Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Call to Artists! Deadlines near ...

Ironstone Vineyard's 19th Annual Spring Obsession Art Show & Competition now accepting entries!

Spring Art show is a juried show open to all 2-D artists, excluding photography & digitally enhanced work.  Works must be original completed by submitting artist. Entry form must be completed with entry fee and CD of images at Ironstone by due dates.  Panel review will commence the following week with notification of accepted pieces going out to artists by end of review week.
  • Download prospectus/entry form from pages above or go to Ironstone's website:
Accepted artists will receive delivery information & deadlines for original accepted art work. All pieces must be framed and ready to hang using wire hanging methods.

Theme Division "An Obsession with Daffodils & Tulips",

  • entries due January 15th, 2016 
  • $500.00 prize
  • Winning piece becomes promotional poster for 2016.
OPEN Division, any subject matter, any media excluding photography and digitally enhanced images.

  • entry, fee and CD due February 12th, 2016
  • $1000 first prize
  • $500 second prize
  • $250 third prize

Ironstone's Spring Obsession opens Saturday & Sunday, March 19 & 20, 2016
  • Free Exhibit viewing
  • Art in Action
  • Art's in attendance
  • Free Daffodil Exhibit
  • Free parking and FREE Shuttles to Downtown Murphys on Saturday
  • Additional activities TBA

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Ironstone Heritage Museum wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Here in Murphys we are looking at a possible white Christmas!  It is falling just a few miles up the road and currently raining here.  Temperature is dropping though and hopefully will bring those beautiful white snowflakes in time to blanket us all for Christmas Day!

If so, we will post some photos!  Otherwise have a wonderful holiday. Postings will resume after the Holidays.

Till then, the Heritage Museum crew wishes you well...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Agate lapidary slabs

We mentioned several posts back that we had coming in items from an old Rock Collection. 

Today, we were able to unpack a box that was full of mostly agate polished slabs.  

(Posted below is the Wiki-pedia definition of agate. PS, please check out Wikipedia and make sure to donate to keep them up and running free of charge!) 

Here in the Museum, we are learning about all these rocks as they come in. We are reporting here from a layman's perspective, not as geologists or even rock collectors, so hope you pros out there can bear with us and offer your more educated comments on what you see... PLEASE! 

Now, back to the box....

As you can see, there is a huge variety of colors, formations and sizes, shapes  ... 

This pretty piece is a nice thin slab with crystal formations there in the right hand side. Colors are purple, orange, yellow and white banding. We held it up to the window and it would make a very pretty hanging window piece.

This piece is actually a slice of "Thunder egg", at least that is what "google says".  Those white bands are not flash marks, they are truly opaque white banding in the upper portion with the lower portion being white banding around some crystallization.  Very pretty.

This photo didn't come out very well... doesn't show the colors true, but you can get the idea of the banding and the crystals in the center. Nice piece.

This piece below is one of my favorites. I have been told it is petrified wood. Love the brecciated portions. 
(Breccia (/ˈbrɛiə/ or /ˈbrɛʃiə/) is a rock composed of broken fragments of minerals or rock cementedtogether by a fine-grained matrix[1] that can be similar to or different from the composition of the fragments.)  See, always learning!

All of these pieces have been processed and are now available for purchase. Prices range from $5 - $70+


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Agate banded 750pix.jpg
Banded agate (agate-like onyx); the specimen is 2.5 cm (0.98 in) wide
CategoryQuartz variety
(repeating unit)
SiO2 silicon dioxide
ColorWhite to grey, light blue, orange to red, black. banded
Crystal habitCryptocrystalline silica
Crystal systemRhombohedral Microcrystalline
FractureConchoidal with very sharp edges.
Mohs scalehardness6.5–7
Specific gravity2.58–2.64
Refractive index1.530–1.540
Birefringenceup to +0.004 (B-G)
Agate /ˈæɡət/ is a cryptocrystalline variety of silica, chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas at Ironstone

Maggie Mae decided to check out our new Christmas Tree here in the Museum.  Not sure she fully approves. After all, there are no doggie toys or treats that she can see...

There are plenty of special estate silver plate and glass ware though! 

We are so ready for the Holidays ... great 35% discounts on all our estate silver & glass ware, 50% off specially selected jewelry as well as special wine sales to stock you up for all the company.

