Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The NY/NJ MIneral, Fossil, and Gem Show 2014

At age three, there's  justification in saying  "It's a great show," or better perhaps, "likely to evolve into a great show." The NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and gem show has grown quickly. According to the NY/NJ EZ-GUIDE distributed by its organizers, Eons Expos, LLP, the number of booths has gone from 115  in 2012 to 270 last year, to a projected 340 booths this year. The New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, New Jersey that hosts it has a capacity of 591 booths. Eons Expos aims to fill all of them by 2017 with dealers of minerals, fossils, gems, and related attractions.  If successful,, the NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show will be bigger than  "The Big Show," in Tucson, where the Convention Center is said to hold 450 booths.

We photographed our cover image at about 11 A.M. on Friday, April 11, during the first hour of the 2014 Show. This was hardly the time to expect large numbers of attendees. Rather, the hour allowed for plenty of space in which to navigate comfortably with great opportunities for grabbing first pickin's.  However meager in number, those  present at this time included enough serious buyers to bring smiles to the faces of many dealers very quickly.

What impressed  me most and caught  my attention before taking in anything else in the Expo Center were display cases housing "The Best of the Best of the Northeast,"  described in the EZ-GUIDE AS  " the finest mineral specimens collected from eleven northeast U.S. States." These cases were midway along the wall to the right heading in from the facility's entrance. Out of 30 cases, about half exhibited suites of  minerals mostly from New Jersey and New York along with a Maryland suite from the collection of Fred Parker. The other half of these cases were devoid of minerals.  Since noticeably fewer than eleven states were represented, it seemed possible that the cases without minerals would be filled for the next two days of the show.

Through a door leading to behind the cases, there  was a "junior ballroom where the Franklin Mineral Museum and the Sterling Hill Mining Museum co-hosted a magnificent display of dazzlingly fluorescent specimens. In a section adjacent to the display, they offered additional fluorescent minerals for sale at very reasonable prices, giving prospective buyers  access to fluorescent lamps to check them out.

Another  room just a short distance away housed The Fine Mineral Gallery featuring "$10 million worth of the world's rarest and most exquisite minerals and gemstones." Most  were being offered for sale by about 16 high-end dealers, among them Arkenstone, Stonetrust, Miner's Lunchbox, and  Cornerstone Minerals. The dealers in this room contributed to a relatively greater proportion of dealers selling fossils and jewelry--- as opposed to minerals--- in the main hall.

In the Fine Mineral Gallery, the only minerals not for sale were those in the beautifully curated booth of the Maine Mineral Museum. The amazing specimens on display here may have afforded a partial explanation for some of the cases in the main hall not graced with minerals.  Particularly impressive was the enormous and perfect amethyst specimen from Sweden, Maine, pictured at left.

For sure, there was plenty happening here at the NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show to set it apart from other shows in the eastern United States. Among its exhibits were a 38 foot Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, another that allowed attendees to touch rocks from the moon and Mars, and for the first time out of Germany, the world's finest collection of "weird, 400-million-year-old Devonian Bundenbach fossils." There was even a booth where the cast from  The Weather Channel's TV show Prospectors was hawking their finds from Mount Antero.

With so many attractions, the  NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show's stature should improve in the future.  Lowell Carhart, Russell Carhart, and Christine Coyle, the team of siblings comprising Eon Expos LLC, have  lofty ambitions. Their goal for the year 2016 is to become "the largest annual show of its kind in the United States." If successful in reaching the previously  mentioned goal of filling all 591 booths at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center by 2017, they should be able to boast of having organized "the third largest annual show of its kind in the world."

The trio has demonstrated the  level of experience, staying power, and success to make it happen. They note that their Denver Coliseum show, launched in 2009, had "become the largest mineral and fossil show in the U.S by its fifth (2013) year."  In Tucson,  the 22nd Street Show, which they started up in 2011, has now become the third largest mineral and fossil show in Tucson. The NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show is a different kind of event: glitzier and with more diverse attractions, than either of these shows. Such sizzle should contribute significantly to their efforts to reach this goal, all the happy dealers even more so.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Historic Maryland Mineralogical Epiphany

The specimen pictured above has been sitting around in my office for five years: a mystery mineral. Part of the issue related to a presumably mistaken belief that  it had once been in the company of minerals uncovered during excavation for Baltimore's subway in the 1970's.  No one who saw it ever came close to making a visual identification. For that matter, the matrix looked similar enough to gabbro, that no one ever thought of trying to scratch it

More curious were the radiating crystals: Could they be a zeolite? Aragonite, perhaps?  Of course, had we known the specimen was collected in Harford County or even contemplated that the material was from anywhere other than  the Baltimore Subway Digs, such confusion would not likely have lingered.

