One of the things I like to make are stone spheres. I find it very relaxing to take a wild rock from the hills of the Mojave (or anywhere really) and cut and grind on it until I have a shiny new stone sphere. As part of this hobby I need to go get new rocks. I had heard of “magnetite in black jade” and saw some gorgeous images of cabochons someone had cut and then they gold plated the magnetite part. I was hooked gold plated magnetite really shows off the jade. I started researching this project in 2011. I have spoken to tons of folks and read all the gem hounding books.
The weather was nice today so I humped it out to the “spot” with enough knowledge to get within 100 yards or so. If you think about it a circle with a 100 yard radius is a pretty big area on the side of a mountain. Now being fat and out of shape wasn’t useful, but I was determined to give it a go. My trusty toyota 4X4 got me pretty high up onto the mountain. When I got to a spot I could not pass I was lucky it was also a good spot to do a three point turnaround. I did this, parked and locked the brakes. I added some chock stones to be sure my truck would be there in a few hours when I returned.
Above is an image of the mountain I was on. The big white stain at the top right is the old Verd Antique Marble quarry. It is not played out, but the remaining beautiful stones are either pretty small or very hard to extract from the cliff they are perched in. My truck was about a quarted mile hike from the quarry. The hike includes a 500 foot gain in elevation (or so). I humped it over there pretty good. I started humping the cliff and soon I could see an obvious red stained seam of stone. Because the jade was supposed to have magnetite included I figured that should be my first try. The hillside I was on was VERY steep. I was pretty bushed when I arrived. I sat on a boulder for a breather and looked at the surrounding outcrop. Here is what I saw:
OK, now we are talking. Actinolite = Nephrite chemically. So, red stained actinolite = Scott is close to Magnetite in Jade. I like that math! Next I hammered and pulled and rolled and turned over many stones looking for obvious magnetite. I found none. So, failing that I looked for some blocky chunks I could make into cubes for spheremaking. I filled my pack as heavy as I dared and humped them out. Here are the rest of the images.