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Old Salt Lake | Virtual Museum

The John G. Buxton Collection

Part 2

Also see:
 |  Part 1 - Introduction
 |  Part 2 - "Flower Stones" of Redondo Beach
 |  Part 3 - Seaweed Dolls by Mary E. (Mamie) Buxton
 |  Part 4 - Buxton Family Bible, Book of Pressed Flowers, A Polished Flower Stone

"Flower Stones" of Redondo Beach

It was Mary E. (Mamie) Buxton (1869-1948), wife of J. G. Buxton, who likely photographed the five "flower stones" shown below. We know this because written on the back of the photo is "M. E. Buxton Flower Stones, Redondo Beach, Calif.". She took close up photos of nature. This photograph is the only known existing contemporary close up photo of "flower stones" or any other beach stone then at the time of the famous beach pebble industry at Redondo. These five stones were probably shaped and polished by her husband an expert lapidary of course. The date of the photo is unknown.

The five actual physical stones shown in the photo could still be among all the other various polished stones and other objects in the Buxton Collection.

Also, a separate resource is transcribed below - a contemporary professional description of these "Flower Stones" of Redondo Beach. The description is by the great American mineralogist and mineral collector Dr. George Frederick Kunz. He writes about the "so-called flower stones" and the beach stones at Redondo Beach in the 1905 Bulletin No. 37 of the California State Mining Bureau. Kunz was the state mineralogist at the time.


Writing on back of photo - "M. E. Buxton Flower Stones, Redondo Beach, Calif."

In the 1905 Bulletin No. 37 of the California State Mining Bureau, “ Semi-precious stones, gems, jewelers' materials and ornamental stones of California ” on page 71. Dr. George F. Kunz writes [emphasis added]:

"About fifteen miles south of Los Angeles is Redondo, a well-known beach resort. Here are found many beautiful pebbles. It is the custom after each tide for visitors to search the beach in quest of these treasures, which are especially abundant north of the pier and as far as Playa del Rey. They are thought to come from a bed of sand and gravel in the vicinity. In 1901 several of these pebbles were found in an Indian grave near Redondo . Large quantities of these pebbles are gathered and sold to tourists. Chains are made by drilling the stones and stringing them on a flexible wire. They are also polished and set in rings, brooches, etc.

Besides the chalcedony pebbles are others in which red jasper is mixed with chalcedony. More striking than the others are the so-called flower stones. These appear to be fragments of a dark colored eruptive with very fine-grained or aphanitic base, in which feldspars have developed with a radical structure suggesting little flowers.

Another important pebble locality was formerly that known as Moonstone Beach, on Santa Catalina Island, but this is now exhausted. The pebbles were not moonstones but nodules of quartz weathered out of a rhyolite rock-composed of sanidine feldspar and quartz-while those of Redondo are agate and chalcedomy, and doubtless came from some amygdaloidal rock, a reef of which may outcrop in the beach below low water mark, the pebbles being washed up by the waves."