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Oh, and we'll be adding a nodule chunk of our Blue G to every Box O'Sidian! We've had questions about whether it's a real stone, and we want everyone to see just how "real" it is!
We like to say, "It cuts like easy agate, and wears like Jade!"

            Kris & Al

Tell Us About Yourself / Re: Greetings from the "other" West Coast!
« on: June 05, 2012, 11:31:44 AM »
Hey Hunter, that's a great idea! Everyone who orders from Aussie Lapidary will get a bonus of Blue G! Thanks for the idea!  ;D

Kris & Al
Hand-2-Mouth Mining

Tell Us About Yourself / Re: Greetings from the "other" West Coast!
« on: June 05, 2012, 11:20:24 AM »
I notice you have free shipping on Box O' Sidian Tumbling Rough, "Mine Run"

What is the rough postage to australia for the AAA+ Grade Box O' Sidian Rough or is it free postage like the mine run box?

I've posted details on our Boxes O'Sidian in the "For Sale" section here at Aussie Lapidary forum, at this link:

We invite your inquiries into this material, or any of our website offerings.

            Kris & Al
            Hand-2-Mouth Mining

Howdy, mates!
We're Hand-2-Mouth Mining, located in Central California. We mine gem rock throughout California, with several "new-to-market" gemstones. However, for our first offering to Aussie lapidaries, we present the acknowledged world class in fancy obsidan, Davis Creek Rainbow & Sheen obsidian.

We're currently hard at work (well, waiting out a storm, actually) mining this lovely stone in the wild and remote northeastern corner of California. It's our version of New Zealand, I guess. Be sure to see our post "When we went pro: Mining obsidian at Davis Creek, CA, USA" (
It'll help you to understand our obsession!

We're offering several different ways for you to enjoy this stunning gem rock, at our US wholesale price.

                      Our pricing for USPS International Flat Rate Box O'Sidian "mine run" is:

Medium FRB , 7 kg+, $35 US + $ 47.95 US = $82.95 US
Large FRB, 16 kg+, $80 US + $60.95 US = 140.95 US

"Mine run" means that we go out to the rock yard and load a box with cobbles and small boulders, grading only to assure you get good all cuttable rough. 

However, if you desire only our very best obsidian, we recommend that you step up to our AAA+ Box O'Sidian. We hand grade to ensure you recieve only the best fancy obsidian available.

Pricing for AAA+ Boxes O'Sidian:

Medium FRB, 7 kg+, $46 US + 47.95 US = $93.95 US
Large FRB, 16 kg+, $105 US + $60.95 US = $165.95 US

When ordering the AAA+ Box O'Sidian, we happily send your preferred size rough, as long as it fits the box, of course!  ;D  We do our best with color and sheen type, too!

As soon as we get home, we'll be pressure washing several tons of glorious obsidian, and we hope that we can ship some right to your door!

To order, just send us a personal message. We invoice all transactions through PayPal, for your convenience & security.

We invite you to visit our website for more lovely obsidian photos, and to view our additional offerings.

Thanks to Aussie Sapphire for sponsoring this great forum, and if you're coming to (sometimes) sunny California, be sure to let us know; we love to fossick!

Best regards,
                    Kris & Al
                    Hand-2-Mouth Mining
                    Fresno, CA, USA

For our first trip post, here's the story of how we became "real" miners;

Where we went pro:
Mining Obsidian at the Middle Fork, Davis Creek, CA

By Kris Rowe, Hand-2-Mouth Mining
Photos by Al Fries, Hand-2-Mouth Mining

Reposted from Rockhound Field Trip Fanatics!

For every commercial miner, there are thousands of rockhounds who dream of going "pro." Davis Creek, California in the Modoc National Forest, is where we went pro.

In late 2010, I was blessed with the greatest gift any rockhound can get; a great digging partner. Al Fries joined the Fresno Gem & Mineral Society with the express aim of relieving his boredom. We met in the Annex workshop, and became fast friends. After a few great field trips, we began to discuss the possibility of turning our shared passion into a money making reality. Hand-2-Mouth Mining was born!

We were already surface collecting and mining in the Panoche Hills and other sites around Central California, and Al had access to family properties, so we soon had a base of operations and a large inventory of good cutting material. Then, in early May 2011, we went to the CFMS show, and Davis Creek, CA.

24 pounds of blue stripe rainbow obsidian glory!

When we arrived in Davis Creek after an 2-day, 11 hour drive, we stopped in at the famed Davis Creek Mercantile Store. Upon announcing our intention to dig rainbow obsidian to the friendly owners, we were told that we were too early; the digging season hadn't opened yet! Being persistent fellows, we talked at length with the owners, who confessed that we could probably get to the Rainbow Mine, at the Lassen Creek Campground.

