Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rock Show 2018

Great Specimens!

Last year's New Jersey Mineral, Fossil, Gem, and Jewelry Exhibition was so enjoyable I decided to drive up there again for the 2018 event. This time I avoided stressful, speeding traffic on Interstate 95 by traveling on easygoing, slower Route 301. The event began on Wednesday, April 4th. A significant line awaited entry to the noon opening inside the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, NJ, a not particularly attractive building in a huge industrial park.
Upon entering the enormous exhibition I visited the ultraviolet fluorescent mineral exhibit where I hoped to buy some fluorescent rocks. Unfortunately, none were available for sale. Instead, there were several spectacular display cases filled with colorful glowing minerals.
Last year's show increased my interest in fluorescent minerals. I've purchased UV lamps, and collected some unexpected fluorescent specimens near my home. One of my goals at this year's exhibition was to buy a few fluorescent rocks, in particular, some fluorescent geodes. I did find a few geodes, but there weren't many other affordable fluorescent specimens available.

Adjacent to the UV display was a fabulous large exhibition of trilobite fossils. Trilobites come in many varieties, and most of the fossils were exquisite.
Some trilobites had delicate appendages beautifully preserved in a number of fossils.
I should have spent more time with the trilobites. In my haste to enter the main exhibit floor, I didn't take time to read all the interesting information posted near the fossil displays.

Next to the trilobite exhibit was an exciting life-size recreation of a Titanoboa swallowing a crocodile! This truly scary 2,500 pound extinct snake was 48 feet long and 26 inches wide!
Escaping the Titanoboa, I headed out into the huge expo area filled with all manner of exhibitors, many with beautiful display cases like the one in the next picture.
I spent hours drooling over magnificent mineral specimens and fossils, including this beautiful two-foot wide slice of petrified wood with tree rings plainly visible.
Ordinary tables are made with ordinary wood, but it's possible to make a table with petrified wood!

Lots of meteorites were for sale, including the following monster cut and polished to show the Widmanstatten pattern. The price tag on this behemoth was $6950!
One of the exhibitors created miniature landscapes upon amethyst. I call these, fairyland rocks.
Several giant geodes were on display.
Of course I bought some specimens for my modest collection. The color contrast between this blue fluorite and its brown matrix appealed to me.
All the fluorite crystals in my collection were cubic crystals. I've now added these multicolored octahedral fluorite crystals.
A blue halite crystal caught my eye.
I also liked these stalactite slices.
Cut and polished opal is beautiful, but, oddly, raw opal fascinates me. A vendor from Australia had several samples of unfinished "boulder opal" immersed in shallow water. The water somehow enhanced the colorful opal colors seen in the stone below.
It may have been a mistake to attend the very first day of the five day exhibition. On the one hand, vendors' inventories might have been maximum, and I might have had first choice for purchases. On the other hand, some of the exhibits were still setting up, and not all specimens were available for inspection or sale. If I attend the show next year, I might spend two days instead of one. I felt rushed trying to see everything in one day and ended up leaving early because I was exhausted and hungry. Afterward, I wished I had spent more time taking a leisurely look at the exhibits.

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People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

John Lennon