Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 20, 2012

Digging up gems

TAHLEQUAH — For some people, rocks, gems, minerals and fossils have healing powers. For others, they hold magic. Others love the hunt.

Whatever the reason, rock and gem enthusiasts of all ages gathered to admire, learn and shop at this year’s annual Rock and Mineral Show, Friday and Saturday, sponsored by Tahlequah Rock and Mineral Society.

Some attending the event have collected rocks and fossils for years, including Carol Pendley. Her mother ignited the initial passion of the rock hunt.

“I started collecting crystals in Arkansas since I was a little girl,” she said. “I try to incorporate rocks and minerals in my life. They’re unique.”

Pendley visited the rock expo to see what’s available and find some things she can use for her crafts.

“This show is good,” Pendley said. “But I’d rather be out there sweating, digging them up myself.”

Like Pendley, Jody Tyson of Kansas, Okla.,said she has always collected rocks.

“I hunted rocks and arrowheads with my dad when I was a kid,” she said.

Tyson has a few rocks and minerals today. She was at the show in search of some interesting pieces to go into her pool room.

“I’m looking for something unique, something that catches your attention,” said Tyson.

Carol Hart attends the show every year.

“It’s amazing. I love looking at all the beautiful rocks,” Hart said. “It’s so interesting to see how they look when sliced open, and when they’re polished.”

Danielle Johnson enjoys the variety the vendors at the show provide.

“They have a lot of selection here,” she said, holding her plastic box full of flat stone end pieces, petrified wood and fossilized seashells. “I like shiny things. I like the different gemstones and the variety of rocks.”

Tahlequah’s Rock and Mineral show was the first exposition Susan Hamilton has visited.

“I thought I’d come see what Tahlequah has to offer,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton’s mother collected gems and rocks.

“Some people believe rocks and minerals have healing powers,” Hamilton said. “Vibrations too. Crystals are used for transmitting radio waves.”

Aside from finding rocks and gems beautiful and interesting, many attending the event came to learn something.

Keys Elementary School teacher Josh Haggard returned to the rock expo with his family, after bringing his fifth-grade class earlier the same day.

“Kids enjoy the rock show,” Haggard said. “They learn a lot, and are curious about how rocks are made. They especially liked the minerals and the glow-in-the-dark rocks.”

Haggard said his daughter, Elisabeth, loves the rock show.

“I don’t know why, but she loves rocks,” he said. “We brought her last year, and she bought a pet rock. She couldn’t wait to return this year so she could buy another one. Hers needed a friend.”

Vendor Sharon Waddell, of Missouri, sells a combination of fossils, minerals and polished stones.

“I started collecting in my 20s,” Waddell said. “I dug for geodes and collected them for 10 to 12 years before I expanded my rock interest.”

She has been collecting more than 40 years now.

“This is a hobby gone amuck, but I love it,” Waddell said.

According to Maxine Woods, member of the Tahlequah Rock and Mineral Society, the annual exposition has grown continually for the past few years, with more vendors and more people visiting.

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