I think everyone with a child soon discovers how much they love rocks. Rocks in the driveway, rocks at the beach....(eventually rocks in the dryer). Children are drawn to rocks, and not all of us outgrow it. Many people come home from a vacation or special day with a rock or shell that they've picked up. Just a little rock or two to help the memories flow or put in a dish and look pretty.
Just a rock?
On our third day of vacation we attended the Annual Gem and Mineral Show (and Rockhound Roundup). These people know their rocks. They know how to find them, where to find them, how to polish and shape them or leave them alone. We attended demos on rock tumbling, metal work, beading, and (my favourite) the healing power of
rocks stones crystals (I never have figured out why they become crystals when you want to give them credibility. As far as healing goes, "rough" is just as good, if not better than worked stones.)
Need a crystal ball?
How about some breathtaking crystals?
Fossils, geodes, jewelry, beads, tumbled rocks, books, art...you name it. It's a feast for the senses. There were some giant alabaster bowls that just took my breath away. Gallery quality work.
One of my favourite demos actually wasn't about rocks. A wonderful glass artist showed us how she does torch work, and it's definitely a careful marriage of art and science. It was a fascinating. Here she is working on a bead...
...and here are a couple of her finished pieces:
She made those on that little torch. I watched her do some of it and I still have no idea how it's done. You have to have a complete vision before you even start. Incredible.
(Her name is Janelle Tyler and she's based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she operates under the business name Gypsy Road, but I don't think she has a website yet.)
We also saw old friends the Dippels from Ontario who specialize in opals. Beautiful, brilliant opals. Besides traditional settings, they do a few whimsical pieces, like this sweet sailboat and funny little snail:
Aren't they fun? Here's Sweetpea checking out the display:
Don't worry though, when that got tiring, there was lots of fun stuff for them to do. Digging for (plaster) fossils can keep you busy all morning...
...and if, after a nice long lunch break, your parents want to look around some more, there's even more painting today!
Yes, an entire day of looking at and learning about rocks. What a great way to bring out your inner child.
And, after learning about how these rocks are formed, seeing what they fetch on the market and learning that a lot of them are found by the dealers themselves...well, you might want to take a closer look at that rock from your last vacation. It may be more special than you realized. It's never JUST a rock.