Humans have long been fascinated by semi-precious and precious stones, finding uses for them from the superficial (adornment) to the scientific (surgery). Some stones are more precious than others due to the limited quanitities as well as how high quality each specimen is, and contrary to popular use, diamonds are not the most precious or sought after stone. One of the newest discoveries in the gem world is named after its discoverer, Adrian Pain. Painite was found in Myanmar in the late 1950’s, but there were only two specimens. It took nearly a half century of work to discover the source. Even with the several thousand painite crystals that have been uncovered, the ones that have been cut are few, and thereby hefty in price.
Part of the reason painite is so costly is that it can only be found in the Mogok region in Myanmar. With just one location in a place not widely accessible, there are only a certain number of stones available at a time. The gem itself is precious because it consists of two elements that are rarely seen together, boron and zirconium. There are no other stones in the world that carry this combination, even if some have a similar coloring due to impurities found in the stone’s makeup.
With the ease of selling online, you can pick up some smaller, lesser quality stones for under $100, or a low quality cut stone for around $100. However, if you’d rather do some excavating yourself with the hope of uncovering larger crystals (weighed using the traditional system of the ‘carat’ which is roughly equal to .2 grams), you’ll have to either book passage or find a company to join or fund. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find some high quality stones, which can net around $60,000 per carat.
Of course, there are easier places to access and many people have fun mining for smaller, semi-precious stones and can even make some money on the side.
Interested in reading more about painite, crystals, mining, or new gem discoveries? You can start by going to the Geology In site.
Do you remember your favorite childhood toys? Do you still own them? Sometimes, the sentimental value is higher than the dollar amount collectors are willing to pay, and sometimes, what was thought was a smart investment turns out to be a dud, though of course that doesn’t usually matter to the child playing with these toys. Some toys, like Beanie Babies and Barbie dolls, remain popular, thereby lowering their value. Others, like metal dollhouses, have gone the way of the dodo and therefore are in higher demand.
If you’ve got a collection of old toys or enjoy visiting yard sales and thrift shops around town, you might be lucky enough to net enough money for a tank of gas, a plane ticket, or that new TV you’ve been eyeing. Below are some of the most valuable toys from a couple decades ago. Do you have any of these?
- Cabbage Patch dolls and cards – these are being sold for up to $4,000 (USD) online.
- Star Wars action figures – these late 1970’s items, still in the package, can be auctioned off for around $25,000.
- PEZ dispensers – a wide variety of these are incredibly popular with collectors, who are willing to pay over $30,000 for specific dispensers.
- American Girl dolls and accessories – the dolls that have been “retired” have been know to fetch around $5,000.
- Furby – the original one, obviously. One that has never been opened sold for almost $1,000.
- The first edition Harry Potter books – these can net you around $6,000 apiece.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures – these dudes, in excellent condition, can be sold for $500, though of course the rarer the action figure, the more people are willing to pay.
- Playmobil sets – these hardy, beautifully designed sets are somewhat difficult to find, making them an incredible prize – for a price. Some sets go for $800.
- Happy Meal Toys – depending, again, upon the popularity and rarity of each one, individual pricing varies. However, Disney toys are going for around $300 right now.
- Super Soakers – these water guns are drowning in potential profit. The good quality ones are selling for $150, while the pristine guns can run up to $500.
Interested in seeing if you have any childhood toys of monetary value?
Have you ever come home to a fresh bouquet or new plant and felt something shift inside you? Science says there’s a reason for that. A study done by four individuals concluded that not only did seeing fresh flowers (in this case, red roses) decrease the amount of oxy-hemoglobin levels in the right prefrontal cortex, it also decreased sympathetic nervous activity, thereby reducing stress, and induced relaxation. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a fantastic way to unwind without having to pay for a luxurious retreat.
In the study, one set of university students were given a few minutes to view red roses while their responses were recorded with a variety of machines. Another set was not given flowers, but were recorded so that the responses could be compared. Between the two groups there was a marked difference – the group that were given flowers experienced a significant increase in relaxation.
So why is this important? Think about all the places that cause us stress – the office, hospital, financial institutions, school, transportation (particularly airports). This is why people put plants on their desks at work, why schools and prisons are incorporating more green space, and why hospital visitors often bring flowers to their loved ones. The more plants we have in our lives, the better off we’ll be, physically (due to their production of oxygen), and mentally.