We also have quite a bit of the Rock Museum items out and ready for you to check out. We will be doing a 25% sale on all cabochons and lapidary slabs through December. There are some beautiful pieces.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lara Downes Holiday Cabaret

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Ironstone Vineyards
1894 Six Mile Road
Murphys, CA 95247

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Specials, maybe longer while supply lasts

Holiday Specials!
·    50% off select jewelry
·    35% off Estate Glassware & Silverplate
·    25% off select new Cabochons and lapidary slabs
·    Special Purchase Natural Stone Bolo Ties $10 - $25
·      Author Glenn Wasson’s newest release, “Too Much to Swallow”, normally $25, now only $20. This new books features the true story of the “Calaveras Gastrolith”, the Gold Nugget found in Murphys in 1987. Great Christmas Gift! 
·    Popcornopolis large Caramel Cones, 24 pack case only, regular price $120, while supply lasts only $78! 

·    Special Purchase Holiday Theme gifts priced as marked

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Antique Victorian Sugar Shaker

Just in today is this glass sugar shaker. Researching images, it has been determined (by the silver top) that it is of the Victorian era.  The bottle itself looks to be molded with a seam running on either side. The shape of the bottle is unique for that period, however I did find a beautiful little watercolor of antique Victorian sugar shakers with this exact bottle shape and top. It stands about 5" tall.  If you know more about this little gem, please feel free to comment below or email us at  It will be offered for sale after we polish up the lid a bit....

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Winchester Trademark Jewelry comes to Ironstone

Ironstone Heritage Museum unveiled today the only authorized Winchester Trademark Jewelry. 

Designer Chris Chaney has succeeded in producing a great product just in time for the Holidays!

Sterling Silver with bright & colorful czs, the jewelry ranges from $79 to $129 with pendants, post earrings, dangle earrings and for the men in your life, tie tacks, which actually work great on scarves for the ladies as well.

The jewelry is stamped with the Winchester logo and the style of bullet, 9mm, 357, 40 S&W, 45 auto, plus a few more.  These are fun pieces, look great on.

What we like is the fact that even if you aren't familiar with gun styles or much less care, the pendants are attractive enough and subtle enough that anyone can wear these pieces. 

As I am preparing this info for you, some of our customers stopped in on a "Ladies day outing" below and couldn't resist!  After trying on several pair, they settled on the post earrings. After approving this photo, they dashed off to the tasting room to sample wines and show off their new earrings to the Tasting Room crew and Guests.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Obsidian Lapidary slabs

We have some beautiful Obsidian just in.  Below is the Wikipedia definition of the material. Obsidian was the most common material used by Native Americans for arrowheads. Using the technique called Napping, the stone was chipped into the shape desired. Being a type of glass, it can be very sharp when worked this way. 

These specimens are nice slabs ready to be used for cabochons, jewelry or just great looking specimen display pieces.

This first image shows just a few of the types we have here...

Silver Sheen Obsidian, very pretty silver shine.

Gold Sheen Obsidian, this piece a Mahogany Obsidian with a gold shimmering undertone

Rainbow Obsidian, with bands of color

Mahogany Lace Obsidian, a see through stone with lacy streaks of black with a few pools of Mahogany color

Mahogany Obsidian, nice rich mahogany and black

Snowflake Obsidian, black with little white snowflakes.

This box depicts some of the different size and shape of the slabs available. All are polished on at least one side, many on both with a few more block shaped polished on all sides. Great display pieces.

    Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth.

    Obsidian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Petrified Wood lapidary Slabs

These two beauties just came in. Forgive my little camera, it was never made for picking up the detail in pieces like these, so you might either have to come in to see for yourself or take my word for it....
These are spectacular. Rich warm colors, one in browns and reds, the other creams, browns. Both pieces hail originally from Oregon. 
They have come in from a very old collection and in researching, I have not found anything like these two available today.

This first is my favorite. Rich cream colors and an abundance of patterns. There is really so much going on in these two slabs. We are seeing jaspers, agates and so much more.  This specimen is roughly 12" x 10" and between 1" to 1.5" thick.

This is a detail of the above piece. The bright spot is light glare .. but I hope this gives you an idea of the diversity in patterns on this piece.

The second piece is 11" x 8" wide and  1.5" to 2" thick.
Colors here range from Chocolate browns, cream color, reds, oranges and white.

 These are details of the above piece. Again, sorry for the poor photo quality. Come in and see this for yourself. Stunning.

The bright spot on the left is light reflection.

Here is an image showing the thickness of the two pieces.

If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing, just drop us an email or give us a call...
or 209-728-1251

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Pink Polished Limb Casts

Below are images of the two boxes of Old Collection pieces that have just arrived here at the Heritage Museum.  Received from a very old Museum Collection dating back at least 90 years, these are just a small sampling of the extensive collection that will be offered up for sale over the next several months.

