The Springfield Massachusetts Dazzling Mineral Displays!

Every year the town of West Springfield plays host to the East Coast Gem and Mineral show by MZ Expos. Each year the show has the finest dealers from all over the united states and the world, bringing to you specimens of colorful minerals, amethysts and fluorites, gold crystals and books and literature about all sorts of mineral topics! Knowledgeable people, free lectures and every year, a featured exhibit with a very special twist.

Overhead shot of the 2007 East Coast Mineral Show in West Springfield, Mass

Overhead shot of the 2007 East Coast Mineral Show in West Springfield, Mass

For many years the East Coast show followed the usual club show format, with a variety of collectors and dealers being invited to display each year. Under those conditions, the quality of displays can be unpredictable and sometimes disappointing. The first year with a special theme was 1998, when Illinois minerals were displayed by Roy Smith, Ross Lillie, and Tom Weisner.

Fredrick Wilda East Coast Mineral Display Case of Rhodochrosite

Fredrick Wilda East Coast Mineral Display Case of Rhodochrosite from 2012

The single (or limited) exhibitor theme was viewed as a way to be different from most other shows. It has given visitors a chance to view many private collections that are seldom on display to any extent. Private collectors and museums have enthusiastically participated since the start. The exhibitors seem to enjoy the challenge of displaying, and the chance to share their collections. For the EC staff, it is much easier to coordinate with just one or a few individuals. The “special exhibitor” program has been a win-win situation all around.

EAST COAST GEM AND
MINERAL SHOW EXHIBITORS

  • 1998 – Illinois – Smith, Lillie, Weisner
  • 1999 – Martin Zinn Collection
  • 2000 – David Bunk Collection
  • 2001 – Arizona – Presmyk & Jones
  • 2002 – Jim & Dawn Minette Collection
  • 2003 – Rock Currier Collection
  • 2004 – Dan & Dianne Kile Collection
  • 2005 – Harvard Mineral Museum
  • 2006 – Michigan Tech/Seaman Museum
  • 2007 – Sterling Hill Mining Museum
  • 2008 – Herb & Monika Obodda Collection
  • 2009 – Gail & Jim Spann Collection
  • 2010 – Bill Larson, Pala International
  • 2011 – Scott Rudolph Collection
  • 2012 – Frederick Wilda, Mineral Art
  • 2013 – Carolyn Manchester Collection
  • 2014 – California Collectors & Collections
  • 2015 – Martin Zinn New Mineral Collection
  • 2016 – Peter Megaw Collection
  • Glossy Smithsonite Specimens from the Gail and Jim Spann Collection, on display in 2009

    Glossy Smithsonite Specimens from the Gail and Jim Spann Collection, on display in 2009

    This year features free public lectures by Bob Jones, Peter Megaw and Kevin Downey on a variety of subjects – Admission is $8, you can save $2.00 with this coupon link. The event is at the Better Living Center and runs August 12, 13 and 14. There are nearly 100 dealers to buy from and the Mexican Mineral Collection on display, by Peter Megaw is an amazing chance to see a private collection that will show you beautiful top quality minerals from all around Mexico. The colors, shapes and forms of these classic minerals will astound you! Find out everything you need to know on the MZ Expos website, MZExpos.com

    Herb Obboda traveled in the Afghanistan and Pakistan mountains in search for the very finest crystallized minerals found in those rich deposits.

    Herb Obodda traveled in the Afghanistan and Pakistan mountains in search for the very finest crystallized minerals found in those rich deposits.

