Gems shine at 52nd annual show in Victoria

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Oct. 16, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.

Jerry McLead helps customers at her niece's booth, Renee's Rocks Rings and Things, during the Gem and Mineral Show on Sunday.

Jerry McLead helps customers at her niece's booth, Renee's Rocks Rings and Things, during the Gem and Mineral Show on Sunday.

While many boys enjoy spending the weekend playing video games, 12-year-old Alex Blomberg spent his learning about mineral specimens and rocks.

At the 52nd annual Gem and Mineral Show on Sunday, Alex milled around the Victoria Community Center learning about fossils, rock crystallization and Earth science.

"I think it's really cool because some of the mineral and fossils go back millions of years," he said. "I really like all the colors."

The show featured more than 30 statewide and out-of-state vendors' exhibited rocks, rock slabs, geodes, beads, loose precious and semi-precious stones, 14k gold, fine jewelry, and other items imported from countries around the world.

Some of the countries represented at the show included China, India, and many countries throughout South America and Africa.

Alex said he was particularly interested in fossils and used his own money to purchase a fossilized fish and trilobite at the show.

"I think it's all really interesting," Alex said, handing a dollar to one of the vendors to purchase two obsidian arrow heads. "I have a collection of rocks at home, and it keeps getting heavier."

Alex's father, Scott Blomberg, said he supports his son's interest in rocks, and hopes he will carry the hobby into the future.

"We're real happy he's spending his money on something like this. And that he has a fascination outside video games," Blomberg said. "This has been fun today. I'm learning more from him than I would learn on my own."

Dave Winston Snell, president of the Victoria Gem and Mineral Society, said the three-day Gem and Mineral Show is an expo that everyone can enjoy.

"And it's a great event for kids because they can come in and ask questions and get an education on Earth science," Snell said. "They learn there's a formation, a purpose and principle behind each rock."

Snell also said the show features jewelry-making workshops for novice designers and an extensive collection of rocks, stones and crafting supplies for advanced jewelry makers.

Even those simply looking to purchase a crystal or a stone to display in their home, Snell said, the exhibit is the perfect place to find something exotic.

"There is a lot here. There are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stones in this room," Snell said.

Observing Alex's fascination with rocks at home and at the show Sunday, Blomberg said he has plans to keep his son's interest piqued.

"I think he'll be getting a rock polisher for Christmas," Blomberg said.



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