Way To Go Idaho

In this long-awaited comeback episode of our podcast, “Is Anyone Listening?”, we enthusiastically announce our return from a brief hiatus! We’re thrilled to be back on air, ready to dive into the fascinating world of gemstones once again. This episode is particularly special as we cover two distinct regions: the tropical paradise of Hawaii and our very own home state, Idaho.

First up, Hawaii! We’ll explore the island’s unique geological features and the captivating gemstones they produce. Expect to hear about Hawaii’s vibrant and rare minerals that reflect its rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes.

Then, we turn to Idaho, the Gem State. We discuss why Idaho earned this nickname, delving into the state’s diverse and plentiful gemstone deposits. From the famous Idaho star garnets to opals and more, we uncover the hidden treasures beneath our feet.

As always, we share personal anecdotes, fun facts, and our adventures during the hiatus. Whether you’re a gemstone enthusiast, a curious listener, or just happy to have us back, this episode promises to be a gem-packed journey across two of America’s most intriguing states.

Stay tuned, and let’s sparkle together in this exciting new chapter of our podcast!


[00:00:00] Stephanie: Okay. Welcome.

[00:00:03] That’s how it starts off. We typically say hello and then you do the introduction and then I think it’s important for us to explain what we’ve been up to.

[00:00:26] Jonathan: Welcome to another episode of Gem Junkies. I’m Jonathan.

[00:00:29] Brecken: And I’m Brecken!

[00:00:31] Jonathan: Welcome back!

[00:00:32] Brecken: We’re back.

[00:00:34] Stephanie: Are we excited about this?

[00:00:35] Brecken: I guess so!

[00:00:37] I haven’t had my coffee yet, but we’re good. I guess I’ve had one cup today, so I’m ready for it. But we decided that we were gonna revive this little thing of ours, because, one, Oh, we miss doing it. Yeah. I miss sitting in a little room with you. Yeah. And talking into a microphone. We’re in a whole new room now.

[00:00:58] We are. We’re in my office. [00:01:00]

[00:01:00] Stephanie: Which is Frank’s old office.

[00:01:01] Brecken: Which is Frank’s old office. I’ve moved up in the world.

[00:01:05] Jonathan: If you call it that. But we had a little, we had a little flood.

[00:01:09] Brecken: Yes. Our office is flooded. So that happened.

[00:01:12] Jonathan: Is, was.

[00:01:13] Brecken: Office. I, okay.

[00:01:14] Stephanie: I think we have a little PTSD.

[00:01:15] Brecken: The office flooded. Yes. Yes, we do have PTSD. So what happened was, May of 2021, I remember the day like it was yesterday, Jonathan was at the first Centurion show after COVID, after all the closures. And my in laws were somewhere, where were they? They were gallivanting somewhere were They were out of some country. No.

[00:01:39] Stephanie: Yeah, they were out of the country.

[00:01:39] Brecken: They were out of town. And so I get a message from Frank, just a text message that said Paul called, there’s some water at the office. It’s no big deal, no need to run over. And so I was dropping the girls off for school, Jonathan wasn’t there, and I said, you know what, this doesn’t feel right, there’s some water in the office, no need to rush over.

[00:01:59] I need to [00:02:00] get some, I need to get some eyeballs on this. No. There was a literal waterfall into the basement. The ceiling had collapsed in the basement. The production floor was covered in probably Two inches of water. By the time I got here, they had luckily suctioned most of that out. But when our production manager, Paul, and his wife walked in the morning, they were standing in water.

[00:02:23] It was awful. It was awful and it was a two year process, really, to get it all sewed up. We just finally, but we are finished now. The case is closed and we’re back. And so during that kind of process, Frank Frank had already moved out of his office really. But we were using it as a break room.

[00:02:42] Stephanie: It was a good holding room, yeah.

[00:02:43] Brecken: Yeah, because the basement was There was no break room.

[00:02:46] Jonathan: There was no basement.

[00:02:48] Brecken: But also, what belonged in that basement was our recording studio. So we would record in the basement. Yeah. And when the ceiling collapsed and the water and we went down to the studs and everything like that, we [00:03:00] really had no good place to record.

[00:03:03] So we had to pause that and on top of that Jonathan and I have taken over the business now and when things started really picking up

[00:03:12] Jonathan: For the last couple years.

[00:03:12] Brecken: For the last couple years. It’s been like we don’t where the time goes. I don’t know.

[00:03:16] Stephanie: It’s been a whirlwind.

[00:03:17] Brecken: Yeah, it has but we’re thinking now we’re on top of it and we can do this.

[00:03:23] In air quotes.