    2011 had the Scott Rudolph collection, featuring this AMAZING Rhodochrosite from Colorado

    2011 had the Scott Rudolph collection, featuring this AMAZING Rhodochrosite from Colorado

    2008 Herb and Monika Obodda Collection

    2008 Herb and Monika Obodda Collection

    Amethyst Clusters from Mexico from the Artist Frederick Wilda, 2012

    Amethyst Clusters from Mexico from the Artist Frederick Wilda, 2012

    2009 Display Case from the Gail and Jim Spann Collection

    2009 Display Case from the Gail and Jim Spann Collection

    Bill Larson's collection is rich with history and american classics, like these pegmatite minerals

    Bill Larson’s collection is rich with history and american classics, like these pegmatite minerals

    Beautiful Malachite Slices from the American Classics of Bill Larson/Pala display in 2011

    Beautiful Malachite Slices from the American Classics of Bill Larson/Pala display in 2011

    Scott Rudolph's collection from 2011 featuring this beautiful Diopside on Graphite.

    Scott Rudolph’s collection from 2011 featuring this beautiful Diopside on Graphite.


    Photos by Cindy Rzonca

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    Every mineral collector and rockhound should have these books by John Sinkankas

    Rockhounding is a great hobby, rewarding and full of adventure. Few people know that to progress in knowledge about this hobby is easy as can be, it just take a little bit of reading and we have the perfect selection of books to talk about today, ones that will give you a full understanding of minerals.

    All of these books were written by Captain John Sinkankas, a well noted and respected author who has a way of explaining things that many thousands of people have enjoyed and understood.

    The most important thing about this article is the perception of mineral information, versus the reality. Guidebooks like the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks or the handy Smithsonian Handbook, well, they just do not do a good enough job, in our opinion. Sure, they are colorful and glossy, most starting collectors will have one or the other at some point in their life. However, if you have more than just a passing curiosity about rocks and minerals, there is a better way.

    Cover of the Book Mineralogy

    John Sinkanas’ book “Mineralogy” is our #1 pick for must have mineral books



    Mineralogy
    is the #1 book that we recommend to all mineral enthusiasts. The writer, John Sinkankas, has an easy way of explaining how atoms form crystals, and why the crystals different properties make them look different from each other. It is technical mineralogy explained in a way that most anyone can understand. The book can be treated as a college level book on the subject, yet, can be enjoyed casually with chapters devoted to different topics including over 300 photographs and line drawings, this is the must have book for everyone interested in the subject. You can find this book on Amazon and eBay. It was originally published in the 1960’s, any edition is worth owning. You will find it as a “Used” book, it typically retains value as it is a book that all mineral and rock collectors have loved for decades.
    Cover of the book, Gem Cutting: A Lapidary's Manual, by John Sinkankas

    Gem Cutting: A Lapidary’s Manual, by John Sinkankas



    Gem Cutting: A Lapidary’s Manual
    is John Sinkankas’ perfect tome devoted to all the basics of lapidary. The mystery of most every lapidary art is reveled, along with photographs and drawings to guide you to understanding the complete basics of lapidary arts. In the first chapters you are introduced to sawing, grinding, lapping, sanding, and polishing. Rock drilling is a common question, this book gives you the knowledge on that, plus, all the tumbling, cabbing, faceting, sphere-making, carving and engraving and mosaic and in-lay work information, including tools of the trade, tips on techniques and so much more. When I need to know what polish to use when I’m tumbling stones, I look to this book. This has an amazing wealth of information on this subject. The second edition is the edition we suggest and the big paperback edition is a great addition to any library.

    Book cover of Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals

    Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals is the best book to teach you about mineral collecting


    Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals is a perfect primer to understanding where to find rocks. Deposits are explained, how to find them, what is inside of them, and how you can get crystals out of the ground. This book serves as a primer to all topics on the subject of rockhounding. Over 350 pages of quality information, that, if you were to read, would put you in the ranks of the top collectors.

    All three of these books are easy to read and understand, teach you the basics and the nuances of each subject are highlighted and explained. To read and understand these three books is to have a near complete general knowledge on this subject of rock and mineral collecting.

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    Best Practices Guide to Gem Show Display Case Design

    As time goes by and your rock and mineral collection grows, you may start to ask yourself, “What can I do with all these rocks?” Of course you already display them at home and you are constantly showing them to your disinterested friends and family, but have you ever thought about showing your crystals to the public?

