MamaDog Woofs

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Just old dirty rocks

After a whole year of waiting, last weekend was the Augusta Gem Show!

Susan and I had an AMAZING time! I look forward to this show all year, particularly as a chance to spend the day with her sharing something we both love. Susan is so knowledgeable about all sorts of gems, minerals, and fossils... if she gets tired of my constant questions she loves me too much to show it. LOL

I've had a love of fossils as far back in my childhood as I can remember. My great-grandfather Elliott was known for having many wonderful things hidden all over his house including a bucket of dinosaur teeth. He kept freezers full of gemstones, unpolished stones, agate slices, geodes, fossils, and all sorts of marvels. If we asked he would carefully unlock one and drawth forth something to make us gasp in awe at the natural beauty of it. He made such an impression on me those memories were the inspiration for my first published work as a writer. I have never lost that unique thrill of holding in my hand a real, true, incredibly-fossilized piece of nature.

So, imagine Susan and I at the gem show. She has the most incredible eye for jewelry and gems, putting shining, bright cut stones together and creating pieces of wearable artistry that look just like her. I, on the other hand, find the booths full of dirty old rocks and stay there like a kid in a candy shop! Give me those wonderful earth tones and imperfections that speak of a living creature turned into stone.

My prettiest finds this year are above in the picture. The small caramel-colored piece is a fossil sanddollar-- I'm particularly fond of sea critters modern and ancient. Behind that is a something we were both surprised by; slabs of tiger eye containing iron that look amazingly like petrified wood even at very close range. Beautiful stuff! My big prize is the large, whorled Ammonite standing up behind them. Ammonites are found like this in shows often sliced in half so that the incredible, unique inner chambers can be seen. Every one is different, and each internal section within them is different too. Some are honey colored and light, while others have a chocolate or caramel color to them. Susan and I decided to split one so that each of us would have a matching half to enjoy. She chose this pair, filled with a deep burgandy red and inner chambers with hollow calcite 'geode' type formations in them. It reflects light so this picture really can't do it justice. It's beautiful though, and the endless details inside have already brought me alot of pleasure sitting up there on my office computer.

We also watched some of our pieces be wire-wrapped so that they could be worn, and checked out the table where they demonstrated shale splitting to expose the hidden ferns and other plant matter. On the way out the door Susan convinced me to follow their annual tradition and choose a geode to split. They go through this whole little ceremony, carefully breaking it open and covering the two halves so that the owner 'is the first human to ever lay eyes on the wonders inside this rock'. What fun! Mine was filled with light purple, amethyst crystals and some interesting quartz blade formations, so fragile the merest touch would have shattered them. I tried to take a photo to post here but there are so many thousands of reflective surfaces inside the crystals that all I got was a brightly-flashed rock. Trust me, it's beautiful though and a great reminder of a fun day.

Thanks Susan, for sharing the day and your love of gems and rocks with me. :-)


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