Rock, Gem and Mineral Show

Vendors exhibited their wares during a previous Rock, Gem and Mineral Show. [Photo courtesy of Jerry Hansen]

A family-friendly event with free admission is back for its 59th year.

The Moab Points and Pebbles Rock Club’s annual Rock, Gem and Mineral Show is coming to the Old Spanish Trail Arena, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Vendors from the Moab area and beyond will be displaying and selling their wares. Points and Pebbles President Jerry Hansen said that around 35 vendors will be there with items from many different states and countries, such Ethiopian gemstones and Mexican fire agate, as well as local collectibles such as Yellowcat redwood, and malachite and azurite from La Sal. Crafted goods such as jewelry, bowls and decorative works will also be available for purchase. There will also be lapidary equipment for sale, such as rock tumblers, rock saws and faceting machines.

Hansen said there are also likely to be demonstrations, although he doesn’t know ahead of time exactly what the vendors might choose to showcase.

“Last year, we had a guy who did gold panning,” he said. “We usually have somebody who does wire wrapping — that’s where you take anything you want and wrap it in wire, so you can hang it from a chain or make it into earrings.”

The La Sal Lodge F & AM and the Arches Shrine Club will have food for sale at the show.

“They usually do simple food, like hamburgers and hot dogs,” he said. “It’s all good and their prices are reasonable.”

All of the proceeds go to their programs, which benefit children.

The Rock, Gem and Mineral Show has a game for kids: the spin table, which costs only 50 cents per ticket to play. Hansen said it similar to a roulette wheel, but it’s not gambling; everyone get a prize. Points and Pebbles Rock Club donates the proceeds from the spin table to a local nonprofit; previously, the money has gone to Grand Area Mentoring.

Hansen said that the club plans to have field trips this year, as in years past, but due to uncertain weather, the locations will not be finalized until the time of the show. He said people who are interested in going on the field trips can come to the show on Friday and find out the plan.

Regardless of the destination, the field trips will launch from the Old Spanish Trail Arena at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Participants can sign up at the club table at the show, including a liability waiver. They should come with good shoes, sun protection, water and any food they want to bring. Past field trips have included Yellowcat, which is known throughout the world for agate limb cast specimens that have been found there.

According to Hansen, local vendors at this year’s show include Rick Welch, who carries Yellowcat redwood that is highly prized by collectors, and Ken Kolb, who makes “excellent” replicas of Native American rock art figures out of polished gemstones and rocks.

William Harrison will also be there with azurite and malachite specimens he has unearthed at his Blue Crystal Mines in La Sal, as well as crafts that incorporate these minerals, such as hand-carved bowls made of black walnut or sugar maple that are inlaid with azurite and malachite. Azurite is deep blue, while malachite comes in shades of green.

Harrison said the mine covers about 90 acres, and is an open pit, not underground.

“It’s the only commercially active azurite mine in the United States,” Harrison said.

It used to be a copper mine, but Harrison has owned it and mined only the colorful minerals for the last 24 years. His wife Ekaterina works there as well.

“All the rocks are extracted by hand,” Harrison said. “It has to be done that way to preserve them.”

The Blue Crystal Mines website says it does its best to reclaim mined areas by covering and replanting.

In addition to hosting the annual Rock, Gem and Mineral Show, the Points and Pebbles Rock Club gets together regularly.

“We talk about what’s been in the news in the world of rock hounding, and do a show-and-tell of what we’ve found,” Hansen said.

The club meets the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Grand Center,182 N. 500 West.

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