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Author Topic: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard  (Read 1801 times)

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Grinder69

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Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« on: October 31, 2016, 08:39:26 AM »

Hi All,
When I was a pebble pup back in the early 80's there were lots of rock shops where the owners had large rock yards.  Rock in those yards was usually sorted in some fashion or other and a per pound price listed for everything in that pile/bucket/bin.   The key was to sort through the pile and pick the excellent cutting rough and ignore the usual leaverite.  Recently I have been doing an internet price survey using mostly e-bay.  First of all it is outrageous the prices being asked (and apparently paid) for  rough.  I see some good deals but in general it is like the wild west.  Part of the issue is that the rocks are now going by the piece instead of a standard per pound price.  That makes bargain hunting much harder.   What is driving up the prices so?  I though the hobby was sort of dying?   I know the Chinese have driven up the price of BC jade to outlandish levels but what about the usual agate/jasper?  Does anybody in WA/OR/ID still have rock yards and per pound pricing? IF so could I get some shop names? Is everybody hi grading?everything?

This is about half a vent but still I feel sorry for folks just getting started.  I at least have enough rough that I can probably keep busy cutting.  I will be doing lots of field trips next year and that will help but I am not as down for 15 mile backpacks as I used to be.

Regards
Mike
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rocks2dust

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2016, 09:10:12 AM »

There are still old shops with per-pound rock piles. Richardson's Ranch in Oregon is one of the larger, but certainly not the only one. Some of the state-by-state guidebooks carry lists and you can do Internet searches for the areas through which you'll travel. Definitely stop and patronize them, as there seem to be fewer every year.

My take is that the Internet itself is one of the factors driving up the prices - more buyers + time spent photo'ing + shipping (even "free" shipping) + time weighing, measuring and putting out descriptions + fees on selling venues like ebay all contribute. Even most of the "successes" either find turning a profit an illusion, or are barely scraping by - both online and at shops. Fuel and shipping costs the last few years have contributed to driving up prices (even at rock shops - the mining, labor and trucking costs for keeping those piles stocked has soared). Some popular materials are also no longer available, so supply and demand have their effect, too. No matter where the location, it takes a big operation to make a going business selling rocks.

I also hope that the shops survive for the next generation. I've sadly watched many favorites disappear over the last few decades.
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55fossil

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2016, 04:24:07 PM »

      I buy rock at Stewart's Gem Shop in Boise, ID by the pound fairly often. Guess what?  The good stuff is not out in the rock pile for five or ten dollars a pound. Top grade material is I buckets and boxes and seen by request. When people can get 20 to 200 dollars a pound or more for Morrisonite, Owyhee and even top grade Willow Creek why would a guy who makes his living selling rock give it away. The new Blue Mountain coming out of the ground starts at $25 a pound on e-bay and the best pieces go through the rough.  This is for top quality material. Top grade material is scarce and if it is a collectible jasper like Morrisonite that is not mined anymore...  That is why they call it Collector Grade.  Try finding cabbing grade Leather's Ranch plume agate for under $100 a pound.
    The internet certainly has caused inflation and confusion. Anybody can go to an auction or estate sale and the next week he is a rock dealer. What he bought for a few bucks is now several hundred dollars. It is now all top gem collector grade and has no cracks or pits except maybe in the corners or edges where you do not cut anyway. ( sarcasm, sorry) If it even looks scenic it will be sold as Owyhee Picture jasper even if it is from New Mexico. Yep, I vent too.... but I love the rocks
    Average grade material or junk sold on e-bay or in flat rate no return boxes is still cheap and you get what you get. If you cannot return it I would not buy it without holding it. Sometimes you do get a great deal, that is why e-bay is still alive and well. I sell a lot of rough and slabs on e-bay and my web site. Everything I sell can be returned with no questions asked for at least 14 days.But there is no good reason to gamble rough on e-bay for $2 a pound that I can cut $50 cabs from.
    I still get some very good buys every year at the Boise Gem Show from the dealers. Good grade jasper and agate can still be found at a fair price. Good luck and just remember how many cabber's and collectors like us are all looking for that great deal on a beautiful rock. Remember when you could have bought Biggs, Owyhee and Morrisonite for $4 a pound and it was top grade.   
   best of luck, we all get lucky sometimes
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Stonemon

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2016, 05:19:34 PM »

And don't forget Tony at Idaho Rock Shop.... A field of stone to peruse and purchase...
Bill
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Bill

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2016, 08:12:39 PM »

Jerry's rock shop in Kent here has a great yard full of bins i dig in alot. Some bins are $5 per lb, but most back there are $1.50lb bins.

they have many wood bins and obsidians of all types cheap.
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catmandewe

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2016, 06:38:17 AM »

I have over 200 tons of rock and I will make anyone a good deal.
Cmon by and check it out if you are in the area. (Gooding, Idaho)

Tony
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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2016, 01:22:36 PM »

Hello  catmandewe

200 tons :WHOAL:  :Worthy: What to say about that. My stock pile is over 100lbs now thanks to Neil and John sending me some material.

My question is that your 1 of the go to guys when you are looking for a specific type of material and how do you do business ?

Bless
 Shawn
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Grinder69

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2016, 05:23:33 PM »

Hi Tony,
I plan to come over there to Idaho next summer. I will certainly transfer some of your rock pile to me.  I was reading my copy of Agates of North America and a dude with the pen name "Snake River Pete was talking about the finding some awesome stuff in those desert canyons.  We  all know about the Bruneau Jasper but he specifically mentioned fire opal thunder eggs and some other interesting stuff.  It sounded like backpacking up the canyons.  Is that doable?  How is the access?

On this topic I was down at Jerry's Agate shop today.   I spent some hours digging through the miscellaneous bins and got some very promising material for $1.50 a pound.  I am pretty sure i got a large plume egg and some nice Maury moss.  I don't think they know what is in those bins. It isn't really set up for allowing major bin diving since there is no room forto move the excavated rock to.  They do make a stab at high grading it but agates and jaspers are good at hiding.  Glen was most helpful in discussing my big saw which is still acting up.   I am glad we have at least one decent shop in the  vicinity even if it is 70 miles away from me.
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likesrocks

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2016, 07:09:30 AM »

The Gem Shop in Cedarburg Wisconsin has exactly what your looking for! He must have close to 100, yes i said 100 !!!  Honestly its true,  55 gallon barrels in the back yard full of rough rock from everywhere! Basement packed full of huge bins of rough! And a huge bookshelf in back room with a several hundred or more boxes of sbs! Definitely an old school rock shop. As to prices, i have no idea whats a good price, most slabs I buy are from $1-5 and from 4 sq. inches to 16 sq.inches. The owner is personable and very busy polishing custom stones, he also personally collects much of the material at the shop. He is usually there at shop, but as i said he is busy, you can actually watch the guy grinding and polishing cabs all day. The front of shop is for tourists, tumbled stones ans specimens and all that. They let you explore the ins and outs up and downs of the shop at your leisure. A nice place that I get to go every few months!!!!
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Orrum

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Re: Rock Material Pricing - Who has an Old School Rock Yard
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2016, 02:59:21 PM »

Hey Tony has huge piles of mixed up rock, it's a bl as st to pick thru.

Neal, Fossil55 sells great rock too! Pm him.
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