Rock out at the gemstone and mineral show! - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Rock out at the gemstone and mineral show!


Every once in a while you just have to have a little rock, or maybe even a big one. Yes, it's time once again for the East Texas Gem and Mineral Show. It's a great family event with all kinds of interesting exhibits and items for sale.

They have rocks that were dinosaurs, rocks that glow, and rocks with a surprise inside, arguably more exciting that Cracker Jacks.

The Tyler Rose Garden Center has been hosting the Gemstone and Jewelry Show for years. So of course it's there again, and on the first day local students got a field trip.

The kids learned about panning for gold from Don Brisendine, of East Texas Gold Prospectors of America.

"There's only been ten percent of the gold available here, that means there's a whole lot more gold available out there for you guys to find and me too. But that's what it looks like, that's how it works," Brisendine said.

"Did you get that dirt out of the Rose Garden," I asked Don pointing at his gold pan laden with gold nuggets.

"No," he laughed.

The kids got to see some fossils and so did I. Vendor Joe Grimes had some really old stuff for sale.

"This is a rather unusual piece. Is this proof of Bigfoot right here? Is this a Bigfoot hand?"

"It is. It's a big foot from a cave bear," Grimes said.

"Oh. A big barefoot," I concluded.

"Big bear foot," he seemed to confirm.

The Brook Hill students were very curious about the geodes, so much so they were buying them like hotcakes, even though they hadn't been hot in a long time. Show Chairman Keith Harmon collects sells and cracks the hollow rocks, and it's always a big hit.

But what is that geode-cracker thing?

"Bring out the Kraken!" I declared.

"I noticed you worked up a little sweat," I said pointing out Keith's moist brow.

"Just a little bit, but this is a cast-iron pipe cutter, it's an old plumber's tool," Keith explained about the geode-cracker thing.

After a lot of ooos and ahs it was time to depart, but not before one good look at the door prize: A big geode lit by a flashlight.

"Is it actually just really the flashlight?" I asked the doorman.

"It's just the flashlight inside there lighting it up," he admitted, but he was kidding of course.

Doors open at 10 a.m. and you can stay until 6 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Its only $5 for adults and just $1 for kids.

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