Fine & Faceted: Rocks are shown in many forms at annual gem show

Published on Saturday, 18 January 2014 21:06 - Written by By Danny Mogle

Shiny, crystallized, colorful, holding clues to the Earth’s past, and, in some cases, worth a small fortune, rocks and gemstones fascinate many.

Keith Harmon has been attracted to the beauty and mystery of rocks for years.

“It’s a fun hobby,” said Harmon, a member of East Texas Gem and Mineral Society. “It’s a good one for kids and we’re all just big kids.”

Kids and kids at heart will have a chance to see rocks in all their many forms — including as the centerpieces of fine jewelry — at East Texas Gem and Mineral Society’s annual Gemstone and Jewelry Showcase this week at Rose Garden Center in Tyler.

Eleven dealers will present precious gemstones, gold and silver jewelry creations, minerals, fossils, geodes, stone carvings and lapidary supplies, says information about the show.

Harmon, the show chairman, said one of the most popular attractions is always the famous Rock Food Table by Bill and Lois Pattillo.

The Pattillos were inspired to create Rock Food Table after seeing a display of rocks that resembled pastries at the Portland (Ore.) Gem and Mineral Show in 1982.

“We didn’t give this sighting much thought until we returned to our home in Robstown, Texas,” writes Mr. Pattillo on the display’s website. “This is when my wife, Lois, had the idea to exhibit a table of rocks that look like food. We were the owners of several rocks that looked like food at that time. Lois decided to open up her idea and extended an invitation to our club members, Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society, in Corpus Christi.”

Harmon said viewers of Rock Food Table can’t believe what they are seeing.

“It’s like a banquet table and it’s so real looking it looks like you can sit down and start eating but everything on the table is rock,” he said.

Throughout the show, craftsmen will demonstrate lapidary skills such as cutting and polishing gemstones and members of the East Texas Gem and Mineral Society will show off their collections and projects.

Show visitors will be able to bid on items in the silent auction and register to win hourly door prizes and a grand prize.

Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 26.

Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children and students.



The East Texas Gem and Mineral Society meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at The Discovery Science Place, 309 N. Broadway Ave., Tyler. Harmon said the club’s 80 members have interests that include earth science; collecting rocks, minerals, fossils; and lapidary arts — designing and making jewelry that features gemstones.

The club “brings together novice and expert alike, who have the same interests. It gives members the opportunity to collect specimens, learn about how they are formed, and perhaps how to make them into wearable art.

“​​You don’t have to know anything about the geo-sciences, just have an interest in any part of the hobby,” said information on the club’s website.