Super Dig 2015 Ogdensburg, New Jersey Sterling Hill Mining Museum

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The 2015 Super dig at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum was another rocking success.  Over 300 visitors came from around the world to experience the super dig and visit the mining museum.  Visitors were treated to a array of tours during the day and hunted for fluorescent minerals at night.  Dozens of people preferred to also hunt for fluorescent rocks during the day and were able to pick out what they wanted by visiting one of the many dark tents to see what treasures were found.

The tours available were the upper mine tour,  the trotter tunnel tour, the lower mine tour, and the blackout tour.  The blackout tour allowed visitors to be able to bring their own “blacklights” (shortwave UV lamps) into the mine and light up the walls as they ventured deep into the mine.  It can be said there is no place on earth quite as unique as visiting Sterling HIll Mine.  Your giving up close access to see how the miners worked extracting zinc ore from the earth.  The experience is certainly something that should be on everyone’s bucket list!

A dedicated website www.superdig.com  has been dedicated to this event.  Here you can gather all the information you need if you plan on visiting in 2016.  Several photos of people at the dig are also available for you to enjoy.  2016 promises to be a amazing new experience with the help of UV Tools.   Even if you have been several times in the past the new opportunities promise to bring a entire new rockhounding adventure than before.
Stay tuned!! ask

2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Tucson_Gem_and_Mineral_Show_TMThe 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral show is the annual gem show from which vendors from around the world and buyers come to find the best specimens on the planet.  The show consists of approximately 33 hotels hosting dealers from around the world and the convention center hosting the main show. Every year you can expect to find newly discovered specimens from different locations across the planet.  The show starts officially Feb1 through the 14th but the savvy collector will get there a few days early and beat out other buyers before the shows officially start.   The Tucson Gem show is much more than a collectors paradise but a show where one can find world class precious gemstones and metals from around the world.  Its not uncommon to also find jewelry value into the hundreds of thousands at the show as well.  High end jewelry is very common if you know which show to attend!

The world of fluorescent minerals has a very small representation with only a couple of dealers displaying their fluorescent minerals for sale.  The positive is there are many dealers who don’t have a clue that their specimens glow under UV light.  This allows the savvy glow hound to seek out fabulous specimens.  If you ever visit a gem and minerals be sure to bring along your UV lamp and check out the rocks on display.  You would be surprised to find how many rocks actually are fluorescent, but remember 90% of fluorescent minerals do need shortwave UV in order to glow!

If you have never visited the Tucson show be sure to place it on your bucket list.  If you do have spare time do visit the Titian Missile Museum, or the Tucson air museum, or even Tombstone Arizona which is only about one hour away from Tucson.

We were fortunate enough to have made a few new contacts and brought back some very nice specimens from Mexico, California, and Canada.  Do check our fluorescent mineral category few new specimens for sale here shortly.

What are Fluorescent Minerals worth?

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The hobby of fluorescent mineral collecting can still be considered a very new hobby.  Ultraviolet lamps were not on the commercial market until the late 30’s and the UV lamps of yester year are a far cry to what they are today.  Shortwave UV lamps were also very costly so only the most serious of hobbyist or professional prospector would invest in a lamp.  It was not until the early 80’s where collecting of fluorescent minerals really became a “mainstream” hobby.  Most of the fluorescent minerals available at that time came from New Jersey but thats not to say there were pockets of individuals making new finds all the time in their part of the world.  We could call the 80’s the pioneer days of fluorescent mineral collecting.

Come the 90’s and the internet things really changed when people from around the world could share information of their finds and exchange and sell  the rocks they have found.  UV lamp production had also increased allowing for many more hobbyists to explore and find new locations.  At this point hundreds of different species of fluorescent minerals had been identified much to the collectors delight.