To observe the similar specimen pictured at left, in a case at  the Gem, Lapidary, and Mineral Society of Montgromery County's annual show in Gaithersburg, on the weekend of March 15 and 16, 2014, came like an epiphany.  E.M. Bye's historic label identified it as steatite with altered actinolite" from Harford County.
The specimen was in a case of vintage and historically significant Maryland mineral specimens that were  once  part of the world class collection that the Philadelphia Academy had ignominiously stashed away out of sight and devoid of care for decades. Ultimately, in 2007, the Academy sold the collection to several high-end dealers. It was  the most historically  important mineral collection in America and valued well beyond what any other museum could afford to pay.

Mineral Biss was the first to report that Fred Parker had later been able to acquire for posterity most of the collection's Maryland material, which almost surely comprises the most historically significant suite of  Maryland minerals known to exist. Since few of these Maryland-collected pieces had the uniqueness or aesthetic appeal as the kind of specimens in which the dealers who purchased it normally traded, Parker had been able to buy the Maryland pieces for a price that was pleasing to all concerned.

In 2012, after  deciding to downsize his collection and eventually move out of state, Parker contacted Chris Luzier, then Vice-President of Gem, Lapidary, and Mineral Society of Montgomery County about acquiring the suite. That story, with specifics on more of the actual specimens will be the topic of an upcoming Mineral Bliss post.

Meanwhile, can we be certain that this really is altered actinolite on steatite? The steatite, of course, by its softness, is obvious. And while the scientific means of identifying minerals has evolved considerably since E.M. Bye collected the specimen in the 1800's, altered actinolite certainly seems like a good bet.   As for a specific locality in Harford County, it seems extremely likely to have been the Harford Talc And Quartz Company Quarries, as  described in Minerals of Maryland, by Ostrander and Price, published in 1940 by the Natural History Society of Maryland:
About one half mile west of Dublin, several large openings have been made in Steatite.  
Minerals to be found are green translucent foliated talc, radiated actinolite, asbestosform anthophyllite, dolomite, calcite, brown vermiculite,  limonite, and calcite in brown phlogopite schist.  

My "mystery" piece is now has a label that states the following: Radiated Actinolite in Steatite from Harford County, Maryland (Probably the Harford Talc and Quartz Company Quarries near Dublin.) 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tucson 2014

Today is the last day of the action. I've been here for two weeks. Each year the show(s) are much the same: the same kind of merchandise and mostly the same dealers work the same tents and motel rooms. At the end of that fortnight, from Thursday through Sunday and always on the second weekend of February, the "Big Show," sponsored by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, happens at the Tucson Convention Center. Except for having a different theme each year, the Big Show too differs little from year to year. This year, to mark the 60th Annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, its theme was diamonds.

More than anything, these two weeks in Tucson are like a bazaar where people buy and sell minerals, gems, fossils,and   meteorites, along with a range of other artifacts.Since the Mineral Bliss blog is about minerals, they are our focus---even though our most recent post from Tucson several days ago was about rare gems. Prices of  minerals as well as their quality cover a wide range that goes all over the map, and this year the gap was wider than ever. Specimens similar in every pertinent respect to what  one dealer is selling for $1,000, another dealer could be selling for $50. Anyone lacking the experience to be able to ascertain what a mineral specimen should be worth is well advised to do plenty of looking before making a purchase.Just as significant and regardless of the absurd extent to which the prices vary, they get higher every year, this year particularly so.

