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Rockhounding on Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands – Vancouver Island News, Events, Travel, Accommodation, Adventure, Vacations



Rockhounding on Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands2019-01-14T23:42:12-08:00

Discover ancient fossils, sedimentary chert, or just regular old pretty stones. Vancouver Island’s volcanic origin and the ancient uplifting of tectonic plates promises the energetic hounder a constant supply of interesting treasures and precious finds. Combine rockhounding with casual strolls along the beach or strenuous hikes in search of exposed mineral veins – either way, you’re in for a memorable outing amid magnificent scenery!

Sedimentary Rock Formations, Conery Crescent Beach, Pender Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia
Sedimentary Rock Formations, Conery Crescent Beach, Pender Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia

The abundance and accessibility of beaches on Vancouver Island makes it a ‘gold mine’ for the rockhound. Most beaches are public with good access, and full of treasure at low tide. The glacial origin of the Island is responsible for large deposits of debris full of rocks, with the fascinating geology visible everywhere here and in the Gulf Islands. Ferocious winter storms constantly churn up the coastline, offering renewed bounty to the rock enthusiast.

Even the cobble beaches within Victoria can provide areas of interest to the rockhound. Dallasite, named after Dallas Road, is a volcanic rock found on almost any beach, and is not restricted to the Island. Just outside Victoria on the way to Swartz Bay is Island View beach, the site of several palaeontological finds and a good area for rocks and fossils. Large pieces of the sedimentary cliffs that overhang the beach often crumble to the ground below, revealing precious fossils and rock specimens.

West of the city, between Sooke and Jordan River, miles of rockhounding terrain include Whiffen Spit, Sooke Bay, Otter Point and Gordon Beach. Each of these areas has its own unique beauty, geography and rock finds.

Driving north up the Island will bring you to the Cowichan Lake region, including the ridge around Lake Cowichan and the community of Youbou, known for their supplies of rhodonite. At Nanaimo there is Petroglyph Provincial Park and the Horne Lake area (Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park), which is rich in dallasite. The beaches at Parksville and Qualicum Beach are wonderful for rockhounding, beachcombing and swimming.

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park has a spectacular series of waterfalls and pools with unusual geological formations and interesting rocks and boulders. The area has been made into a provincial park and campground, and it is an easy day trip from Victoria. To get there, drive west out of Parksville for ten minutes on well-marked roads.

Many of the Gulf Islands are home to interesting geology, and provide good areas for rock hounding, particularly Saltspring Island, Saturna Island and Hornby Island.

Wherever you travel on Vancouver Island, it is possible to discover interesting geological specimens. The experienced rockhound will not find it difficult to search through the overgrowth and vegetation of inland areas, while the novice may want to stick to the beach. Either way, the trails, roads and paths that crisscross the Island make it possible to have a rewarding rockhounding experience.

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Gemstones, Crystals And the World Of Weird

Being A Soft Place To Land



One of my podcast guests Lisa Tahir shared this healing nugget during our conversation: “Let go of the judgements you hold against yourself and find that empathy and forgiveness for you. And you’ll be able to do it easily for others and be a softer place to land for them.” It has been ringing in my ears ever since: ‘being a soft place to land’ for yourself and others. It is who and what I want to be as I grow up.

Another Healer had told me once ‘Damla as you begin to resolve your inner conflicts, others will find it easier to approach you because it won’t feel like they are coming near a war zone’. Being a war zone versus a soft place to land, in my experience that is the difference between tending to your needs, taking action to heal your energetic wounds, practicing forgiveness, love, directing your gaze to goodness every single day versus not doing anything about your wounds, your needs, and your well-being.

How can I be a soft place to land for myself and others? How can I treat the life that is here and now with more compassion, forgiveness, and listening instead of getting lost in my own and the world’s trauma and drama? I am asking these questions to give myself a chance to choose between being a war zone and a soft place to land.

What will you choose to be today? And if it really feels like a war zone within you (I know how that feels) and it has been feeling like that for a long long time (I know how that feels too), when will you choose to get help?

With lots of love and light,


P. S. If you are new to my blog and just getting introduced to my work, here’s more about me, here’s more about my healing work, and a few more healing reads herehere and here.

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Gemstones, Crystals And the World Of Weird

All about healing and more



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Gemstones, Crystals And the World Of Weird

Fakes, Fakes + More Crystal Fakes



Pictured below is one of my genuine Larimar pieces. It clearly shows (especially on the back) some of the normal brownish-reddish splotching or spots that can appear on real-deal larimar. It comes from hematite (iron) inclusions — or perhaps even from some copper inclusions.

BUT what makes my piece above classic Larimar is: that it’s predominantly BLUE.

Here’s another genuine larimar specimen with the usual red inclusions (totally normal):

Parent Géry / CC BY-SA (


BUT, the key point I’m trying to demonstrate here is that true-blue (pun always intended) larimar is MOSTLY blue. The very reason it has that Latin root “mar” in it describes it as blue.

What’s causing this “red larimar” confusion is an allegedly new red-colored pectolite find from South Africa that some sellers have taken to classifying as “Red Larimar”. Ummm, no. It’s a red pectolite.

Plain and simple.

Yes, blue Larimar is a pectolite (a type of silicate mineral), but it’s the blue variety with its own name. The red pectolite mineral has a completely different energy imprint than larimar. So, saying this red pectolite is “Red Larimar” is like saying smokey quartz is “brown amethyst” because both amethyst and smokey quartz are both quartz.  No, it’s smokey quartz. It has a different chemical makeup, a different way that it was “baked” in Mama Earth, and a completely different energetic signature to it.

