Joel F. Hauser
Hauser Geode Beds Discovery Page 1
by Barbara Kimball Hauser
The name Joel F. Hauser is widely known among rock and gem collectors. He was active in the lapidary hobby over most of his life, as he started collecting and finishing rocks at a very early age, and is credited with the discovery of the Hauser Beds, the geode fields that bear his name.
Joel was born in Blythe, California, in 1915, near the Colorado River. His father George operated a freight business there, and made weekly trips with his teams of horses and mules across the desert to carry freight from Blythe to the nearest railroad at Niland or Glamis. George later recalled that on those trips, far out among the desolate hills, he had noticed some strange and unusual formations. In certain places the hillsides and even the dirt track that served as a road were covered almost solidly with round, nodular rocks.
When Joel was still a young boy, the family moved to Redlands, where they found a cooler and kinder climate. Along with his younger sister and brother, Joel grew up in Redlands, attending the local schools. He graduated from the University of Redlands in 1935 at the age of 20.
Break at Home Geodes
Joel soon started working and bought his own car, which enabled him to begin serious rock hunting and collecting. Joel’s father, George, happened on some agate geodes someone had given to his son, and was reminded of those interesting round rocks he had seen out on the desert, years before. Together, he and Joel found their way back to that place. Sure enough those strange formations were still there in abundance. They explored and gathered all they could carry of the peculiar knobby rocks.
At home, Joel cut the agate nodules on his mud saw. The very first one he cut turned out to be a specimen of exceptional beauty. Later, when he discovered the low percentage of really good agates this particular area produced, he appreciated his extraordinary good luck on this first cut. He polished this geode and displayed it. Even when his collection had become large and very selective, this specimen had a place in it.
When Joel discovered what a rich source of material he had found, he returned again and again to this area. The first experiences in these new fields were like a child’s dream of Candyland. Everywhere he looked or stepped, there seemed to be an unending supply of agates for the taking. The land was public domain, unclaimed, unsurveyed, and probably even unexplored. It was many miles from a railroad or highway. (By this time, the railroad had been built through Blythe, and the old track followed by Joel’s father was not maintained as a road.) This was in the early nineteen thirties, and at that time the lapidary hobby was in its infancy in this country. The few people who might pass this way would be unlikely to notice or have an interest in the peculiar agate formations.
Joel took others with him into this paradise for rock collectors and as they wandered over the vast hills and gullies, new beds of nodules were discovered almost everywhere they went. Some concentrations were small and others were quite extensive. It became apparent that there were distinctive differences in agates from the various localities. Some geodes were lined with lovely amethyst crystals, or clear quartz. Some had striking stains of red coloring; others had yellow that contrasted with the more common blue, gray, white or black, which the majority of the agates showed. Some contained plume and sagenite, and many revealed lovely scenes and interesting markings when they were cut and polished. Some beds were predominantly solid, layered agate, until the rocks were cut open. For the collector, excitement and interest were at a high peak. Who could guess what the next cut might reveal?
You can still find geodes and agate at the Hauser Beds.
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