Fossil and mineral enthusiasts gather in Denver for one of the country's biggest gem exhibits
The annual Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem, and Jewelry Show opened last week, the largest show of its kind in the U.S.
Vendors displaying their wares are spread throughout the National Western Complex and the Denver Coliseum.
Lee Brown from Bookbinder Crystals, one of the vendors, says gems, rocks, and crystals have enduring allure.
"I think the coolest thing about precious metals and gems and rocks and crystals is the fact that they are going to long outlast us as organisms. It's very often something that's found in tombs and historical sites and things like this, the stones of the time, how they process them," he said.
"And I just think it's very beautiful. Every crystal is absolutely geometrically perfect, and it was grown and created this way without our interaction, and that's probably the coolest aspect about them."
Haroon Sait has traveled to Denver from Charlotte, North Carolina. Originally from India, he has been working with fossils and gems for two decades.
He says there is a lot to learn from these stones, which have themselves emerged from major events like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.
"The interesting thing is that the crystal, even though it had to go through that major change in its life, it engraved that event within itself, but it still grew to become a beautiful crystal," he said.
"So for us, the lesson that we learn is, when we go through the ups and downs of our life, nothing should stop us from growing to our potential. So things of that kind make these crystals and mineral specimens amazing and fabulous."
Savannah Lee Hughes of Hughes Gem Gallery in Nevada City, California, says her favorite stone is dioptes. "It’s a mineral that mainly comes out of Africa. And there are some places down in Arizona and Mexico where it also comes from. And it just has the most vibrant green-blue color. And it's absolutely gorgeous," she said.
Abdoulie Jawneh, who is originally from Gambia in West Africa, has been living in Los Angeles for 29 years. He is at the show displaying African beads which he imports from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
"They're made by the local people in Ghana, the Krobo tribes, they use it for the protection and the good luck," he said.
"They tie it in the waist, some put it in the neck, some make it as a bracelet. they hang some in their dress, and some also like the amber bead, when the females braid the hair, they also dress the hair with it. They're mainly made by glass. I have a few stuff made by stone, or amber, or cow bones. And I also have shells from Gambia and also from Mali."
The Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem, and Jewelry Show runs through September 17, 2023.
This story was shared with KSUT via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico, including KSUT.
Copyright 2023 Aspen Public Radio.