Christmas Parties 2015

Photos from the Show-Me Rockhounds and IGAMS Christmas parties.


The Show-Me Rockhounds Christmas Party. There was also a White Elephant gift exchange in which everyone chose gifts (sight unseen) that were perfectly suited for them.


The Show-Me Rockhounds Christmas Party. Here’s another photo because I couldn’t decide which one was better.


Valerie is so excited about her gift!

2015 igams presents

The presents at the IGAMS White Elephant exchange. There were things like necklaces, books, calendars, candy, and of course mineral specimens.

2015 igams meeting

The IGAMS December meeting. It was fairly short. There was also dinner.

2015 igams game

Preparing for the gift exchange at IGAMS.


Gem Show Photos Fall 2015

We had fun selling and buying specimens at the gem show. If you missed it, here are some of the things you can expect to find at a show.

Panorama of the KCI Expo Center Gem Show

An overview of the whole show. Photo by Stephanie Reed

Two women looking at books about rock collecting.

This year we sold books about rocks and where to find them, including the highly desired Gemstones of North America by John Sinkankas.

A man at a laptop with rocks for sale.

Mark selling minerals.

People posing with an aquamarine crystal

President Martin and Webmistress Stephanie looking at an aquamarine. Photo by David Reed

A clear glass jar full of small tumbled chips of Lake Superior agates.

This jar of tumbled chips of Lake Superior agates was part of a kit for making a gem tree, sold by the Show-Me Rockhounds. Photo by Stephanie Reed

Mineral spheres of assorted colors red green blue pink orange

Polished spheres made of minerals from Dave’s Rocks and Carvings (Hamburg, MI). I see rose quartz, tiger’s eye, sodalite, and snowflake obsidian. Can you name all the minerals?

Glass shelves full of interesting minerals and rocks for sale

Mineral specimens for sale from Dave’s Rocks and Carvings (Hamburg, MI) Photo by David Reed

Blue larimar rings jewelry

Gem shows always have lots of jewelry for sale, usually organized by mineral. This is an entire box full of rings made with blue larimar sold by Manichia LLC (Kansas City, MO). Blue larimar is a type of volcanic pectolite found in the Dominican Republic.

colorful lampwork glass beads

Glass beads for sale at Park Design (St. Joseph, MO). You can even watch the beads being made. They can also be found at the Three Trails Trading Post in Independence, MO.

Angelwing Chalcedony

Article by special guest author David Reed

a long flowing wing-shaped rock appearing to be made of several small tubes, with red and blue colors.

From the collection of David Reed, photo by Stephanie Reed

This refers to a surface chalcedony formation characterized by groups of chalcedony filaments often intricately woven or connected together, so they resemble the feathers of a wing or flowing hair. They occur most often in the center of a vug or vein of agate, but can also occur in the center of a hollow thunderegg. These formations are usually found in Idaho or Oregon. It describes this type of surface chalcedony formation, regardless of whether the underlying formation is plume agate, tube agate, or moss agate. See below for several close-ups, all from the same specimen.

Close-up of red tube formations

Photo by Stephanie Reed

Close-up of blue and orange tubes

Photo by Stephanie Reed

Lots of chalcedony filaments all pointing the same way

Photo by Stephanie Reed

The tubes in Angelwing Chalcedony seem to follow the direction of flow of the silica-bearing fluid in air within the vug. They may form in similar fashion to the directional helictites (gypsum formations) in Lechugilla Cave (and elsewhere), or they may be directional helictites which were silicified.


Lechuguilla Chandelier Ballroom photo by Dave Bunnell

long squiggly white directional helictites

Directional Helictites Photo by Dave Bunnell

Although it looks similar, Angelwing Chalcedony is not the radiating tubes found in fossils of certain coral heads.  Angelwing Chalcedony was never alive, but the coral was. During mineralization, the form of the living coral was maintained, but the structure was changed from mostly calcite to mostly silica, and some of the voids were filled. The structure of the fossil is more regular; there was no irregular flow of fluid through a void, as there was with the Angelwing Chalcedony. The fossil specimen below was found eroding out of a Florida riverbed. It was purchased, to avoid diving with the alligators.

A round brown chunk of tiny tubes of coral with a white crust on the outside

From the collection of David Reed, photo by Stephanie Reed

Photos from the Gem Show

New shirt celebrating the Kansas City Gem & Mineral Show.

New T-shirt celebrating the show and featuring a calcite crystal.

Shirts are only $10 and we have plenty left if you want one.

Four Show-Me Rockhounds members discussing pottery.

Show-Me Rockhounds members discussing pottery.

Show-Me Rockhounds members loading the storage container.

Show-Me Rockhounds members loading supplies into the storage container.

Unpacking boxes

Rockhounds hard at work.

Unpacking boxes

Unpacking boxes.

Bob selling minerals to some happy customers.

Bob selling minerals to some happy customers. Bob is a great salesman.

Making glass beads (lampwork) at the Three Trails Trading Post.

Making glass beads (lampwork) at the Three Trails Trading Post.

I took a lampwork class at the Three Trails Trading Post once and it was really fun. I highly recommend it.

