Saturday, October 1, 2011


The annual Joshua Tree Gem & Mineral Show is a funky affair and lots of fun. Phyllis and I headed down to the JT Community Center early on Friday to troll through the rocky curiosities. I came up with a couple of unusual items (to me, at least): above, a Moqui marble. Also known as a shaman stone, it comes from Utah. Apparently these flying saucer-like blobs are found in sandstone formations. The seller said something about Native Americans using them...for what I don't know. (Communicating with extraterrestrials, no doubt!)

Above: a piece of Archaen butterstone. It came with a little flyer that says: "This rock is from the Greenstone Belt of Southern Africa and is over 2500 million years old" (predating the dinosaurs by a long ways). They claim these stones are left over from the very beginnings of life on earth, back when the surface of the earth was formed and life began in shallow sea environments. I asked the guy,"Is this for real?" He laughed. Of course he said yes, but in any case, it's a beautiful piece of stone, polished on three sides and as smooth as butter.

Closer to home--in fact, in our kitchen window--are some lithops. They are from Africa too, and they are renowned as plants that look like stones. We got them at the annual 1/2 off August sale at Cactus Mart. They are thriving in our greenhouse window, which gets too hot for any other plants. In fact they have grown like crazy and look a lot less like stones than when we got them. Here's hoping they can hold on through the winter.