Grab Bag

quartz geode halves
quartz geode halves

Thinking of getting into geodes? Check out this internationally celebrated Spanish geode of gypsum crystals. Closer to home, you may be inspired to visit the geode cutting booth at the club's annual show in April. You might be lucky enough to choose a crystalline quartz or amethyst geode, like the one at left.

Australian opal

ruby from southeast Asia
blue topaz with Lone Star cut, faceted by Tom Wilkie
opal, ruby, and topaz

If you are interested in cabbing, faceting, or other lapidary arts, then Lapidary Digest may be of interest to you. Lapidary Digest is a mail list that allows you to read articles and participate in threads of discussion via e-mail. Hale's website explains how to subscribe to the list.

leaf fossils in shale from Republic, Washington
leaf fossils in shale from Republic WA

Not long ago, a fossilized skeleton of a rauisuchian was discovered at a quarry in the vicinity of Research Triangle Park. Dinosaur lovers can learn more by reading this account of the find . While complete fossilized dinosaur skeletons are found only rarely in central North Carolina, there are opportunities to collect ancient sharks' teeth and other marine fossils at beaches and phosphate mines in the eastern part of the state.

opal cabochons, fused glass, and silverwork, by students at Wildacres
opal cabochons, fused glass, silverwork,
all made by students at Wildacres

Where can you obtain a week's worth of food and lodging, expert training in geology and related arts, and the camaraderie of fellow students and instructors? The Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies offers several such workshops each year at Wildacres and at William Holland. Among the many fine course offerings are gem identification, raku pottery, wire wrapping, chain making, silversmithing, metal casting, faceting, opal cutting, cabbing, intarsia, glass fusing, and glass bead making. Check the SFMS website for complete information.