    Award Winning Competitive Display Case - Brandy Zzyzx

    TGMS 2012 – First Place Intermediate Thumbnail Display by Brandy Zzyzx

    Creating a Display for your local rock or gem show is a fun and creative way to share your love of crystals and minerals with others. Most rock clubs love to have their members and other collectors within the community exhibit their gem and mineral collections during their annual rock shows and tail gates.

    Brandy Zzyzyx - multiple award winning female mineral collector

    TGMS 2013 – First Place Advanced Thumbnail Case, Best Advanced Case by Brandy Zzyzx

    In my decade plus of working within the rock and gem show world, I have seen, and created a great many rock and mineral display cases… some even winning awards at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show™. From this experience I present you with Brandy Zzyzx’s Best Practices Guide to Gem Show Display Case Design.

    Display Case Featuring Artwork - Brandy Naugle

    TGMS 2010 – Display Case Featuring Mineral Artwork of the Author, Brandy (Naugle) Zzyzx

    Step 1. Contact Gem Show Display Coordinator for permission to participate

    The first step is contact the Display Coordinator for the Gem Show in which you wish to display. For larger mineral and rock Trade shows, this information is often easily found the show’s website, but for smaller, local shows many times this information is not listed on the show’s (or club that is hosting the show’s) website, or they do not even have a website. If there is no Display Coordinator, try to contact the Show Promoter or Show Chair. Or speak to any member of the hosting club that you may know, and they should be able point you in the right direction.

    Before being able to exhibit your rocks, you will be asked to fill out 1 or more forms and/or releases. Each club as their own specific rules about cases, liners, and appropriateness for general (non-competitve) displays. More advanced collector’s may wish to compete for display awards that may be given out by the club. These types of displays have additional rules, specifications, and forms. If the club is a member of American Federation Mineral Societies, these competitive display rules and regulations are determined by the federation; making them consistent across all rock and gem shows in the US.

    After you have secured a case for the duration of the gem show, and have been given the display case dimensions and the date of the show, it is time to plan exactly what you want to display and how to go about it. Sure you probably already have an idea of what you want to do, but now is the time to finalize those plans.

    Step 2. Pick a Theme or Statement of Purpose for your display case

    Anyone can throw some rocks in a case, but that doesn’t make it worth looking at. Don’t kid yourself; if you phone it in, everyone who sees it will be able to tell that you didn’t even try. So before you pick out any rocks, ask yourself why you want to put together a display case and your purpose for sharing your collection. The answer to this question will make putting your case together so much easier and aid you in creating a visually appealing display.

    Mixed case of mineral specimens displayed on traditional fabric covered risers.

    Mixed case of mineral specimens of various sizes displayed on traditional fabric covered risers.

    What is my purpose for displaying my rocks & minerals?

    Answer 1.To showcase my collection of rocks & minerals

    What one thinks of as traditional rock and gem show display cases. Usually they are a sampling of collector’s personal rocks and crystals, however they can also be compiled by a group of people or a case presented by museum or school. In some instances the display case may be on a theme, such as minerals all the same size, all specimens from the same locality, or all the same type of mineral. Traditional display cases usually have very little, if any signage except for specimen labels, because the rocks, crystals, or gems are the main focus of the display.

    Display case showing mixed size mineral specimens from a single locality.

    Display case showing mixed size mineral specimens from a single locality.

    Fun Case displaying mineral specimens that look like scoops of ice cream.

    Fun Case displaying mineral specimens that look like scoops of ice cream.

    Answer 2.To teach the people about rocks & minerals

    Display cases that are educational in nature are usually submitted for display from schools and museums; however it is not uncommon for companies and advanced mineral collectors to also create informative displays for larger, international gem and trade shows. Sometimes the displays are scientific and technical in nature, often times showcasing more specialized or vocational rock and mineral information.

    The backdrop signage of this case is a stylized timeline and takes the place of a back case liner.

    The backdrop signage of this case is a stylized timeline and takes the place of a back case liner.

