Fossicking thread

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Topic review

Expand view Topic review: Fossicking thread

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 25 Feb 2018, 17:18

Hmmm last weekend I bought a model trolley bus by Corgi. Today I bought. . .a model double decker trolley bus made by Corgi.

Really—too perfect, I prefer the model cars to show signs of having been used and enjoyed, never mind, all good.

Trolley buses are electric buses, taking power from overhead power lines like trams and electric trains. I used to catch one down Port Rd in the 60s. Beautiful smoooooth ride. Really, as more and more renewable energy is installed and comes on line there is less and less justification for dirty, rattling, particulate emissions–belching diesel buses in big cities. OK, rant over.

Also bought a model trailer to go with the magnificent model tractor that is my avatar just now and a late 19th century chocolate tin. Another, big tin—talk about that tomorrow will just say—historical as fuck!

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 25 Feb 2018, 05:41

Oh dear, got tempted and bid on 3 lots—still the winning bidder. :oops

Ah well, dearest item is like $42, rest below $10 and from the same seller—big saving on postage!

Nice items—and from the 1950s! One piece made in a studio, another a good factory etc.

Maybe I will get it sent to Tassie?

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 19 Feb 2018, 20:39

Been looking at fat lava for sale on Ebay.

Some lovely pieces there but I must be firm: keep the dosh safe for the block/house.

Have a few but looking for better ones—one day:


Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 31 Jan 2018, 09:23

Is that a gun? Was it a gun more like. Wonder what it was doing there?

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by Lefty » 31 Jan 2018, 06:53

Fossicking partner and his brother went detecting yesterday. They didn't find any gold but they found this......


Not a toy, she's real! Fossicking partners brother took it to the police to see if he could keep it as an artifact.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by Lefty » 31 Jan 2018, 06:48

HBS Guy wrote:The Pears print I bought:


Nice! Is it an old piece?

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 28 Jan 2018, 09:53

The Pears print I bought:


Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 28 Jan 2018, 08:29

Excellent! I had wondered if you were still fossicking. Some nice bits of crystal there! Not likely to have people stealing much, not if they have to do really hard work with pick and crowbar :rofl :rofl :rofl

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by Lefty » 28 Jan 2018, 07:56

So my long-held theory that most of the amethyst/smoky quartz/citrine/rock crystals I find on my regular fossicking forays are badly shattered mainly from exposure to the elements seems to have solid supporting evidence. We've been digging for some time now on a property in the vicinity of the original dig site and have found literally bucketfulls of crystals. However, only about 1 in 1000 seems to contain material clean and un-cracked enough to make them suitable for faceting into gems. They are virtually all specimen-grade only.

But these have all been found anywhere from poking out of the ground to about 2 feet down in a coarse but soft sand derived from decomposed granite (I think technically it's actually granodiorite but it's very similar to granite and I will hereafter refer to it as granite). First, anything that is only a couple of inches under under the surface will surely have been exposed to heat shock as bushfires swept over top - you can heat quartz crystals up slowly and then cool them slowly and experience no problems but if the temperate suddenly goes from normal to hundreds of degrees, they will crack. Second, the sandy soil with a clay fraction is prone to expansion and contraction over the course of the wet/dry cycle, a climate which has existed here for a very long time. Mechanical squeezing of the crystals countless times over the aeons.

So nearly everything I've found to date was too cracked to be gem-grade and in other spots we've dug we seemed to hit an impenetrable hard floor of rock after only about 2 feet or less.

But we've only just discovered this new spot is different. What seemed like the beginning of a hard floor at about 3 feet down is in fact, not impenetrable solid rock. It is rock - but very decomposed compared to everywhere else we've dug. It is still fucking hard going with a heavy pick to break it up, but break up it does, little bit at a time. This very hard material contains crystals all the way down to about 5 feet so far - and there is a very noticable difference between these ones and the ones in the shallow, soft soil. There is a much higher proportion of material with few or no stress fractures and even the bits that are cracked often contain reasonable sized areas that are perfectly clean. The surfaces are extremely shiny - a quick wipe and they look like something that has been meticulously cleaned in preparation for display in a mineral museum.

