By Devin Leith-Yessian
MERIDEN — Transparent crystals, purple geodes and gemstones of all sizes are on display at the Lapidary & Mineral Society of Central Connecticut’s Annual Mineral Show.
“There’s intersting stuff all over the place and that’s part of the fascination,” said LMSCC President Bob Schuster, of Guilford. He stood behind his collection of garnets and Herkimer diamonds, which are quartz crystals only found in a few places around the world, including Herkimer County, New York.
“The best in New England, I think, (are) right here,” Schuster said of the vendors in the cafeteria of Maloney High School, where the show is being held on March 3 and 4. He believes the show is poised to have a higher turnout than last year’s 1,700 guests.
He said visitors were brought by a “love of the minerals and their beauty.” While there are sites in the state where minerals and crystals can be found, picking through shows like this allow those interested to find items not found in the state or even the country.
“You really need to go to shows like this and look around to find something fascinating,” Schuster said. “The hunt is part of the thrill of it.”
Southington resident Katie Faustini said she went to the show, her first, to look for gems to turn into wire wrapped jewelry. Relatively new to the environment, she said she was able to learn from the experienced collectors and vendors there. “Most of them know a lot about it,” she said.
Of particular interest was quartz crystals, which are small enough to fit into her creations and “shiny and pretty and not too expensive.”
“You don’t have to spend a lot of money if you want a good collection,” said Hartford resident Stephen Blake, a member of the society after he perused a table of crystals. “You can get minerals that are really inexpensive or expensive all in the same show.”
He said those interested in learning about what can be found in the earth can join the club on their digs around the state or their monthly meetings at the high school. “We’re more than willing to teach you,” he said.
“This club is a great club,” said Allen Peterson, who owns Middle Earth Lapidary in East Granby. He said the show was busy and bringing him a stream of customers.
He said his wares were different from many other vendors there in that he had cut and uncut gemstones. People “very rarely see them before they’re cut,” he said.
“I love to cut, it’s not so much about the sale,” said Peterson, who has been interested in gems since around age six. “I just have a passion for it.”