So, I definitely classify “red larimar” as a total misrepresentation; simply a new confusing term on the market taking advantage of the fact that it’s of the same mineral family. Geez, if we’re gonna go that route, there’s going to be a whole lot more confusing mineral representations coming down the pike! Let’s just put the brakes on this sorta thing now.

Heads up!: Apparently, some are also marketing a “Pink Larimar”. Check out this screenshot I took:

crystal fakes

What in the hell?

There’s so much wrong with this above listing title, I don’t even know where to begin!

Fake Ametrine

Ametrine is quite visually as well as energetically appealing because it contains the properties of both amethyst + citrine in one crystal. Fascinating, right?!

So from a geological description; its a single crystal with both amethyst and citrine color zones; obviously where it gets its name from.  

crystal fakes

Prices should be high for a natural piece since they are EXTREMELY RARE and only are found in Bolivia (from the Anahí mine) and they’re quite difficult to mine.

BE AWARE: In the ’80s, scientists figured out how ametrine crystals develop in nature. And with that info, they became quite successful at replicating the process in the lab. Most of the ametrine on the market is synthetic, lab-created in Russia. Here’s all the info on that.

ametrine gemstone

Gemsphoto ( / CC BY-SA (

I wish I could give you some easy testing methods to ID this fake stuff but you’d need some super-advanced x-ray techniques + expensive gemological equipment. If you still wanna totally geek out on HOW to do that, here you go.

CAUTION: At first I used to think to myself: “If you really want a piece of ametrine in your collection, locate a totally natural crystal point. It’s not a guarantee but the odds are much better that it’s gonna be natural than a cut, faceted gemstone.” But since, I’ve learned that even with a natural-looking ametrine crystal point, it’s still possible for someone to synthetically apply a process or lab-grown it to fake the separate color-zoning and mimic genuine ametrine. 

It’s a total shame — but I just can’t trust ANY of the ametrine on the market to be natural at this point.

Fake Malachite

Wait! What? They’re faking malachite now?


REAL: All-natural fibrous malachite is hard to fake


crystal fakes malachite

FAKE: See how we only have two shades of green swirled (not botryoidal-patterned by the way!) with black? Clearly fake! And this was being sold on eBay as natural malachite.

Actually, this fake malachite racket’s been going on for a while because it’s one of the easiest minerals to mimic while fetching a good price; good ole’ greed.

As long as it’s labeled as “fake, synthetic, faux” or the like then I have no problem with this. But don’t try to pass this stuff off as the real thing!

Then there’s also “Red Malachite” that I blogged about before.

Quick ID Tips:

  • Depending on the angle the malachite is cut or broken off at, it may display a very complex botryoidal pattern (circular, bubbly pattern — see below photo) that’s quite hard to replicate.
  • A cheap price = a red flag. Real malachite ain’t cheap. Of course, this is no guarantee but it’s something to pay attention to.
  • Usually, a streak test will ID genuine malachite for you. It will leave behind a pale green powdery streak on a porcelain tile. If you want to get all geo-geeky with me, there are some more “involved” but easy-to-do at-home tests I teach in my Crystal Savvy Class Elective.
  • Oftentimes, the fake malachites (be especially careful with beads!!) are made of glass, polymer clay, plastics, resins, or any combo of any of those with various dyes swirled in. (Often these swirls and bands will be almost black; a key indicator of a fake! Actually, any black is usually a clear fake-flag. Real malachite is made of up many hues and tones of green, not just 2 or 3 shades plus black, as fakes often have.)
  • If it’s a plastic/resin combo, then it will burn when you hold a flame up to it, and it’ll stink!
  • Also, compare its weight to a similar in size natural piece. Malachite is quite dense and weighty due to its copper content. Whereas the glass, polymer, or plastic fakes will be relatively light.

Smoothed + polished but REAL malachite. Note all the many shades of green and absence of black? Plus very complex botryoidal (circular) markings? All tell-tale signs of the real deal. 🙂


Do Your Thing

Can you tell I’m a wee bit passionate about crystal fakes?

If you are too and want to know more about the mineral kingdom so you can be confident in what you’re getting then subscribe to my newsletter and get my FREE handy downloadable Crystal Fakes Reference eBook. This is the EXACT reference you need in order to navigate the gem shows, crystal shops, and eBay, get the REAL thing, and get what you pay for. Don’t get scammed or duped into buying FAKES… unless that’s exactly what you want! Sign up below:

Now, if you choose to work with man-made crystals and you enjoy them just fine, or it’s been working for you… as I always say:

“keep on ‘truckin’”. Don’t change a thing!

I just want us all to have the geo-knowledge first. Then you can make a well-informed decision regarding how you choose to work with these “stones”. Always use your common sense and the best protection from this is to be well-informed yourself.

And as always…

Buyer BewareWho are you buying from? Are they reputable? Do they know what they’re talking about? Are you doing your own due diligence + research? The best way to protect yourself is through education.

We all love the beautiful jewels that mama earth creates and you don’t know what you don’t know… until you know better. So, I hope you’ve learned something new here today. If you feel passionate about this too, please share this post in any way you prefer. (***There are some handy “SHARE” buttons you can use at the bottom of this post***).

Have you seen any of these or new crystal fakes or misrepresentations recently? Please share in the comments below!

Crystal Blessings,

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