringle

This is payback!

OK Kringle, so here is a bit of a quiz for you. Also in Afghanistan occurs these strange special rocks. I've only seen it before in museums and textbooks and NEVER with such HUGE crystals. The crystals are so large on this specimen that the Afghan geologists reckoned it was a pegmatite to which we replied "nope!"



So, a 7-part question:

a) what is the rock type?
b) what is the purple-lilac mineral?
c) what is the grape-green mineral?
d) why can't it really be a pegmatite deposit?
e) why might it believably be in a lapis lazuli region?
f) why might diamonds be around somewhere near?
g) why would you expect this rock in the Hindu Kush?
h) does anyone want to buy tons of it?

:devil:


Steppe

  
kringle_mining
03:28:38 Sun
Nov 16 2008

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Re: The big quiz for Kringle

a) the rock type is a Ultra High Pressure eclogite (UHP)
b) The purple mineral is scapolite
c) the green mineral is not diopside but is omphacite
d) This can't be a pegmatite because pegmatites are formed in the last of cooled/youngest granite mineralization assemblage . Pegmatites are incased in a parent granite bed rock. They might have meant Pegmatitic "texture" which is often used to describe mondo sized crystals.
e) Metamorphically this is mineral assemblage is upper blue schist to eclogite "facies" mineral assemblage as is lapis luzilli ,however confusion with the eclogites results in not knowing the difference between a crystalline eclogite cooled magma and an metamorphic eclogite facies.
The similarities of region would lie in a zone of high to ultrahigh pressure with a low temp to moderate temp
which if my recall is correct
is in a thrust accreated zone as in (g) the Hindu Kush mountains.

f) Diamond s at depth theoretically form at the asthenosphere region which magmatically is eclogite ultramafic in composition.
g)The HIndu kush mountains perhaps have ophiolite sequences of mantle lithologies exposed at the surface. This occurs not by subduction, but by Obduction which is a reverse thust fault toward the surface of major proportion . An obducted oophiolite would make a UHP eclogite be expose at the surface due to mountain building.
H) Kimberlite pipes and lamphyrites are volcanogenic
bursts from the asthenophere through the lithosphere to the atmosphere perhaps by plasma iceing of Methane gas. Point is that the gas off explosion in the pipe is a part of what forms and consolidates diamonds...? Diamonds would have to exist in this rock unit definitely, but is the quantitity of diamond per volume there?.

This is my googlized guess all said in an Ace Ventura one breath

[2 edits; Last edit by kringle_mining at 15:37:18 Sun Nov 16 2008]

  
JOE_S_INDY
03:40:40 Sun
Nov 16 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

JEEZ, BILBO!

I thought the same thing ((( :gonetoofar: ))) but you were just too fast for me (((:devil: ))).

Hmmm, really nice rocks - wish I could find some like that.

Joe



---
Wiser Mining Through Endless Personal Mistakes
 
 
keninla
04:50:10 Sun
Nov 16 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Hey Steppe,

The green and purple in your rock look very much like an amethyst geod that I have.

Front


Side



Back


It weighs about 17 lbs.

Ken
[4 edits; Last edit by keninla at 14:21:28 Sun Nov 16 2008]

  
jjedwab
09:28:13 Mon
Nov 17 2008

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Re: Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, at least they make 1 good thing there

Here is an excerpt from T.C. Patton: "Pigment handbook", v.1, p. 412, in Chapter "Ultramarine pigments":

U. first appeared as a pigment in the region around Afghanistan, where it has been found in sixth and seventh century wall paintings in the cave temples of Bamiyan. A process for refining the blue was developed by Cennino Cennini in Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Cennini kneaded a paste of ground lapis lazuli , beeswax, resin, gum mastic, and linseed oil in dilute alkaline solution. In this process the foreign matter, calcite and pyrites, is retained in the oil phase while the fine particles of ultramarine disperse in the alkaline solution and are decanted several times. The particles of blue are recovered by settling."

In my former message, I quoted from memory, with a few imprecisions. There are several descriptions of the process, notably in the numerous books by Gettens on paint pigments in history. He has written a special paper on ultramarine, which I hope to find again.