[00:03:27] But it’s something that we really enjoy doing. It’s something we really enjoy, bringing to everybody. And we’ve also gotten tons of feedback that people want us to come back, and that makes me happy, too.

[00:03:37] Jonathan: Yeah, and we left off on the states.

[00:03:39] Brecken: I know!

[00:03:41] Stephanie: We debated about how we were going to say that.

[00:03:42] Jonathan: How to come back, or What to do coming back and but we didn’t do our own state. No, I know. So it’s like we stopped at Georgia. And so it’s like we got to at least do Idaho.

[00:03:53] Brecken: It got really bad because I was talking about hummingbird cakes. That’s the thing with the states is like some states are [00:04:00] super cool.

[00:04:00] Jonathan: Like Idaho.

[00:04:02] Brecken: And other states are like Georgia. I think it was Alabama, the first state we did, and their state gemstone, I think, was like blue quartz or something like that.

[00:04:12] Stephanie: Star quartz. Blue star quartz.

[00:04:14] Brecken: And they don’t even have a, they don’t even have a specimen of it. That I could even locate. So it was like, does this even exist?

[00:04:19] So it got I’ve Weird. So I think what we’re going to do with this is we’re going to continue with states that actually maybe have some significance in the gem and jewelry industry and that have had, that have had actual production, I would say, of gemstones.

[00:04:37] Jonathan: So you’re saying you’re just going to skip the other ones completely?

[00:04:40] Brecken: Yes.

[00:04:41] Jonathan: You’re not even going to mention them

[00:04:42] Stephanie: Maybe a little love.

[00:04:43] Jonathan: We at least have to say, here’s the state in this, because every state has at least a mineral.

[00:04:48] Brecken: We were going in alphabetical. There’s minerals and there’s also gemstones.

[00:04:52] So

[00:04:52] Jonathan: Some states don’t have a state gem, though. They only have a mineral.

[00:04:56] Brecken: But we can go in alphabetical order like we are [00:05:00] continuing to do with Hawaii and then Idaho today. But just maybe Keep it brief, unless it’s like super cool, like Maine and that kind of stuff, like we’re going to get into some cool states, but we’re going to keep it simple.

[00:05:13] I’m not going to bore people talking about hummingbird cake. Sorry, that’s our dog in the background, Gemma, who’s being a cutt. Yeah.

[00:05:19] Stephanie: Oh, she’s got something to say.

[00:05:21] Jonathan: She has, she wants to be on the podcast too.

[00:05:24] Brecken: All right. On to Hawaii. Hawaii. So if there was a bet going about what gemstone. The state of Idaho, or, sorry, Hawaii was.

[00:05:35] I would not have picked the gemstone that it actually is.

[00:05:39] Jonathan: No? No. I think it makes sense.

[00:05:41] Brecken: It makes sense? Now.

[00:05:43] Stephanie: Culturally it makes sense.

[00:05:43] Brecken: Yes, absolutely. It totally makes sense, but I would have put money that it was peridot.

[00:05:48] Jonathan: Peridot.

[00:05:49] Brecken: Yeah. Because all of our Hawaii accounts are obsessed with peridot. Yeah. Like they want peridot because it’s their thing.

[00:05:55] But actually, it’s black coral. Black coral is the state gemstone of [00:06:00] Hawaii.

[00:06:00] Jonathan: So why?

[00:06:01] Brecken: So why? It makes sense because it is found in the seas surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.

[00:06:06] Jonathan: And so therefore it also has a lot of cultural significance to the Hawaiians and they’ve recognized it for a long time as being important and wearing it for adornment as a protective talisman.

[00:06:21] So I think it makes a lot of sense. For those two

[00:06:24] reasons

[00:06:25] Brecken: And I think I actually do have a piece of black coral jewelry Thank you do I do and we used to sell it I mean, we still have some in our safe. But we don’t. And in order to sell black coral you have to have a special permit So in order to, I guess it’s not really importing it, but you do have to have a permit to sell, I guess they consider it like biological, like it’s an organic,

[00:06:48] Jonathan: It’s an organic gem. It is important of where you get your black coral because Hawaii did recognize that it was being over farmed and over harvested for a while. Set into some strict [00:07:00] guidelines to make sure that it doesn’t get over harvested.

[00:07:04] Brecken: And that’s always something you want to really. lOok for when you’re procuring your black coral from Hawaii and other things that it might be from Hawaii It might not be from Hawaii It’s a question that you can ask too because black coral does come from quite a few other places in the world Why I thought that Peridot would have been the gemstone of the state of Hawaii.

[00:07:27] Why do I keep going back to Idaho? But is because they have the green sand beach. Which is made up of peridot. Olivine, which is the mineral name for peridot. But I was looking around and I was like, okay do they mine it anywhere? No, there’s like really no mining of peridot in Hawaii.

