Northwest Mineral Shows
Washington State
October 2005
By John Cornish

Hi Everyone,

These last several weeks have been busy ones for me. Among other things, I spent my time preparing for two upcoming mineral shows, both which I attended over the last two weekends. I enjoy a good mineral show and thankfully, with the abundant and varied mineral resources available to collectors here in Washington State, our mineral show calendar is full nearly all year long.

My first event was the 31st annual Symposium and Mineral Show of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Friends of Mineralogy in Kelso, Washington, over the weekend of October 14th - 16th. I've been a long time member of this great group and very much look forward to this, our grand culminating event of the year. The symposium has hosted some of our hobby's most illustrious luminaries, a veritable who's who in the mineral world. This year's theme, Minerals of Mississippi Valley- Type Deposits, featured talks by our keynote speakers Jesse Fisher ( and John Rakovan (an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals magazine). Local northwest collectors Ray Lasmanis and Aaron Wieting also presented talks. The symposium hosts approximately two dozen satellite dealers offering a wonderful array of hard to find northwest and World treasures and compliment our Main Floor Dealers, Lehigh Minerals (, Oxcart Minerals, John Kilian (, and Earth's Treasures. Member display cases offering an abundance of crystalline perfection graced the main floor area and fought the eye, competing with the stocks of the dealers. Live and Silent Auctions, Contests and wonderful, wonderful companionship, it's no mystery why I enjoy attending this premier Washington mineral event as much as I do!

I shared a room as a satellite dealer with my friend Dave Waisman and together we offered a stunning array of goodies (o.k., o.k., I'm a bit biased!). Among Dave's stock could be found several dozen self collected specimens from the Black Pine Mine, near Philipsburg, Granite County, Montana (older material from when Dave worked at the mine, see his paper in the Mineralogical Record, V.23, N.6), beautiful delicate appearing Liliani mine, Chihuahua, Mexico sceptered quartz and innumerable other fine goodies. Me, I had a sweet little display of miniature and small cabinet killers featuring among others, ex-specimens from the Martin Zinn collection, British Museum, etc. Russian tourmalines, calcites and fluorites; English quartzs and fluorites; enhydroed, phantomed, japan law twinned and enchantingly included quartz; from anatase to bournonite, from varisite to wulfenite. We had a fun room and we kept our door open late each evening. This event is open to both Friends of Mineralogy members and to the general public and it is my hope that we'll see you there next year!

(For more information regarding the Pacific Northwest Friends of Mineralogy, please see their website at...

As a side note, while on the way to the Friends of Mineralogy symposium, I stopped at an old friend quarry, Robertson Pit, in Mason County. I'd heard there had been some fresh work at the pit, but upon arrival, I found the quarry much as I'd left it months before on my last visit. The west wall is still attractive with several partially weathered pockets exposed, but as on my last visit, the west wall is a death zone. Wonderful specimens of natrolite, calcite and analcime are among the hoped for species collectors attempt to find here. These species are recovered from gas pockets found within a small percentage of the pillow basalts comprising this locality. On the west wall, peeling away from the top down, a massive section of loosely interlocked pillows was just waiting for the foolish tap of a hammer or the subtlest shift of wind. Personally, either seemed more than enough to cause the collapse of the wall, dropping tons of unyielding rock down on everything and anything below.

Collecting crystals is great fun, especially when we live long enough to appreciate the things we find! Be careful and be safe!

This last weekend, the 22nd and the 23rd of October, the Bellevue Rock Club had their annual show at Vasa Park on the shores of Lake Sammamish. I'd heard nice things about this little show and decided to attend. I was offered a sweet little fourteen foot space right beside the galley and the food (have I ever mentioned that besides, "I love you Gloria", my four favorite words are, "All You Can Eat!"). For this show, I changed my inventory over to fun stock consisting of specimens priced under a hundred dollars, these are complimented by my geodes and my geode cracking antics.

I've mentioned it before, but truly, I have the greatest time cracking geodes. It's just so gosh darn much fun! I really get into it too, making a big production of it with the kids and man, oh man, does my face hurt from all the smiling! This is just the absolute very best! For some (bah, humbug!) the geodes are too simple for their big brains, but for the rest of us, they're rocks with surprises inside and I just think that's the greatest!

Getting us all into position.

In the midst of the action!

Success and the smiles abound!

Cracking their first geode!

Ah, they cry as the crystals twinkle and glitter!

Their very first geodes!

Additionally to this fun, I placed a display into the show and was close enough to smile, overhearing some of the neat comments made by show attendees. The case displayed some of our finest specimens recovered during this year's mining operation at my mine, the Rat's Nest, in central Idaho.

(Many of you will remember reading the two online papers highlighting this year's mining adventure at ... and at... www.

Behind the scenes, the camaraderie demonstrated by all of the volunteers and workers as they assembled, enjoyed, and then torn down both shows was really a gift and I so very much enjoyed the time I spent with all of these good people. I can't wait to get out and attend another show, heck, my next will be in November, over the weekend of the 19th and the 20th, at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. The Kitsap Club really hosts an exceptional show and I'll be there displaying, cracking geodes and selling a few crystals. Come on by and say hello, it's never about the money, it's always about the friends!

For more information regarding the Bellevue Rock Club and for the Kitsap Mineral and Gem Society see...

Take care everyone and I'll hope to see you soon. All the very best,


Below are several photos I took at the Bellevue show of the goods offered by some of the attending dealers (unfortunately I did not have my camera at the Friends of Mineralogy symposium). This is followed by a final photo, one of our display. I hope you enjoy!

And all that glitters isn't gold, rather beautiful
rhodochrosites, rose quartz, stibnite and more.
Oxcart Minerals.

Uranium containing, bright green fluorescing,
Vaseline glass. All lit up under long wave UV.
Oxcart Minerals.

Fossil tusk material by the box full.
Tom Payne.

Beautiful shells and treasure
from Nature's Creations.

Mineral specimens in the stock
of Crystal Rich.

Spheres galore, more treasure
from Crystal Rich.

Click on above image to enlarge.
Some of our finest specimens from this years dig
as collected from the Rat's Nest mine, Challis, Idaho.