J.J.
"

  
jjedwab
10:00:23 Mon
Nov 17 2008

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Re: Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, at least they make 1 good thing there

Wonderful time is ours: 'was able to find the book by Cennini in just a few minute. The recipe for separation ultramarine is there in "full glory":

http://www.noteaccess.com/Texts/Cennini/2a.htm

Cennino Cennini: Il Libro dell'Arte

Chapter LXII-The Second Section of this Book:
Bringing you to the Working up of the Colors.
On The Character of Ultramarine Blue, and How to make it.

"Ultramarine blue is a color illustrious, beautiful, and most perfect, beyond all other colors; one could not say anything about it, or do anything with it, that its quality would not still surpass. And, because of its excellence, I want to discuss it at length, and to show you in detail how it is made. And pay close attention to this, for you will gain great honor and service from it. And let some of that color, combined with gold, which adorns all the works of our profession, whether on wall or on panel, shine forth in every object." [...continued in same "purple prose", but with very precise indications].

J.J.

  
Steppegold2
10:39:10 Mon
Nov 17 2008

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Re: Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, at least they make 1 good thing there

Hi Folks - this is quite amazing! It may look as though Jedwab and I are colluding but not so. Here is where I was a month ago - see Jedwab's posts for location:


:smile:
More later, got to go to buy some magnetic fridge stickers to keep the peace at home.

Steppe

  
Steppegold2
20:42:00 Mon
Nov 17 2008

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Re: The big quiz for Kringle

Kringle - my apologies!
You gave a wizard assessment to the ecologite. The only quibble I have is about the purple mineral. For this to be ecologite ROCK it needs to be a mix of mostly omphacite (the pale green) plus garnet. Therefore by shaky logic, the purple "has to be" some sort of garnet. I hope to see more of this rock in the New Year and will try to make better sense of it. Anyway, well done - I claim to be a gee-ologists and an eek-ologist but man you're the world's first eclogeek! :smile:

Steppe
[1 edits; Last edit by Steppegold2 at 20:46:42 Mon Nov 17 2008]

  
Steppegold2
20:45:41 Mon
Nov 17 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Kenila - that's a heck of a fine specimen of amethyst geode. So far as I know, good specimens like this are found only in Brazil - is that where yours is from? The green colour is 'standard' and I've always assumed it to be some sort of chlorite but never actually met a mineralogists who can tell me what it really is.

Apols for the delay in replying - I have been up to my ears in omphacite and figuring out ultramarine!

Steppe

  
keninla
18:56:12 Tue
Nov 18 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Hi Steppe,

My wife gave the Geode over 30 years ago as a B-Day present. You know amethyst is Feb Birthstone. I am not sure where she bought it. So I don't know if it was originally from Brazil

It is very nice though.

Ken
[1 edits; Last edit by keninla at 18:56:51 Tue Nov 18 2008]

  
Zooka
05:20:31 Thu
Nov 20 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

I thought that looked garnety! But the crystal structure is more like a ruby...
Speaking of which, a buddy sent me a souvenir from his tour near Kabul, two things actually. One was a big chunk of shrapnel from a Soviet 107mm rocket that impacted in his locale one night. The other was a rock studded with ruby which he bought at a local bazaar. He said a recent slide had exposed the ruby and the locals thought it was worthless as even when ground into powder it made a lousy dye....

I'll dig it up and post a pic tomorrow.

-Z

  
Steppegold2
18:05:16 Thu
Nov 20 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Zooka - the local bazaars are full of good stuff (lapis lazuli, topaz, rubies, rock crystal, emeralds...) as well as lots of fakes too. The prices are sensible too. OK, let's see your ruby from Afgarnetstan!
:devil:
Steppe

  
Steppegold2
18:10:44 Thu
Nov 20 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

Time for a nice pic...

Here is some of my haul from the Bazaars in Kabul. Some if fake so shhhh don't tell the girls. But the chess board (mine) is real lapis...

  
Steppegold2
18:12:53 Thu
Nov 20 2008

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Re: Bacon n' Beans in the Land of Lapis Lazuli

There is a lot of turquoise in the Kabul bazaars. It might be fake, but heck its cheap enough and the ladies like it.


Er, anyone know how to tell if its fake or not???
:confused:
Steppe

  

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