[00:07:47] The reason they have it is because of all of the volcanic eruptions, right? So it comes up with The vault with the magma and that’s how it gets deposited on the beaches and that kind of stuff. So [00:08:00] it’s really not a gemstone that has been fashioned into any jewelry or anything like that In hawaii or that has any cultural significance to hawaii, right?

[00:08:09] But that’s why it makes more sense that black coral would be the gemstone. Now I did go down a rabbit hole because I like those. Yeah, and I was like, oh, couldn’t you sell? Jewelry made with the peridot sand, right? $100, 000 fine.

[00:08:24] Jonathan: To pick it up. If you pick it up.

[00:08:26] Brecken: If you take sand from the beach. 100, 000 fine.

[00:08:30] Because, obviously people would be like me Hey, I’m gonna go pick up some of that peridot sand. But I can guarantee that 100, 000 fine is gonna be worth well more than what the dang peridot sand is.

[00:08:41] Jonathan: Very true.

[00:08:42] Brecken: Yeah.

[00:08:42] Stephanie: Is it on all beaches? Or just certain

[00:08:44] Brecken: No, it’s No, there’s a certain No, so there are four beaches in the world that have, that are green sand beaches. One is in Hawaii and it is called the Mahana Beach at Papakolehi, on Papakolehi Coast. Did you like how I did that? [00:09:00] It’s because I’ve been to Hawaii a couple times. Please don’t pick up the sand. Please don’t pick up the green sand in Hawaii and be careful where you buy your black coral from. Yeah.

[00:09:10] So that would be Hawaii.

[00:09:11] Jonathan: Yeah. And I thought the interesting thing that I didn’t realize is that black coral comes from depths of a hundred to a thousand feet. So a lot of times you think of seeing coral and stuff when you’re scuba diving or even snorkeling, but not black coral.

[00:09:26] Black coral is at much dark, deeper depths.

[00:09:30] Brecken: Yeah. I have only gone down to 60 feet when scuba diving cause I’m not certified. Have you gone lower than that?

[00:09:35] Jonathan: I’ve gone to a hundred. Yeah.

[00:09:36] Brecken: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I know.

[00:09:38] Jonathan: But that barely is deep enough to even reach black coral. So it must take

[00:09:42] some super

[00:09:43] Brecken: How do I get it?

[00:09:44] Jonathan: I don’t know.

[00:09:44] Brecken: We’ll have to investigate that. Yeah.

[00:09:47] Stephanie: I bet it’s because of the pressure. Maybe. Maybe.

[00:09:50] Jonathan: And maybe that’s why it’s black and not colorful. Yeah. Because like most coral is fairly colorful or white. But I wonder if it has something to do with the depth.

[00:09:58] Brecken: Things to learn. Yep. [00:10:00] Alright, I have to say it’s time to move on to Idaho now.

[00:10:02] Jonathan: Yep.

[00:10:03] Brecken: Should we?

[00:10:04] Jonathan: Idaho! . Idaho! Idaho! Idaho! Idaho!

[00:10:06] Brecken: We are partial to Idaho because that is our state. The gem state. I think that’s the funniest thing. People are always like why are you guys based in Idaho? And I just look at them and I throw back because it’s the gem state like that it makes total sense why we would be here and it’s actually how our company got started

[00:10:27] Jonathan: Correct.

[00:10:27] Brecken: Yeah. Jonathan’s dad started mining opal in Idaho in 1973. So this is our 50th year of business.

[00:10:36] Jonathan: Another reason to bring back the podcast. Another reason. Before the year is over. Yes. We snuck on, snuck it on in there. \

[00:10:44] Brecken: But I have a question for you, Jonathan, because I am not an Idaho native.

[00:10:49] Jonathan: You’re not. No. Whereas, I’m 3rd generation. 3rd generation Idahoan.

[00:10:53] Idahoan.

[00:10:54] Brecken: What year did Idaho become known as the Gem [00:11:00] State?

[00:11:00] Jonathan: That I have no idea.

[00:11:02] Brecken: It is not too much earlier than our company started. It was 1967 that Idaho became known as the Gem State.

[00:11:09] Jonathan: That’s also the year that the state gem was assigned.

[00:11:15] Brecken: We just, boom. We were just like, we’re the gem state. This is our gem.

[00:11:20] Jonathan: All at the same time.

[00:11:21] Brecken: Way to go, Idaho.

[00:11:23] Jonathan: Way to go, Idaho.

[00:11:24] Brecken: Okay, so what is the state gem of Idaho?

[00:11:26] Jonathan: It is the star garnet.