The climax of the whole two weeks was last night's banquet in the Copper Room of the Convention Center. As in the past, this event featured a silent auction to support Rocks and Minerals Magazine, a live auction, a buffet, and finally the presentation of awards, all leading up to the ultimately prestigious Carnegie Award for outstanding contributions in mineralogical preservation, conservation, and education that match ideals advanced in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. This year's most deserving honoree was Gloria Staebler  for her work as pulbisher and editor at Lithographie, LLC and its English language series of monographs. At right she is shown holding the associated bronze medallion and certificate of recognition with Marc L. Wilson, the Mineral Collection Manager for that esteemed institution in Pittsburgh. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rare Gems: A Niche to Behold

From Tucson:
For a couple years, the rare gems niche of mineral collecting has intrigued me. The only thing
holding me back from getting involved was lack of knowledge about and exposure to the hobby, neither of which has advanced much yet. The catalyst for throwing my hat in the ring was a 5.7 carat faceted cadmium-included smithsonite shown at right  that Jaroslav Hyrsl  was selling out of his room at Hotel Tucson City Center/lnn Suites.

Jaroslav is one of my favorite sources for rare mineral species. He is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on that subject and co-authored with Jan H. Bernard in 2004 the 824 page Minerals and their Localities , which bears descriptions of 4,300 mineral species and 8,500 localities. Keeping this classic book current, they recently  released a supplement covering the more than 800 species described in the ten years since.

 It was serendipitous that my next stop was to see another favorite dealer for rare minerals, Alfredo
Petrov, whose room was just a few doors away. Among the items  Alfredo was selling were a few rare cut gems,of which I purchased, the manganotantalite shown at left.

The next day an email arrived from Alfredo advising that he'd found my checkbook when straightening his room. Admitting that he'd used one of the checks to purchase a new car, he allowed that the remaining ones would be available to me in his room the next day Arriving at an early
hour before it had become jammed with buyers, Alfredo tood the time to enlighten me a bit on this rare gems niche that had so piqued my interest.

"The more unwearable it is," Alfredo proclaimed, "the more it is appreciated by the rare gem collector." Every bit if not more important than the rarity of the species being cut or polished., he added, is the level of skill that has been demonstrated by the cutter. Alfredo explained how the softest gems are the most difficult to polish or cut, noting that the slightest touch on the wheel can ruin the piece.Because of their softness, selenite, vivianite, and realgar are  the most notoriously difficult to cut.

Alfredo surmised that less than a handful of people on the planet have ever been successful at cutting  such stones. One cutter, he said, managed to cut a piece of vivianite (hardness between 1 and 2) by coating the entire piece with a crust of hard epoxy and then cutting through it for all 54 facets. Once cut, the reason that stones softer than more typical gems can be unwearable is the issue of potential for damage from the metal prongs that secure them. Alfredo continued  to hold forth with stories, many that mentioned Jaroslav, whom he implied was probably  the world's foremost player in mineralogy's rare gem niche.

After purchasing a pair of  nearly matching cut yellow cassiterites and two of what Alfredo believed to be among the only boracite cabochons in existence, I headed back to Jaroslav's room. Though busy by now, he had time to share with me that 25 years ago, after having taught mineralogy at Charles University in Prague, he went to Germany to study gemology at Idar Oberstein to earn his FGG + EG. Ever since, he's been active in the rare gem arena. Rather than cut or polish stones himself, Jaroslav employs others to do so according to his specifications, while he stays busy appraising as well as  testing gems at his lab in Prague.

While in Europe, Jaroslav deals primarily with collectors; in Tucson, he sells mostly to dealers. His table of rare gems for sale graces  but a small corner of a room otherwise heavily stocked with flats bearing rare minerals most of which are anything but gemmy, and surmised that no more than ten people currently in Tucson actually specialized in rare gems. Of more significance, he sensed, were yet smaller niches within the rare gem arena. Some buyers, he noted, limited their purchases to cut or polished stones bear inclusions or exhibit changes in colour under different lighting conditions.  Others, he said, collect only within a given mineral group, sometimes in conjunction with a suite of such minerals. The garnet group, he notes, is particularly popular. Fluorite, which is softer and comes in just as many colours, could be an even better example.

The message is pertinent to just about everything that's collectible. You can't have it all. For that matter, one who specializes even within an arena as arcane as rare gems, has a better chance of accumulating a significant and worthy collection.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fred Parker Updates his 2005 Hunting Hill Mineralogical Record Article

by Fred Parker. 