These two boxes are listed as "Pink Polished Limb Casts". 

We have been searching for a clear definition of a "pink polished limb cast", for you, but have been unsuccessful.  As I understand, limb casts are the agatized remains of a petrified limb of a tree or prehistoric fauna. 

Beautiful in color, smooth to the touch, they are quite unusual and all polished nicely. They would make great wire wrap projects or simply look great in a collection.

If you see one here that you can't live without, email us and we will get you a closer image with measurements.  Or better yet, stop in and fondle a few! 

Prices range from $10 to $25.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Our dear friend Glenn Wasson just stopped in to deliver his newest book,
"Too Much to Swallow, The Gold Gastrolith of Calaveras County & Selected Works by Glenn Wasson".   

And as usual, Glenn was in top form entertaining the guests with his quick wit and old world charm. 

Glenn has asked that we take $5 off the $25 price of his books for the Holidays to make it easier to share his stories with more of his fans.

If you haven't heard the story of the Gold Gastrolith, you need to stop in and see it for yourself.  Yes, we have on display the original Natural Gold Nugget, THE Gold Gastrolith of Calaveras County, found here in Murphys in 1987, which is the focus of this true story. And the story as expressed by Glenn is not to be forgotten. It is as Glenn claims, "a story Mark Twain would loved to have heard".

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mariposa Gargoyle Gold Specimen comes to Ironstone!

The Kailani Mining Co. is proud to present the 
Mariposa Gargoyle Gold Specimen. 
Now on display and available for sale at 
Ironstone's Heritage Museum, here in Murphys, CA.

Specific Gravity Tested 2.192 ozt of gold in this stunning specimen and valued at $7150.00.  Miner Captain Dan, brought us a photo of the larger specimen that the Gargoyle had separated from. It is amazing. We have it on display along with the Gargoyle inside the vault along with the Kautz Crystalline Piece. 

O.K. we know that 2.192 ozt doesn't compare to the 44 lbt of the Kautz Crystalline Specimen, but the Gargoyle will sit nicely in anyone's display shelf.  Come see for yourself!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lapidary Gold Mine!

We have been very busy here at Ironstone's Heritage Museum. Incoming is an overwhelming collection of lapidary rock and collection minerals, over 70 boxes!  These are all coming in from a very old collection, near 90 years old. 

Not having a geologist in house, the research to determine what these are and what value if any is a bit challenging, but doable.

Once pieces have been identified, they will go up for sale here in the Museum. 

This week we will be tackling the items in the photos below.

Rhodonite in 4 very distinct colors and patterns along with a very large slab of what I was told is onyx.

The Rhodonite above are very large slabs and cabochons. Forgive my little camera, but that yellow piece is actually a very lovely peach color, not yellow. Ditto below...

The first slab is a rich pink with distinctive black patterns. Most resemble landscapes with Oak Tree images. There are quite a few slabs and cabochons of this particular color.

The round cabochon above is a much lighter pink with more spider web like black lines. You can see white quartz on many of the slabs and cabochons of this coloration.

The far right slab is a sparkling pinkish red color with both less distinctive black lines as well as more defined markings. There are fewer of this coloration in the mix so far.

And last by not least is that NOT yellow oval cabochon. It is a beautiful peach color with black accents. Very few of these pieces so far. 

However, since we have unpacked only 10% of the entire collection, there is no telling what we may find throughout November as we unpack the collection.

According to Wikipedia...
Rhodonite is a manganese inosilicate, (Mn, Fe, Mg, Ca)SiO3 and member of the pyroxenoid group of minerals, crystallizing in the triclinic system. It commonly occurs as cleavable to compact masses with a rose-red color (the name comes from the Greek ῥόδος rhodos, rosy), often tending to brown because of surface oxidation.

Mohs scale hardness‎: ‎5.5 - 6.5
Crystal symmetry‎: ‎Triclinic 1 pinacoidal
Crystal habit‎: ‎Tabular crystals, massive, ...
Crystal system‎: ‎Triclinic - Pinacoidal H-M ..

Rhodonite crystals are known for their capacity to bring emotional healing and to release blocked energy from within the heart chakra.

Above you see today's challenge. The very large slab I have been told is onyx.  It is a very old collection piece around 10" x 8", going from 1" thick to 2" thick.  Stunning cream color with some crystallization in some spots. A beautiful piece.

On top are several cabochons that may or may not be of the same material along with 3 beautiful pieces of stone canyon jasper. 