Huge pieces of petrified wood from Lincoln Curios. They are in a display that looks like a forest.

Huge pieces of petrified wood from Lincoln Curios.

Arrowheads made by the Flint Knappers.

Arrowheads made by the Flint Knappers.

The Flint Knappers were next to our booth and they were making arrowheads and going tap, tap, tap the whole time.

Tubs full of geodes that you can have opened onsite.

The Geode Gallery lets you pick out a geode and have it opened onsite.

Pearls from Hartman Enterprises.

Pearls from Hartman Enterprises. There are miles of beads for sale at shows like this.

A rainbow crystal pendant for your chakras.

A rainbow crystal pendant for your chakras.

Colorful agate slabs with dragons, cats, penguins, and other creatures painted on them.

Painted agate slabs from Aerie Artwork

A display of metalworking tools made by the Sterling Guild.

A display of metalworking tools made by the Sterling Guild.

A display made by Bruce from IGAMS showing his new acquisitions from 2014.

A display made by Bruce from IGAMS showing his new acquisitions from 2014. Bruce made several displays and made the rest of us look like slackers.

Rectangular slabs of brown and yellow tiger's eye that resemble bacon.

Somebody decided that tiger’s eye looks like bacon slices when cut into slabs.

IGAMS Christmas Party

At the IGAMS Christmas Party, there was a potluck dinner and a White Elephant gift exchange.

Adults and a few children eating dinner in a school cafeteria.

Photo by Stephanie Reed

We love the mineral specimens on your shirt.

Three rockhounds smiling for the camera. One is wearing a shirt with rocks on it.

Photo by Stephanie Reed

Everyone in a circle preparing for the White Elephant Gift Exchange.

Lots of people sitting in a circle around a table full of wrapped gifts.

Photo by Stephanie Reed

You could have received one of these! The gifts included rocks, wire wrapped necklaces, shark teeth, books about rocks, a hammer, a can of beans, calendars, and much more. Perhaps you’ll join us next year.

A table full of wrapped gifts.

Photo by Stephanie Reed

Snowflakes for the First Day of Winter

We usually feature quartz crystals or fluorite crystals, but today’s crystal is somewhat different. To celebrate the first day of winter, here are some photos of snowflakes taken with a Low Temperature Scanning Electron Microscope (LT-SEM). The photos were taken by members of the Electron and Confocal Microscopy Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. From top to bottom, left to right, there are some needle crystals, a snow crystal coated in rime, a hoar crystal, a common snow crystal, a snowdrift from St. Louis Creek, a close-up of packed snow, a side plane crystal, and the traditional dendritic snow crystal. Suddenly I understand why there are so many different types of snow. More photos of snowflakes here.

Thanksgiving Rock Dinner

Happy Thanksgiving! To whet your appetite for dinner, here are some pictures of rocks and minerals that look like food. This is a traveling exhibit, so maybe it will be at a rock show near you.

This looks like a fruit salad containing strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, kiwis, slivered almonds, and whipped cream. It is actually rocks.

Bill and Lois Pattillo:

Start off with a tasty fruit salad.

This looks like a slice of ham (needs gravy, though), a yam with the skin on, and a side of shiny lima beans, but it is actually rocks.

Bill and Lois Pattillo:

The main course: ham, a yam, and lima beans.

This looks like a slightly translucent slice of pale yellow cheesecake with small red cherries on top. It is actually a slice of rock with rocks on top.

Bill and Lois Pattillo:

Cherry cheesecake for dessert.

This looks like a huge spread of all sorts of food: bread baskets, muffins, popcorn, nuts, cheese, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, and more. It is actually all rocks.

Bill and Lois Pattillo:

The whole spread.

Petrified Palm

You’ve heard of petrified wood, but have you heard of petrified palm? It’s made from trees of the extinct genus Palmoxylon, which were very similar to palm trees. The process is the same: when the palms died, sometimes they would be covered by water or dirt before they rotted. Then, as groundwater flowed across the ground it carried dissolved silica which would fill the xylem and phloem inside the palm. The result is solid silica in the same shape as the plant. They usually turn out much smoother and more uniform than other types of petrified wood, and petrified palm can be cut, polished, and used as a semiprecious gemstone. It’s mostly found in the Catahoula Formation, Texas, and Louisiana (where it’s the state fossil).

A group of four honey-yellow cabochons shaped like a circle, oval, triangle, and square. They have brown dots and stripes in different patterns, similar to the other petrified palmwood.

Amy O’Connell’s Petrified Palmwood sold at

As you can see, petrified palm’s distinctive round spots make great cabochons.

Cloud Agates

Cloud agates look like they contain clouds. They can have a gray or transparent matrix and the inclusions are usually white and foggy to look like clouds.  The one on the left has a bit of a drusy effect which makes it look like a puffy cumulus cloud.  The cloud agate on the right has a blue “cloud” inside.  The North Lincoln Agate Society has given its friend some googly eyes.

Landscape Agates

A landscape agate is any agate with inclusions that appear to be a landscape scene.  This usually includes plumes or dendrites, because they look so much like trees. I was unable to find the original sources for some of these cabochons, but I think the beautiful photos speak for themselves.  Which one is your favorite?