March 25, 2014
February 02, 2014
Darwin Glass is an impactite tektite 800 odd thousand years ago a large meteorite hit the west coast of Tasmania . Due to the heat and pressure waves generated as this meteorite hit the ground the base rocks of quartzite and slate were instantly melted and splashed out and solidified into a silica rich glass . Resulting in the famous darwin glass ,Tasmania's Moldavite . Found in colours ranging from white to black and various shades of green,including a beautiful transparent olive green.Darwin glass is unique in the world of impact tektites as part of its composition includes the original meteorite,both nickel and iron as well as chromium are included in it. Life has also recently been found in the vesicles of the glass by my friend Doctor Kieran Howard who has extensively studied the glass. The Rare and Beautiful has bought several old collections of glass collected in the 1960s and 70s before the area was included in the world heritage area and collecting was banned.We have also collected glass from areas outside of the park boundary .
In January 2014 our family decided to walk in to Darwin crater. Our 6 year old son is very interested in meteorites and wanted to see the impact crater from where it landed. A work colleague and friend from Tas Uni who helped map the crater in the 1970s drew us a map and off we went. The track in was very wet to say the least with many trees fallen across it. After an hour of bush bashing we gave up. Both our 3 and 6 year olds were over it , mud up to their knees heaps of blood sucking leeches and a few large tiger snakes convinced us to reluctantly head home. We didn't see any of the famous glass . A few weeks later we decided to give it another go, back into the mud we went and two hours later we made it to the end of the track. As the area is dense rainforest and the crater is full of sediment it was unfortunately unrecognisable, much to the disappointment of our two boys who were expecting a giant circular hole. We saw some small pieces of glass in the roots of an up turned tree but it certainly wasn't plentiful like we had read. We headed out to escape the Mosquitos and leeches and saw several large tiger snakes and a copper head on the track. The only creatures in this forest all wanted to bite us. As soon as we were out of the world heritage area we decided to search for some glass specimens, we climbed a likely looking hill and after an hour or so of fossicking around we found an easterly facing slope with some lovely glass specimens, some of a decent size and some lovely green pieces very much like moldavites.
The SW world heritage are of Tasmania where the crater is located is in dense rainforest ,surrounded by majestic mountains,an area that receives more than 3 meters of rain per year. For those that would like to know more about Darwin Glass Dr Kieren Howard has written some excellent papers on this magical impact tektite.
September 24, 2013
Mytchinya had only just opened to tourists a couple of months before so I decided to have a look around. I was traveling with my mate Dave and he was up for an adventure as well. Mytchinya is located in Katchin state, Northern Burma. Mytchinya is located on the Ayerwaddy River and is surrounded by remote and majestic mountains.After a couple of days treasure hunting around the town we managed to locate some nice amber that didn't cost an arm and a leg, but there wasn't much else around. I was specifically looking for a beautiful textile made in the region by the Jingpaw people who were from this area but all I could find were modern examples made with synthetic yarns. The ones I wanted were a mix of wool and dog hair. Maybe if I got out into the hills id have more luck, I’d heard that tourists were now allowed to ride motor bikes in Mandalay, so I found a policeman and asked him if Dave and I could ride, he said yes, but only if we wore a helmet. After promising him about the helmet, we went in searchofbikes. Atthe railway lines a bunch of young crew were hanging out, so we asked them if we could rent their bikes. We had to convince them that foreigners were allowed, then they said why not, how's $10 a day. No problem.The next day we headed off and after talking the night before, decided to head to China. On the map the Chinese boarder didn't look that far. We headed north out of town and across the Ayerwaddy river, the views were great, beauty every where, vast networks of rice paddy, interspersed with giant bamboo forests, a myriad of creeks to the east and the mighty Ayerwaddy river heading south to our west. Now this was fun! We powered along on our crappy 125cc Chinese bikes. After taking a turn to the east we started to head into the hills, the jungle was amazing so green and alive. The riding was pretty good too, one section of mud through a small town was memorable, mud everywhere, and lots of laughs, I think we did it three times with all the local people in hysterics! Ah this is the life. Flat tyres were particularly common for Dave, which kind of sucked, luckily in Burma any one can fix a flat from the smallest kid to the oldest lady. We headed deeper in to the jungle and came to a town where they were mining gold in the river. The scenery was wild, massive bamboo and teak forests and beautiful clear creeks and rivers. Mist floated all around us and there were butterfly's of all shapes and colors everywhere, a really cool spot. Not