    Another popular example is detailed timeline of the operations of particular locations or discovery history of a specific mineral type. These types of displays usually have many signs, graphs, charts, photos, and labels; sometimes even paragraphs of text to read. Illustrating and educating the viewer about the rocks or minerals is the primary focus of the display; specimens are used to convey the information

    Eye catching display pair s real mineral specimens with printed stand-up pictorial signs representing elements from the periodic table

    Eye catching display pairs real mineral specimens with printed stand-up pictorial signs representing elements from the periodic table

    Large colorful signs are used to convey information in an easy to see format.

    Large colorful signs are used to convey information in an easy to see format.

    Answer 3.To share my experiences with rocks & minerals

    Display cases that may be related to rocks and minerals, but are actually more about telling a story or relaying a feeling or memory. These types of displays are often very different from the displays around them; they showcase the achievements or thoughts of the humans involved as the main focus.

    Sharing your hobby or craft in a gem show display case is a great way to get both exposure and feedback on your creations.

    Sharing your hobby or craft in a gem show display case is a great way to get both exposure and feedback on your creations.

    Educational display showing historical crystal models and drawings.

    Traditional style gem show display showing historical crystal models and drawings.

    The rocks and minerals provide a social construct for the sharing of mutual interests and experiences. Immediately recognizable, most commonly seen examples are displays of someone’s art, craft, or other creative endeavors, and what I call meta-displays. This is a display inside a display.

    Meta-Display, or "display within in a display" is a way to commemorate a past achievement or memory.

    Creating a Meta-Display, or “display within in a display” is a clever way to commemorate a past achievement or memory.

    For instance, the specimens and awards from a winning display case 25+ years ago recreated now.  Memorial cases of photos and specimens of a departed collector or of a closed location are other ways to immortalize stories and experiences from our community’s collective past. These may be the hardest type of display to execute due to their personal nature. Although sometimes seen as cheesy, these cases are quite important; often times the stories and history of our collective past is otherwise forgotten if not shared.

    A memorial display is a meaningful way to reintroduce that younger generation of collectors to communities members that have passed away.

    A memorial display is a meaningful way to reintroduce that younger generation of collectors to communities members that have passed away.

    A great display may contain elements from multiple categories, but as a personal guide, I like to narrow down my themes. This will not only make it easier for you to decide what specimens to include, but will help the viewer be able to understand and appreciate your case quickly in a noisy/busy gem show environment.

    The exhibitor of this case used both mineral specimens and items to reinforce their chosen theme.

    The exhibitor of this case used both mineral specimens and items to reinforce their chosen theme.

    Example: If your case is a display of mixed minerals from your personal collection, maybe choose specimens that are all the same size. Or conversely, if displaying all the same mineral from one location; showcase the different sizes, shapes, and color variations that can be found.

    Minerals from the state of California showcased together.

    Minerals from the state of California showcased together.

    Choosing a theme or purpose for your display case creates a guideline to work within as you gather specimens and other elements. As you assemble your display, choose only items that will help further your purpose and stay within your desired theme.

    Step 3. Plan and execute the actual design and presentation of your display case

    Use of Size & Balance: A display case is essentially a box that you are filling. The very best, and most visually appealing displays are ones that utilize all 3 dimensions; length, width, and height. In order to take full advantage of the entire volume of a display case; risers, pedestals, and other display accessories are used to not only provide height, but to assist in the viewing of all specimens equally; this is especially necessary if the specimens are small or if there are many of them.

    Combinations of risers in various sizes and shapes ensure that all specimens can be viewed equally well.

    Combinations of risers in various sizes and shapes ensure that all specimens can be viewed equally well.

    For mixed size mineral cases, place larger specimens in the back or on the sides of the display and alternate the spacing between rows to ensure optimal viewing of each specimen.

    Well thought out placement within a display case protects a sense of balance.

    Well thought out placement of elements within a display case projects a sense of balance.

    In certain displays signs and photos can be used to add height to an otherwise empty display; either on easels or by attaching them to the back of the case insert.

