Central Oregon Rock Collectors
will resume meeting in March 2024
Central Oregon has been a Rock Hound’s Paradise for many years. Our rock resources were first known to native indigenous people who used the stones to fashion tools. Many of them utilitarian, but also some that are truly artistic.
Soon after the settlement of the area in the local ranchers and residents started noticing “them ‘purty rocks”. We know many of the names of early pioneers of rockhounding and lapidary arts, names like Hoot Elkins, Shirts Quant, Fred Adams and Dick Horton.
One name you do not hear often, but deserves mention is Howard Ball. Howard, a machinist by trade owned the first plywood mill in Hawaii. After retirement he first moved to Colorado where he dug Dino Bone, finally he relocated to Bend. He was a prolific cabber- working 7 days a week.He had particular skill and expertise in the of cabbing Red Ribbon Obsidian which he self-collected. An anecdote that Tim tells is that Howard did not use a trim saw, he used nippers to rough out his cabs. Buyers would fly from New York City to the Madras Show to buy his all his red ribbon obsidian cabs.
When Tim and Julie Larocco (owners of CigarBoxRock) first came to Bend, Howard Ball was one of the old timers who befriended the young couple. Tim was later gifted Howard’s canvas rock collecting bag. (Howard’s canvas bag, pick and one of his freeform Red Ribbon cabs is pictured here.) This canvas bag is one of Tim’s treasured possessions and a reminder of a dear friend and mentor.
One of the regrets of Tim and Julie have is, they do not have a photograph of Howard. Tim is offering a $50. 00 CBR Gift Certificate to the person who can locate and get to Tim a clear black and white photograph of Howard Ball.