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'Rock hounds' meet at Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show

March 24, 2003|by BONNIE HELLUM BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Twenty dealers and exhibitors lined the halls and cafeteria of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center in Chambersburg, offering a huge array of rocks, gems, minerals, geodes, mineral-related jewelry and crafts and American Indian items at the 26th Annual Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show on Saturday.

An amethyst Cathedral from Uruguay was offered for $600. A blue- and white-veined sodalite sphere was priced at $700. Many items cost under $1, and were popular with the children who attended.

Some of the exhibits were purely educational.

Gene Niswander of St. Thomas set up a large display of artifacts of the Delaware, Tuscarora and Susquehannock Indians of Franklin County and surrounding areas. Larry Eisenberger of Hanover and John Ridinger of New Oxford set up micromounters and allowed visitors to view rock and mineral specimens.

The Pennsylvania Geologic Survey handed out booklets, maps and literature.

The show was sponsored by the Franklin County Rock and Mineral Club Inc., founded in 1978. The club encourages the interest, enjoyment and appreciation of members, prospective members and the public for rocks, minerals and gems. Members strive to increase the knowledge and stimulate interest in the earth sciences and the lapidary arts.

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The annual spring show and the fall rock swap give members an opportunity to display their lapidary talents and mineral collections to other rock hounds and the general public, according to the club's brochure.

Josh and Angela Trewitz of Milton, Pa., sold rock specimens from all over the world. Owners of Jaedonson Minerals, they collect specimens from quarries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; others come from overseas contacts.

The couple has collected some fluorescent minerals, which glow under a black light.

Unlike those of many vendors, all the Trewitz's specimens are unpolished. "We break open pockets in the ground and clean (the specimens) up with a toothbrush," Josh Trewitz said. "Almost every weekend, I'm in a quarry."

Trewitz prefers metallic minerals such as stibnite, and has about 100 specimens of it from 40 to 50 localities. A geologist by trade, he collects minerals as a hobby and is field trip coordinator for the Nittany Mineral Society.

Treasure Everywhere, a firm from Tucson, Ariz., sold fragments from a meteorite that hit the earth 5,000 years ago in what is now Campo Del Cielo (Field of the Heavens), Argentina.

Chambersburg native Chenin Hollaway displayed her handiwork at her booth, From These Hands: Creations by Chenin. She's working toward a diploma as a graduate gemologist in a home study program of the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, Ca.

Hollaway lived on a Navajo reservation in Arizona for six months with her mentor, Michael Alcott, and his family. She learned to design and make silver jewelry, inlay, beadwork and other objects in a southwestern design.

The Alcotts consider Hollaway a Navajo and gave her the name "White Shell Woman," she said.

"I'm a rock hound at heart; this is fun for me," Hollaway said, adding that this was her first time at the show.

The president of the Rock and Mineral Club is John Long of Chambersburg. His wife, Chris, is treasurer.

The club has about 60 members, including 15 junior members. They regularly hunt for specimens at local quarries.

Chris Long said she likes fossils and has a collection of 40 to 50 specimens.

Junior member Michael Mowen, 11, of Waynesboro, collects fluorite and crystals. The Mowery Elementary School sixth-grader said he and his father, Michael, come back from field trips with "boxes of specimens; we keep them in the basement."

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