long after Dave and myself were separated.Dave needed to attend to nature so pulled off the road and went down a sidetrack, he was ahead of me and I didn’t see him so kept riding. I rode for another hour and a half, I must have been pretty close to the border but I hadn't caught up with Dave. I turned back now worried that he had crashed off the side of the road. I was riding back and came round a typical jungle corner onto a little flat with some rice growing, Crack! What was that? I think some one may have shot at me. Full speed to the next village, Don't F around in the golden triangle! When I came to the next village I spoke to an old guy who said he had seen Dave go past, he said that I was most probably shot at by one of the farmers or possibly by a soldier or a resistance fighter thinking I was a spy. Not too uncommon by the sound of things. Quite a few people had gathered by this time, they all said that we were the first white people that had been in the area for along time. An old lady piped in with, you be careful young man there is a tiger around. Every one agreed that a tiger did visit the village a few days before and that I should indeed be careful. I said bye and headed off in search of Dave .I found him not too far away pushing his bike with another flat back to the village I had just left. An hour later we left and headed back to Mytchinya again.It was mid afternoon and really hot and clear, we were both really sun burnt on our arms and the tops of our legs so we stopped and caked mud and stuck teak leaves to our arms. This worked well but a long sleeved top would have been great. About an hour later we were stopped at a military checkpoint, ok here we go. The guard asked why we were trying to enter Burma from China; we were in big trouble he told us. I told him that we had ridden from Mytchinya and were on the way back there. It took a while to convince him but when we did he told us we must go back immediately and if stopped to say that he had sent us back. We had evidently ridden through 2 checkpoints without being stopped. He had been sleeping and had missed us on the way through. Nothing but nice scenery from then on till we reached Mytchinya and some dinner followed closely by bed. Oh and a shower to clean off the mud. The next day a guy I had met had found me some of the textiles I wanted which was great. We hung around a few more days then headed southI took some really cool photos but when I arrived back in Thailand my SD card was mysteriously missing from my camera, which was a bit annoying. This area was closed to travelers a few months after we left so I guess we were lucky we saw what we did
August 29, 2013
Mosquitoes, midges, flies,funnel web spiders, leeches,wasps and tiger snakes. Just a part of the experience of searching for the elusive Lune river fossil plants. The prize awaits up to 6 foot down, through tough wet sticky clay, in a thin gravel layer of agates and fossils.
Fern is hard to find, but to find a good piece is much harder, many pieces have holes throughout or are totally black.
Easy NO rewarding YES.
The most beautiful plant fossils replaced by multi coloured agate are the reward, if you are lucky, but hard work does pay off !
These fossil tree ferns are from Lune River about 120kms south of Hobart, it is Australia's most southerly gem field. 165 million years ago the vegetation was flatterned by a pyroclastic flow from a nearby volcano, volcanic ash covered these plants. Then a 1km thick basalt and dolerite flow covered the plants, silica then replaced the carbon in the plant.
Perfectly preserved stems of wood, fern and cycad resulted. These fossils are amazing in their beauty and in their scientific preservation.
More than 13 species of tree fern, several cycads and different woods are found in this Jurassic graveyard. Dinosaur food!
Treasured in any rock hounds collection. The images are some pieces that The Rare and Beautiful have found. we have some for sale in the fossil category.
This beautiful specimen is osmundacaulis prushnikkii. The preservation is amazing with the structure of individual cells easily visible under magnification. Highly agatized with pyrite surrounding the "eyes" in the black section. Locally known as peacock fern due to its resemblance to a peacock tail.
This is a trunk section of osmundacaulis griggsii as it was found by The Rare and Beautiful.This specimen is too beautiful to cut and polish, and displays perfectly as is.
Bennettatalian cycadophyte stem perfectly preserved.
Stem section of lunea Jonesii totally replaced by agate, a fossil and a gemstone in one specimen,very rare and highly desirable.Probably only one piece in a thousand is completely replaced by agate, the holy grail for fern diggers.
August 15, 2013
Our website is up and were both super excited, we have been really busy sorting through boxes of goodies. Our more than 30 years of passionate collecting has now become a business and we hope to pass a little of our love of rare and beautiful things to others so they too can enjoy them. We have sold privately for years and also at the Hobart Antique Fair for the past 2 years. The interest in our hand collected objects has been really flattering so we decided to make this site .We have a stall at Salamanca Market in Hobart and we are on Instagram and facebook. There are many, many more objects of desire to come and we will load some every week or so except when we are away.