Rock fair brings multigenerational hobby to West Jordan
Vendors sold rocks of all shapes and sizes at the Education Rock and Gem Show at the Viridian Event Center on Oct. 21–23. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)
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By Tori La Rue | firstname.lastname@example.org
Going to a rock show at the Viridian may bring images of guitars and drums to mind, but the venue’s three-day event beginning on Oct. 21 was a completely different sight, with thousands of gems, minerals and fossils on display.
The Education Rock and Gem Show put on by the Rockhounders Outreach for Community Knowledge, otherwise known as R.O.C.K., invited local community members to learn about and purchase rock specimens. Rockhounding is, in many instances, a family tradition, and the event offered geology enthusiasts an opportunity to engage in the multi-generational hobby.
Show Chairman Angela Dieter has a family connection with her rockhounding hobby, attributing her rock fascination to a memory with her grandfather.
“I was about 5 or 6 out in the desert with him, and he handed me a rock that we found,” she recounted. “He said, ‘You hold onto this young lady. You’ll appreciate it one day,’ and I still have that rock.”
Since that time, Dieter said she came to “love the thrill of finding rocks” and has tried to share her passion with others in the community.
Other attendees mentioned their own family connections to rockhounding at the West Jordan event. Jared Judd, a silversmith and stone cutter by profession, scoped out the rocks at one R.O.C.K. booth.
“My dad was obsessed with rocks, and now here I am,” he said. “That’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.”
While Judd said he spends a fair amount of time at gem fairs, he said his favorite part about his job is getting outside and actually digging for a good find. His favorite finds were two azurite boulders several hundred feet underground that he uncovered earlier this year.
His job and his passion are so intertwined that he says he finds himself cutting stones only so he can get out on more “adventures” to find more rocks.
Lynn Andreason came to find new rocks at the Oct. 21--23 event, partially to make up for the rocks that his granddaughter keeps stealing from him, he said. While rockhounding is an activity that his children and grandchildren enjoy doing with him, he said sometimes they enjoy it too much.
“I’ll find that my granddaughter has taken one of my favorite stones home to use as a curling iron holder,” he said, laughing. “I constantly remind her that I need it back.”
All jokes aside, Andreason said he loves that rock collecting is a family hobby.
Edna Clarkson, of Orem, said her husband’s interest in rocks intrigued her, so she started going to rock shows with him. Eventually, she found herself interested in all things rocks.
Clarkson went to the Education Rock and Gem Show to get quotes on how much money it would cost to make pendants out of her grandmother’s old headstone for her close and extended family members.
“I figured that’s a way that we could all cherish and remember her by,” she said. “It would be something meaningful.”
While the R.O.C.K. annual event wrapped up on Oct. 23, Dieter said there’s plenty of ways that families can get involved in rock collecting. She suggested attending R.O.C.K.’s meetings at the Viridian on the first Tuesday of each month and checking for information about future activities on rockhoundersock.com.