By: Christopher Davis | Category: Special Interest | Issue: July 2013
Finis Riggs shows off his marble machine and invites everyone to explore rocks and minerals with the TRMS on July 13th and 14th at Expo Square Exchange Center.
The Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society have been in existence since 1958. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to promote interest in rocks, minerals, gem stones, fossils, artifacts, jewelry-making and earth science. These rock and mineral enthusiasts provide educational and participatory workshops, organize rock, gem stone and jewelry shows, and foster a helping and teaching environment to connect newcomers with longtime rock hounds.
Members facilitate workshops for young and old, alike, and focus on ways to educate the public and spark interest in rocks and minerals. Lapidary workshops (“lapidary” refers to cutting, polishing or engraving precious stones) are held regularly at ORU facilities every week, and the TRMS put on demonstrations events year round. Some popular demonstrations include flint knapping (creating stone tools, such as arrowheads, by hand) and grinding and polishing marbles from quartz, ruby, etc. Finis Riggs (longtime TRMS member) has built his own marble machine, and frequently displays them at shows.
“It’s a fun hobby,” says Ben Thomas, who has been a member of the TRMS for about five years, “we try to focus on education and get the kids interested in fossils and geodes and jewelry, and also emphasize conservation of the environment.” Thomas points out the importance of getting young ones outside and encouraging them to appreciate nature’s beauty. By explaining the processes that form fossils, minerals, gem stones and geodes, and showcasing the beautiful works of art and jewelry created from these stones, children are inspired to unplug from TV and video games a little more often and step outside and explore the world surrounding them.
Some of the rock and mineral samples frequently on display include fossils. These ancient impressions, left behind by bones of animals or plants, provide an awe-inspiring window into the distant past. Petrified wood is a common find at these shows, and the variety of shapes, sizes and colors might cause one to second guess whether or not the material in front of them was, actually, wood. Another fun type of fossil to view, especially for children, is called coprolite. Essentially, coprolite is fossilized feces. Never fear, parents! These droppings, left behind by dinosaurs, mammals or birds were transformed to stone epochs ago, and are much more like petrified wood or geodes than anything you might avoid in the yard.
On July 13th and 14th, the Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society will be hosting their largest educational event of the year. Located at Expo Square, the Rock, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show will feature some of the finest collections and plenty of workshops and displays. “This show is our premier showcase for the Rock and Mineral Society,” notes Finis Riggs, longtime member of the TRMS, “there will be a lot at the show that most people have never even seen before. We will have twenty-five of the top dealers in the nation showing their collections and selling artifacts, fossils, gem stones, geodes and quality hand-made jewelry.” This last item, fine jewelry, cannot be stressed enough. “Many folks don’t realize the gorgeous jewelry available at our shows,” Mr. Riggs says. Artists make jewelry by hand, and incorporate silver, turquoise, rubies, zircon, emeralds, crystals, agate and just about any other substance found in the earth.
Christopher Davis is an educator and musician, as well as a writer. A California native, he resides in Tulsa with his wife, two sons and a modest menagerie of pets. When he isn't inspiring young minds, you will most likely find him spending time with his family or playing drums and percussion with Project Huckleberry or the Movetet. In addition to Value News, Davis also writes for Currentland. You can view his work at https://seedavis.wordpress.com.