This  is an update on minerals uncovered at Montgomery County Maryland's Hunting Hill Quarry since my 2005 article in The Mineralogical Record, Vol.36, Sept.-Oct., 2005, pages 435-446. That article recorded 60 different mineral species known to occur at the quarry.

The quarry rewarded collectors with an additional 15 species in the five years subsequent to this article . Since 2010, however, the ownership has strictly prohibited all collecting. It has given no reason to believe that any kind of mineral collecting will be permitted in the foreseeable future.

The mineral descriptions below note the 15  mineral species uncovered between late 2005 and when the collecting ended in 2010. Substantial variation in the types of  these species  further illustrates the complexity and unique mineralogy of this unusual serpentinite/rodingite locality.

Sadly, the scientific and collecting communities are now denied scientific and mineralogical knowledge. The reasons relate to mining regulations and liability insurance issues.

The 15 additional species are as follows:      
  • Albite-Anorthite: Seams containing opaque white well-formed feldspar crystals were collected by Erich Grundel in 2006. He exposed the crystals by dissolving calcite infilling of feldspar pockets. Composition was determined to be intermediate in the Albite -Anorthite series. (Personal communication - Erich Grundel.)

  • Brochantite: Dark green coatings on serpentine (Jon Ertman, personal communication.)
  • Chabazite: Locally found as crusts of colorless to white glassy rhombohedra to 2 mm. lining seams in serpentine. (XRD confirmation by Lance Kearns.) 

  • Erythrite: Pink Coatings on a talc vein (Personal ommunication from Jake Slagle. Ex-Jay Lininger Collection. 

  • Heulandite: Locally found as crusts of pearly "coffin-shaped" crystals in narrow fractures in serpentine. Color ranges from tan to white. Crystal reach a maximum size of 3 mm. (XRD confirmation by Lance Kearns).

  • Laumontite: (leonhardite): locally found with minute(1-2 mm) white acicular crystals associated with other zeolites. (visual identification)
  • Margarite: Pale green scaly in serpentine (reported by numerous collectors). 

  • Mesolite: From a single occurrence in 2007: White silky radiating hemispheres and crusts to 1 cm. associated with an unusual orange-yellow prehnite (XRD confirmation by Lance Kearns).The silky texture and radiating structure distinguish mesolite from the more common scolecite. 

  • Nacrite: Very fine-grained coatings on rhombic cleavage plane of calcite; after acid etching of the calcite, nacrite formed fragile rhombic structures mimicking the dissolved rhombic calcite. (Dave Hennessy, personal communication.

  • Pecoraite: Very fine green pwodery coatings on millerite needles (visual identification)

  • Scolecite: Pockets in serpentine were locally lined with abundant elongated white bladed crystals to 8 mm. Confirmation by XRD and EDS by Lance Kearns. 

  • Stellerite: Repeatedly found as white, sheaf-like crystals to 5 mm. coating cavities in serpentine with calcite. (George Reimherr personal communication.)---Stellerite is the greenish crystalline crust in the image image where laumontite was noted. 
Acknowledgements: The mineral identifications cited throughout this update would not have been possible without the support and analytical determinations provided by Dr. Lance Kearns of James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. His contributions to regional mineralogy are greatly appreciated by the mineral collecting community. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Kerry Matt and the Minerals of Pennsylvania

Pictured above is Kerry Matt with a chalcedony specimen from a vein he uncovered at Cedar Hill Quarry in Lancaster County near the Maryland Line. The color and habit are unique to Pennsylvania. Over a lifetime of prospecting, Kerry has numerous such new finds to his credit. The pursuit of Pennsylvania's minerals as well as fossils has been the primary focus of his life since  childhood. "Science is number one," he says. "Collecting in the field is number two; the excess is income." 

We are standing in the work room near the foot of the stairs in the basement of  his home near Lancaster. This is where he keeps tools to "dress up"  the minerals he collects. The best of them go into another part of the basement, which houses one of the largest and most significant as well as most spectacular collections of Pennsylvania minerals---and fossils--- in existence. Others he sells at various regional mineral/gem/fossil shows. 

