Powell and Cody rockhound clubs are teaming up to host a gem and mineral show at Heart Mountain Hall on Friday and Saturday. The show marks the second time in more than a quarter century that the Big …
Powell and Cody rockhound clubs are teaming up to host a gem and mineral show at Heart Mountain Hall on Friday and Saturday. The show marks the second time in more than a quarter century that the Big Horn Basin’s rocky natural history will be on display and the final test before the two clubs plan and host the state show in 2024.
Combining the forces of Cody’s 59er Rock Club and Powell’s Shoshone Rock Club more than doubles the number of demonstrations and guidance for those looking for advice on where to find and how to best display treasures found in the Big Horn Basin and beyond. The Shoshone club’s star lapidarist Gary Olson will once again be on hand to demonstrate cutting and polishing rocks into cabochons, as well as showing off his amazing rock jewelry.
Dan Dalton will also be demonstrating his expert flint-knapping skills. He works in obsidian — also called volcanic glass. The resulting hand-crafted objects, which he completes with other natural materials such as antlers, make for awesome display pieces.
The Powell club’s 2022 show was a success, said event coordinator Cindy Cordova, and encouraged the members to add future activities.
“It was good for the rock club. And I think people who came really enjoyed it. We had a few people join the club because of the show, and we’re hoping we’d continue to have events,” she said.
The 59ers will be bringing several fan favorites, including Doc Ellis, who will be on hand to identify rocks for show attendees, and Jim Gray, a retired geologists with the Bureau of Mines. Both rockhounds have a wealth of knowledge on where to hunt in the Basin, as well as regionally.
Finding attractive rocks and minerals is the beginning of a lifetime of fun, said Greg Jones, who is the president of the 59ers club as well as a member of the Shoshone group. With more than 100 members in Cody, there is vast wealth of knowledge to draw from, including three retired geologists.
Club members will also display minerals under ultra violet lights, which is one of the most spectacular ways to exhibit rocks and minerals.
“All minerals have the ability to reflect light. That is what makes them visible to the human eye,” according to the geoscience website Geology.com.
Some regional minerals have an interesting physical property known as fluorescence. These minerals have the ability to temporarily absorb a small amount of light and an instant later release a small amount of light of a different wavelength. They glow with an amazing array of vibrant colors — in sharp contrast to the color of the rocks under conditions of normal illumination.
Both clubs offer informative meetings as well as outings that should thrill even the most experienced collectors. The next trip on schedule for area rockhounds is a trip down the South Fork to pan for peridot and olivine. The gemstone known as peridot is a variety of olivine; an enchanting yellow-green to green gem that is suitable for fine jewelry. Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August.
“It’s fun to get out in the river and go pan for gems,” Jones said.
While many serious rockhounds are members of both clubs, Shoshone members are always invited to join the 59ers, he said. The Cody club began in 1959, the year of the deadly Hebgen Lake earthquake.
The show will be held on Friday, 4-8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be vendors for rocks, minerals, fossils, jewelry, wire-wrapped stones and more. Admission is $3 for adults. Children under 12 are free. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.