So exactly what are fluorescent minerals worth?  In today’s market fluorescent minerals from New Jersey, Greenland, and Australia bring in the most money.  I’ve seen a simple piece sell for as little as 10 dollars and collections sold for close to a 100,000!  But key factors are of course location and rarity as well as how many colors are in a single rock.  The more colors in a display specimen the higher the price.  But as a collector you can expect to buy and sell specimens from  a small one color for  10 to multi color specimen for  500 range.  Specimens from Greenland and Franklin New Jersey bring in the highest price and are the most desired.  These specimens have only increased in value over the years because mining in New Jersey has stopped decades ago and small mining in Greenland has all but stopped with a sea of red tape.  And never mind a trip to Greenland is not exactly easy!

Fluorescent minerals like art can also be priced by the eye of the beholder.  One dealer may sell a specimen for 50 but yet another dealer sell for 100 and sell it in a day.  Remember the fluorescent mineral hobby is just really beginning and your collection will without question increase in value!  Simple economics of supply and demand. domaine gramenon . websites list website uptime .

Scheelite in Atolia California

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Head frame of Union mining shaft          There are several locations to hunt for fluorescent minerals but very few as unique as in Atolia California.  In its time it was one of the largest mining districts in the United States.  Mostly gold, silver, and scheelite was mined in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s.  For those who do not know what scheelite is its the ore for tungsten.   The use of tungsten is a major mineral for the world’s economy.  From light bulbs to armor tanks and bullets.  The hardness of tungsten makes it very important.  In todays age most of it is mined from China but before WWII the USA had to mine its own for the war effort.  My trip to Atolia consisted of visiting a quaint little ghost town with a few antique shops.  The entire area is desert with only a few hundred in population in the 3 neighboring towns.  Most locals still mine for gold in the area and have made a living from it.  At night we visited a few mining locations and where able to even go inside one of the old mines.  Most of the scheelite had been long ago removed but there was still tailings of scheelite to be found.  The bright pretty blue color they produce makes them very attractive under shortwave UV.  Looking back walking around in the dark is NOT the smartest thing to do without being very careful.  We did run into a rattlesnake and one bright green scorpion.  Needless to say stepping on one is pretty easy if your not really careful.  We will certainly be giving away samples with our UV lamps buyers so don’t miss out!

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One last thing to note fluorescent scheelite also runs along with gold.  So for those gold prospectors its always important to carry a shortwave UV light.  For where there is scheelite there is a high probability for gold!

