Rock collectors value septarian nodules for their distinctive-looking cracks and cavities. [Photo courtesy of Jerry Hansen]

Rockhounds and jewelry lovers won’t want to miss Moab’s 57th annual Rock, Gem and Mineral Show when it sets up shop from Friday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. U.S. Highway 191.

Thirty-nine different vendors from seven states will sell an array of rocks, gems and minerals, ranging from “rough” unworked rock pieces, to handmade American Indian silver jewelry from an artist in Blanding.

There may be a few dinosaur bones as well, Moab Rock Club president Jerry Hansen said. Dinosaur bones can come in a variety of colors – greens, blues, and reds – depending on where they were buried, he said.

One of several returning vendors is William Harrison, owner of Blue Crystal Mines near La Sal, where Harrison unearths blue and green azurite and malachite stones.

Copper oxide gives azurite and malachite rocks their brilliant blue and green colors.

“Azurite is an expensive stone; it’s a sister mineral of turquoise,” Harrison said. “I am the only one in the United States still mining azurite commercially.”

That’s because most azurite excavations have occurred on public lands, whereas Harrison bought his property 22 years ago, making mining it a more viable business, he said. Harrison’s treasures will include earrings made from pseudomorph – a crystal consisting of one mineral, but having the form of another that it has replaced.

“It’s really rare,” he said.

His wife Ekaterina makes black walnut malachite-azurite inlaid bowls and cedar inlaid bowls, which will also be for sale.

In addition, rough forms of the rock will be available to purchase, and Harrison said he will also be selling pens made with malachite by Moab artist Andy Titas.

For the jewelry maker or collector, there will be both small stones and larger specimens available, including pieces from as far away as Morocco, Russia, Sudan and Australia, Hansen said. A new vendor from Somalia will bring an array of unfinished and polished stones from that part of the world, Hansen added.

Showgoers can also expect to find art objects made from stone, as well as dinosaur bones.

“A lot of people work with dinosaur bones – either polished stones or jewelry that comes in a variety of colors – greens, blues and reds,” depending on the environment where they were buried, Hansen said.

The bones were found on private land or purchased from rock shops, he noted.

There’s a spin wheel again this year for kids to win various small rock prizes and trinkets such as bracelets, rings and necklaces, Hansen said. Vendors will donate door prizes for ticket purchasers.

Like last year, the La Sal Masonic Lodge and Arches Shrine Club will be selling food at the upstairs section of the arena; proceeds will benefit their mission of providing health care assistance to children and families in need. The menu includes items like Frito pies, hamburgers, French fries and sloppy Joes.

“The prices are great, and the food is great,” Hansen said. “They do a very good job.”

The Moab Rock Club, which sponsors the rock, gem and mineral show, is also leading two field trips over the weekend. Saturday’s field trip is to Agate Valley off Blue Hills Road north of Moab. On Sunday, a group will go to the Yellow Cat Flat area, which is located off Interstate 70 northeast of Moab. The area is dotted with old uranium mines, and is named for the yellow-colored uranium ore found there.

Participants can expect to see petrified wood, a variety of different kinds of agates and possibly some dinosaur bones, Hansen said. Both field trips leave from the arena at 9 a.m. sharp, returning around 2 or 3 p.m., Hansen said.

Both the rock show and the field trips are free. Hansen suggests that people sign up in advance for the field trips, and reminds people that it’s against the law to remove any paleontological resources they see on public lands. High-clearance vehicles are recommended for those who wish to drive.

The Moab Rock Club was founded in 1959. The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West.

57th annual Rock, Gem and Mineral Show features gems from around the world

“A lot of people work with dinosaur bones – either polished stones or jewelry that comes in a variety of colors – greens, blues and reds.”

When: Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. U.S. Highway 191

Cost: Admission is free


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