[00:11:30] Brecken: I think it should be opal, but that’s just because I think, right.

[00:11:36] Jonathan: Wow. You are really excited about both of today’s gems (sound effect) on both of

[00:11:40] them.

[00:11:41] Brecken: No, it’s not that I’m not excited at, and I’m sure there’s a beautiful star garnet out there from Idaho, somewhere.

[00:11:48] Jonathan: You just haven’t seen it.

[00:11:49] Brecken: I just haven’t seen it yet, but it, so what makes it so cool is the asterism, right? So you’ve got those rutile needles that are all intersecting at the perfect angle, [00:12:00] so you get that star when you do the cabochon.

[00:12:02] Jonathan: Typically a four.

[00:12:03] Brecken: Yeah, typically a four raised star, but sometimes

[00:12:06] Jonathan: You can get a special one.

[00:12:07] Brecken: A special one?

[00:12:08] Jonathan: That’s a six raised star.

[00:12:10] Brecken: Yeah, so the thing that I’ve noticed mostly with the Idaho Star Garnet is they’re not very translucent.

[00:12:16] Jonathan: No, they tend to be quite dark.

[00:12:17] Yeah, they do. So they are red in quotation marks. So it’s almost more like of a root beer. Yeah. I would almost call it a brown, like a reddish brown. Yeah. That’s more of a root beer color. But it’s, it is important in the fact that it’s only, there’s only two places on earth that you find star garnets.

[00:12:33] Brecken: Truth. Okay, fine. I’ll give you that, Idaho.

[00:12:35] Jonathan: One of two is a pretty big deal. The other place is India, which has some Star Garnets, but Idaho’s Star Garnets are supposed to be more famous and they’ve been mine for over a hundred years.

[00:12:47] Brecken: Yeah, so I guess that’s different than Opal. I guess it was first.

[00:12:51] Jonathan: Yeah, Opal was found later. I’m not sure what year Opal was found, but Star Garnets are found up in the Panhandle closer to [00:13:00] Moscow or, Coeur d’Alene.

[00:13:02] Brecken: Yeah, Canada.

[00:13:04] Jonathan: Not quite as far as, you’re still a ways from Canada at that point.

[00:13:08] Brecken: Sure, but up there in the hinterlands.

[00:13:12] Jonathan: A long way from us, About eight, eight, not quite eight, seven hours from us.

[00:13:17] Brecken: I think that’s one of the things that most people don’t really think about is how big Idaho is. But like how long it is, like how much.

[00:13:24] Jonathan: That we go from Utah and Nevada.

[00:13:27] Brecken: All the way to Canada.

[00:13:28] Jonathan: All the way to Canada.

[00:13:29] Brecken: So it, and you’ve got Oregon and Washington.

[00:13:32] Stephanie: I always give people the little L. Yeah. Everybody thinks we’re up here at the tip, but we’re actually here at the southeast corner of it.

[00:13:41] Brecken: Yeah, we’re located in the southeast corner, closer to we’re closer to Utah, Wyoming, Montana, down in that area. We’re not just the gem state because of Star Garnet and Idaho Opal.

[00:13:54] We have a plethora of other . . .

[00:13:58] Jonathan: Tourmaline?

[00:13:58] Brecken: Gems and minerals down [00:14:00] here. You have I have I literally went on to the Idaho.

[00:14:04] Jonathan: You got the full list of everything that’s ever been found?

[00:14:07] Brecken: And the counties that they were found in.

[00:14:09] Jonathan: That might be going a little too far.

[00:14:10] Brecken: It might be, but I wanted to know where they were. So there’s Agates. Actually, funny story about Agates is we were in Victor, Idaho, and our girls were playing in a crick, a creek? A creek there, not a crick.

[00:14:23] Jonathan: You’re gonna call it a crick?

[00:14:24] Brecken: A crick!

[00:14:26] Jonathan: Are you from, I thought you weren’t from Idaho.

[00:14:28] Stephanie: Idaho has gotten to her.

[00:14:31] Brecken: We were, they were playing in a creek and Olivia pulls out this massive rock and she’s look at it. It’s got blue and pinks in it. And it is a huge chunk of agate, which was fun. And we’ve gone back to that creek every summer and we’ve never found another piece, but that

[00:14:50] Jonathan: especially not like that. Cause it was what about. A little bit bigger than a grapefruit? Came from the creek.

[00:14:55] Brecken: Came from the creek. Teton County.

[00:14:59] Jonathan: Teton [00:15:00] County.

[00:15:00] Brecken: But so there’s agates, there’s amethysts, there’s apatite, there’s aquamarine, which we have some pieces of the aquamarine. There’s azurite, there’s different beryls, like green beryls. Apparently there is a dark blue beryls in Elmore County.

