Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show

Today I took my kids to a Gem Mineral and Fossil Show at the local college. I think the Geology Program/Club is the one that hosts the show, and they do a great job of reeling in nerdy rock people like myself.  It's organized by the local rock club, and they ask a number of vendors to participate. 

I've finally had to face the fact that my 3 children just are not into rocks and jewelry like I am. I liked rocks from an early age. I thought most kids did. I guess because I always loved rocks, that easily translated into jewelry, too. But my kids are non-plussed about going to gem and jewelry shows. It's probably time I stop dragging them with me. I think they're holding me up....

This is a large chunk of Vanadinite from an Arizona mine.
I love it because I can make druzy cabs from it. This was an especially good one because the top was relatively flat and the crystal formation was pretty evenly dispersed.  I'm going to use my saw to lop off the bottom bulk of the specimen and then I will divide it into cabochon shapes.

Here is a closer view. Some specimens were very expensive because they featured large, well-defined crystal formations. These crystals are small but very sparkly and perfect for jewelry applications.

My big find for today was this pair of Williamsite serpentine cabochons.  I absolutely fell in LOVE with them. They are from the Lowes Chromite Mine on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border- these were found on the Maryland side. It's also known as the State Line Pit. 

Normally, serpentine is an opaque, olive-colored stone, also called 'new jade'. It is more yellow than these stones but sometimes has black inclusions like these.

But when I saw these, I had no idea what they were. My first guess would've been a dyed stone. I'd never seen color like this in a translucent/transparent stone. I wondered if it was jade. 

The dealer said it'd be hard to find these stones, with this color, clarity and overall quality, anywhere else. I sort of believed him. But then I told him I'd be back, and I did a quick search using my iphone for Williamsite. And that confirmed what the dealer said- these were really special stones.

How can you not fall in love with that apple green color and the graphic sprinkling of black dots?  They were not inexpensive stones, but not outrageous either. I really wanted to buy more! more! more! but my current bank account wouldn't allow it- plus, we're saving for a shopping spree in Tucson in February. The other reason I didn't buy more is because the lapidary they use did not do a great job on this lot of stones. I've bought from this dealer before, and his lapidary's skills are not the best. So, now I'm wondering if I should 'clean them up' a bit before using them.........


  1. Interesting - I would have guessed Prehinite! really lovely stone...

  2. Yes! Prehnite is also found somewhat locally (Virginia) and that's a great guess! These were a bit darker/deeper than the prehnite I've seen. It was one of those times where I've been sort of been stopped in my tracks by something I hadn't seen before. I should've taken a pic of all the cabs he had- darn! It was drool-worthy... ;) Dana

  3. I have a supply of Williamsite from the State Line Pit... have a few cut... would you like to see some pics? old past member of the Baltimore Gem Cutters Guild... cheers,Chris Foltz.

  4. Yes, Chris!!!! You can email me:

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