As soon as SA reopened its border to NSW a few weeks ago I asked my wife if she was interested in a trip to Cowell to visit the yard belonging to Cowell Jade* as I needed to purchase some more nephrite for some pieces of work I have planned for the future (watch this space!). Happily she jumped at the idea! So that is my excuse as to why I didn’t do more carving this last month!
The countryside from Cobar to Broken Hill was as green as I’ve ever seen it due to recent heavy rains. And it was wonderful to be away from the city! By the time we reached Cowell it was raining, but after the heart breaking drought of recent times (still ongoing in parts of WA), I’m not going to begrudge anyone a bit of rain.
In Cowell I met Peter, the yard manager, & Niel, who acts as a consultant (he’s been involved with the exploration for and production of jade there since it was discovered by his uncle, Harry Schiller, in 1965), and we had good conversations on all sorts of rock-related subjects! We looked around the yard and selected several suitable-looking pieces of stone to cut to see what they were like inside, and from these, I selected a few pieces to bring home. I also learnt a lot more about the lease and stone in general – the two are a mine of information if you’ll excuse the pun and I really appreciate the time they gave me – thanks to them both.
Whilst there my wife & I went looking for oysters and fresh seafood, and were told about a great place, past the Franklin Harbour Hotel, near the boom gates in the car park at the end of Main Street. Whilst we were there I couldn’t fail to notice a large block of interesting-looking stone with a couple of plaques mounted on it. It certainly looked like nephrite! And then I saw the name of Gemstone Corporation – yes, it was!
A few days later we left with the car just a bit heavier than when it arrived. I’m looking forward for a good excuse to use it - oh bliss!
* Please note, access is by arrangement only
On this page I intend to add monthly updates on aspects of jade carving. I also plan to invite more experienced carvers to offer a "master-class" on a particular subject of their choice. With this I hope to enthuse both the novice and the expert in this ancient and beautiful art-form/craft. And comments are welcome!