So, we were on the road again! A short time later, we left Hwy 395 and headed east into the still snowy mountains toward Lassen Creek. After a few stops along the way to examine the terrain and obsidian, we made it to the Rainbow.

Hmmm ... The Rainbow Mine was still a little wet!
The Rainbow, one of four areas where digging of obsidian is allowed in the Modoc National Forest, consists of several large pits. Unfortunately, those pits were still filled with water. Never say die, we contented ourselves with digging around the rim of the pits and on the mounds of dump material.

What we found astounded us! Small to fist size chunks of lovely rainbow, sheen & mahogany obsidian. Great silver sheen was everywhere, too. We filled several buckets before heading back to civilization and a great burger in Alturas, CA.

We knew that we had to return to Davis Creek and get more obsidian, lots more! We made plans, and returned over the 4th of July weekend, intending to do a survey of the four digging areas. However, after arriving at the Middle Fork site and doing extensive surveys and investigations, we parked the truck and exclaimed " Lets dig there ... It's close to the truck!"

We began digging in a small hole that had been started by past rockhounds, and soon began to excavate good material. Attracted by our noisome and gleeful shouts at every great find, the nearby commercial miners came by to see what was up. They were friendly, but somewhat skeptical about our persistence. But, after several hours of digging had passed, and several hundred pounds of good obsidian were loaded into the truck bed, they warmed to us. By the end of our stay, we'd established the "Black Hole" pit and had become members of their casual fraternity: we were commercial miners!

The author making a small hole larger!

Mr. Al in the Black Hole pit

The miners at the Middle Fork range from teenage to more than 70 years of age. It's a family sort of business, and we watch out for each other. We'd posted our pit with signs, marking it as a commercial site, per Forest Service instructions. In addition, the miners of the area promised to keep an eye out and keep casual diggers out of our pit, so we collapsed the hanging walls to make any "poachers" work hard for material. Our fellow miners were true to their word, and when we returned in October, our signs were still posted and our pit untouched.

Mining obsidian at Davis Creek is a careful process. At the Middle Fork Davis Creek site, obsidian occurs in vein-like flows. It is glass, which is both brittle and  liquid, and in constant motion downhill. That motion, in addition to tectonic forces, has shattered each flow, leaving a puzzle for us to dissect.

World class sheen obsidian

Mining the flow is like taking apart a puzzle. After removing the overburden of clay-like soil and smaller pieces and (if you're lucky) revealing a vein, you work into the shattered material. It's like taking apart a tightly packed puzzle, carefully removing each piece. Large pieces are usually surrounded by smaller pieces, which we remove to reveal the large chunk.

If you're not lucky enough to hit a vein, you'll usually find an alluvial concentration. This is easier to work, since it's been carried by erosive forces into a jumbled pile and isn't as tightly wedged together. However, the quality may vary more from this type of emplacement. The material from our pit is both vein & alluvial, with the vein becoming more predominate as we move into the hillside. As far as we can ascertain, we're mining into the base of a high quality flow of considerable size, extending far to the pit above us.

A melon size boulder of sheen obsidian is revealed

For chunks of the size for spheres, you'll have to dig. We'd suggest that you team up with other rockhounds and work on opening a new hole or expanding an old one, as Nancy & Dave Terwilliger did last October. After helping us to clear overburden from our pit and observing our methods, they sought out a likely place to dig their own pit. By examining the surface material in several small pits, they found a good place and dug. Their yield was several hundred pounds of top quality sheen & rainbow obsidian.

So, if you're not afraid to dig, or have a willing crew of rockhounds to dig with, you can get the size of material you desire. The quality will astound you, as this area is producing world class sheen obsidian, exceeded only by Glass Buttes fire obsidian. Our pit is producing a large percentage of mixed sheen, with Aurora Borelis, Gold Mahogany, Green Moss and Silver Lace often found mixed together, even in the smallest chunks. Be sure to check out our Photo galleries: your mind will be blown!

Oh, by the way, we never made it too the other 3 digging areas ... Maybe this year!

We hope to see you there this season!

Suggested tool list -

    Geologists hammer
    Square spade for clearing overburden
    Round nose shovel for digging out pit
    Trenching shovel for digging chunks from pit floor or wall
    Sturdy wheelbarrow or large tired hand truck, for moving buckets of overburden and dirt.
    Folding pack shovel, army style - for moving dirt while you're sitting in the pit.
    Small, backpack size "miners" pick - for speedy wall work
    Medium size "Miners pick" for removing wall material
    Pick mattock - heavy, but great for collapsing hanging walls
    3 & 5 gallon buckets - to sit on in pit, move dirt and transport material home.
    Sturdy gloves- We like the natrile garden gloves with blue palms, from Lowe's garden dept. They're VERY resistant to puncture, and allow good tactile "feel."
    3 lb sledge hammer.
    A selection of crow & gad bars - I prefer a medium (24") crowbar for close in, and a larger bar for quick material removal
    A "pocket robber" bar
    A "bully" bar - This is a 4 - 6 foot gad bar, with a sliding hammer collar, used for prying out large chunks.
    Garden hand tools - a "three piece assortment" is just right.
    Whisk broom or brush - great for clearing loose dirt from the working area, and defining chunk size.
    A garden kneeler, rugged foam cushion or kneepads
    Bug spray - Insects aren't usually too bad, but be prepared
    First-aid kit - The hazards are many, and the obsidian is razor sharp!

