Mount Surprise topaz

The rough and crystal topaz pictured above is certainly Australian topaz, but my source was not sure of the specific mineral district. I am almost certain it is Mount Surprise (QLD) topaz, although I have not seen a lot of material from this location. The material pictured has great clarity, the cut stone is a little included, as I cut it from a lesser quality piece as a first test cut. The quality of this topaz sure makes me want to have a fossick in this area.

As a side note, topaz at hardness 8 on the Moh’s scale is also the hardest of all the gem silicates. It’s harder than beryl gems (aquamarine, emerald, morganite, heliodor, goshenite) feldspar type gems, garnets, peridot, rhodonite, tourmaline, zircon, nephrite and jadeite. That’s impressive in my book.

I would love to hear from anyone who has visited Mount Surprise for gem fossicking, has first-hand knowledge of Surprise topaz, or anyone who has some rough material from this field available.

 

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Oban River smoky quartz

I recently cut some smokey (smoky?) quartz rough from Oban River, New England NSW. The rough was in fact pretty smooth as you can see from the picture, the individual pieces tumbled beforehand, as a prelude to faceting. The tumbling process has produced something beautiful in its own right, the shiny surface additionally allows any internal features (read: inclusions) to be clearly seen prior to cutting. The Oban River material cuts some lovely opposed-bar style gems, and certainly some neat checker flash effects can be obtained using cuts such as the one above, a Jeff Graham Mock Check Squares – Reflector design.

If any fossickers out there have some facet quality Oban River material available, please contact me, I would certainly be interested in obtaining more.

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