Latest Entries »

Coin And Bullion Pages

Hey everyone,

Been working like crazy on a brand new coin and bullion web site – Coin And Bullion Pages.

It is kind of an amalgamation of all of my other old “small” coin and bullion web sites into one big new one. Also added is a Bullion Dealer directory, and some new images for which permission was kindly granted to use by an auctioneer. I’m stoked! they have some of the best coin pics around – although they were on white backgrounds. Nothing a bit o photoshop can’t fix, now on black backgrounds they look boss.

Here’s a nice example: The page about the English coin the Gold Ryal. Looks good hey?

As usual the “completion” of such a site threatens to e an overwhelmingly massive project. But hey, I like a challenge. 🙂

Happy 2013 all.



A quick google search on this turned into something of a wild goose chase.
Some of the answers out there are terrible! People, really!

Finally I managed to turn up something good – by writing the thing myself 😉 – this one: How To Tell If Gold Is Real

Pretty much every gold testing method you could think of (and some you haven’t) is examined and assessed, including ways to tell gold plate from solid gold (useful!)

There seem to be a lot of test methods which weed out some, but not all fakes. Anyway the best thing to do if you have some seriously valuable gold would be to take it to a reputable expert.


Just a few recently gathered…:

‎”I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.” – anon

“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Finally, after it having been a one-page website for over two years, I have begun the expansion of my Troy Ounce website.
The Troy system is an ancient system of weights that is still used to weight precious metal bullion. It has a long and interesting history. Originally the site simply featured a page about the troy ounce, but I decided to expand it to feature pages on related subjects. As well as a complete redesign, now I have pages on Silver Coin Melt Value, Bullion Coins, 925 Silver and Britannia Silver… many more pages on old coins, gold, silver and related subjects are on the way!

Catuaba and scientific clarity

I sometimes think that part of the reason ‘science’ is moving ahead in terms of acceptance is that it is pragmatic. If you wnt to have something accepted as truth in the modern world, you have to be practical and straightforward about it. Scientists are trained in specifics, and I think it pays off.
Classic example: Catuaba – good old catuaba is one of the supposed ‘aphrodisiac herbs’, and although science hasn’t really researched its efficacy, it enjoys great popularity and legend in the Amazon, where it derives – and even has a song written about it.
However, it turns out that there is no real certainty as to which amazon plant is actually Catuaba! Is there anything more likely to damage the credibility of a legend than this kind of glaring vagueness? I don’t think so.
I’m in general a fan of herbalism, and am of the view that ‘nature’s pharmacy’ contains many more medicines than we have currently extracted. However, the herbalists are going to have to get their act together and get scientific, otherwise it simply makes it too easy for other industries to ridicule.

The Bar

I have this concept of the “bar”. The bar you have to jump over to reach success.

In anything worth achieving in life, there is a bar.

In most cases, it is somewhat high. But it is never impossibly high. But the bar is always there, and it is always where it is. It’s simple. It’s the bar of entry.

There are two kinds of people. Those who are complaining that the bar is too high, that it’s not fair, that someone did something to them and because of _____ they will not be able to reach the bar, or the bar ought to be lower, or the government / corporations / bank / landlord / aliens / schoolteachers / parents / children / chemtrails / devil took too much from them so they cannot reach the bar.

And there are those who realise that while those things may indeed be true, focusing on them is a misdirection of time and energy – because you cannot do much to change the bar, but you can do a great deal to improve. These people are the ones simply working with full focus to become better, stronger, smarter, faster, leaner, more efficient, more knowledgeable, more brilliant…. so that they can get over the bar.

Every day when you wake up, you have a choice. Every moment in fact, it’s in your hands. Which of those two people are you going to be? There’s the bar. What are you going to do about it?

* * * * *

“Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.” – Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
“You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals.” – Booker T. Washington
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
“Some give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.” – Herodotus
“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.” – Sumner Redstone Chairman

I actually got down to some solid piano playing today. Stoked. Full of musical ideas.

