Old Salt Lake | Virtual Museum
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The Beach Stones of Redondo
An Article from the Pen of A. K. Rutter, Descriptive of the Different Varieties of Semi-Precious Native Gems
Redondo Beach is especially favored with an abundance of pretty stones that are cast upon its beach by the action of the ocean currents running from the south to the north through the deep channels, where their soft matrix has disintegrated and allowed the hardened substance to fall out in their rough state, as are seen on the beach. If the currents, running from the south to the north, prevail for some length of time, there will be an abundance of pebbles cast up. If the currents are to the opposite, then they disappear.
I shall try to describe those that are the most desirable to have polished, although it is exceedingly difficult to do so in every instance, on account of the many different kinds. The novice need not despair in finding pretty stones, although it takes years of experience to separate the best stones. Any one, by close observation, can tell whether __ is a pretty stone or not, and, what is more important, is whether it is fractured too much or crystallized too coarse or not. If the grains or crystals are too far apart and not of even texture, it is not susceptible of a good polish.
Now as to character and kinds that are found on this beach. While they are apparently numerous, they are nearly all related and come under one head, namely: Quartz, of the carbon silicon group: either vitreous, cryptocrystaline, or granular. Among the first named appears the clear crystal, sagenitic, or rutilated, enclosing hornblend, asbestos stibnite, and often containing water, being transparent. Under the second head comes the translucent chalcedony, or beach moonstone, of different colors. When white we call it moonstone: green, it is called chrysoprase, and a dark green, with red blood spots, it is called heliotrope or bloodstone.
In great variety of colors and combinations of colors come the agate-jaspers, with streaks of sardonyz running through them, and might be called the sacred jaspers on account of their biblical description.
All of those coming under the last named head are a very hard substance; a polished surface of these will stand the test of the hardest steel.
Opal is never found in the water and consequently is never found on the beach; it being a much softer substance you will not find it with the other pebbles.
It might not be out of the place here to state that fine specimens of an aluminum spar, the composition of Ceylon moonstone, is found here, but not so plentiful as the chalcedony variety.
Under the last named class of quartz that are found here are the following: Beckite, or coral changed to quartz; the conglomerates of different kinds; silicified wood, or jasperized wood; geyserites, tripolite, etc. Almost all known forms of quartz are found here and some forms that are not found elsewhere. The green porphyries and the serpentines are also included in the last named class.
Although the book names will not interest some, it is quite interesting to know them. Among them are just a few that are found at this beach, other than those already given: Cairngorm, ferriginous-sinter, cherts, flints, hornstone, rutile, epidote, prase, calcite, albite, gympsum, fluorite, menilite etc.
No one with the aid of book description alone can tell the different and the best stones as he sees them and get the best results in cutting - it requires the practical work of research and testing by cutting and polishing, and the more time you devote to it the more proficient you become.No one can hope in the short time of six months, a year, or two years, to know it all concerning the pretty stones that are found at this beach, that appear in kaleidoscopic changes of no two stones alike.
The "freak" stones, with peculiar combinations of colors, with peculiar associations and mineral enclosures, nature marks, taking different forms and figures of faces, birds, and animals, and very valuable, are among the very fascinating gems to be found at this beach.
No one can hope to give a full description of all the pretty gems that can be fonund [sic] here. On one will ever know or see all the distinct and pretty, valuable stones that can be found to add to your collection in your lifetime. Every trip made in search of them discloses new beauties, never before seen, and makes one wish to live a hundred years.
It is interesting to know that for a great number of people these pretty stones have a great attraction and is the magnet that draws them out of their thoughts of sorrow and care and places them on the road to health and happiness.