If you’ve rarely or never had plants nearby, it might be time to consider purchasing some at your local garden center. You can start off small with a potted succulent or some African violets. If you’re used to gardening outside and want to experiment with plants living indoors, you can start a windowsill herb garden or put some ferns in the sun porch. However you’re able to add plants to your life, it’s a good idea to start incorporating them. Keep them watered, watch them grow, and know that you’re helping the environment as well as yourself.
While there’s a time to enjoy and share space with wildlife, most people would prefer to keep their own space free of said wildlife. The words “vermin” and “pest” come to mind with a host of burrowing, digging animals – moles, gofers, squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, voles, etc. You’ve probably stepped outside to enjoy the morning or get the mail only to have your foot sink into one of these critters’ tunnels. If your yard is a maze of tunnels, you’re probably considering calling in an exterminator or, as a last ditch effort, thinking about attempting such an extermination yourself.
There is, however, a more peaceful, less expensive way to rid your yard of these irksome creatures. You most likely have all the ingredients on hand, and if you don’t, they are easily obtainable from the nearest supermarket. To make a non-toxic spray that will drive away all the burrowing animals in your yard, you will need to gather up the following materials:
- Dawn soap
- Castor oil
- Spraying attachment for garden hose
Mix the proper amounts of each of the liquid ingredients (link to the recipe is below), and use the spray attachment to help you cover the yard with your homemade concoction. You will need to keep an eye on the yard and burrows, and spray the yard again once a week for nearly a month, but this way the animals will move to another location, you’ll have your beautiful yard again, and no one got hurt. It’s the perfect solution for an animal lover, whether you’re a vet, wildlife conservationist, or pet owner. This spray would also be a boon to those who are moving to the country. You can make up a batch ahead of time and prepare your yard or garden area before planting anything new. While there are other mixes and sprays that help with various and sundry problems, this basic recipe will solve the vast majority of issues with tunneling.
But is it real?
This is a huge Titanites Ammonite, so big it has been named the “fossil truck tire”! And recently, it was found by a team of explorers including the photographer of this pic, Andy Randell, who posted it to the StrataGeoData twitter, with the caption, “Nice find by the team today! Titanites sp., a giant ammonite fossil from south eastern British Columbia!”
Because so many people liked Randell’s pic, it even made it’s way to Snopes for fact-checking if it was actually real!
This giant ammonite fossil was first found in 1947 by British Columbia Geological Survey geologist Chuck Newmarch outside the town of Fernie, B.C., Canada.
When it was reported on by Mountain Culture, they had this to say: “In July 1947, geologists stumbled upon the ammonite fossil while mapping coal seams in Fernie’s Coal Valley. The discovery of a “fossil truck tire” in the sandstone by Coal Creek was reported, and Chuck Newmarch, a geologist with the British Columbia Geological Survey, was sent to investigate. He recognized it as a giant specimen of ammonite, a long-lost relative of the modern-day, shelled nautilus, which is in the cephalopod family that includes the octopus, the squid and the cuttlefish.”
So yes, it’s real, and it’s thought to be the biggest such ammonite fossil in Canada.
How would you feel if you were on a regular daily walk with your metal detector, thinking about the small change you might find, only to discover a giant gold nugget? That’s what happened to a prospector in California, who thought he had stumbled upon a piece of iron. After uncovering the find, he realized that he had made a huge discovery, and went to get it appraised. The giant gold nugget weighed in at 75 troy ounces (a troy ounce is a little over 31 grams), which is over five pounds. People speculate that this is one of the most major gold finds in California, although we don’t know the name of the prospector, nor the exact location where the gold was found (we do know it was located in the general area of Butte County).
There’s a history of high quality gold found in Butte County, though of course the gold rush and its end results have limited the amount people find today. That being said, placer and lode deposits are still present in the area, including the Magalia, Yankee Hill, and Oroville mining districts. It’s still an incredibly desired commodity, as gold is still used today in a variety of industries, including technology (it’s an excellent conductor for electrical equipment), medicine (fillings, bridges, crowns, for dentistry and radiation treatment for a variety of diseases), and aerospace (mostly used for coating, conducting, and lubrication), as well as the more common uses of jewelry and money.
If you’re interested in locating precious gems and metals, you may want to get involved in the scene by joining a group, purchasing a metal detector and studying up on deposits, mines, and fossil beds in your area or those close by. You can also travel to certain states like Colorado, North Carolina, and Tennessee for mining opportunities. There’s no telling what you can find with a little patience and some quality scoping materials. You can watch the video of the giant gold nugget find to get started.