Collecting gems or stones? Idaho Falls Rock Club Holds Annual Sale
The habit of collecting stones can become an obsession for some and what do you do with all the stones you collect, buy or have to take out of the house?
You join a rock club and sell your surplus items at its annual membership sale.
The Idaho Falls Gem and Mineral Society (IFGMS) will be holding its annual Gems, Gems and Jewelry Sale for members on Saturday, October 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to come to this sale at the Bonneville County Fairgrounds, south of the Sandy Downs Racecourse on Woodruff Avenue.
There will be a $3.00 entrance fee and children under 12 are free. Attendees of the sale will find gemstones, finished jewelry, rough and polished rocks, minerals and fossils as well as handicrafts to purchase.
You will find rock addicts, a weird bunch with more stories than anglers, with a thirst for adventure and always on the lookout for the weirdest and most exotic rocks. A rock hound has compared sawing through a rock to opening a surprise gift on Christmas morning – it could be coal or an amazing keepsake.
Last Thursday I was invited to participate in a group of flint cutters called “Your Friendly Local Flint Knapper”, men and women who make knives, arrowheads, spearheads and other tools from obsidian or other chippable rocks. Past IFGMS President Terry Ryan invited me to attend the Tailors Gathering as they worked on their projects.
“Most of our group is not available to come tonight,” Ryan told me when I arrived. “It’s hunting season and most of them are out in the woods trying to harvest meat.”
Wendell Lowry, “one of the best tailors in the world”, worked on a point about three inches long in green obsidian. “This obsidian is from the Glass Buttes in Oregon,” he said, showing me the beautiful tip. “Most of our obsidian here has too many impurities to chip away at these beautiful pieces.”
Lowry picked up a new piece of formed white material to work on as the “new” to the band, Floyd Scott, worked on a mahogany obsidian knife blade. “I’ve only been trimming for about a year, but I really like it,” he told me. “You have to be careful because two things are guaranteed; blood will flow and you will break a rock. The shards are sharper than surgical steel and will hit you if you’re not careful.
A mat made of four layers of leather is placed over their knees to protect the tailors from being injured by nature’s shards of glass. They all use the “pressure chipping” method using an “Ishi” stick with a sharpened copper rod to chip the stones into usable tools.
Another master tailor, Tom Strong, showed up and I noticed he wasn’t using a leather mat, just his hands covered in a piece of leather. Each tailor had their own style of cutting while working on their pieces.
Of the group, Ryan will be the only one to sell at the Members Sale on November 8th. She will have beautiful knives with wooden/rawhide handles as well as baskets that she has woven. “I’m always on the lookout for new rocks and wood to use,” she said.
At the sale there will be a demo from Lion Punch Forge on how to use Peptools as well as other things for rock enthusiasts. As you watch, you will notice that each of the rockhounds will have different things and use different methods to produce what they sell.