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Another nice one from Liberty, Washington


Jeff Pike

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Snowshoe Ridge, ~2 miles NE of Liberty, WA, 2003. I etched it in HF for about a week - nearly every surface had a mirror finish and was extremely difficult to photograph. My favorite part of the piece was a row of small crystals I called "tropical fish"

Weight before etching: 38.7 grams

Weight after etching: 27.2 grams

Before and after etching, with a few closeups for crystal detail

Enjoy,

Jeff

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Thanks Guys!

A little more info - the more wiry part (photo with blue background) was matted down against the piece but still attached by a dozen or so wires - I used dental tools to lift it up into a more striking position. Sometimes the stuff around Liberty can be opened or unfolded to make it look much larger than it was in the matrix. Unfortunately, these photos really didn't capture how sparkly this piece was - it looked like it was coated with diamonds out in sunlight.

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Guest bedrock bob

It looks like the white matrix is calcite rather than the more common quartz. I take it that you used hydrochloric (AKA Muratic ) acid to etch it?

Chris

Hey, please clarify for me then...I always thought muriatic was 10% Hcl. Are we using the word Hcl interchangeably with muriatic?

The first post sais HFL and I assume that to mean hydroflouric acid.

Seems like a week in hydrofouric would turn any calcite to mud. Calcite is really soluable stuff....

Bob

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I typically etch everything in HF (Hydrofluoric) 49% strength. If it is a small piece in weak calcite, or something like an Olinghouse type veining in matrix, I will use Oxalic or heated CLR (oxalic/sulfamic). It really depends on what I'm trying to do with the specimen. I burned this one in HF to make sure as much of the matrix was gone (there was still some left after a week!) due to the intricacy of the crystallization and the hardness of the calcite. HF will not dissolve any pure or alloyed metallics in the rock based on my experience. oxalic and sulfamic can sometimes cause weird reactions if there are other minerals in the matrix, for example, sulphides. I use Lab-grade HCL (Hydrochloric 49% strength) or Muriatic (Hydrochloric 19%, available at Home Depot) primarily for cleaning quartz crystals, though it is good for removing rust and iron/limonite staining from gold/quartz specimens. I go for the most dangerous stuff (HF, deadly if handled incorrectly)for the best results on gold, and every specimen is like a snowflake as far as I'm concerned...

Hope this sheds some light on the subject...

Cheers!

Jeff

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Hey, please clarify for me then...I always thought muriatic was 10% Hcl. Are we using the word Hcl interchangeably with muriatic?

The first post sais HFL and I assume that to mean hydroflouric acid.

Seems like a week in hydrofouric would turn any calcite to mud. Calcite is really soluable stuff....

HCl and muratic are the same - muratic is an industrial grade of HCl and can be more than 10% strong - I used to buy it to put in the pool that was 48%. I missed the mention of HF in the first post. Looks like calcite, but it could be quartz - hard to be completely sure from photos. As far as disolving calcite, HCl is stronger than HF - HF has an unsual quality that allows it to disolve glass, but HCL is actualy a stronger acid when it comes to strengh of the acid itself. HF is also much, much more toxic.

Jeff - I have some HF I'd be happy to give away if you are ever in the Reno area.

Chris

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Chris,

Yep that is calcite, the stuff up here in the Liberty area is found in both calcite and quartz, but I've found that the prettiest stuff is in the calcite pockets - I have a friend that found some nice specimens in black translucent calcite, very odd stuff.

I may take you up on that offer for the HF, I am heading for Arizona tomorrow night with a short stop at RP... I will let you know if we end up passing through Reno...

any hot tips for a crystal collector with an ATV besides the usual dumps at RP? :ph34r2:

I may have some Washington gold with me for show and tell also

Take care,

Jeff

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:ROFL: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWW righteous--but tropical fish ?? which one. The right bottom looks more like a few rows of praying mantis just waiting to hatch, what can I say raised in the nursery biz and sold'm by the millions-excellent job of etching, toooo hard in Kalif to get hf anymore-tons a au 2 u 2 -John
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That's a beautiful specimen, Jeff. If you don't mind, I'd like to learn more about the etching process you use to dissolve the non-metallic minerals. Is it enough to immerse the whole in a beaker of acid or is there more to it? Is there any tutorial on etching that you could link us up to?

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John - the tropical fish, or maybe more aptly named "goldfish" are in the picture second from the left, top row. There were about 20 of them all like little fish faces staring at me...The picture on the bottom right is a shot of the underside of the piece, nice parallel rows of cross-grown crystalline wires and fairly symmetrical. If you look at picture 1 and 7, I set up the shot so you can see a nearly true before/after - you can reference the two little horn wires in the bottom right side of each picture.

Beepnik - I have a fume hood and a series of different sized plastic containers I use, as well as some stainless micro racks I made for suspending the specimens. Suspension is helpful, but not necessary. I also have an HF respirator, splash mask, acid-proof goggles, and salve for my face and hands made by a friend in Michigan, along with acid-proof gloves and jacket/pants. Safety first! I have quite a few different techniques depending on the matrix, and will post them as a tutorial soon - The primary concern is that what I do is incredibly dangerous- potentially fatal. I have been etching and preparing specimens for myself, friends, and other gold dealers for about 15 years or so...Literally hundreds of specimens from Round Mountain, Eagle's Nest, Ace of Diamonds, Red Ledge, Olinghouse, Lovitt, Atlin, and many other locations have passed through my fingers, and I never get tired of it :). I will post one from my collection (now sold) from Round Mountain that was a 6 ounce blob of limonite when I acquired it - and it was a shocker when the prep was finished...

Cheers!

Jeff

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:wubu: It is soooooo refreshing to see that someone is protecting himself correctly to lab procedures. Toooooooooo many folks put dangerous process and procedures on the net and many MANY times I have seen folks permanently scared/blind/burned lungs/poisoned and much worse from improper procedure. Your explaination is almost as superb as your magnificent etching procedures and specimens created. MUCH RESPECT FOR NET TRUTH- John :eee:

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Jeff:

Near Rye Patch there is this old hermit-like fellow called Peg Leg John. He has a fabulous crystal collection and sells some of them. Wish I could give you an address, but his hootch is way out in the desert. Possibly Reno Chris or other locals can give you directions. It would be worth a visit as some of his specimens contain metallic inclusions including, I believe, gold. Hope this is of interest to you. And thanks for sharing both your photos and knowledge. MUCH appreciated!

Martin

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Snowshoe Ridge, ~2 miles NE of Liberty, WA, 2003. I etched it in HF for about a week - nearly every surface had a mirror finish and was extremely difficult to photograph. My favorite part of the piece was a row of small crystals I called "tropical fish"

Weight before etching: 38.7 grams

Weight after etching: 27.2 grams

Before and after etching, with a few closeups for crystal detail

Enjoy,

Jeff

In a word Beau-ti-ful . Doug :thumbsupanim:thumbsupanim

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