Adventures and perils of Glowhounds in the field

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Guest Bloggers Ken and Gail Henning Demming, New Mexico
We have been rock hounding for the world class fluorescents at Miller Canyon for several years. We have made a few trips each spring and a few each fall since 2012. Even though the Nelly James Mine is at 7500’ elevation on the north side of Miller Peak, the three-mile long hiking trail starts in the desert where temperatures easily reach into the 90s during the summer. The hike isn’t bad on the way up; it is coming down with one or two backpacks filled with fluorescent treasures that takes its toll. On the way down it is always a fine balance between carrying water or rocks. You don’t want to run out of liquids, but water does weigh a lot.
In 2011, the Monument Fire swept through the canyon, burning trees and other vegetation on the ridges and along the canyon walls. The following summer brought monsoon rains with no trees to absorb any of the runoff, and the canyon became a river. Since we started glow-hounding the location after the loss of vegetation, three places have become particularly bothersome. Two of the areas are large arroyos that cross the lower part of the trail and are so deep and wide that you need to scramble down and back up the other side. The other trouble spot is farther up the trail, where the streambed has completely washed over the pathway. The 4-inch water supply line to Tombstone, AZ was also laid along the ground there in 2011 when the line was replaced. With all of the erosion each summer, the line is now almost a handrail as 3 to 4 feet of sand, dirt, and rocks that made up the path have been swept away. Coming down you need to scramble up and around boulders with the weight of your packs filled with rocks. Your knees and legs feel the strain with every single step.
Just before the arrival of Chris Powell and his son, Kevin, Ken & I were beset with a stomach virus that was quite severe. For four days for me and over a week for Ken, eating or drinking was very unpleasant. The night before we drove to Sierra Vista, Chris, Kevin and I went for a night hunt at Mahoney Mining area, south of Deming, NM. Ken didn’t come as he was still weak from the virus. We also decided not to do a side trip to the King Ainsworth Mine the next day to conserve our energy, especially Ken’s, for the Miller Canyon hike.
We stayed overnight in Sierra Vista so we could get an early start on our hike. We woke Chris and Kevin up at 6 AM, and had a quick breakfast at the hotel. Although they were not happy about getting up so early, we made it over to the parking lot at the start of the trail by 8 AM. It was cloudy and cool and the weather forecast was for a potential shower at 4 PM.
The hike up was uneventful except that a birder came up to tell us to tell us that the spotted owl was just across the canyon. We were interested in seeing the bird, but not any extra hiking, so we declined the additional walk. We covered the three miles, 1500 ft. elevation gain, up to the mine in good time around 10 AM. The weather remained cool and overcast, perfect for lamping fluorescent rocks under a barbecue cover. We even had a close encounter with a hummingbird as Ken was wearing a splash of color. It sprinkled on us a few times while we collected but nothing too significant. By one o’clock we had stuffed our packs and bags and started heading back down.
We always take longer on the way down than the way up due to the weight of the rocks, and so we take several rest stops. We generally stop about halfway down for a longer break. We also use the time to have some lunch, water, and energy drink. Kevin, who is about fifty years younger than Ken, was quite far down the path ahead of us. Chris went ahead to slow him down while we sat on the rock pile. We may have had a shorter break than we normally do as Kevin was ready to move.
We made it to the bad section where the trail is washed out beside the four-inch water line and you need to scramble up and down rocks and boulders. Ken was stepping down from a rock when he tripped over a boulder in the trail. He yelled as he fell, and Chris and Kevin came running back. I was very close to Ken and could see his right foot was twisted around backwards.
“My leg is broken”, he said.
Chris, Kevin and I all looked at each in terror. What should we do? Kevin took charge of looking for a walking stick. Chris and I talked with Ken telling him to take it easy. It felt like the earth had stopped. Ken slowly moved his leg to a normal position. We helped him get his pack off and get him to a standing position on one leg. Kevin brought several sticks for Ken to try. When he finally brought one that was strong enough, Ken tried a few steps and with the aid of the stick he was able to put some weight on his right leg, which had swollen considerably in the meantime. Kevin took Ken’s pack and started down the trail. Chris and I assisted Ken in his slow progress down the path. The worst two areas to traverse were the deep arroyos; Chris assisted Ken from below and I was above to stabilize him for the mile and a half back down to Chris’s truck.
We hadn’t seen Kevin for some time and when we arrived at the truck we were surprised to see that he wasn’t sitting comfortably waiting for us. Ken figured that he must have missed the turn-off to the parking lot and continued on down the trail. Meanwhile the sky above Miller Peak was getting very dark and we could hear rumbling of thunder. We decided to drive down the road and see if Kevin had realized that he had missed the turn-off and either back-tracked on the trail or made it over to the road. We drove about a mile down but no sign of Kevin either on the path or on the road. We drove back to the parking lot and the sky was getting more ominous and the thunder louder. A few drops of rain spattered the truck. Chris was understandably getting very anxious over the whereabouts of his son.
It is very scary being up Miller Canyon with any significant amount of moisture. The Monument Fire left the canyon with very little vegetation to absorb a rainfall. The big arroyos would be unpassable quickly while the road down from the parking lot is scarred with many places where water has run across. I went back up the path calling Kevin’s name. As I walked, I said prayers that Kevin would show up soon and that no harm would come to him. Then I heard a vehicle come up the road and arrive in the parking lot, and the slam of a vehicle door. I knew then that my prayers were answered and Kevin was back.
Sure enough as I got close to the lot, Kevin was looking for me and saying exactly what Ken had thought had happened. He finally realized that he had missed the turn and went down to the road. He had made it to the bathrooms which are about two miles down the road from the fork in the trail.
I was so thankful that we all made it out all right or should I say alive. . It was after all Good Friday, April 18th. Ken’s leg needed to be checked out, but that we could do in Deming. As we started to drive down, the rains started increasing. When we were on the highway leaving Sierra Vista, it was raining so hard at times the windshield wipers couldn’t even keep up. Who knows what would have happened if Ken hadn’t been able to walk out. A rescue mission in the rain could have been a disaster as the arroyos could have been flooded and the path could have become a river in spots. Thankfully we didn’t have to experience that.
Ken went to the emergency room the next day and found out that indeed he had broken the fibula bone in his leg where it attaches to the ankle. He decided to have surgery on Thursday, April 24 – a plate and seven screws – and he is recovering slowly. We will see next fall if we go up Miller Canyon again. Every year the trail is getting worse and we aren’t getting any younger!

