The Washington Mineral Council has served for many years as a way for folks to get out and learn the local dig spots. Posted on their website is a list that is updated each year with the tentative field trip plans. The November 2021 trip was a "dig" for Dalmatian stone.
Dalmatian stone also referred to as Dalmatian Jasper, is a white feldspar-Quartz mineral with black dotted inclusions. These dots were thought to have been Tourmaline, but recently some have suggested that they are the mineral, stilpnomelane. Either way, the black spots on the white quartz creates an interesting stone.
We followed Ed, the trip leader up to the site on Blanchard Hill and parked along the dirt road. We soon found that it's an "easy" dig, in that the location is just right there, but a difficult one in that you need chisels and hammers to really chip the stuff out. A large man got to work at once on a big bolder and attacked it with a sledge. Eventually we were all rewarded with the fruits of his labor, as Ed had expertly picked it out as a very promising piece. Sure enough, he was right. The boulder was full of speckles, and even more surprisingly, green chert with pyrite inclusions! Wowee, we were happy with those finds.
We spent a little more time picking through the rubble and chipping out our own chunks and I must say, once we got the material home and into our slab saw, we were quite happy with the stones. Below is a photo of our cut stones from the dig. Our stones ended up with lines of black in the green chert with pyrite inclusions that take a lovely polish.
These are the cabs that Ed showed us initially when we started the trip. I had my eye out immediately for the green chert with pyrite as soon as I saw these!
Here is the rough Dalmatian stone in all its glory.
Check out a field trip with the Mineral Council for more info!