×

Mineral, gem enthusiasts marvel at nature during GCC show

  • Susan Dawiczyk (left) of the Hudson, N.Y. business Stone Corner shows a septarian nodule to a customer during the 21st annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show at Greenfield Community College on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Customers peruse Jerry Marchand's (at right) collection of minerals and crystals during the 21st annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show at Greenfield Community College on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • The 21st annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show was held at Greenfield Community College on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Customers perused a variety of gemstones, minerals and crystals during the 21st annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show at Greenfield Community College on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline



Recorder Staff
Saturday, November 11, 2017

GREENFIELD — Larry Bull has always had an interest in nature. Growing up, he collected everything from pinecones to leaves, eventually stumbling upon the hobby of collecting rocks.

“Once I started picking ’em up, I had to learn what the heck they were,” Bull said. But he never imagined he would be a dealer one day.

Bull was one of numerous rock, mineral, crystal, gemstone and fossil dealers that encircled the Cohn Family Dining Commons at Greenfield Community College Saturday for the 21st annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show sponsored by GCC’s Pioneer Valley Institute.

Customers could peruse booths, listen to talks about Eric Greene’s crystal-collecting trip in Brazil or Peter Scherff’s meteorite expertise, or participate in a guided tour of GCC’s new “geo path” led by GCC geology professor emeritus Richard Little.

Bull has been a regular to the show for 10 years or more, and a collector for more than 30. Operating JNL Minerals out of Shrewsbury, Bull said he reconnects with people at the GCC show he may not see all year.

“You get to talk to a lot of people. It’s a social event, quite frankly,” he said. “It’s always fun to talk about something you really enjoy.”

One such friend was Jerry Marchand of Westhampton, who sold minerals and crystals primarily from the Himalayas and India at a booth across from Bull’s. Like Bull, Marchand has been collecting for over 30 years, starting with Herkimer diamonds.

“It just turned into...” Marchand began, gesturing at the many minerals and crystals at his booth with a chuckle.

As children came up to Marchand, he’d teach them how Azurite and Malachite are formed, hoping to pass his interest onto the next generation.

“You want to encourage ’em,” he said. Some, Bull added, grow interested in stones when they’re young, lose interest as they grow older and regain it through their own children.

Though each gem or mineral dealer had a different favorite, a common agreement among them was that stones are fascinating for a simple reason: they’re naturally made.

“There’s so little out in the world now that’s real,” Marchand said. “There’s so much fake, so much deception. These are real, and they’re made by the Earth.”

“Nature does this,” echoed Susan Dawiczyk of the Hudson, N.Y. business Stone Corner. “It’s being able to see God’s creations and colors. … It formed itself, we had nothing to do with it, and that’s what I think is so amazing.”

Deborah Yaffee of Shelburne Falls said that because the various stones have different energies, they’re useful to her as a hypnotist and reiki practitioner with Riverside Healing Arts Center. In hypnotism, Yaffee said the stones give her clients something to focus on, with a stone’s color perhaps reminding them of something they’re working on or a positive thought. Himalayan crystals, like Marchand’s, help Yaffee make an “energy grid” while practicing reiki.

Though Yaffee, along with her husband Martin, had never been to the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show before, stumbling across it after seeing a sign in Greenfield, they said they found good quality dealers, merchandise for reasonable prices and intriguing lectures.

Some of Yaffee’s finds, like rare Bumblebee Jasper from Indonesia and the fossil of a horse tooth, may become her husband’s next photo subjects as they have in the past. She even discovered stones she’d never seen before, which is another reason the collectors love collecting.

“There’s always new stuff being found,” Marchand said.

Reach Shelby Ashline at: sashline@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257