Super Dig Sterling Hill Mining Museum 2014

shwallphoto “The Wall” at Sterling Hill Ogdensburg, NJ

The Super dig at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum was another smashing success.  Over 250 glowhounds attended the event despite some off and on rain during the dig.  The event highlight tours at the lower and upper mines and that of the Trotter tunnel.  The evening no light tour lead by Jeff Wrinkler was great.  The tour was certainly interesting with over 100 people walking down a pitch black tunnel with only UV lights lighting up the walls.  Once nightfall set in the wall was light up for all to enjoy.  Its quite a site to see when a wall over 50 feet tall changes color to bright green and red.  Its quite a site to see in person. 

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum is a nonprofit museum created by the Haucks during the mid 80’s.  The mine offer daily tours when not closed for the winter.  Thousands upon thousands of children visit the museum and learn all about how mining was done while the mine was in operation.  If you never heard of Sterling Hill the mine was a zinc mine until it closed in the mid 80’s.  Miles upon miles of underground tunnels were mined for the precious zinc at this location in Ogdensburg NJ.  Picking tables were created to help separate the ore.  The green glowing rock was the zinc and the red glowing rock was calcite and considered waste rock and discarded.  Sterling Hills sister mines are located in Franklin NJ where zinc was also mined and processed.

Both locations are only a hour or so from the Big Apple AKA New York, New York.  The tours here are like no other on earth.  For there is no other mines like this anywhere on earth with ease of access.  If you would like more information about upcoming tours and information visit sterlinghillminingmuseum.org  the gift shop offers a variety of rocks glowing and now glowing for purchase as well they carry a full line of Ultraviolet Tool lamps if you do not already own a shortwave UV lamp.  The museum also has a outdoor collecting area where they have fluorescent rocks from different parts of the world to collect while you are there. 

Happy Hunting! .

Why are Fluorescent Minerals important?

mine_tailings_lgWhy are fluorescent minerals important to humanity?  Despite the cool pretty colors what important reasons should we care about fluorescent minerals and what can they do for us?  Many people would never consider collecting or using fluorescent minerals because they never had the right UV lamp.  A blacklight is what most adults and kids grow up with but when you have the right shortwave UV lamp those colors become so much more.  In terms of commercial applications the Franklin mine and the Sterling Hill Mine where two locations where the fact that their ore zinc glowed green helped them mine the ore.  Picking tables were created under shortwave UV lamps and workers would pick the green rocks in one pile and the orange rocks in another.  The green rocks had high concentrations of zinc and zinc is one of the most important minerals in the world.  Without zinc our tires would wear out very quickly and thats just one of the many applications of zinc.

Fluorescent minerals also help prospectors find precious minerals.   Examples of such are gold, silver, zinc, copper, and diamonds.  Many mineral deposits associate themselves with fluorescent minerals.  When miners follow a vein the fluorescent minerals in the mine help guide them as they pull out the precious metals and diamonds.  The fact that we can use fluorescent minerals to help us be more productive in mining is a key reason why the study and use of fluorescent minerals should increase.  Advances in oil drilling also use the fluorescent response in the oil/dirt to help determine if a location is worth mining to extract the oil from the earth.  Needless to say oil in todays society is our number one resource that we consume today. 

Geologists today really heavily on fluorescent minerals and the study of them is still being done.  While a lot of research has been done we still continue to learn why minerals are fluorescent and how they help us in our everyday lives. 

How to create a fluorescent mineral display

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By: Tony Mancini                                                       A common question I have received over the years is how can I make my own fluorescent mineral display.  Very commonly collectors will build a great collection but have no way to show it off.  Many collections remain in boxes in the closet and under the bed.  I’ve always recommended very affordable ways collectors can show off their collections to their friends and family by using cases already out on the market. 

