Some of you might not know, but I have a great passion for geology and I’m an amateur gemologist!
I’ve traveled to five countries and many states for digs. I’ve collected rare gems on mountaintops while it snowed on us, crawled in dark caves with headlamps to find snakes and spiders close to the very treasure we were seeking. I’ve slept out under the stars, off the grid, and loved every moment of it.
Driving out to the desert on a dig or study has always been my favorite adventure, hands down. During these times, I feel close to God and all He has created. It gives one time to just think and to appreciate the things we often overlook with a cell phone in our hand, while immersed in a busy world.
As a teen, I learned to love precious gems when my grandparents took me to Brazil. After that, I was completely hooked.
Today, I have a garage full of specimens, fossils, crystals, dinosaur dung, and uncut geodes. I have four rock saws, trim saws, polishers, buffers, four metal detectors, slough boxes and all the toys and accessories that go along with these hobbies. (I know any rock hounds reading this are nodding their heads!)
Along the way, I’ve picked up books and local guidebooks, gathering an extensive library of more than 50 books on various types of stones and minerals. I have a number of binders containing nationwide treasure maps with known (and secret) dig sites scribbled on dirt-stained paper while in the field. The binders also have well-marked field guides from old timers that have long passed. It’s one of the true passions I have always enjoyed and have tried to share this with many others. I even founded a non-profit fundraiser called Treasures in a Bag, which shares the same excitement through tools and kits to find treasure at home.
The sad part is that in the past few years, I haven’t had someone join me that really enjoys being outside, getting dirty and sharing the adventure of finding what the earth has hidden. For me, it seemed that work was usually important. But, my past digging buddies have moved away or grown up and started real jobs. It’s a void I can’t wait to fill again!
Recently our second to the youngest granddaughter started showing an interest at just two and a half years old. I can spot that special twinkle in a child’s eye and she had it. Eureka!
Today as my granddaughter was visiting, she was so excited. She wanted to go get rocks in Avo’s garage right now! (Avo is grandma in Portuguese.) She grabbed a fabric gem bag, remembering where I keep them, then carefully picked out which rocks she wanted. After that, it was back upstairs and into her high chair where she started counting her rocks in Spanish. (I’ve included an adorable video of this below!)
My plan is to groom her and the other grandchildren to become my rock-hounding buddies, then get a new ATV…oh the plans I have for them! Perhaps even a return trip to Brazil with their Rocking Grandma – what a check off my bucket list would that be!
My message today is to encourage kids early in life to enjoy and appreciate hunting for unusual, rare and some valuable minerals. If you have friends that might get the “fever,” nurture it.
Here is a fun site to check out for introducing kids to the joys of rocks, minerals, and gems. Get them out of the house and away from the electronics. There are some really fun and informative Facebook groups too that can help identify stones and provide tips on rocks, minerals, metal detecting and treasure hunting.
Here’s a video of my little granddaughter, just starting her hobby in rock-hounding!