[00:15:16] Jonathan: Isn’t that aquamarine? Dark blue? Blue beryls is aqua.

[00:15:22] Brecken: They don’t call it, cause I guess the aqua also comes from Elmore. Maybe it’s just somebody that thinks it’s really dark blue. There’s calcite there’s spinel, chalcedony I’m going through the whole list, guys. Chrysocolla, quartz, there are diamonds, and I have seen a diamond from Idaho.

[00:15:38] Jonathan: We have, and the Smithsonian, in the back room, they have diamonds from Idaho.

[00:15:43] Brecken: Which I was pretty cool, I had no idea. Yeah. There’s felt sparse fluorites, garnets, obviously which I guess I shouldn’t say that because there are some really pretty Idaho garnets that aren’t star garnets, right? Yeah. Jade, kyanite, malachite, [00:16:00] marcusite, like literally I’m just like the list keeps going on. Opal, obviously. Opalized wood ,which is super cool. Petrified wood, pyrite, big quartz crystals. We’ve got geodes. We’ve got rhodochrosite, rhodonite. There’s rubies and sapphires. Let’s see. I’m going on topaz, which is a big one. So you’ve got blue topaz and you’ve got yellow topaz. And then you also have tourmaline, which really surprised me because I don’t remember hearing about tourmaline in Idaho, but.

[00:16:31] It’s there, it’s in Blaine County, Boise, Clearwater, No. Sun Valley. Oh, look at that go. I mean it truly is the gem state. But I think also to understand the history of Idaho, you have to go back to silver and gold.

[00:16:48] Jonathan: A lot of silver and gold mining.

[00:16:50] Brecken: A lot.

[00:16:50] Jonathan: Back in the day.

[00:16:51] Brecken: And so there were, there was an Idaho gold rush. Did you know this?

[00:16:55] Jonathan: There, I did.

[00:16:56] Brecken: I did not. Because, I’m from California and that’s all that matters. [00:17:00] The California Gold Rush. But, no, there was an Idaho Gold Rush in the 1860s. And do you know where it was discovered? I don’t, actually. In the Boise Basin.

[00:17:11] Okay. Do you notice how I said it? Boise. Not Boise. Boise. Boise. Which is the appropriate way to say it. Sure. We know you’re not native when you say Boise. It’s Boise. Everybody’s looking at me, this is a thing! I’m not native either

[00:17:28] Stephanie: But you just like, looked at me like I was supposed to say it. And now I’m like,

[00:17:31] Brecken: How do you say it? There was also another silver and gold rush in the 1860s, 70s in Silver City, which is Southwestern Idaho. And then Jonathan and I got to visit. Wallace, Idaho last summer and we the silver valley. We went to Mine with the girls. They absolutely hated it. It was cold.

[00:17:52] Jonathan: They were freezing cold because it was the middle of summer So we went in

[00:17:55] Brecken: but we knew it was going to be cold because we’ve been in mine. Yeah, he looked [00:18:00] like Santa Claus.

[00:18:00] Jonathan: He did.

[00:18:01] Brecken: He really was our tour guide, but he was a miner his whole life which I thought was super interesting and Wallace is a it’s a cute little mountain town. There’s tall evergreen trees everywhere and It has this rich history of silver mining that goes back all the way to the 1880s The thing that I found super interesting when we were there was they’re still actively mining silver there, right?

[00:18:26] But they are not processing it there. No, and that’s because it’s now a Superfund site since the 1983 It has become a superfund site, which basically means that it has been contaminated by all the heavy metals that they used in processing the silver ore. So they are not processing silver ore there anymore.

[00:18:48] It’s being shipped to a different location and the EPA is actively trying to clean up the area. Cleanup’s good. Cleanup is fantastic. Because it is a beautiful area. Because it is so beautiful. And it was [00:19:00] really funny. When we were talking to the local people there about it, and I said, oh I want to buy a piece of silver from here. And they’re like, oh no all the silver here gets shipped out now because we don’t refine it here. Right. And so I that was like that blew my mind and so then I went down the rabbit hole of The EPA and heavy metal, pollution and all that other kind of stuff. But it is part of our history and it’s I’m glad that we’re cleaning it up now, right?

[00:19:23] Jonathan: Yep.

[00:19:25] Brecken: Okay. So I think one of the important things to cover is why Idaho is so mineral rich, right? Why does this state have such a huge deposit of different kinds of minerals? That is a great question. And we have only we had a geologist If only we had a geologist. I’m not a geologist.

[00:19:41] Stephanie: Don’t we have two?

