Gem Capers


The Austin Gem and Mineral Society hosted their annual Gem Capers at the Palmer Events Center last weekend. The exhibit floor was fairly crowded when I visited on Sunday afternoon. I’m guessing their overall attendance for the three-day event was higher than usual due to the rainy weather.


The theme of this year’s show was “Pegmatites.” I’m not a rock hound, but with over 30 vendor booths and numerous display cases, surely I saw a pegmatite somewhere.


Gem Capers was very family-friendly with lots of hands-on activities. Wheel of Fortune, Gem Mine, and Geode Splitting were popular with the younger crowd.

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I’ve seen the oldy-but-goody Food Table at previous shows. Some of the rocks looked like hard, moldy versions of their edible counterparts, but generally the place settings and serving dishes appeared realistic. A little tough on the teeth, though.


I spoke to a woman from Florida who was demonstrating how to make gem trees. She explained that she first twists thin wire into realistic tree shapes and then glues pairs of tiny gems to the branches. She estimated that each completed tree had about 300 gems.


Some vendors gave away free stones. That’s one reason why I have two boxes of gems and minerals from previous Gem Capers. The other reason is that a few dollars can go a long way at this show. Although on Sunday, I actually saw someone spend $1600 for just one rock. That’s a serious collector.

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