    Signage can provide information to the viewer and ad additional height and interest to the overall case design.

    Signage can provide information to the viewer and ad additional height and interest to the overall case design.

    Use of Color & Contrast: While many rock shows will provide you with pre-covered fabric liners for the inside of your display case, most people prefer to provide their own. This gives the exhibitor the ability to choose a color that will showcase their rocks or minerals in their very best light. For instance, if you are displaying a case of white or clear specimens you would probably want to choose a dark colored background material, as to provide visual contrast for the viewer. In some cases, you might want to use a monochromatic color scheme, like using a pink background for a case of hot pink rhodochrosite specimens.

    Red velvet drapery in the back of this display case create a dramatic effect.

    Red velvet drapery in the back of this display case creates a dramatic effect.

    When considering color, also remember that risers and stands are made of materials that also have distinct colors. Styrofoam is mostly white, display stands usually are clear or black plastic, and labels and signs are usually predominately white. All these elements will change how your specimens and your overall display is perceived by viewers.

    Glass pillars have been used in this display so ass not to detract from the minerals on display.

    Glass pillars have been used in this display so as not to detract from the minerals on display.

    Generally, neutral or natural colors are preferred for backgrounds, stands, and other non-specimen display items. Creative but tasteful use of color can enhance your display in some instances, but remember, “less is more.”

    The color pink is being use in this display in order to draw awareness a cause important to the exhibitor.

    A monochromatic pink color scheme is being used as a means to draw attention to breast cancer awareness. Pairing pink specimens with black risers and clear bases creates a bold contrast that draws the veiwer’s attention.

    Use of Tools & Materials: Even though just about anything can be used in the creating of a mineral display case, there are some materials and methods that are tried and true. Back and side case inserts are usually cardboard, foam core, or wood cut to size and covered in fabric that is secured in place by duct or masking tape. The best fabric to use is something not too stretchy or loose knit, and that is forgiving to marks and stains. Cotton, Blends, Suede, Canvas, Muslin, and Flannel are all materials I have seen used successfully. When covering your own case inserts, iron your fabric beforehand to remove creases before securing it to the background board.

    fig26Stands and risers can be purchased pre-fabricated or DIY concepts of your own design. Materials used for risers are wood, plastic, Styrofoam, Foam core, or cardboard. Pre-fabricated risers and pedestals are often clear, white or black, but DIY risers made of foam or wood could be easily painted or covered with fabric to enhance the display or to create a custom effect. Those with special tools, skills, or talents could employ any number plastic, metal, polymer, or 3d printed bases, risers or stands to give their display a unique style or feeling.

    Creative materials and mounting ideas can make your display stand out from the rows of other cases.

    Creative materials and mounting ideas can make your display stand out from the rows of other cases.

    Small minerals and crystals are mounted on stands. These stands usually are foam or Lucite, with the specimen mounted with mineral tack, white glue, or hot glue. Before displaying, take into consideration what type of lighting will be used in the display case. Many smaller clubs still use hot burning display lights, so a specimen mounted to a stand with mineral tack my fall over under the heat of a display lamp. This is also true for signs and photos attached to backgrounds. For this situation, I would recommend high melting temperature hot glue to mount the specimens and a very sticky tape or possibly tacks for the pictures and signs (depending what the background material is.)

    Making sure the viewer can see all specimens is especially important when displaying many similar sized specimens within a large display case.

    Making sure the viewer can see all specimens equally is especially important when displaying many similar sized specimens within a large display case.

     

    A combination of wide risers and framed documents is used to fill up the entire volume of this display case.

    A combination of wide risers and framed documents is used to fill up the entire volume of this display case.

    The inclusion of other types of ephemera as an accompaniment to the rocks and minerals is a way to help create interest, add height or to carry a theme. This could be documents, antiques, labels, models, optical equipment, plaques, souvenirs, etc.

    Tasteful and well thought out choice of non-mineral items can be used to reinforce your display theme or idea.

    Tasteful and well thought out choice of non-mineral items can be used to reinforce your display theme or idea.