[00:19:42] Brecken: Yes. Yeah, there are two geologists here on staff. But we have a lot of stuff going on here. Yes. There’s a lot of tectonic activity, magma processes, hydrothermal activity, sedimentary processes, and metamorphism. So if you’ve ever heard of this little place called Yellowstone. A [00:20:00] little bit of hydrothermal there.

[00:20:02] Jonathan: A little bit of hydrothermal

[00:20:03] Brecken: and also volcanic activity. So that is actually what formed the opal in Idaho. Was that because so plate shift, right? And so that super volcano used to be like where we are now, you can tell because when you go out in Pocatello, lava. Everywhere. Yeah,

[00:20:21] Jonathan: There’s big ol there’s craters of the moon.

[00:20:23] Brecken: You’ve got craters of the moon.

[00:20:24] Jonathan: And you’ve, just in Pocatello alone, you’ve got those big lava walls. So it’s really, you can definitely tell this was geologically, some geological formation by volcanic activity.

[00:20:36] Brecken: And so that’s actually what formed the Idaho opal, but then you have all your hydrothermal activity, which is what’s going to form your beryls and your tourmalines and your garnets and all these different things.

[00:20:48] And then you’ve got your plates crashing together, which is pushing up things that are bringing minerals up to the surface. So there is, this is a hotspot of activity for sure. Of tectonic [00:21:00] and geological activity. So that’s what makes Idaho so special and why

[00:21:05] Jonathan: We have so many different. Gems. Yeah. Now, did you do the deep dive? Does Idaho have the most? Is it truly, did we just name ourselves the gem state? Or do we really have more species of gemstones than any other state?

[00:21:17] Brecken: I didn’t do the deep dive because I don’t want it. I’m just gonna say we are.

[00:21:24] Jonathan: We are. We’re just claiming. We’re just, we win.

[00:21:27] Brecken: We win. I think though it depends on how you define gemstone because you know you got your A class, your B class, your C class minerals.

[00:21:35] Stephanie: Is there a county or a region that is more prolific in gemstones because of that kind of geological condition? I mean I’m assuming that’s like moving more towards like Victor and that part of it.

[00:21:50] Brecken: No, I would say it literally spreads the whole state. Oh, interesting. Literally the whole state. You got Nez Perce. You got Shoshone. You’ve got Owyhee. You’ve got Washington. You’ve got Adams. You’ve got [00:22:00] Lemhi. Is that how you say that county? Fremont. Boise. Camas. It’s everywhere. It is literally everywhere.

[00:22:07] Although you don’t see Bannock County on here meh, for us. Oh, no, Bannock County’s on here.

[00:22:12] Stephanie: What do we have?

[00:22:13] Brecken: We have hematite pebbles.

[00:22:15] Jonathan: Hematite pebbles.

[00:22:17] Brecken: Yeah, whatever that means. I know what that means, but, okay, so let’s talk prospecting. Okay, in Idaho. I also went on a deep dives with the

[00:22:29] Jonathan: like recreational prospect.

[00:22:31] Brecken: Yes. Yeah. Recreational prospecting because I used to think it was naughty to just go because we have a lot of state land and federal land here. We don’t have. We don’t have any national parks in Idaho with the exception of a blip of Yellowstone, which I find to be a travesty because there are some really beautiful places in Idaho.

[00:22:52] We need to have a national park here, but we have a lot of state parks. And so I thought, okay is it illegal to prospect on [00:23:00] state land?

[00:23:01] Jonathan: It depends on the protection level, right?

[00:23:04] Brecken: I was surprised if you just want to go out and like pan for gold or, prospect like that on public lands, you don’t need a permit for that.

[00:23:13] Jonathan: As long as you’re not using. . .

[00:23:15] Brecken: As long as you’re not using machinery. So like they have this whole list, which is will it cause little or no surface disturbance, like panning, fossil hunting or rock handing? You don’t need a permit, but you do need to check with the ranger. In that area before you go out and do it.

[00:23:31] And they’ll give you guidelines and guidance on how to do it and that kind of stuff. Other times you can, sometimes you can even pick up a mine claim on public lands. Do you know how much a mine claim costs? Are you going to read my notes?

[00:23:45] Jonathan: $165.

[00:23:48] Brecken: It is. It’s $165 and you get 20 acres with that to mine, which I was like, wow.

[00:23:54] Jonathan: That’s a pretty big deal. That is a good deal, but you don’t own the land.

[00:23:57] Brecken: You don’t own the land, you just own, or you just [00:24:00] No. You’re just, it’s a mining claim. You’re leasing the mineral rights to that land for that, for a set amount of time. But there are a ton of regulations and guidelines that go along with that.