I believe that this not-quite-completely decomposed granite does not expand and contract nearly as much with moisture as the loose soil above does (it actually still contains lumps and small boulders of solid granite) and as a result, the crystals are of better quality. Here's a couple from the day before yesterday's dig.....



All these can be faceted. The really deep purple crystals are still only a small minority, most are some pale pinkish-purplish tint.

I have found some excellent specimens at the site as well, including a deep purple amethyst crystal nearly as big as a cricket ball (just under the surface and so too shattered to facet but still a very nice specimen, got it on display in the window of my mate's jewellery shop). Hopefully, we've finally cracked the secret of where the good-quality material is hiding.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by Lefty » 28 Jan 2018, 07:26

thebattler wrote:I am trying my own pit fire kiln this year and bake some of mine just hand built things I have made like mugs and plates it looks easy enough

Water inside very very old crystal how did it get in there?

Bit of an old post now but anyway....

I have found a number of these, they are called enhydros. They are typically an agate or unbanded chalcedony nodule with a hollow in the centre containing air or some other gas and a quantity of water. I have one - can't find the thing anymore - that is filled with water containing a single large bubble. The bubble is visible through the pale translucent chalcedony and moves just like a spirit level as the stone is tipped.

Micro/crypto-crystalline quartzes such as agate and chalcedony can be somewhat porous - those unnaturally-coloured looking slices you see made into windchimes and other decorative things for sale at markets have actually been soaked in colour dye which they have absorbed because of their porosity - so in some cases they may have absorbed water from outside. In other cases in might have actually been trapped in the hollow during formation from hot, silica-rich solutions.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 07 Jan 2018, 17:59

Hmmmm bit of a trip today. Only bought one item, will incorporate that in my Tassie house: a bullseye window panel.

A sheet of glass with a bullseye in the centre. Dates to the late Georgian period, 1820-1830. The glass was poured, not rolled like late 19th century glass but outside the bullseye the glass does have some minor irregularities. You can read about bullseye glass here:

Will post a picture tomorrow.

The glass panel with the bullseye in it was usually installed in smaller cottages, being the cheapest bit of glass. Looks great tho—and fits in with so much of the English porcelain I have collected, nearly all Georgian era, like the Worcester that makes up the biggest part of my english porcelain collection.

Dunno where to put it yet. Could hang it behind a window or make it part of the glass in my conservatory or install it in the kitchen door etc. will look great wherever I put it!

Photo tomorrow.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 02 Jan 2018, 11:37

Going to make some ceramics eh? Interesting.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by Agnes » 02 Jan 2018, 09:23

I am trying my own pit fire kiln this year and bake some of mine just hand built things I have made like mugs and plates it looks easy enough

Water inside very very old crystal how did it get in there?

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 01 Jan 2018, 17:27

Ahahaha DRAH! Nope, these are antique cups I have collected.

The tea bowl you can see has a much better, cleaner construction and stronger decoration than the tea cup. The toffs preferred tea bowls, the hoi polloi preferred cups, with a handle. I think they are right, a handle makes sense. Just wanted to use them is all.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by MilesAway » 01 Jan 2018, 17:15

HBS Guy wrote:Heh, having my morning cuppa (to get over my daily hangover according to dear old Agnes) out of a 200yo cup! Actually not a cup but a tea bowl—no handle. Feels nice :roll :bgrin


Why, are you turning Japanese ?


Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 01 Jan 2018, 11:46

Heh, having my morning cuppa (to get over my daily hangover according to dear old Agnes) out of a 200yo cup! Actually not a cup but a tea bowl—no handle. Feels nice :roll :bgrin


Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 29 Dec 2017, 18:38

Paid off a layby and bought a couple things:

Saw this model of a “woody” (car with fibreglass bits meant to resemble wood:


Only $18, why not? Shit, must have 40 or 50 model cars by now, no idea why I buy them. JS and Aussie might have entered their second childhood but they ain’t getting my model cars to play with! :rofl

The two jelly molds I got out of layby today:


The interior of the lower mold clearly needs retinning, the other one just needs cleaning. Victorian era molds, real copper and usually $450 each, got the two for $430! A few little dings—anything that old and obviously well used can be expected to show some signs of age

I saw this in a shop, only $50 so bought it. A bird made of brass as the handle of a tap? Weird!


Can see this as the rainwater tap in my kitchen. Will have the tap refurbished and cleaned and polished.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 22 Dec 2017, 17:52


The Aesthetic Movement meat plate. The central decoration is pure AM but the decoration on the rim—symmetrical you will note, is very UNaesthetic Movement. It is ironstone, clean white color and no chips or cracks, tiny amount of crazing on the back. Look good on the wall of my Tassie home!

They DID used to eat a LOT of meat back in Victorian times, in well to do homes anyway, much more than was good for them. I have looked—glanced over more like—lots of meat plates in antique shops, none are of any value. Tiny bit of damage to the glaze from use.

Ironstone is stoneware made from clay to which some iron was added to strengthen the stoneware.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 22 Dec 2017, 17:32

I would LOVE to buy a couple nice pieces of Georgian Spode but when I type “Spode” in the search window in Ebay millions of Copeland Spode listings come up. Then I find a pre–Copeland piece that is nice and it is $500+, too much ATM. Much easier to find Georgian Worcester, just type in “Worcester First Period” (tho some items from way after that sneak in somehow :bgrin :bgrin ) But have quite a few pieces of Worcester including a couple pieces pre1760 (light passing through the porcelain acquires a green tint. Also some pieces from the Aesthetic Movement period, 1860-1890.

As to finding Chelsea or Bow porcelain from mid 1700s—fucking impossible! Have one piece of Chelsea (some minor damage and repairs, is fine in stuff this old) but not early and I have somewhere a bit of porcelain “similar to one in a Bow catalogue” which is the closest I have to Bow. Chelsea and Bow actually started making porcelain a year or two before Worcester BUT their porcelain pieces, unlike Worcester’s, could not stand boiling water poured on them. Kinda useless for teapots.

Derby eventually took over Chelsea and I think Bow just disappeared.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 15 Dec 2017, 19:21

Had a nice trip to the south to make another payment on a laybuy.

Stopped in Mt Compass at the antique shop there. Bought a Victorian meat plate. Big plate, they did eat FAR too much meat back then. What I liked about it: Aesthetic Movement with a really nice strong central AM decoration. Unlike most AM pieces—has symmetrical decoration at the sides and the ends. But it is a nice white plate with blue decoration, hardly any crazing of the glaze and it is ironstone. No chips, no cracks, no restoration. What I thought was a chip was a production fault, a tiny bit on the edge did not get covered by the white glaze. No biggie, no biggie even if it was a chip: anything over 100 years old (Aesthetic Movement was 1860–1895) you can expect to have some sign of age! I did find, because I was looking for it, a cut in the glaze: some yobbo trying to cut a slightly tough bit of meat put a lot of force on his knife and damaged the glaze. So fucking what!

A nice white big plate, strong decorative element, look great in my Tassie kitchen. A snip at $80, didn’t even try to argue it down.

Nothing took my fancy in Pt Elliot (well, a nice old chocolate tin with Asiatic design with some damage but at $35 too fucking dear!) but in Strathalbyn in my second favorite antique shop I looked at a set of copper pans. Decided the copper was thin and had a sharp edge. However, he had two fantastic plates dating to the Victorian period made by Worcester. Two plates, similar but not exactly the same. Absolutely beautiful! Can see them hanging one below the other on the wall of my Tassie lounge. This is handpainted porcelain you understand! Beautiful pieces as well as being antiques. I don’t buy stuff just because it is antique (well apart from two really really old Indus Valley pieces and one Roman 3rd century pottery piece—historical!) I buy stuff that is beautiful or illustrates historical developments etc. If not educational-historical it has to be beautiful. Or really take my fancy, like some scrimshaw I bought, made out of whalebone.

