A Tale of Two Cities – New Mineral Shops in Los Angeles and New York City

Two new mineral shops have opened up on both sides of the continent, in two of the most heavily occupied cities in America. Rock shops are great places to add new beautiful crystals to your collecting, but also to gain knowledge and information. It is certainly helpful to know what minerals look like when you are gearing up for a rock hunt!

In the Los Angeles area, we have a beautiful boutique of crystals in FasanaRock, located near the corner of Foothill Blvd and Myrtle Ave in the foothill city of Monrovia, just a few miles East of Pasadena. FasanaRock is the result of Christina and John Fasana, producing one of the most beautifully designed boutique rock shop! In FasanaRock you will find amazingly colorful and inexpensive tumbled stones from around the world, beautiful and colorful polished crystals, well selected and diverse crystallized minerals, raw crystals and all sorts of educational and decorative items of the natural sciences.

FasanaRock Shop in Monrovia

Sulphur Quartz, how Unique! Rub them together and smell ! FasanaRock on 114 South Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia California

FasanaRock crystal shop with unique display features

How great is this? Colorful furniture contain drawers full of raw crystal goodies! You can find all sorts of colorful additions to any collecting here!

Tumbled Stones in Los Angeles

The wooden trays are the perfect way to offer this beautiful selection of tumbled stones!

John Fasana has worked for Rock Currier and Jewel Tunnel Imports for decades, making his knowledge of stones known in the fine selection at the shop.

Mineral specimens for sale in Los Angeles

Great selections of mineral specimens at very fair prices!

Christina Fasana has outdone herself with the store decor, incorporating thoughtful and functional design elements into the presentation of the stones. Along with their family, the Fasana’s have put a lot of heart and soul into this new mineral shop and it is well worth your time to visit it if you are in the Los Angeles Area – Check them out online at their website http://fasanarock.com/ and on Facebook and Instagram

FasanaRock carries Gem Hunt, educational gemstone dig kit – a perfect gift item for christmas!

Rock Shop in Los Angeles, FasanaRock

A store that can provide beautiful minerals and stones at very fair prices, centrally located in the foothill community, FasanaRock is well worth a visit!

In New York City, an off-shoot of Astro Gallery of Gems, we have Astro West, a store with all the things you know and love about Astro Gallery, with cases of fine minerals, beautiful fossils, and a diverse section devoted to educational natural science kits and interactive crystal features like “crack your own geode” in a sleek looking geode cracking machine.

Astro West - A great place to visit in the Upper West Side New York City

Astro West – A great place to visit in the Upper West Side New York City

Beautiful Crystals line the cases, ready to be wrapped up and taken home!

Beautiful Crystals line the cases, ready to be wrapped up and taken home!

The Geode Cracker is fun for all ages and the educational kits are selected for everyone who loves rocks, fossils and natural science!

The Geode Cracker is fun for all ages and the educational kits are selected for everyone who loves rocks, fossils and natural science!

You can find Astro West online at AstroWest.com and also, find them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Astroweststore

It is easy to see why AstroGallery is known for beautiful crystals, all over New York City, now you have two locations to visit!

It is easy to see why AstroGallery is known for beautiful crystals, all over New York City, now you have two locations to visit!

Check out the website FindARockShop.com for rock shops in your area and as always, thank you for visiting WhereToFindRocks.com!

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Every mineral collector and rockhound should have these books by John Sinkankas

Rockhounding is a great hobby, rewarding and full of adventure. Few people know that to progress in knowledge about this hobby is easy as can be, it just take a little bit of reading and we have the perfect selection of books to talk about today, ones that will give you a full understanding of minerals.

All of these books were written by Captain John Sinkankas, a well noted and respected author who has a way of explaining things that many thousands of people have enjoyed and understood.

The most important thing about this article is the perception of mineral information, versus the reality. Guidebooks like the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks or the handy Smithsonian Handbook, well, they just do not do a good enough job, in our opinion. Sure, they are colorful and glossy, most starting collectors will have one or the other at some point in their life. However, if you have more than just a passing curiosity about rocks and minerals, there is a better way.

Cover of the Book Mineralogy

John Sinkanas’ book “Mineralogy” is our #1 pick for must have mineral books



Mineralogy
is the #1 book that we recommend to all mineral enthusiasts. The writer, John Sinkankas, has an easy way of explaining how atoms form crystals, and why the crystals different properties make them look different from each other. It is technical mineralogy explained in a way that most anyone can understand. The book can be treated as a college level book on the subject, yet, can be enjoyed casually with chapters devoted to different topics including over 300 photographs and line drawings, this is the must have book for everyone interested in the subject. You can find this book on Amazon and eBay. It was originally published in the 1960’s, any edition is worth owning. You will find it as a “Used” book, it typically retains value as it is a book that all mineral and rock collectors have loved for decades.
Cover of the book, Gem Cutting: A Lapidary's Manual, by John Sinkankas

Gem Cutting: A Lapidary’s Manual, by John Sinkankas



Gem Cutting: A Lapidary’s Manual
is John Sinkankas’ perfect tome devoted to all the basics of lapidary. The mystery of most every lapidary art is reveled, along with photographs and drawings to guide you to understanding the complete basics of lapidary arts. In the first chapters you are introduced to sawing, grinding, lapping, sanding, and polishing. Rock drilling is a common question, this book gives you the knowledge on that, plus, all the tumbling, cabbing, faceting, sphere-making, carving and engraving and mosaic and in-lay work information, including tools of the trade, tips on techniques and so much more. When I need to know what polish to use when I’m tumbling stones, I look to this book. This has an amazing wealth of information on this subject. The second edition is the edition we suggest and the big paperback edition is a great addition to any library.