We are very grateful to the Calaveras County Gem & Mineral Society for offering to help us unpack and identify the remaining boxes of material. It will be like Christmas for all of us!   I will be posting images of pieces we are working with along with specimens that have already gone into the new cases here in the Museum.

If you love rocks come on by and take a look. There are some really outstanding slabs, specimens and cabochons. 

And, if you know rocks, you may correct us at any time! Your knowledge is more valuable that our "Google-ing". So do stop on by.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Behind the scenes shots

Gett'n ready for The Band Perry!

We Are BACK!!!

It has been too long since we have posted or even had time to visit all our friends here at the IronstoneBlog!

But do not fear, our hiatus is over.

We are getting ready today for The Band Perry Concert.  Light and sound crews are unloading and lifting gear on the new state of the art stage, lots of trucks unloading props, drums, guitars and more.

Very exciting!  Tuesday, the 11th. Gates open at 6:00 pm.

Enjoy a few of the back scene photos ... More as soon as they download from our phone...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet Artist Katherine Forst

Katherine Forst
 Flora  Katherine Forst   mix  16x12.5  $1250
Artist Biographye

Katherine Forst, b.1979, Oakland, CA, is a Monterey based artist who creates mixed media art based on the classical mosaic technique. She studied art history at Smith College with a passion for Italian Renaissance art. After graduation she moved to Italy where she lived for 10 years, absorbing the ancient and Renaissance aesthetic. While in Italy, she studied mosaic in Ravenna at the Centro per on Formazione Professionale (CFP), and the Accademia dele belle arti and apprenticed in Ravenna's top mosaic studio. She was certified by the CFP as a professional mosaicist. Her work has been shown in galleries around California.

Meet Artist Sherrie K. Palmer

Sherrie K. Palmer

A member of Arts of Bear Valley since 2003 and a certified oil painting instructor, Sherrie's love of art began in early childhood. In 2000 she bacame interested in painting with oils after having painted for years with acrylics. Her inspiration was a magazine article that stated, "it's never too late to be what you might have been." That was inspiration enough to make a goal of finding out what it would be like to be "An Artist". With the encouragement of her family and friends, that inspiration has become a true reality.

   Sherrie has participated in art lasses in community college and workshops in Vallejo, CA, Portland, OR and Murphys. She and her husband moved to Arnold from Concord in 2003, after a 15 year desire to live in the Sierra Foothills. The family vacationed at Lake Alpine regularly, enjoying camping, fishing, and hiking. Sherrie says "the Sierra Mountains inspire the artist in everyone. The skies, sunset, windflowers, the stars so close at night; God's absolute beauty is everywhere you look."

Beginning in 2003, she has taught several floral & landscape classes in the Bay Area and Arnold. Sherrie has also exhibited at the following places, Bear Valley Summer Art Show, Calaveras Big Trees Show, Calaveras County Fair (numerous awards), Murphys Grill, Cottage Springs Resort, Snowflake Lodge, Pacific State Bank and Window Gallery in Arnold. Sherrie has served as President for Arts of Bear Valley in 2009, 2010 & 2011. She was Chairperson for the 2012-2013 Big Trees Park  Summer Art Show. Her desire is "to continue my pursuit of fine arts, expanding my talents to enhance my capabilities." She has continued to add watercolors to her palette by attending workshops by Jill Figler, Carolyn Macpherson, Jeannie Vodden; art classes of Martha Wallace, Murphys ; oil workshop with Judie Cain. Since 2012 Sherrie has been the Art Teacher at Christian Family Learning Center in Angels Camp, Ca. Sherrie feels that "art gives me the true joy and pleasure of reaching the artistic person inside of me."

    Sherrie's present preferene is oils, as they "have a deep rich color when incorporated together, you can experience an explosion of many colors, textures and even a translucent appearance." She delights in capturing this result with large floral, animals. Landscapes and many other artistic forms,

Meet Artist Judie Cain

          Judie Cain

Country Classic * WINNER, 3RD PLACE *  gouache 5x7 $300

Oil Painter, Instructor
~a colorists' nostalgic impressions ~

A native of Burlingame, CA, Judie studied at California College of Arts after high school. Family responsibilities behind her, in 1987 taking an early retirement from the business world, Cain returned to painting by attending college, numerous workshops and taking private lessons.

Judie has taught her oil painting fundamentals and color workshops in the western states as well as locally. She also paints in gouache.