Terrariums are a great way to display your collection.  That come enclosed in glass and with a top wire mesh cover that can hold your lamp.  They can be found at most pet stores like Pets Mart.  The price range vary from 60 to 125 dollars.  We use to offer these cases for our customers but found it very difficult to ship a glass case without it being damaged so we stopped.  We can offer the acrylic stand steps to place your rocks and plan to do so in the near future.  You can also call or email us if you need them sooner.

If you are a beginner on a tighter budget consider getting a 10 gallon fish tank from Walmart for about 15 dollars and then buying the wire mesh cover at your local pet store or online.  This will allow you to show off those magic rocks to all your friends who will think you painted them! ;0)

Last but not least you can always contact your local rock club and ask them where did they purchase their display cases.  These “standard” confederate cases are normally 4x4x3 feet in size.  From what I’m away of not company actually makes these cases but are hand made.  If your able to afford a few hundred dollars this would be the best way to go!

If you are looking for display steps for your case you can contact me directly at tony@uvtools.com

Where to find Fluorescent Minerals

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Fluorescent Minerals can be found all over the world.  There is not one place on earth that you will not find fluorescent rocks no matter how remote.  While most people may not have access to some of the most remote places you can still find locations that perhaps no one has yet discovered.  The best places to go are old or active mines or quarries.  Almost every town or city has a nearby rock quarry and rock is constantly mined for mostly road gravel.  Of course you will need permission but most places do offer field trips as part of their public relations. 

Any location that was once a mine has a possibility to have fluorescent minerals.   DO NOT go into old mines as they are very dangerous and you can lose your life! Instead look at the tailings,  these are rocks piles taken out of the mine that was considered waste rock.  You would be amazed on what you will find.  The best time of course to go would be at night but be aware of your surroundings as open pits can be around presenting yet another danger.

For local locations check near by creek beds.  Dried up creek beds are also a great place to rocks that may glow.  Anywhere where the earth has been dug up or moved around will be a prime location.  If you choose not to want to find your own there are several locations you can visit that have plenty for you to choose from.  Two locations in New Jersey USA are the Sterling Hill Mining Museum and the Franklin Mineral Museum.  These two locations are only about a hour from the big apple New York City.  They offer daily tours during the open season and have literately hundreds of tons of fluorescent rocks.  A very unique and enjoy experience to visit these two locations that are only a few miles from each other. 

Ebay is yet another location where you will be able to find hundreds of different types of fluorescent rocks from around the world.  You will find amazing colors and sizes from all over the world.  And don’t forget we have or soon to have several choices of fine specimens on our website!  Enjoy! www.ultraviolet-tools.com

Tucson Gem & Mineral Show 2014

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By Tony Mancini                                                                                                                         Every year for the past 60 years people and business from around the world come to Tucson, Arizona for the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show.  If you are not familiar with the show its the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world.  Every major country is represented and dealers and people from around the world come for two weeks to buy, sell, and trade some of the best gems and minerals from around the world. 

If you can imagine over 33 hotels all host their own dealers who bring their best.  From wholesale to retail everything you can imagine is here.  From one dollar to over a million dollars for a single specimen can be found here.  Its impossible to see everything but there is something for everyone! 

A few of the shows are wholesale only which means you must have a business license to get it, but most are open to the public.  Each year there is a specific theme to the show which can be found at the main show help at the Tucson convention center.  If you have never been to the Tucson show its a absolute must!  Even if you have no interest in rocks, minerals, and fossils you will find world class jewelry.  Amazing diamonds, gold, and precious gems from around the world!

Out side of the show Tucson has several places of interest to visitors.  Tombstone Arizona is only about a hour away,  the Trident Missile Museum is a short drive as well.  There is also a huge museum that holds almost every major plane the US military has used.  The planes can actually be placed back into service should the need arise!    You can visit the tgms.org for detail information about the show.  The show is always is help the first week of February and the weather is almost always perfect.  See you in 2015!