In the middle of the room is the computer on which he put together Pennsylvania's Rainbow Under Ground. The book's 440 glossy pages include at least  three times  that number of color photos picturing localities and minerals known to occur at them.  Readers are taken from county to county, and locality to locality. Not far from the computer,  he points to a microscope and chest full of thumbnails and micromounts of  typically rare Pennsylvania species. Most eyecatching in this room are a myriad large and spectacular cabinet specimens, all from Pennsylvania. They are wherever there is space, mostly weighing down shelves. Some are species that Kerry  has collected in abundance. Very noticeable among them are numerous Phoenixville pyromorphites  as well amethystine quartz from the Glen Mills Quarry in Delaware County shown at right.  The latter, not to be confused with the material  shown in our title image, is another exclusive Kerry Matt find upon which he has bestowed the nickname," Black Raspberry Rainbow Chalcedony. 

 It is time now to wind around a narrow basement  hallway and enter another much larger room to see what Kerry refers to as "the good stuff, " namely his amazing personal collection. It is divided into suites, most but not all of which are based on locality. 
Especially impressive is a suite of  minerals from his native Lancaster County near the Maryland Line where chromium was once mined and serpentine continues to be extensively quarried. Most of these specimens he collected at the Cedar Hill Quarry or the historic Woods Chrome Pits. Note the amazing chromian clinochlore at bottom left. The columnar purple specimens immediately to the right of it are chrome antigorite, a species pretty much unique to the Woods Chrome pit. Mounted on the white plastic stands above the chrome antigorite is penninite, a pseudo-trigonal variety of clinochlore. Very little of the species is known to exist from hereabouts.
Suites of specimens from York County and Adams County share another impressive cabinet. On the bottom shelf, note the abundant museum quality golden calcites from the York Building Products Roosevelt Avenue Quarry. Leaning against the cabinet to the left is an enormous native copper from the Greenstone Quarry near Blue Ridge Summit in Adams County. Directly in front and mostly cropped out of the photo are what could well be the largest known chunks of malachite/azurite ever extracted from a well known  roadcut along Route 74 in York County near Rossville. To the right of this large cabinet  is a smaller cabinet holding miniatures of less common  species from various Pennsylvania localities. Among them are matulaite from the Bachman Mine in Hellertown, beraunite and cacoxenite from Moore's Mill, and an extremely rich matrix specimen bearing brookite and anatase crystals from Klines Quarry in Hellam.
The creme de la creme of all the suites exhibits Pennsylvania classics.   The enormous  wavellite  specimen shown above from Mount Pleasant Mills  is a mindblow. Likewise, the multi-colored brucite (cream colored and orange) directly beneath it, also the golden hued vermiculite plates to the right of the brucite. This same cabinet also holds the minerals shown at right. Note the specimen bearing huge beryl crystals adorned by almandine. These crystals were mostly hidden prior to many hours of work by Kerry to
chisel away the quartz that once encased them.  At the front of the same shelf and to the right of the beryl is a classic Wheatley Mine  Phoenixville pyromorphite. Immediately to the right of the pyromorphite is a spectacular Rutile Crystal from Parkesburg in Chester County. Pictured by itself above and at left is a columbite crystal from the Steidler Pegmatite, also in Chester County, that must be seen to be believed. 

In addition to all the Pennsylvania material is a markedly colorful single suite of minerals from worldwide localities. Despite his pre-eminent lifetime association with Pennsylvania minerals, Kerry has been well-positioned to acquire these specimens along his journey. When people visit to see his collection, he considers  it important to be able to share a perspective of mineral collecting that  extends beyond his home state. To make use every bit of space the cabinet affords,he has affixed the labels to the bottoms of the specimens. 

Only because the Mineral Bliss blog limits itself  to mineralogy, have we not mentioned until now that his amazing collection also includes six suites of fossils. Kerry is as significant a player in Pennsylvania paleontology as he is with its mineralogy. He has authored three books relating to fossils that recently have been combined into a single publication entitled  Pennsylvania's Paleozoic Playground .  He is currently involved in new species research and co-authorship with Dr. Roger Thomas in correspondence with F & M College over new finds in the Lower Cambrian Kinzer Formation in Lancaster County. Separate fossil suites in his collection feature the following localities: Maryland's Calvert Cliffs; Lancaster County; PA;  the Red Hill Devonian fish/plant site in Clinton County, PA; and  the Swatara Gap Ordovician site. There is also a very diverse suite bearing fossils from as many of the great worldwide fossil localities as Kerry has been able to muster. Pictured at left, it also includes fossils from the two previously mentioned localities. 

