Suggestions for Lapidary http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/archive/200412/msg00904.htm
Rockhounding went through it's hey day in the 70's and has been gradually declining ever since. But it's not because "the best collecting areas have been raped and depleted", it's because public lands are being re-evaluated and area's are being closed due to wilderness designation.
I couldn’t disagree more strongly.
I do rockhound some of my material. While there is some land which
will be made National Monument here in Arizona directly, it will not
affect any areas in which I rockhound. Additionally, while there
have been some sites which are now protected as BLM land, etc, there
are arguably just as many sites which are now inaccessible because
they are buried underneath subdivisions.
I have, OTOH, witnessed what Ron Mills has spoken of on numerous
occasions- sites with plenty of beautiful material being descended
on and picked clean, generally by hobbyists, both individuals and
rock and gem clubs who descend on a site like a plague of locusts
and walk away with way more than they will ever cut in life. There
are also enterprising “small businessmen” who will go to a known
collecting site with a few day laborers and some 55 gallon drums and
clean it out.
The only comfort is the fact that Arizona is so rich in cuttable
material that the greedheads will never get it all. I have met a few
of the real “old timers” who know where much of the best rock is and
rarely share the knowledge. I used to think less of them for that,
but I have come to appreciate their wisdom- better that the rock
sits there, unmolested, so that there is something for their
grandkids to find…
Dos Manos Jewelry