    Step 4. Make sure your rocks and minerals are display ready

    Orientation, Cleaning, Mounting, and Labeling a mineral or rock effectively can be confusing for many novice exhibitors. The correct way can be largely subjective and often times shape or size can create challenges for even a seasoned collector.

    Orientation – Always display full, terminated crystals facing the viewer. Broken crystals should face toward the back or bottom when all possible. If you are unsure what your crystal should look like, look up photos.

    Cleaning – Clean any dust or dirt from your minerals and rocks prior to displaying them. Depending on the nature of the dirt/mineral cleaning could be a spray of compressed air, a soft paint brush, soap, and water, or scrub with a toothbrush.

    Mounting – Mount small specimens on stands or bases securely using an appropriate adhesive. Test under shaking and heat to ensure effectiveness of the mount.

    Labeling – Look up the localities of all minerals online (I recommend Mindat.org) or in reference books to ensure that you have the correct information and spelling. Use a clean, simple, font that is easy to read, and consistent throughout your display. Cut your labels out carefully and neatly with either a paper trimmer or scissors. If colored paper or text is used, make sure that the information is easy to read, that the contrast isn’t too drastic, and that it doesn’t detract from the overall display.

    Display of cut and rough stones requires precise placement of the cut gemstones in relation to their corresponding natural crystal counterparts.

    Display of cut and rough stones requires precise placement of the cut gemstones in relation to their corresponding natural crystal counterparts.

    Step 5. Practice, Prepare, Pack, Present

    Pay attention to the details, this is what will make or break the successful execution of your display.

    • Double check the spelling and grammar on all labels and signs.
    • Make sure dirt, dust, stains, or hair is removed from all fabric.
    • Check all mountings for stability and adhesion.
    • Do a practice set-up of your display case and see if all your minerals are clearly visible.
    • Once you have decided on a final layout, take a photo of your practice display to use as a reference for real display day.
    • Pack everything up backward as to how you will unpack it; pack items in the back row first, ending with the first row last.

    Pack your minerals securely for transportation to the show location. Place backing boards, fabric covered inserts, risers, and other items inside bags or boxes to protect them from damage or dirt during transport. Transport signs and labels in a folder or envelope to prevent wrinkling, creasing, or other damage.

    Usually display cases are set up the day before a gem show opens. You will be given instructions as to the date, time, and procedure beforehand; save these on your phone or print them out and bring them with you. Be prompt, wear your name tag if asked, follow any parking instructions, and try to finish setting up your display case in a timely fashion.

    This exhibitor decided to forgo a back insert altogether and attach the signage directly to the wood of the case. Sometimes you are forced to make on site alterations to your idea, so your supplies.

    This exhibitor decided to forgo a back insert altogether and attach the signage directly to the wood of the case. Sometimes you are forced to make onsite alterations to your idea, so bring your supplies.

    Bring all tools and accessories you may need to set up your display case; you cannot be sure what will be available to you. Here is an example list of items to bring along on set-up day.

    • Hot glue and glue gun
    • Mineral tack
    • Scissors
    • Hobby knife
    • Masking Tape
    • Duct Tape
    • Iron
    • Lint roller
    • Thumbtacks
    • Glass Cleaner
    • Paper Towels
    • Ruler
    • Spare Stands and bases
    • Tweezers or forceps
    • Extension Cord
    Playful use of Lego characters is a perfect compliment for the theme of this display case.

    Playful use of Lego characters is a perfect compliment for the theme of this display case.

    Most importantly, have fun and create a display that makes you happy. By deciding to participate in the sharing of your rocks and minerals with other members of the rockhound community, you are helping to keep our rock and gem shows interesting and diverse. All the pointers and examples in this guide are presented to help you through the process of creating your own, unique display cases with less trial and error. For more information on display cases, visit your local gem, mineral, rock or lapidary club.

    Minerals and collector's items featuring and related to minerals can be displayed together to create visual interest.