~~ Her paintings and classes are at Copper Art Gallery, where she'll be teaching "Color Demystified" classes in May. 209-785-2050.
Gifts from the Farm  oil  20x24  $1800
This award winning artist has been represented in galleries in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and California, including Murphys, Copperopolis and Carmel.

Ms. Cain has several works in print, Giclee and produced on home products and are collected worldwide.

Meet Artist Carol Clark

Date: March, 2015

The Gift  oil  24x30  $325

Carol's favorite mediums are oils and waterolors. She enjoys bright and muted colors as well as the affects created by glazing layers of transport colors.

Carol enjoys landscapes, historial building and homes. This year she added figures to her themes.

Carol sells her art as originals and displays them at Ironstone Vineyards.

Waiting  oil  18x24  $300

Meet Artist Carol David

Carol David

Welcome to my World of Creativity!

My paintings reflect my love of people in their surroundings. I love to capture the mood of my subjects. My choice of medium is pastel because of the brilliant colors, it's dry form and the immediate effect it has on paper.
Mountain Air  pastel  18x24  $750

I also like to portray the majesty of nature in my work since I grew up in Davis, Ca., an agricultural area, and spent much time in the Sierra Mountains on vacations. It was my father, an Entomology professor, who inspired me to have a deep appreciation for nature and a passion for art.  My people paintings are usually done from a photo back in my studio and I create my landscape paintings on location.  *

Meet Artist George Dillon



I've got my eyes on you   30x30  $575
  George has had an interest and a connection to art all his life but only in the last eighteen years has been able to dedicate his full tine to hits pursuit.

His teachers include nationally renowned landsape artist Charles White, watercolorists Penny Soto and Joan Dougherty, Judie Cain a frequent contributor to Artist Magazine and portraitist Gary Bergren. Ben Kikuyama, an internationally known feature artist at the Lahaina Galleries in Maui has been his mentor in the field of mix media and three-dimensional art.
The Self   acrylic  26x32  $575
George's style is most often surreal if modern and has been influenced by Picasso, Matisse and George's Braque as well as his first encounters with African Art and travel. His imagination and whimsy have all been inspiration to him and have encouraged his experimentation with color, themes and materials. His 3-dimensional Art is typically built from canvas or paper and them layered upon each other to form his interpretations of the subject. He takes a more conventional approach to more traditional themes.

George's art is typically both bold and colorful and challenges his viewers' sensibilities with sometimes humorous and sometimes penetrating looks at culture and it's surroundings . Further adding to his art are his pithy titles that often reflect both innuendo and a healthy splash of irony .
Three Faces of Eve  acrylic  24x30  $575

When asked what type of art he creates, Dillon respond, "It is hard to categorize , but I am known for color. I want each observer to have an emotional response of some type to my paintings. The vivid use of color causes a reaction as we tend to be internally stirred by the spectrum before us. I can describe what a painting means to me, but I hope the viewer comes up with a meaning that conjures up his or her own inner feelings ."

Dillon always starts a painting with the idea of where he wants to go but reflects that sometimes the creative process takes over and the finished product is something he never dreamed of. He gets a great feeling looking at a painting and having no idea how he did it but great satisfaction in the accomplishment. He offers a tip for viewers, "Often my titles help to discover what the art piece is trying to convey".  Many of his titles will challenge the observer to examine their own awareness.

Currently George is a member of the Calaveras County Arts Council, the Amador County Artists Association and the Lodi Council of Arts. His works have been on display in several  venues in the Bay Area, Sacramento and currently in the California foothills.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Meet Artist Geneva Davis Season

Geneva Davis Season
O-084 Racoon  oil 12x26 $200

Over thirty years ago Geneva's creative art journey began. Studying a variety of techniques and mediums has led to a body of work of great diversity. Her work may be characterized as realism to Impressionism but as variety of subject matter a distinctive style has evolved which can vary depending in the subjet matter and medium.

The variety of subjects has included animals, birds, rich and lively florals and gardens that evoke color and mood. These might be considered to be signature work whether in oils, watercolor, or most recently pastels. Others might insider the sentimental renderings of children to romantic figures the most moving to the imagination, in any case the journey continues and might include almost any subject but be assured it will have warmth and emotion as a constant . Geneva's paintings are in many private collections.

O-084 Hope you Like Flowers  11x14 $295
Her paintings may be viewed at Pinecrest Gallery in Pinecrest, Ca. All That Matters Gallery in Twain Harte, Ca. Town Hall Gallery in Copperolis, Ca. and Ventana Gallery in Sonora, Ca.
Geneva's home studio is open to visitor's by app. 209-533-2014.

O-085 Seaside Garden 11x14  $295