Talking about treasure hunting, let me tell you my story … It’s a tale of two parts.

I’ve always been the poster child for the story told by Victor Borge:  “if there’s manure, there must be a pony.”  It’s in my DNA.

Truth be told, my first real life encounter with this approach was doomed. 

To understand it better, you’d have to know that back then Dinner, Bed and Breakfast at a swanky hotel cost R40-00 and a full seafood buffet at the same hotel with all you could eat cost R12-00. Way, way back, as I said.

At the time, I had wandered into an auction where one of the items was described as an “aquamarine of exceptional colour”. I didn’t know enough to examine it more thoroughly; so, when it came up, I started bidding. (The fact that it was about the size of a matchbox was a huge incentive! Treasure is everywhere, remember.)  

I paid R3-00 for it – now you know why I had to tell you about the hotel prices to keep the story in perspective. Anyhow, I rushed away with my incredible stone to my father-in-law who was a collector, produced it for inspection, expecting congratulations on my savvy ability to snap up a bargain of such quality. Ha!

He turned it over carefully and asked me what it had cost. “Only R3-00” I said rather proudly. His response was muted. “Well, you could have bought enough glass for a window with the money. This is just coloured glass!”

Many decades have gone by and I am somewhat wiser. I still look for treasure with the same abandon. I’m just a little more cautious about announcing it.

Nevertheless, the point of the story is you can’t argue with your DNA.

We’re clearing clutter this year. My chore for that day was to check a jumbled box of stones.

(Remember Pa-in-law, the collector?) I worked my way through and eventually got to the last few “gooi” klippies at the bottom of the box. You all know the ones I mean.

As I handled one of them it felt different, so I put it aside to have another look at it later. 

It was brown, fairly see-through and to my, as yet, untrained eye, rather like a bit of smoky topaz. But as its difference stayed with me, I dived into the internet - my go-to-expert for everything – to see what other klippies were see-through brownish.

At some point in the research, I stumbled across the story of miners in Tanzania baking brown Tanzanite stones in dough to stop them shattering and to change the colour to the exotic blues.

What can I say… the DNA was rampant! This was potentially a Tanzanite and nothing would persuade me otherwise!

Fire was set. Dough was made. Stone buried into it and carefully placed on a brick in case it fell through the charcoal never to be seen again. Would it shatter? Explode? 

It goes without saying I was up early the next morning. And sure enough, when I picked the stone up, it had turned quite a lovely shade of blue. 

Is it valuable? Probably not. Priceless? Absolutely.

You see, there is treasure everywhere. You just have to find it.  ZR

And this is a much-enlarged photo of the actual baked stone – just look at the colour!