rock shows at IX and
Berea Fairgrounds really shine
By Charles Cassady
Published April 27, 2005
evidence that Cleveland is worthy of a rock hall of fame? You need
look no further than the I-X Center from May 6-8. Or the Cuyahoga
County Fairgrounds in Berea May 21-22. There will be rock shows
like you won't believe. No music, but still rock shows.
are, in fact, when popular spring gem and mineral shows come to
town, displaying to the public splendid examples of polished and
rough stones, crystals, fossils, pearls, and sea shells. "Anything
that comes out of the earth," said Bea Jordan, of the Parma Lapidary
Club, the organization behind the Berea event.
"The gem show
at the Berea fairgrounds is being put on completely by volunteers
of the lapidary club..." she said. "We're just amateurs, but we
have some very beautiful artists, that do very beautiful work."
the extrava-gemza at the I-X Center is national in scope, featuring
touring dealers with everything from diamonds and engagment rings
to coral and fossilized trilobites.
not working for the Lapidary Club, can often be found at Rocks'n'Chips,
on 7952 Lorain Ave. in Cleveland, the area motherload for rock hounds.
Here can be found agates, geodes, jade, amethyst, gypsum and varieties
of quartz. Stones can be found both rough and polished in rock tumblers,
a careful smoothing process of several weeks with finer and finer
grit, that brings out the glorious colors in certain minerals, which
can then be admired in and of themselves, or be strung into beads
or worked with silver and gold into jewelry or other crafts.
really likes to go out and hunt for these stones," said Jordan.
"He brings them home and he plays with them. And what else do you
do with them? Well, they like to go to craft shows. So they make
jewelry and sell what they made, and that is a hobby that pays for
itself. You don't make a lot of money, but it pays for itself, and
good, however, was when gold prices in particular rose precipitously
in the 1970s, putting the ore out of reach of many casual crafters.
Some other lapidary shops in this area closed down as a result,
said Jordan, but Rocks'n'Chips has survived.
she said, patronage at the gem shows has remained constant - solid
as a rock, you might say. In fact, she's surprised interest hasn't
risen in the durable pastime, which is family-friendly and educational.
come in. School groups come in. And we do have the Brunswick High
School group that helps us. They will have a series of tables there;
they will cut geodes and earn money for their rock-hounding trips."
What is favorite
regional rock-hound destination, the place that deserves the title
rock city? For Bea Jordan, it's Herkimer, N.Y., where limestone
deposits millions of years ago, long before the dinosaurs, formed
a type of fine quartz called Herkimer diamond. The Parma Lapidary
Club has gone on occasional trips to quarry fine specimens in and
around Herkimer, and the locality's lapidary shops and a "Petrified
Creatures Museum" vie for the attentions of rock-minded tourists.
But what about
local industry? "There are stones in Ohio - there's some calcite
- but our big stone, the stone for the state of Ohio, is called
flint. We go down and mine it in Flint Ridge, which is around the
Zanesville/Newark area. There is a whole ridge of flint there...The
flint there is of a very hard, very good quality. And the Indians
from the neighboring states would come around to the Ohio flint
ridge and barter for that flint, because it makes a really good
She said Ohio
flint arrowheads will be on display and for sale at her club's fairgrounds
show, where at least 22 out-of-down dealers have registered so far
for the traditional third weekend in May. In addition there will
be a special guest attraction. The Parma Lapidary Club is guest-hosting
a life-size replica dinosaur skull of the resident Tyrannosaurus
Rex specimen (nicknamed `Sue') on loan the Field Museum of Chicago.
In past Parma Lapidary shows the VIPs have included NASA moon rocks.
This year, said Jordan, they thought they'd do something a little
different with Sue.
there will be three prize drawings, one for a finished necklace,
one for a fossil (not Sue), and one for a prime rock specimen. For
more information on the Parma Lapidary Club and its show, phone
(216) 398-4841; dealer information, phone (216) 381-9003. For more
on the I-X Center show, prospect online at www.intergem.net.
Rocks'n'Chips can be phoned at (216) 281-0624.
As they say
in that other rock field, dig, baby, dig.