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Gem, Jewelry & Mineral Show draws curious crowd

By Kathleen Duncan
Oct. 19, 2012 at 5:19 a.m.

Students fill out their questionnaires at the Victoria Gem, Jewelry & Mineral Show.

Samara Neal, 11, grasped what looked like a giant nutcracker, standing on one handle while she pulled down on the other with all her might.

Suddenly, with a loud crack, the Tranca geode split into two sparkling pieces at her feet.

Samara was one of almost 1,000 students from 17 schools expected Friday at the 53rd annual Victoria Gem, Jewelry & Mineral Show. The Geode Cracker is one of the most popular aspects of the show, with students lining up to crack open their own geode.

Samara listened as Delbert Speed, of Dallas, taught her about her geode, a piece of history she was going to take home. "It means more to them to break their own rock that is 60 to 90 million years old." Speed said. "It's something they'll keep forever."

The geodes, which came from Chihuahua, Mexico, are just one of many attractions at the show.

Jay Allison, 68, of Port Lavaca, coordinated the touch table where visitors could touch different types of rocks, minerals and fossils. "One of the things they get to learn about is the Texas gemstone, blue topaz. This is one of the few places in the world it's found." Allison said.

Daniel Pardo, 6, of Victoria, worked his way down the touch table, feeling, smelling and lifting rocks individually to explore each one.

Danielle Pardo home- schools her son, Daniel, and brought him as part of his education. "It's something fun, and with home-schooling, we try to take advantage of events like this in Victoria." Pardo said.

Dave Winston Snell, president, and Doris Clark, education coordinator of the Victoria Gem & Mineral Society, said they align their show with the curriculums in the schools to make sure students are taking the knowledge back to their classrooms.

Snell emphasized that everything at the show is planned to make it the best possible learning experience for everyone that attends. "We are planting seeds for the future caretakers of our earth." Snell said.

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