Book cover of Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals

Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals is the best book to teach you about mineral collecting


Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals is a perfect primer to understanding where to find rocks. Deposits are explained, how to find them, what is inside of them, and how you can get crystals out of the ground. This book serves as a primer to all topics on the subject of rockhounding. Over 350 pages of quality information, that, if you were to read, would put you in the ranks of the top collectors.

All three of these books are easy to read and understand, teach you the basics and the nuances of each subject are highlighted and explained. To read and understand these three books is to have a near complete general knowledge on this subject of rock and mineral collecting.

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Petrified Wood Near Colorado Springs – Pairing Old Information with New technology!

Rockhounding is a hobby that anyone can pick up, with very little in the way of costs besides time and transportation. Colorado is a wonderland of mountains, forests and rocks. Petrified wood is always fun to find and in many places around Colorado, abundant. Let’s show you a fun way to research locations from old data sources.

Cover of Gems and Minerals, August 1967 with a stone horse on the cover.

Available on eBay, Amazon, and at mineral shows across the nation, old magazines are full of rockhounding information!


By old data sources, we mean, old magazines, books and pamphlets about collecting minerals. Rockhounding was very popular in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, which lead to the production of all sorts of printed material for rockhounds and lapidary enthusiasts. Today, even if rockhounding was nearly as popular as before, the internet is the land of independent media, yet, the information from those sources is so niche, it takes people specialized in transferring that information over to bring it to light, instead of waiting around for others to research and publish, you can take charge and research many things from your computer, using information from sources like this one, The August 1967 edition of “Gems and Minerals”.
article in 1967 Gems and Minerals about collecting Petrified wood in Colorado

Click to see at full size


The article, entitled “Petrified Wood in Eastern Colorado” by Eugene M. Beason, describes a large wash where petrified wood is plentiful. Due to the nature of these alluvial rock deposits, every year new material is churned up by erosion by wind and rain, so if there was ample material in 1967, there would be ample material in 2016. Colorado BLM rules state that you are allowed to collect up to 25 pounds of petrified wood in one day, up to 250 pounds per year and the article states that while many locations in the area have alluvial petrified wood, this location was prone to have more agate replacements in the wood, making it, in some people’s minds, more desirable.

Map from 1967 Petrified Wood in Colorado Article in Gems and Minerals

Original Map to the Petrified Wood Collecting area in the 1967 Gems and Minerals article.

Many things have changed since this article was printed, nearly 50 years later. Instead of the turn being the “Skelly Station”, we can see the map is pointing to “Peyton Highway”, which runs north to go over a mountain pass and turns hard left (west) on “County Road 74/82”, which parallels the wash that is talked about in the article. I do not think there is any need to stop at the farmhouse listed in the article to ask for permission, as the ranch land gave way many years ago to the need for housing, as the populations in nearby Denver and Colorado Springs swelled, so did the growth out into the nearby countryside. 50 years ago there were just cows and a couple windmills, now there are hundreds of houses dotting the landscape. Of course, no sane person would build a house in a wash, so, the wash in the article would look to be still accessible. Using Google Earth, you can see that the wash must be a popular place to ride off road vehicles, as there is access and distinct tire tracks in the wash, as seen from the satellite, so one would imagine that access is open, unless otherwise posted. As a wash is a waterway, access should be public.

map showing petrified wood collecting area north of Peyton Colorado

This map shows the area as shown in the illustrated map above.

As we searched google for information on this location, the terms “Peyton Petrified Wood” were coming up nearly blank. We did find an entry for it on Mindat.org, but it did not show anything directly from this location. Additionally, PeaktoPeak, a well known website for Colorado collecting, has a bit about petrified wood from that general area. Digging through field guides to Colorado, we could not find this location listed, could it have been one of the locations that simply slipped through an information hole, getting a two page article and then just…relegated to maybe popping up in a mention in a local club newsletter. It seems like this would be a good location to check out, in fact, we have a trip scheduled to Denver in the middle of June and we will update you with a first hand report from the location.

map showing the distance between denver and colorado springs and petyon colorado

as you can see, Peyton is not a far drive from Denver or Colorado Springs

Researching where rocks are found is necessary and interesting – don’t neglect to inspect old magazines and field guides from 40, 50, 60 years ago. You never know when a good location has simply fallen through the cracks and is waiting for you to find it and come explore!

