Jacek Tomasik collects rocks and minerals from his home countries in Central Europe. He was one of the vendors at the 62nd Annual Thunderegg Rock and Mineral Show on April 6-7. Aliya Hall/The Creswell Chronicle
For rock and mineral enthusiasts, the 62nd Annual Thunderegg Rock and Mineral Show on April 6-7 was the place to be.
The variety of show-goers’ backgrounds and interests were as diverse as the wide array of rocks, stones, minerals, colors, shapes and sizes. We spoke to several people who brought different approaches and specific interests to the festival.
The event, hosted by the Springfield Thundergg Rock Club, took place at Willamalane Adult Activity Center in Springfield.
Don Lown, one of the club members, said that it was the show’s first year in this space and he said it is a more spacious facility; in the past, the show has been held at the Goshen Grange.
”We’ve been very busy all day,” he said. ”We have a varied exhibit of vendors selling. The vendors themselves process, cut and polish their own material.”
The show had a room of rough rock material, vendor booths, a silent auction and children’s space. Proceeds from the event went toward a $500 scholarship for a Springfield student.
For Jacek Tomasik, his interest in rocks grew from a family of collectors. He said he fell into it from them, and now he travels from show to show across the country. Originally from Central Europe, Tomasik finds rocks from his home countries as well as buys products at his other shows.
”You mix and match some of your own with things you find,” he said.
As someone who got involved from a young age, Tomasik said he really likes it when there is a place for children because it helps them get involved at a young age and keeps them busy during the show.
Tomasik does 30 shows a year and enjoys doing most of his work on the weekends. He said the biggest challenge is that every show is different and it can be hard to know what to expect.
”Some are big and some are small, and they can be run completely different because they’re all volunteers,” he said.
As a mineralogist, it’s more than just the look of the rocks that speaks to Allie Lane. In college she started to learn more about the different kinds of crystals and their metaphysical properties, and to help her with her anxiety and focus she began to make crystal grids. From there, her collection grew.
”My partner encouraged me to make it a business,” she said. ”Six years later I have been collecting and building up my business.”
Originally from Minnesota, Lane grew up looking for agates and drift glass around lake Superior. In Oregon, she has found herself getting attached to the things she finds and it’s harder for her to give up.
”But people love all the different minerals from all around the world,” she said. ”They all have different feels to them and different colors.”
At the moment, her favorite minerals are quartz and minerals with lithium inside, so a mineral like Lithium Quartz that has a pink hue to it has held her eye.
Lane also said she loves interacting with the community during rock shows, and there is a great rock community in Oregon: ”They support each other and it’s a fun community.”
It was garage and estate sales that started Yvonne Parkinson down the road of rock collecting. She said she kept finding pretty ones, and would get attached.
”The rocks are beautiful,” she said. ”I never found a rock that wasn’t unique and very pretty. They’re all so natural.”
From collecting the rocks, she realized that she enjoyed making jewelry with them, so she would slice the rocks to draw patterns for the jewelry. She said that is one of the most fun aspects with rock collecting; however, the biggest challenge can be the wait time between finding rocks that she really likes.
Florence Rexroad and Luella Larsen
Mother and daughter pairing Florence Rexroad and Luella Larsen focus more on the jewelry aspects of rock collecting. Luella Larsen, the daughter, repurposes old jewelry, coins and rocks to make hair barrettes.
”It’s fun … it’s taken on a life of its own,” she said.
Larsen belongs to a coin, rock and metal detector club and uses her findings to create different, vintage pieces. She was at a table next to her mother, Florence, who is 92 and makes necklaces and earrings out of rocks she was given.
The biggest struggle in combining rocks and jewelry, particularly earrings, is finding two rocks that look the same and are the same size, Larsen said.