After receiving terrible news from my job and practically having the rug ripped from under my feet, I was more than ready to go on my mini road trip to Quartzsite, Arizona in January for the annual rock and mineral show. My trip in Santa Fe a few months ago got me connected with some folks who told me about the annual rock show held in Quartzsite every year. They explained the Quartzsite show was the Mecca for rockhounds and was THE show to go to if you were interested in buying or selling rocks, crystals, specimens, lapidary tools, fossils, etc. Quartzsite is about 20 miles east of Blythe and is right at the border of Arizona. Despite some dated and run-down homes and businesses, the landscape is quite beautiful. With open skies unobstructed by buildings and light pollution, the desert and mountainous scape was pretty magical. Since I believe in the metaphysical properties of rocks and minerals, I felt the energizing effects of being around so many magical stones. It was hard to leave this little town in the middle of nowhere, but it was truly a rockhound’s paradise!
I went to two shows–the Tyson Wells Show and the Desert Gardens Show. The first show was more of a swap meet rather than strictly a rock and gem show. The second show was more of the “real deal” with true gem hunters and miners living an idyllic life on the road–traveling from show to show, living out of their RV with their straggly Bohemian barefoot children, living the tenets of peace and love. Before I pack up my dogs, buy an RV, and force my boyfriend to hit the road with me, I did meet some interesting folks who have been doing this for years and can literally taste the rocks and tell you what it is.
Seeing rows and rows of huge slabs of jasper, moonstone, agate, chrysophase, ruby zoisite, etc. was incredible. Men and women lugging huge, solid, raw rocks out of oil barrels and watching machines slice these rocks submerged in water like pieces of turkey was pretty incredible. Rows of displays with cabochon cut-outs, semi-precious stones, and bags and bags of tumbled stones was giving me so much energy and buzz. I strive not to be so materialistic but it was hard to resist the urge to buy all of these wonderful pieces. These vendors hauled in ginormous caverns and formations of crystals in citrine, amethyst, and quartz that weighed hundreds of pounds but were so stunning. It’s truly impressive to ponder how these formations and rocks come from Mother Earth and to know that someone, somewhere, at some time decided to crack up some seemingly boring piece of rock to discover such beauty inside.
Even if Mother Nature has some flaws, they are beautiful flaws and this couldn’t be expressed more eloquently than by studying and examining the living entities within rocks. With that said, I wasn’t particularly drawn to the man-made or altered stones such as bismuth, aqua aura, titanium dipped quartz, or radiated smoky quartz. Something about man trying to improve something that is already beautiful and perfect from the earth seems wrong. Why try to perfect a good thing? I would walk down each aisle after aisle since piles of tumbled stones that I just wanted to dive into like Scrooge McDuck.
For example, in doing some research I wanted to know about how to decipher between quality citrine clusters and learned, that some dealers with radiate (heat) the citrine which will make it look darker. Typically the darker citrine the higher quality and the same can be said about amethyst. Dealers also do this with smoky quartz to make it look darker. Learning this information, I started to get overly cautious about my purchases and wanted to make sure I wasn’t duped into buying something fake (like I think I bought a fake malachite bracelet in Sedona of all places!).
I felt alive and energized working with stones and hope the universe can continue guiding me in the right direction on the path of fulfillment.