    Minerals and collector’s items featuring and related to minerals can be displayed together to create visual interest.

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    Petrified Wood Near Colorado Springs – Pairing Old Information with New technology!

    Rockhounding is a hobby that anyone can pick up, with very little in the way of costs besides time and transportation. Colorado is a wonderland of mountains, forests and rocks. Petrified wood is always fun to find and in many places around Colorado, abundant. Let’s show you a fun way to research locations from old data sources.

    Cover of Gems and Minerals, August 1967 with a stone horse on the cover.

    Available on eBay, Amazon, and at mineral shows across the nation, old magazines are full of rockhounding information!


    By old data sources, we mean, old magazines, books and pamphlets about collecting minerals. Rockhounding was very popular in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, which lead to the production of all sorts of printed material for rockhounds and lapidary enthusiasts. Today, even if rockhounding was nearly as popular as before, the internet is the land of independent media, yet, the information from those sources is so niche, it takes people specialized in transferring that information over to bring it to light, instead of waiting around for others to research and publish, you can take charge and research many things from your computer, using information from sources like this one, The August 1967 edition of “Gems and Minerals”.
    article in 1967 Gems and Minerals about collecting Petrified wood in Colorado

    Click to see at full size


    The article, entitled “Petrified Wood in Eastern Colorado” by Eugene M. Beason, describes a large wash where petrified wood is plentiful. Due to the nature of these alluvial rock deposits, every year new material is churned up by erosion by wind and rain, so if there was ample material in 1967, there would be ample material in 2016. Colorado BLM rules state that you are allowed to collect up to 25 pounds of petrified wood in one day, up to 250 pounds per year and the article states that while many locations in the area have alluvial petrified wood, this location was prone to have more agate replacements in the wood, making it, in some people’s minds, more desirable.

    Map from 1967 Petrified Wood in Colorado Article in Gems and Minerals

    Original Map to the Petrified Wood Collecting area in the 1967 Gems and Minerals article.

    Many things have changed since this article was printed, nearly 50 years later. Instead of the turn being the “Skelly Station”, we can see the map is pointing to “Peyton Highway”, which runs north to go over a mountain pass and turns hard left (west) on “County Road 74/82”, which parallels the wash that is talked about in the article. I do not think there is any need to stop at the farmhouse listed in the article to ask for permission, as the ranch land gave way many years ago to the need for housing, as the populations in nearby Denver and Colorado Springs swelled, so did the growth out into the nearby countryside. 50 years ago there were just cows and a couple windmills, now there are hundreds of houses dotting the landscape. Of course, no sane person would build a house in a wash, so, the wash in the article would look to be still accessible. Using Google Earth, you can see that the wash must be a popular place to ride off road vehicles, as there is access and distinct tire tracks in the wash, as seen from the satellite, so one would imagine that access is open, unless otherwise posted. As a wash is a waterway, access should be public.

    map showing petrified wood collecting area north of Peyton Colorado

    This map shows the area as shown in the illustrated map above.

    As we searched google for information on this location, the terms “Peyton Petrified Wood” were coming up nearly blank. We did find an entry for it on Mindat.org, but it did not show anything directly from this location. Additionally, PeaktoPeak, a well known website for Colorado collecting, has a bit about petrified wood from that general area. Digging through field guides to Colorado, we could not find this location listed, could it have been one of the locations that simply slipped through an information hole, getting a two page article and then just…relegated to maybe popping up in a mention in a local club newsletter. It seems like this would be a good location to check out, in fact, we have a trip scheduled to Denver in the middle of June and we will update you with a first hand report from the location.

    map showing the distance between denver and colorado springs and petyon colorado

    as you can see, Peyton is not a far drive from Denver or Colorado Springs

    Researching where rocks are found is necessary and interesting – don’t neglect to inspect old magazines and field guides from 40, 50, 60 years ago. You never know when a good location has simply fallen through the cracks and is waiting for you to find it and come explore!

