I am an old rockhound from Arizona.
As a junior at Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona, a bunch of us signed up for shop class. Thinking we would be learning how to work on cars, Our football coach, who was our teacher, offered us a different kind of class that we all jumped on: Lapidary!
That’s where my real love affair with rocks and minerals began.
We started with grinders, sanders, buffers, and polishers. We got pretty good at it, and bragged how we made our own gifts. I have only one remnant of that past: A gift I made for my mother at Christmas time. We had access to some pretty cool stones, mostly related to copper (being near the Open Pit Mine in Bisbee.) I made a necklace for Mom with the center stone being malachite, my favorite stone.
During that time frame, a friend and I would hang out at the Lapidary shop and get to know more about the art and the trade. Because of our energy and our youth, an old prospector hired us for part of the summer to work at his turquoise mine, just east of Tombstone, Arizona.
The Lord knows how lucky we were to leave with our arms and hands still attached. Even today, I saved a few pieces of turquoise from the old Lionel Herget Mine.