Monday, April 28, 2014

Mineral, Fossil and Gem Show (NJ, USA)

A few weeks ago I (Michele) had the enormous pleasure of attending the NY/NJ mineral, fossil and gem show in Edison, NJ. I've always been interested in rocks and crystals, thanks in large part to my mum who has a lovely collection of petrified wood, fossils (including a dinosaur tooth!), and minerals, and in no small part to our place in Bottle Cove where the rocks are truly amazing (lovely worn pieces of glacial moraine, lava-like stones, lots of quartz and serpentine and granite and shale etc.). Colin bought me some truly lovely minerals and crystals for Christmas last year--off the back of a ute outside Coatepec. Had a ball selecting the ones to come home with us! Got some lovely emerald calcite, deep blue onyx that turned out to be slag glass but is still beautiful, and a strange prism-y rock I'm yet to identify (it's not scoria--too heavy), among others.

This show was my first and really opened my eyes to just how incredibly beautiful (and super expensive!) minerals can be!

Gold nugget from New South Wales, Australia.

I had never seen such a display of gold nuggets like this in my life. It really was jaw dropping!

These are all naturally formed and coloured....

This beryl crystal (heliador) was enormous and stunningly beautiful (and selling for $75,000 USD!).

This photo doesn't do justice to these beautiful--and rather enormous--watermelon tourmalines.

The colours! The variety of shapes! 

I wish I could remember what the spiky white crystal was--it was incredible (edit: I think it's mordenite. I like this word. "Morden" means "to murder" in German, but he looks so fluffy and innocent...).

I really do love amethyst!

I'd never really thought much about how geodes are cracked open--I think I'd always assumed it was done with a hand chainsaw... but I was wrong! Here's a young chap cracking one open using a heavy chain contraption. You could buy an intact geode and he'd crack it open for you, so that seeing what was inside when it opened was a lovely surprise!

And three that came home with me: a quartz crystal, a large garnet on a load of matrix (rock) and a stilbite crystal that's quite fascinating to look at closely. I actually fell in love with fluorite at the show and brought home a gorgeous deep, deep purple piece that doesn't photograph at all well. And a lovely chunk of petrified wood and some leaf fossils are also now part of my collection. I really had a lovely time and learned an incredible amount from the vendors--who were just really helpful and patient with a newbie like me!