The Moab Rock Club knows how to put on a good show.
It’s not a “rock show” in the traditional sense of the term. But the group’s upcoming 55th Annual Rock, Gem & Mineral Show at the Old Spanish Trail Arena is just as exciting for vendors like John Krutzler and the people who cruise by their tables.
“It’s not just a bunch of rocks,” Krutzler said. “It’s an education for everyone.”
Apart from the vendors’ displays, the Oct. 10-12 event will feature door prizes, photo exhibits and more. Admission is free, and attendees will also have the chance to win free prizes at the show’s spin table demonstrations.
The vendors are one of the main draws, of course, and this year, Moab Rock Club President Jerry Hansen expects to see somewhere between 36 to 40 vendors from about 11 states.
Two of those vendors ― Krutzler and his wife, Meg, of Villa Grove, Colorado-based Enhancing the Stone ― said they’re always happy to make the trip over here.
“We’ve been doing Moab now for about six years, and we just find it to be a very friendly venue,” Meg Krutzler said. “We love all of the vendors.”
“It’s absolutely one of our favorite shows,” John Krutzler added. “I think it’s one of the only ones where we see more families and more kids, and that’s what makes the show so vibrant for us.”
John Krutzler said the sight of young attendees who are dazzled by Enhancing the Stone’s displays always reminds him of his own childhood flights of fancy.
“The world can be a hard place, but when those kids come up to the booth, they’re in another place. It’s Peter Pan Land,” he said.
Blue Crystal Mines owner and vendor William Harrison travels to similar events from Denver to Tucson, and he’s a big fan of a show that happens to be closest to his property in San Juan County’s Lisbon Valley.
“It’s a really good show,” Harrison said. “It keeps improving every year.”
At the same time, the show’s organizers keep returning to the traditions that attendees have come to expect.
This year, the club will once again be leading field trips to two popular rockhounding sites near Moab.
On Oct. 11, it will be heading to the Yellow Cat area north of town, where visitors can expect to see petrified wood limb casts and agates.
“It’s been hunted quite extensively forever, but it’s invariably one of the areas that we get requests to visit every year,” Hansen said.
The next day, trip leaders will take visitors to the Blue Hills area, which is known for its septarian nodules ― strikingly-patterned decorative rocks.
Tour participants might also have a chance to see dinosaur bones, although Hansen reminds people that it’s against the law to remove any paleontological resources they see on public lands.
“You cannot pack it off,” he said. “We do not promote that.”
Back at the Old Spanish Trail Arena, attendees will find unique products made from agatized dinosaur bones, which have been remineralized over the ages with agate, jasper, opal and other silica-type compounds.
Stone Carver Ken Kolb of Moab has worked on his craft for more than 35 years, creating jewelry, art and collectors’ specimens from agatized dinosaur bones he bought at local rock shops. According to a disclaimer on his website, bonemasters.com, Kolb does not collect bones from federal or state lands.
While Kolb works with unique materials, the Krutzlers often begin their process with otherwise unremarkable antique store finds, garden ornaments and mannequins, among other things.
The transformation occurs when they cover their base materials with rubies, emeralds, diamonds, abalone shells, turquoise and anything else that strikes their fancy.
“We take ordinary objects and turn them into whimsical and fantastical objects,” Meg Krutzler said.
The Krutzlers spend an average of more than 100 hours on each piece, and the end results are one-of-a-kind, according to Meg.
“I don’t know anyone else who is doing this,” she said.
At this year’s event, the Krutzlers will be displaying the skull of a 16-year-old buffalo decorated with gemstones and Colorado-found arrowheads. John Krutzler estimates that the skull weighs 70 pounds and spans about 2.5 feet from horn to horn.
They also plan to unveil two new gemstone-covered “cobras” that John Krutzler was still working on when he spoke with the Moab Sun News last week.
“Even people who don’t like snakes love our cobras,” he said.
Rock show attendees who drop by their display can expect to find more affordable items in the $30 price range, although some of the couple’s creations have gone for as much as $13,000.
“We have a little bit of something for everybody,” Meg Krutzler said. “We try to do some smaller things so we’re not in the $7,000 to $10,000 range all the time.”
Harrison, meanwhile, will be offering a sampling of the 14 different hand-crafted products that he and his wife sell from their mine near the town of La Sal.
He will be expanding his space at this year’s event to include cutting-quality “Rocky Mountain blueberries,” which are actually tiny round balls of azurite.
“It’s the only place in the world that these blueberries come from,” Harrison said.
Other Blue Crystal products range from tourist and collector specimens to landscaping rocks and some jewelry, which has been featured on the Home Shopping Network’s “Mine Finds by Jay King.”
Blue Crystal’s products are so distinctive that they routinely draw unauthorized visitors to the Harrisons’ private property. Harrison warns that he will prosecute any and all trespassing violations, and he encourages anyone who wants to visit the mine to contact Moab-based Deep Desert Expeditions at 435-259-1565.
“I don’t allow rock collecting out here unless they go through my tour guide,” he said. “The area is too dangerous to just let people come out here (on their own).”
This weekend, at least, potential customers will have another way to check out Harrison’s products, without running afoul of the law: They can visit his display at the rock, gem and mineral show.
For more information about the upcoming show, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who would like to join either field trip should be at the arena by 8:30 a.m.; both trips are scheduled to leave the arena at 9 a.m.
Moab Rock Club hosts 55th annual gem and mineral show this weekend
What: Moab Rock Club’s 55th Annual Rock, Gem & Mineral Show
When: Friday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m; Sunday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. U.S. 191
Cost: Admission is free
It’s a really good show. It keeps improving every year.