We believe this is an opportune time to feature Kerry's collection. It could look different within a few months.  As effectively as he has thus far managed to retain and curate so much material, he would like to have more space in which to focus on the very best in favor of contending with so many duplicates. In both volume and price, such a task goes well beyond what is feasible at the regional shows. Whatever steps he takes could well mark the beginning of a new chapter in which this quintessential Pennsylvania prospector as well as numerous dealers and high-end collectors should stand to benefit.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Collecting at the Foote Mine with Jason Smith

Credit the late Earl Nightingale for the adage, "Learn to do one thing better than anyone else in the world."  For being the best in the world at collecting  rare phosphates from the Foote Mine near Kings Mountain, North Carolina, it's unlikely that anyone could compete with 36 year old Jason Smith, a geologist from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Foote is a world class locality that has yielded 147 different mineral species, most notably rare phosphates, many of which are microscopic.  In addition to discovering the rare footemineite, Jason has been the first to report occurrences of 14 other rare Foote Mine phosphates ---among them phosphophyllite, scholzite, schoonerite, whitmoreite, leucophosphite--- for which the locality is famous. For verification as well as to further educate himself, he furnishes  samples  of material he collects for testing to scientists at different universities and labs around the world. Well aware of Jason’s prowess at the Foote, they are eager to analyze them.

Not only is Jason anything but secretive as to where and how he uncovers these minerals, he enjoys having anyone who’s interested join him at his favorite collecting spots. On November 10, 2013, this writer had the privilege of doing so.

After meeting at the McDonald’s in Kings Mountain, we headed  to the “East Dumps” (at left) about 200 yards through woodland briars and brush immediately west of Route I-85 a short distance south of town. These dumps consist primarily of large boulders that originated above the Foote's water table. The productive rock is a granite pegmatite that's rich in spodumene, the source for lithium that the nearby open-cast mine produced. Having originated above the water table, the rare and microscopic phosphates that lurk within cracks and miniscule vugs inside these rocks are the product of more oxidation than found in boulders formed beneath the water table. It's a level of oxidation perfect for  producing the kind of colourful and aesthetically pleasing rare phosphates the Foote is famous is known for.  

Arriving at the site, Jason pointed to a boulder he'd been chipping away at for more than several years.  Over that period, this single rock has yielded him more than 40 different species. On today’s visit, Jason first went to work on another boulder.  Among some of the more spectacular species threin were beraunite, manganogordonite, rittmannite, jahnsite, cacoxenite, and strunzite. The  last two, cacoxenite and strunzite, were often associated with each other. In some specimens, the yellow cacoxenite had coated previously  straw-coloured needles of strunzite to result in crystals that visually resembled  neither species.  Jason was even more enthusiastic about finding, for the second time in his life, nordgauite, a relatively new mineral (approved by the IMA in 2010) with white crystals resembling  felted masses. The only other locality in the world from which nordgauite has been reported is the Cornelia Mine in Hagendorf Germany.

While the East Dumps consist mostly of boulders  bearing  colourful  rare phosphates, Jason noted that there are also North Dumps, where the boulders originated beneath the water table. They are more likely to host rare silicates for which the Foote is also known, such as brannockite and bitikaite to name but a couple. The North Dumps are also a source for plenty of phosphates, primarily those that experienced  less oxidation than those originating above the water table. Jason has worked the North Dumps dumps extensively, and currently believes the spot where we collected has better potential as a source for  new discoveries.

The collecting is hard work.  Jason has enjoyed his greatest level of success  by taking on the larger boulders with a chisel and small sledge.  His  labors have created hundreds  of smaller and easier to break up chunks that often look promising. Regardless of technique, anyone seeking to collect without a powerful loupe (at least 20x) and proper knowledge of what to look for can count on being skunked.

It’s evident that Jason will never be skunked here.  It would take many lifetimes to go through all the boulders waiting for someone to bust them up