Be sure to bring along ample food and drinking water. There are several great campgrounds, and camping is allowed in many areas, in accordance with Forest Service rules. Be absolutely sure to obtain a collecting permit at the Davis Creek Mercantile, Forest Service station or District HQ on Hwy 299 in Alturas, CA. Hobby diggers are allowed 500 lb annually for personal use. Commercial miners post a reclamation bond and prepay for their tonnage. All are required to maintain proper mining practices, and avoid digging in close proximity to trees. Removal of trees must be approved by the Forest Service staff.

The mining season generally runs from June 1st to the first snowfall of winter. Be aware that there is no winter road maintenance, and that a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended for the Middle Fork site. You might make it to the digs with your 2 wheel drive vehicle, but the hike from the main road isn't too bad and a tow would be very expensive.

And, in closing, please remember that you must treat all posted diggings as private claims; that is, if unattended, you have the right to pass through, but don't dig on their dumps without permission. There's really no need, as it takes little time to dig good material from your own pit, or simply surface collect all you need from open areas.

Tell Us About Yourself / Re: Greetings from the "other" West Coast!
« on: May 31, 2012, 11:22:47 AM »
Thanks for the rousing welcome, everyone!

We're currently going over the Donner Passheading for Reno, Nevada. The option of staying in a casino for the night breaks up the long trip. We'll see how the slot machines treat us tonight!

Now, answers to questions:

Blue G is our exclusive, new to the market material. The photo we posted is of one of our recent cuts, in top gem material. We’re currently waiting on x-ray diffraction and thin section results, and will post them to our website when they arrive.
We can say that it cuts like easy agate, and wears like jade. We mine it in the Panoche Hills of Central California, from alluvial deposits. The area is a geologically unique deep subduction zone, and produces many wild and wonderful stones. We'll post more photos when we get time.

Davis Creek fancy obsidian is the current world class in sheen obsidian. We're truly blessed to have found the gem vein that our pit accesses.
The sheen effects as well as the coloration in mahogany and other patterned obsidan is caused by micro crystalline iron and mangenese oxides, creating opalescent effects. If you can orient and cut opal, you'll have no problem with our obsidian.
Having cut opal for over 30 years, I am just as obsessed with our sheen obsidian! We're pleased to offer it at prices that allow even modestly heeled lapidaries to work with great gem rough.
Currently, we're mining in sizes up to and exceeding 25 pounds, allowing even sphere makers and sculptors to enjoy this lovely material. As always, we invite everyone to enjoy more photos at our website, We welcome your inquiries.

Again, our thanks!

Best regards,

Tell Us About Yourself / Greetings from the "other" West Coast!
« on: May 30, 2012, 07:27:20 AM »
Hi, geo-enthusiasts!
                            First, a big thank you to Aussie Sapphires for sponsoring this very active forum. Their hard  work is much appreciated.

Hand-2-Mouth Mining is me (Kris) & my partner, Al, based in Fresno, CA, USA. Together, we mine many materials from the various mountains, deserts and streams of California. We're a first year mining concern, and are becoming known for our world class Davis Creek fancy sheen obsidian, and our exclusive new material, Blue G.

We have over 50 tons of various California Gem Rock, and will be showing off our great stone as much as we possibly can manage. We'll also be posting in the sales categories, as soon as we return from this weeks mining trip to Davis Creek.
Nestled in the cool pines of the Modoc National Forest, our "Black Hole" pit produces some of the worlds finest sheen & patterned fancy obsidian. A short 11 hour drive from Fresno, Davis Creek is 17 miles south of the Oregon border, and is both remote and comfortable. We'll be posting trip reports and photos, and look forward to sharing the best of this years mining with you all.

A slab of our Mahogany-Aurora Borealis fancy obsidian

A fine example of our top gem Blue G!

Obviously, we invite inquiries from lapidaries, rockhounds and geo-enthusiasts of all types! After all, the only real reason that miners sell their rock is so they can afford to mine more! We look forward to participating in this international forum, and are already keeping a towel handy as we view your photos!  Droo Droo Droo

Best regards,
                   Kris Rowe
                   Hand-2-Mouth Mining
                   Fresno, CA, USA

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