Will be going back there the week after Christmas Day, hope the plates are still there!

In Mt Compass they have a groovy invalid chair, the 19thC equivalent of our wheelchairs, made largely out of cane. The owner of the chair wants $270. Tell him he’s dreaming—a LOT of work needs to be done on the cane which is damaged in several places—took some shots, will talk to someone who repairs cane and get a quote, use that to argue the price right down! Be bloody great tho—comfortable seat and nice and retro.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 04 Dec 2017, 16:42

I eat a lot of native or feral meat. Delicious, camel esp makes me feel virtuous, eating a serious ecological pest! Same with feral goat. Don’t mind eating roo either.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by Francis » 04 Dec 2017, 16:24

Think I have found a solution to the ridiculous price of meat.
Kangaroo. Mustn't be overcooked but tastes pretty good .

Cheap and fat free!

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 27 Nov 2017, 08:12

Yesterday was forecast to reach only 23°C. So I choofed off to the Barossa. First stop Tanunda antique shop. Found a large Diana Nefertiti biscuit barrel. Only $20! Ok, tiny chip in the rim under the lid but still bought it. Bargain!

Onto the great bookshop in Tanunda, nothing really took my fancy. Oh well, I have bought some great books there before and doubtless will again. To Saltram’s winery. Great lunch (pork belly) accompanied with a glass of Winemakers Selection Semillon. Bought two bottles of that, crisp, refined, delicious flavor and aroma!

On the way back via the Onkaparinga Valley road stopped in Woodside and had a look through the antique shop there. Lots of lovely objects but nothing for me.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 22 Nov 2017, 13:55

Been looking, looking looking for Diana Nefertiti stomeware dinner plates. Bought 3 today, $10 each, not bad at all! Hope to get 7-8, a set of 6 plus spares. Bought a DN butter dish yesterday. Lovely slightly rustic dinner set to use in the conservatory.

Re: Fossicking thread

Post by HBS Guy » 20 Nov 2017, 16:35

Another lovely day today.

Went first to McLaren Vale to have brunch at Bracegirdles. Hmmm Iced coffee the way it SHOULD be done and a decent, freshly made fruit salad. Onto Strathalbyn. Yes, yes, another “on to” day! Paid $50 off my copper jelly mold, and put the other copper jelly mold on layby too. TWO fucking Victorian–era copper jelly molds for the price of one, basically! Will get them properly cleaned then retinned: they will be nice furniture in my kitchen and I will use them to make adult jellies, some will be alcoholic, some not but all a lot of grades above Aeroplane jelly kidstuff!

There was a jam pan there which I lusted after but I know the proprietress has two more coming so that can wait. Be fucking groovy tho: lots of lovely warm gleaming copper in my Tassie kitchen: copper kettle, dipper, jelly molds, jam pan. Almost Dickensian. To complete it—a woodburning stove and oven. Dunno if I will go that far—but I might!

After antique hunting—hell it isn’t even afternoon yet (just as I planned) so we go—to the Langhorne Creek wine area. Potts Bleasdale, oh some nice wine was tasted, also some pinot grigio, can’t take to it. Can’t blame the winemakers and vignerons: the world is heating up and heat–resistant winegrapes have to replace more traditional varieties.

Bought two 2015 Verdelho, a Portuguese variety grown for a long time here. Very nice white wine grape. Also bought a 375ml sparkling shiraz. Will be back there Sat week—warehouse sale! Oh yeah!

After Langhorne creek, off to niece and grandniece and a very pleasant couple of hours!