Close up of the wash where you can find petrified wood near Peyton Colordado

Close up of the wash where you can find petrified wood near Peyton Colordado

photo from gems and minerals article "Petrified Wood in Eastern Colorado"

“Looking down the wash where the good petrified wood is found. Floowaters that uprooted the tree in the foreground also uncovered new gem material.” – Photo by Eugene M. Beason.

quote talking about how when it rained in 1967, the wash turned over new material.

So, when ever the rain is hard in colorado, new material is unearthed!

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Jewelry Making – Tips and Techniques covered in two new books

Over the past two months, I have given several lectures on both coasts of the United States, and during that time, had a chance to investigate two books by the authors.

Brad Smith, one of my early mentors in the Culver City Gem and Mineral Club, published a book called “Bench Tips for Jewelry Making”. One of the things about Brad is for a time he could not make it to many of the meetings as he was busy teaching jewelry making at LAUSD in Santa Monica. I did not know what to expect out of this book, so it was surprising to find out that it is, basically, my favorite kind of book for technical information. Full of short tips covering a wide variety of jewelry making, so much I was inquisitive about, so much that is not just for jewelry makers! Using Alum to remove a broken drill bit might be helpful to jewelry makers, but putting that idea in my head about removing broken bits of metal from non-metallic items, using Alum, was something I did not take home from science class 20 years ago. I’m going to keep it next to my copy of Gem and Mineral Data Book by John Sinkankas, both books, full of great tips!

Bench Tips for Jewelry Making - Available on Amazon.com

Bench Tips for Jewelry Making – Available on Amazon.com

Los Wax Casting - Available on Amazon.com

Los Wax Casting – Available on Amazon.com

While serving as the guest speaker for the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical Societies twice yearly Wild Acres Retreat I had the opportunity to visit with the classes and instructors. During this beautiful mountain retreat, classes in different lapidary and metal working are offered. I took a class on Geology, while others learned soapstone carving, wire wrapping, gem faceting and my roommate was very excited to take a class on Lost Wax Casting. He planned on making a setting for a beautiful gem yellow idaho opal. When I went to check on him, four days later, he confessed, this was not something you could just JUMP into and showed off his much simpler designs, sans opal. That class visit was fun, the instructor, Fred R. Sias Jr. took the time to run me through all the basic steps of casting in a couple minutes. Looking at the projects the class was working on, I can see this is not something you can do repeatedly, well, without some practice and experience. Fred has a book, which I can highly recommend, that speaks about the methods of wax casting, providing an amazing overview for someone who has never been introduced to this ancient art. For those who are already wax casting this might not provide a lot of new content, Ashanti casting might be something you have not been taught, and Fred Sias does a great job of illustrating this primitive technique.

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The Fundamentals of Mining for Gemstones and Mineral Specimens

The Fundamentals of Mining for Gemstones and Mineral Specimens
By Jim Clanin

Published in January of 2013, just in time for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, this will certainly be a hot seller, as readers get to thumb through the 400 page book full of bold colorful pictures of minerals, mining, graphics and a well presented layout overall.

Book Cover of The Fundamentals of Gemstones and Mineral Specimens
Fresh from the printer on January 15th 2013, you can purchase a copy directly from FortySevenPress at the bottom of this article.

The glossy full color, hardcover book resembles a textbook and well compared, as the text inside details with first hand knowledge the vast majority of information someone interested in most forms of mining, hard rock and alluvial. Twelve chapters present technical information, from geology of gem deposits to tips for buying and mining in developing countries. The book details machinery used, safety equipment, haulage, ventilation, in rich detail, with plenty of illustrations and photos to go along with the text. A modern day replacement for the classic “Blaster’s Handbook”, this text gives you plenty of information on proper modern day usage of explosives in mining, along with a chapter devoted to MSHA, Mine Safety & Health Administration and the ATF&E. The book has a chapter that takes the reader from the removal of the mineral in the pocket of the mine to the final marketing of the specimens at a major mineral show.

A Sample Page of The Fundamentals of Mining for Gemstones
This is a sample page from the book, available for purchase at the link below.

The second half of the book is divided into eight sections, each devoted to a profile of a mining operation. You are taken around the world in search of Rubies, Tourmaline and Fluorite. Some of the sections are short, just a few pages and photos, while two of them, namely, the Cryo-Genie and the Rogerly Fluorite Mine, are full length stories, complete with day to day happenings and amazing behind the scenes photos. I particularly enjoyed those two chapters as they captured unique times at both mines. The Cryo-Genie was producing the famous BAT pocket, containing what would become the major museum pieces, while the Rogerly chapter captured the year after the major specimen mining began in 1999.

Hydrolic Diamond Blade Rock Chain Saw being used to trim fluorite specimens
The book is worth it for if nothing else, publishing this photo!





We have this book available for direct shipping to any US resident for $62.95, shipped priority mail.
International inquiries please contact FortySevenPress@gmail.com for ordering information.
Published by New England Historical Publications

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