A very busy bunch of rockhounds

The days were shorter in October, but the weather during those days was spectacular and my favorite group of rockhounds was as busy as ever taking full advantage.  The month could easily be renamed Octoborocks by the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club..   While we weren’t planning for our 10 day November trip to Arkansas and other warmer southern spots, we were doing just about everything imaginable.

The month started with a rock sale from the club collection on October 1.  It was a bigger hit than we thought with over 40 attending and with over $1100 of raw rock being purchased from the club inventory.  I’m betting a whole lot of it is going to show up at the club workshop to be cut and polished.  I wonder how many Christmas presents are in the works?

Buying rocks at a club discount bargain price was popular with folks of all ages.

The first full weekend of the month was reserved for the annual Walworth Quarry Open House.  Once again Dolomite Products did all the rockhounds in the area a service by hosting some 200 rock hounds from all over the northeast US and Canada.  WCGMC provided the donuts while Dolomite Products provided all with the opportunity to find that elusive fluorite.

WCGMC members were everywhere in the large quarry, Fortunately, I found a moment to capture a group of them soon after the Dolomite Products excavator had hammered open a large boulder.

On Saturday Glenn operated the saw. On Sunday Bill took over. Many fluorites, some sphalerite, a few fossil corals and of course, lots of dolomite left the yard during the two day event. As with previous years, we thank Dolomite Products for their hospitality.

OK. OK. Once in a while I have to get into a picture!

Our monthly meeting was on Friday October 13th.  The church in Newark was unavailable, but we had a great program scheduled that fit well into a different venue.  We met at our club’s mineral storage facility!

Dave Millis brought his dirty rocks, his chemicals, and his wisdom from multiple decades of cleaning rocks and minerals and demonstrated all his tips to us right there beside the club inventory. It may appear that no one is paying attention to Dave, but actually everyone is looking at the piece he has just cleaned as it is projected to the right.  Technology has arrived in Wayne County!

Dave showed us how to correctly use muriatic acid for carbonates and how to heat oxalic acid bath to remove iron staining from garnets (see below).  He demonstrated trimming with chisels and with small picks.  Lots of folks were taking notes.

Two days after the monthly meeting , four of us set our compasses on east and headed into New England.  More specifially, we ventured to central Connecticut for three days of collecting.  Armed with a state permit good at three sites in two central Connecticut State Forests we went in search of beryls and other pegmatite minerals.  I’ll write more on this trip later.

We encountered wonderful fall weather, decent fall foliage color and lots of rocks! The beryls were small and sparse, but I came home with some pretty neat staurolites in schist from one of the locations.

The monthly club workshop was on October 21, another gorgeous day and great fun.

There must be something interesting at the outdoor work table as members convene during the October workshop. It will not be this easy come February, but we will be there every month nonetheless.

And finally, it was time for the final trip east for Herkimers.  It was sad to drive by the burnt museum/store at the Herkimer Diamond Mine location as we ventured to our favorite site at Ace of Diamonds.  We all wish them well as they work to rebuild in the spring.

Like clockwork, WCGMC made its annual fall trek to Herkimer land. Lots of camaraderie, lots of sunshine, and enough herkimers to keep everyone happy. The whole Webster clan was there!

November will bring the big trip to Arkansas, but it can’t beat October for variety.  I’m also pretty sure it won’t be sitting on rock piles in T-shirts for another few months.




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