[00:24:08] So if that is of interest to you, you can look it up. But I was amazed that you were able to just go out there and prospect. So Jonathan, say you want to go out and pan for gold recreationally. What is the most gold rich river in Idaho? Don’t look at my notes. I have no idea. Okay. It’s close by. Is it really?

[00:24:33] Your dad likes fly fish on it.

[00:24:35] Jonathan: The Portneuf.

[00:24:35] Brecken: Oh no, not the Portneuf.

[00:24:37] Jonathan: The Snake.

[00:24:38] Brecken: The Snake.

[00:24:39] Jonathan: The Snake River.

[00:24:40] Brecken: Yes.

[00:24:41] Has the most gold.

[00:24:42] Yes. So it’s 800 miles long. The Snake River starts in Yellowstone.

[00:24:46] Jonathan: So I guess that would be probably the largest river in Idaho too, isn’t it? Perhaps

[00:24:52] Brecken: And probably the most famous river in all of Idaho too, but that is the river in Idaho that has the most gold if you decide you want to go out and pan for [00:25:00] gold.

[00:25:00] Jonathan: Any specific area of the snake? Because the snake, like you said . . .

[00:25:04] Brecken: I’m not giving away the secrets. I learned, I’m not giving away everybody in their cousin. We’re gonna make the girls come pay for gold next summer. gotta pay for your college.

[00:25:15] Jonathan: Child labor.

[00:25:18] Stephanie: No, it’s fa it’s family. It’s fun. Okay. No, they actually, so we did take the girls.

[00:25:25] The girls are like super into finding every kid’s into finding rocks and stuff like that. So I think they’d be totally down for it. Yeah, probably. But panning is not easy. Panning is not easy. All right. I guess that concludes our another episode of Gym Junkies. I mean our first one back, but definitely not our first episode.

[00:25:44] Jonathan: Yeah.

[00:25:44] Brecken: But I feel like maybe next time we’ll get the training wheels off. There you go.

[00:25:49] Jonathan: Thanks for listening, and if you want to see what we do every day, you can check us

[00:25:53] Brecken: out on Instagram at Parlé Gems.[00:26:00]

[00:26:04] Jonathan: Maybe we should try that again. You always used to say Instagram, Facebook, or on our website at parlegems. com. But you were like, Instagram? Okay. The Gram? Okay. Go for it. If you want to see what we do every day, you can check us out at

[00:26:23] Brecken: Our Instagram page or our Facebook page at Parlé Gems, or you can even come to our website, www.parlegems.com.

[00:26:31] Did you like that?

[00:26:32] Jonathan: I did.

[00:26:32] Brecken: Oh yeah. .

[00:26:34] Bye. Thanks for listening.

Green & Hairy Grossular Garnet Gooseberry

This week on Gem Junkies

“Grossular Garnet”

Known to the jewelry market as Tsavorite or Mint Garnet

One of many siblings in the Garnet family- Grossular is famous for its green variety


This is a parcel of Mint Garnet as found in Tanzania. This photo was taken by Brecken while her and Jonathan were visiting the mines where we receive gemstones from as featured in our collection, “Sharing the Rough”

                              A look down one of the mine shafts in Tanzania. Finding Grossular Garnet is often an indicator of Tanzanite,                                               which “Tanzania” is well-known for. Another photo courtesy of J&B’s trip to Africa.


Since the color is reliant on the amount of trace minerals found, the color of each individual gem can fall somewhere on a spectrum of yellowish-to dark green-to a blueish green. This graphic is courtesy of http://www.navneetgems.com/tsavorite-color-chart-navneet-gems/

Featured next to each other for comparison is one of our “Mint” and “Tsavorite” varieties (also pictured is our “purple” garnet). Our Mint takes on the lighter shade with more of a blueish hue, whereas our Tsavorite contains a very rich green.


Two pieces from our line “Sharing the Rough” in their finished form, where the color difference is even more prevalent. You can find these pieces in our collection at https://www.parlegems.com/collection.php?id=3&collection=Sharing+the+Rough

Cinnamon Garnet- otherwise known as “Hessanite” Image is courtesy of https://www.orissagems.com/hessonite_rough.htm



That’s all for this week. But if you want more content, and access to some never before seen content, then join our Facebook Group “Gem Junkies” and stay connected with us!

Out of the Family- The Lotus Garnet Story

Hey, thanks for listening to our Podcast! At least that’s why I am assuming you are here. If you haven’t you should check us out under “Gem Junkies” in the itunes store, or on your podcast app! 


Since listening to the podcast you were probably curious to see what the great, big Garnet family looks like. We also promised pictures of the color range & shift of our Lotus Garnet and what the mines look like! Well, we have all of that here. Scroll down to see our charts, and check out the gallery at the bottom! Let us know if you have any questions.

