Thousands of thundereggs still to be unearthed at Rocky site
IF YOU have ever bought an Australiana souvenir from a gift shop anywhere around the country, chances are it was made at the Mount Hay Gemstone Tourist Park.
While the park is most known for it's fossicking of Thundereggs, most people don't realise they cast pewter souvenirs as well.
"We originally started as a tourist attraction in 1974 but the tourist season is very limited because of the climate,” co-owner Ken Kayes said.
"As a result of that we started doing other things to make a consistent income.
"So we started souvenir making in 1987.”
At the moment, Ken is getting ready to pack up to go overseas for a month.
Ken and his brother, Don, are heading to the annual Kino Gem and Mineral Show in Arizona. The owners have been travelling to the show for the past 10 years, joining a handful of other Australian sellers.
"There's about half a dozen Australians, a few opal dealers, a few semi-precious sellers,” Ken said.
The brothers take gemstones from the Mount Hay site, their Western Australia site and around the countryside.
"We sell some Thundereggs as well as other Australian materials,” Ken said.
"(We take) A collection of different coloured semi-precious stones in rough form and some polished,” Don said.
The show is attended by fossicking and gemstone enthusiasts from all over the world and they love to see the Australian goods.
"Australia is pretty well known as a source of a lot of minerals and people are always interested to see things from other countries,” Ken said.
"Australian minerals are unique and different.”
And when they aren't busy selling their goods at the Arizona show, they are busy packing them up in 44-gallon drums to export overseas.
Their main buyers are the Chinese, with India slowly trickling in some bids as well.
"They do a lot of shapes and sizes of beads,” Ken said.
"They do jewellery pieces for a broad range of things,” bDon said.
The brothers own 105ha of land on Mount Hay, 15ha of which is under mining lease for the fossicking.
The area has been fossicked for more than 40 years now but the brothers believe there is still plenty left to be unearthed.
"There's more in the mountain, it will see out another generation or two,” Don said.
The park will be closed from January 16 and reopen on February 26 to attend the Arizona show.
Mount Hay is an extinct ancient volcano, which was last active about 120 million years ago. When it was a rumbling volcano millions of gas bubbles were present in the molten rhyolite lava .. it is these gas "pockets” that became Thundereggs.
As the molten lava cooled, lava shells formed around gas bubbles. As the shells cools, they cracked, allowing the gasses to escape, and siliceous liquids, containing trace elements and impurities, sealing the cracks and forming the Thundereggs
Thunderegg is an Indian word for the stone, on which several legends are based
To see the inner beauty they have to be cut in half and polished
They can be filled with quartz crystals, amethyst, agate and jasper