We asked the vendor how exactly we were supposed to open our geodes. In our broken Spanish, and her broken English, we determined that either a super-sized bolt cutter or a hammer would do.
“Manimal will like these,” my daughter said, referring to her husband. “They combine two of his favorite things: rocks and smashing things.”
We selected five geodes each. What a bargain!
1) Geodes – We found plenty of geodes at wholesale prices. I lugged my bag of the cannonball-heavy minerals around until I wised up and stashed them in my vehicle.
2) Coprolite – one vendor had two trays of fossilized dinosaur dung. As I made my selection, we made jokes about the insanity of buying dino poop. One browser asked how the vendor knew it was really poop. The vendor said her coprolite guy travels all over the world collecting fossilized dinosaur dung. You can test it to verify it is really poop. What a job!
3) Ammonite – will be featured in its gemstone form ammolite in book two of my rock shop mystery series. Amazing ammonite fossils appeared in many sizes, colors, and forms. I purchased the smaller variety cut and polished, and made into a pair of earrings.
4) Size – I suspected the show would be huge, and I was not disappointed. I now know the source for wholesale items that my character Morgan stocks in her rock shop. In fact, some items were marked “for wholesale only.”
5) Educating me on the reality of a large mineral show. I suspected I did not know enough to write an effective mystery based on this setting, and I was correct.
1) Generosity of knowledge – every vendor I met offered his or her expertise for my research. I will highlight folks in a future blog who went out of their way to bring me up to speed on gemstone prospecting (The Bad Boys of Cripple Creek) and paleontology (Oreodont Fossils).
2) Prospectors – I knew the cast of the television reality show was scheduled to make an appearance at the mineral show. I did not expect to meet the stars! Dwayne Hall and his sister Yvonne made this newbie feel right at home among serious professional rockhounds.
3) Prices – I thought my mystery novel’s rock shop had an extravagant fossil – a Triceratops brow horn priced over three thousand dollars. I saw panels, at least five feet by six feet, that were priced in the tens of thousands of dollars.
4) Variety – of people and goods. I saw boxes of rocks, strings of beads, raw gemstones, cut gemstones, petrified wood pedestals, inexpensive commonplace fossils, crazy expensive large intact skeletons, T-shirts, tools, and toys. The international nature of the vendors surprised me, too. Every continent was represented. Everywhere on the planet, humans are digging for bones and treasure.
5) My daughter was grateful for the vegan, gluten-free food truck, while I was happy that the coffee truck had soy and rice milk. Who would have expected?
The afternoon spent at the Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem and Jewelry Show was time well spent, and yet it was not nearly enough time to answer all my questions. Fortunately, I met some folks who are eager to educate a newbie rock hound.
I will be writing more about the mineral show, and posting more photos. Until then, here is a photo of one expensive fossil! This panel must have been five feet on each side.