Email us at [email protected]




From left to right:

  1. Lotus Garnet Featured Pieces
  2. Garnet Family Display
  3. Lotus Garnet color range in shade
  4. Lotus Garnet color range in sun
  5. Lotus Garnet color range in shade
  6. Lotus Garnet color range in sun
  7. At the alluvial mine site in Tanzania 
  8. At the alluvial mine site in Tanzania
  9. Lotus Garnet rough
  10. Lotus Garnet rough size

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Shop our Lotus Garnet Jewelry

A Mandarin in the Sun


       Likened to the color of the sky while the sun is grazing across the horizon on the plains of Africa, the Mandarin Garnet embodies the color range from a subtle bright orange-yellow, to an almost rust-like, dark orange color. Upon its rediscovery in the Serengeti of Tanzania, our Mandarin Garnet, also known by the species name, Spessartine Garnet, has become a designer favorite due to its striking orange color.

       Spessartine garnets carry Manganese- one of the rarest elements found naturally on Earth-  and is the defining factor in this stone’s striking orange color. The lack of pleochroism in this stone becomes a favorable asset for it, as it displays the same rush of color from every direction, and can hold many faceted shapes favorably. Mandarin garnet is naturally beautiful, and does not go through any treatments.

     Our Sharing The Rough Collection is a way for us to share with you elements of the Earth in all it’s beauty. Each gemstone personifies, not only the story of the rough that it came from, but the story of all aspects of mother nature that sculpted it into existence. The colors are vivid, the stones are rare, and every gem is responsible for weaving stories together.

     So, whether you prefer to catch the sunrise or the sunset- the ombré of red, orange, and yellow that cascades across the sky embody the color spectrum of this stunning gemstone. These colors can evoke a sense of jubilant warmth,  and symbolizes what is at the heart of nature- the sun.


Mint of the Merelani


     Nestled up in the foothills of Africa’s largest Mountain, Kilimanjaro, is the world’s most famous green Grossular mine. Merelani Hills, Tanzania, is home to some of the most rejuvenating green Garnets; green Garnets that can match up to the reputation of voluminous Emeralds and Tsavorites, reign from deep within a Tanzanite mine. All by accident the Mint Garnet was discovered and has been captivating gemstone enthusiasts and jewelry designers ever since. With only a limited supply from a small part of western Africa, Mint Garnet has not only enchanted everyone with its beauty, but also its rarity.

    This gem might draw you in due to the pastel green that differentiates it from its Tsavorite counterpart, but this gem has another secret. The cool bluish-green fluoresces into a pinkish-orange under UV light thanks to the rare and valued mineral chromium that is present in this family of garnets.

     Like the shadow that a lush mountain casts as the sun rises over it on a bright spring the morning, Mint Garnet’s color reflects that of calmness. The gentle green offers a renewing sensation, like that of a new day or the start of a new spring. If you close your eyes you can almost get the impression of a cool drop of mint water at the back of your throat or the feeling of morning dew on lush grass.

     We value how close to nature this piece feels and want to preserve the aspects of it’s beauty that strike you from its most raw form. The luster it gives off is preserved with meticulous stone cutting techniques. We offer both tumbled and faceted styles that both captivate the brilliance and uniqueness of each piece that is unearthed. Nothing this valuable is underappreciated by our designers, and we make sure to take care that every gemstone is given the platform it needs to share its story.

Sharing The Rough


Our company is named Parle because we believe that each and every gem has a story to tell. The gemstones combine minerals, heat, water, and pressure to mold themselves into unique and intricate treasures. Each has their very own distinct properties that are displayed in their color, patterns, and sometimes shape. Although the beauty from the unearthed gem speaks for itself, there is another story that is equally remarkable and important. For every piece of finished jewelry that makes it to the floor of a retail location there are multiple hands involved in the unearthing, cutting, designing, and crafting process. This is the story we want to tell. 

To the miners that dive deep into the folds of the earth, or that sift through riverbeds in the hot sun, to the gem cutters who unveil the most precious colors and forms possible with every gem, to the jewelry designers who carry the vision for how to best accentuate the beloved features, to the people who package it all together, this is their story, too. A gemstone can transcend global and cultural boundaries, and create unlikely bonds between communities that are worlds apart. 

The power these gemstones hold to weave all of these remarkable stories is where we found the inspiration for this collection. We want to bring you something that encapsulates the passion and beauty of every part of the journey. So, we bring you, “Sharing The Rough” and hope you will become part of their story.




One of our Mint Garnets in the hands of the Director of the film, Orin Mazzoni III.


Polishing facets of a Tanzanian Rhodolite Garnet.