Jul 16, 2015

Multi-state mineral and gem show comes to Cody

Colorful rocks, minerals, fossils, beads and gems will be displayed and dealers from 12 states will be on hand for a multistate mineral and gem show in Cody. The event runs from Thursday evening through Saturday at Cody High School's Scweitzer Gym, with field trips offered on Sunday.

The show's previous visit to Cody in 2013 drew plenty of onlookers. Cody News Co. photo by Ilene Olson
This is only the second time since the 1960s that the multi-state Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineral Societies’ 2015 Mineral and Gem Show has come to Cody. The show, themed “Wyoming’s Petrified Forests,” is sponsored jointly by the Wyoming Mineral and Gem Society, the Cody 59ers Rock Club and the Shoshone Rock Club in Powell.

The show will take place from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the gym. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students (K-12). Preschoolers are admitted free.

In addition to static displays and dealers’ tables, the show will feature programs, demonstrations, a fluorescent light show, a silent auction and activities for children, said Stan Strike of the Cody 59ers.

Strike outlined the show’s features and schedule:

• “Knapping Jack” Faxon of Tennessee will demonstrate the art of knapping.

Faxon uses the rounded end of an antler and other tools to make strategic breaks and chips in obsidian and other rocks to create knives, spearheads, arrowheads and other sharp objects that also are works of art.

His techniques are similar to those used centuries ago by Native Americans and others who relied on tools they created from obsidian, flint and jasper for hunting, fishing, scraping hides and performing other tasks.

'Knapping Jack' Faxon
Faxon’s daughter, Tina Fagan, lives in Powell.

• Gary Olson of Powell will demonstrate his lapidary hobby. Olson, who has been blind all his life, uses his keen sense of touch to cut, grind, shape, sand and polish stones into cabochons for jewelry, and to tumble-polish pebble-sized rocks.

Olson works with colorful agates, jaspers, quartz and jade, but his favorite material is obsidian (volcanic glass), which takes a flawless mirror polish that is pleasing to the touch as well as the eyes.
Though many people are familiar with black obsidian, most don’t realize obsidian comes in many types and colors, from subtle to bold.

Olson enjoys demonstrating his art in hopes of inspiring more people to join the lapidary hobby.

• A fluorescent light show by Richard Heumier of Torrington will transform ordinary, plain-looking rocks into amazingly vivid displays of color. Minerals in rocks that may appear white, gray, brown or tan in ordinary light, fluoresce when put under a black light and flash bright colors such as orange, pink, blue, green.

• A kids’ rock activity area will feature a sand search where children can dig through sand to find fossils and polished rocks. They also can make pet rocks, create their own fossils from plaster of Paris, and spin a wheel to win prizes.

• Showcases artfully arranged by rock clubs and individuals will be on display. Attendees can vote for their favorites.

• An ongoing silent auction will offer rocks, minerals, fossils and other specimens donated by members of participating rock clubs.

“That’s where you find the real bargains,” said Strike of the Cody 59ers.

• Experts will be on hand to help identify rocks and minerals. If you have a rock you’d like to know more about, bring it along.

• Door prizes are provided and food concessions available.

• Programs and field trips also are planned.

For more information, visit www.wymineralandgemsociety.org or email 2015codyrockshow@wymineralandgemsociety.org.

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