    Close up of the wash where you can find petrified wood near Peyton Colordado

    Close up of the wash where you can find petrified wood near Peyton Colordado

    photo from gems and minerals article "Petrified Wood in Eastern Colorado"

    “Looking down the wash where the good petrified wood is found. Floowaters that uprooted the tree in the foreground also uncovered new gem material.” – Photo by Eugene M. Beason.

    quote talking about how when it rained in 1967, the wash turned over new material.

    So, when ever the rain is hard in colorado, new material is unearthed!

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    Rockshops – Where To Find them!

    One of my favorite things to do while traveling is visit different rock shops across the world. Rock shops have been a staple around major urban centers and desolate outposts near rock hounding and mining areas that are specimen rich. Each rock shop has something interesting to offer and you never know what treasures you can find inside. I’m not simply talking about rocks, but the people who own and operate the rock shops. The owners are typically colorful people who can be a wealth of information. In fact, when I am in an area and want to go rockhounding, store owners can be way more useful than any field guide!

    One would think, with many mining areas that produced plentiful specimens being closed down, the odds are, many of those shops would also start to go to the wayside, however, in this new economy, the rock shops are enjoying a second life, with more people looking towards the lapidary arts and the study and appreciation of natural history. Arts and Crafts are having a new life and while the natural ebb and flow of the world’s premier economy might lead to fluctuations in the “fine mineral world” of specimens that cost more than most cars, there is always a market for inexpensive minerals, tools, books and educational material, found in most every rock shop.

    Everything you need for mining and rockhounding!

    Everything you need for mining and rockhounding!

    Mining Tools

    Mining Tools

    Just recently I heard about a gold mining shop that was sold to a couple rockhounds who had big plans for a remodeling of the shop. Located just above the Los Angeles area, in Hesperia California, just an exit off highway 15, Mining Supplies and Rock Shop

    I had the chance to visit them before the grand opening and it is so exciting what the owners, Cyndy and Lisa, are doing with the place! It is like a wonderland for rockhounds of all ages!

    In the front of the store, you can find a store filled with lovely crystal specimens, tumbled stones, sea shells, books and magazines, gold mining equipment, lapidary equipment, gift items, jewelry, and so much more. Fossils and petrified wood, beautiful amethyst sprays, freeform polished ocean jasper, just a wonderful array of colorful crystals! You can even find educational gift items for kids, like Cut That Agate’s popular “Gem Hunt”.

    Lots of fun crystals and fossils to chose from!

    Lots of fun crystals and fossils to chose from!

    In the back warehouse, there is a sight that will ignite a spark in anyone interested in lapidary! Rock saws, grinders, sphere making machines, flat laps and a world of lapidary rough! We are talking TONNAGE of agates, jaspers, and assorted lapidary material, all at great prices. The warehouse is being set up in a way that will allow them to give classes on all sorts of lapidary arts.

    Shelves full of lapidary rough await you!

    Shelves full of lapidary rough await you! These are just being stocked, a week before opening!

    If you have the chance, stop by and visit Cyndy and Lisa, or one of there wonderful helpers and check out the store, as it is a perfect model of rockhounding paradise!

    So many saws, grinders and polishing units are being set up and primed for all the great lapidary classes that will be offered.

    So many saws, grinders and polishing units are being set up and primed for all the great lapidary classes that will be offered.

    Saturday Feburary 6th 2016, from 1-4pm, will be the grand opening celebration. Door Prizes, Food, and new friends to make, it will certainly be worth attending! Hope to see you there, if not then, someday down the road! – Visit them at 9565 C Avenue, Suite K
    Hesperia, CA 92345 Wednesday – Saturday

    Cyndy talking to two customers looking forward to signing up for some lapidary classes

    Cyndy talking to two customers looking forward to signing up for some lapidary classes

    Find your Rockhound a Valentine's Day Gift that will not wither and die in a week!

    Find your Rockhound a Valentine’s Day Gift that will not wither and die in a week!

    To find a local rock shop in your area, or on your travels, I highly suggest checking Yelp, as they have listings for more rock shops across the united states.

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