Rock and Mineral Show shines over weekend

Geological experts and rockhounds gathered in Creede over the weekend for the annual rock and mineral show.

CREEDE— The Creede Rock and Mineral Show kicked off the weekend on Friday, Aug. 2 at the Underground Community Center and brought crowds of people from all walks of life. The show was a huge success, with well over 50 vendors, geological specialists and rockhounds from around the world.
Vendors lined the entrance way, community room and underground museum offering rock and mineral specimens as well as precious gems for all to see. Intricate jewelry sparkled under the florescent lights, inviting guests to stop and enjoy the view. The juried show offered only the best, bringing variety and uniqueness in every shape and form.
On Saturday night, local Charles Downing held a presentation on fire agates, a unique mineral found in areas like New Mexico and Arizona. Though the Valley is known for white agates and other similar minerals like chalcedony, it is not home to the fire agate. Downing took time to explain the properties of the mineral and had some specimens on hand to show the attending crowd.
According to a description of the mineral, “Fire agate, a variety of chalcedony, is a semi-precious natural gemstone discovered so far only in certain areas of central and northern Mexico and the southwestern United States (New Mexico, Arizona and California). Approximately 24-36 million years ago these areas were subjected to massive volcanic activity during the Tertiary Period. The fire agates were formed during this period of volcanism when hot water, saturated with silica and iron oxide, repeatedly filled cracks and bubbles in the surrounding rock.”
Furthermore, “Fire agates have beautiful iridescent rainbow colors, similar to opal, with a measurement of hardness on the Mohs scale of between five and seven which reduces the occurrence of scratching when polished gemstones are set in jewelry. The vibrant iridescent rainbow colors found within fire agates, created by the Schiller effect as found in mother-of-pearl, is caused by the alternating silica and iron oxide layers which diffract and allow light to pass and form an interference of colors within the microstructure layering of the stone causing the fire effect for which it is named.”
Several vendors had fire agate jewelry on display throughout the show as well as local amethyst found in mines around the area, for which Creede is famous. In addition, vendors also had local sowbelly agate, local silver and local quartz crystals that can be found in several locations around the Valley floor.
Creede has always been known to geologists as a geological phenomenon which makes it a one of a kind place for rockhounds. As the summer comes to its inevitable close, Creede will now prepare for their annual Headwaters Music Festival and Creede Repertory Theatre’s Headwater New Plays of the West program.


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