I’ve been totally pigging out on the organic red cherries. When they come around, around this time of year, I generally feast on them until they’re all gone. The best.

Other than that, nothing fit to print. Working on some new articles etc. Here’s a good one: How To Make Essential Oils. I really enjoyed the research for that one; the best way to learn something is to write about it, so they say. Works for me.

UPDATE: here’s another monster page just added to herbs-info:

Sparkle sparkle

Check out these cool diamond pics I found. Note – they are creative commons.

Princess Cut diamond ring
1ct Princess Cut diamond ring.
Photo by Stephen Durham, image lic. under CCA2.0.

Princess Cut diamond
Princess Cut diamond
– mounted in ring. Photo by Stephen Durham
image lic. under CCA2.0.

Amazing what you can do with a macro lens (and same bling). I’ve gotta get a good camera and lens, I have a strong unfulfilled passion for macro close-up photography.


A stone that is quite closely related to moonstone is Labradorite. What makes labradorite desirable is its optical “schiller” effect. The stone itself isn’t rainbow-colored… however, light reflecting and refracting within the different fine layers of the stone, cause rainbow colors to light up inside the stone. This effect is called ‘labradorescence’, much in the same manner that moonstone’s effect is called ‘adularescence’ (moonstone has also been called ‘adularia’). Both labradorite and moonstone are types of feldspar.
Labradorite is so named because it was originally discovered in the Labrador Peninsula, Canada, in 1770. But some of the best labradorite apparently comes from Finland… it has acquired the name ‘spectrolite’, no doubt because of the spectrum of colors that appear inside it. I’ve seen big chunks of polished labradorite for sale online, the biggest being over 60lbs, I think. Smaller chunks of a few pounds can be quite expensive ($2,000) if the play of color is good. However, it’s easy to pick up small pieces for a few dollars, the usual stuff…. labradorite gets used for pendants, cabochons, spheres, etc etc etc

Been off on another one of those intellectual adventures… this one investigating and seeing if I can find out the true history of the moonstone. Like the moon herself, which shows us a reflected form, the true moonstone of the ancients turned out to be something of an illusionist….
Many of the classical-era writers on gemstones mention moonstone, well that is to say they mention a stone called selenites…. great confusion has this caused as there is a selenite mineral in our day; only that is the crystalline form of gypsum. The selenites mentioned by Pliny, Dioscorides et. al., (I’ve yet to find it in Theophrastus but then I haven’t looked hard yet) is described in general as a stone that is white / clear, and shows an image of the moon inside it. It sounds like it could be moonstone to me; is there any other stone that is so reminiscent of the moon’s silvery whiteness? They do however describe a few “file under weird” qualities, such as that the stone is found when the moon is full…. etc
Then we move on to the medieval writers, and they certainly have some out-there ideas. From the 13th to the 17th century, a great number of them state that the silenites is a stone that shows the likeness of the moon, only it changes, waxing and waning, according to the actual phase of the moon! I’m most puzzled by this… either there was some phantasmal force around in those days, which we can no longer perceive… and a magical stone which has been lost…. or they are superstitious and prone to believe anything they are said, rather than their sense… or they all simply copied from Bartholomew’s 13th century “On the nature of things”, the first source that appears to have mentioned this curious quality of moonstone. I can’t figure it out.
One thing that got interesting was when I found out that Dioscorides Materia Medica is extant in several Latin versions, which feature extended commentaries. This appears to have been the case with ancient herbals and such.. the scribes copying the manuscripts and users of the works often added annotations, which gradually grew. turns out that these annotations may never have been translated into english….. the working field notes from 2,000 years of using such a classic work? The temptation is too great. My latin is crap, but who knows, one day I’ll find a scholar and put out a master version of Dioscorides, complete with original illustrations and the greatest of the commentaries……. fun stuff!