The ancient Bible amazingly has a vast array of gem stones mentioned in various verse.
The Author’s cover photo shows modern “Sard” found in Eastern Oregon around John Day in the dry hills.
The ancient Roman generals, it is written in early texts, they used “Sard gemstones” exclusively for official wax stamps for all sealed “private” message. This very hard SARD was a dense enough stone that it did not warm up at all smashing into hot waxes no matter how many times used in one day.
Today, many believe early “Sard” was just a common carnelian red agates or chalcedony or jasper. However, these three are simply quartz and too soft to last very long as a Roman official seal? Moreover, quartz can be warmed in one’s hand; and it simply cracks as a repeated hot wax stamp.
Our Eastern Oregon “Sard” is much harder!
For the last two years, this author has been analyzing and classifying gravels around Canyon City’s Canyon Mountain – an ancient, Odd, Oregon Coast subduction zone. This author is a retired John Day Fossil Beds National Park Ranger & Geology Interpreter; and therefore lacks the disposable funds to buy an office spectrometer.
The Author has found matching a mineral’s Specific Gravity and Mohs’s scale hardness has been steering him into better classifications of known rare Gem minerals that we can amazingly find here in Eastern Oregon.
The best mineral classification for the Eastern Oregon’s very hard/dense, reddish, Eastern Oregon SARD is now classified as a very hard, Mohs’s Scale 7-8, massive reddish yellow orange “ClinoHumite”
“ClinoHumite is an uncommon member of the humite group, a magnesium silicate according to the chemical formula (Mg,Fe)9(SiO4)4(F,OH)2.
The formula can be thought of as four olivine (Mg2SiO4), plus one brucite (Mg (OH) 2). Indeed, the mineral is essentially a hydrated olivine and occurs in altered ultramafic rocks and carbonatites. Most commonly found as tiny indistinct grains, large euhedral ClinoHumite crystals are sought by collectors and occasionally fashioned into bright, yellow-orange gemstones.
ClinoHumite is a product of contact metamorphism and is commonly found as indistinct grains embedded in limestone. Its type occurrence is within the limestone ejecta of the Mount Vesuvius volcano complex near Naples, Italy, where ClinoHumite was discovered in 1876.
The aforementioned gem-quality occurrences of Pamir and Taymyr were discovered only recently: the former in the early 1980s, and the latter in 2000. These deposits are scarce and only sporadically mined, so ClinoHumite remains one of the rarest gemstones with only a few thousand carats known to exist in private collections.”
Those Ancient Roman generals easily could have secured this Naples (Italy) gemstone for making the official wax seal stamps for ROME!
Readers, another odd, Oregon’s Canyon Mountain gemstone found are classified as what Gemologists today call it “Dumorierite”. It commonly has a wonderful blue color with pink and silver banding!
“Dumortierite is a fibrous variably colored aluminum boro-silicate mineral, Al7 BO3 (SiO4)3 O3. Dumortierite crystallizes in the orthorhombic system typically forming fibrous aggregates of slender prismatic crystals.
The crystals are vitreous and vary in color from brown, blue, gray and green to more rare violet and pink. Substitution of iron and other tri-valent elements for aluminum result in the color variations. It has a Mohs hardness of 7 and a specific gravity of 3.3 to 3.4.
As humans age and the gray hair becomes more pronounced; this author suspects this Eastern Oregon grayish gemstone will become more popular.
Both Dumortierite and ClinoHumite are very hard stones that can make good ring stones that take a lot of abuses without scratching!
In closing, the ancient history of the town of SARD in Turkey was cited as the source of Biblical “Sadr”; but it’s ancient history is still amazing:”
“The earliest reference to Sardis is in the Persians of Aeschylus (472 BC); in the Iliad, the name Hyde seems to be given to the city of the Maeonian (i.e. Lydian) chiefs, and in later times Hyde was said to be the older name of Sardis, or the name of its citadel. It is, however, more probable that Sardis was not the original capital of the Maeonians, but that it became so amid the changes which produced the powerful Lydian empire of the 8th century BC.
The early Lydian kingdom was very advanced in the industrial arts and Sardis was the chief seat of its manufactures.
The most important of these trades was the manufacture and dyeing of delicate woolen stuffs and carpets. The stream Pactolus which flowed through the market-place “carried golden sands” in early antiquity, which was in reality gold dust out of Mount Tmolus.
It was during the reign of King Croesus that the metallurgists of Sardis discovered the secret of separating gold from silver, thereby producing both metals of a purity never known before. This was an economic revolution, for while gold nuggets panned or mined were used as currency, their purity was always suspect and a hindrance to trade.
Such nuggets or coinage were naturally occurring alloys of gold and silver known as electrum and one could never know how much of it was gold and how much was silver.
Sardis now could mint nearly pure silver and gold coins, the value of which could be—and was—trusted throughout the known world. This revolution made Sardis rich and Croesus’ name synonymous with wealth itself. For this reason, Sardis is famed in history as the place where modern currency was invented.”
Eastern Oregon’s gravels contain ancient gems one can pan for gold and gems at these same drainages as an outdoor adventure for you and old!
Lastly some may remember, The Ancient Bible has many gem-related quotes like:
“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.”
“And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.”
Visitors will be surprised over the amount of SARD simply lying around the hills around Canyon City & John Day, Oregon – on Oregon Highway 26 & 395. Eastern Oregon has been known for its grey-blue thunder eggs and agates; but there is much more out there for the professional jewelry makers of the future.
Summer is here! Rains will be coming again?