Show educates county residents about the fun of gem and minerals

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By Matthew Pizzo
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Children and rock enthusiast of all ages were immersed in a world of gems and minerals at the 43rd annual Ingham County Gem & Lapidary show Oct. 26-27.

The event, hosted by the Central Michigan Lapidary and Mineral Society, offers a variety of commercial dealers, hands-on activities, display areas and specimen identification.

Roger Laylin, show chairman, said the main purpose of the show is education.

“The event provides instruction to the younger kids about various aspects of the hobby and just what’s out there in nature,” Laylin said.

Laylin said this year’s event had 12 commercial dealers and a children’s table that provides the knowledge and materials necessary to begin rock collecting at home.

“We try to keep the selection varied so that the dealers aren’t duplicating their offerings,” Laylin said. “Demonstrators show children how to facet stones and the various aspects of the hobby that you can actually do.”

In addition, Laylin said a portion of the event’s proceeds fund MSU geology scholarships each year.

John Hoskin, Grass Lake resident and soapstone carver, said the event allows him to see his friends’ work and he can also teach his craft to spectators.

“It’s really nice to see kids are still interested in rocks — I thought the hobby would go away with all the new technology,” Hoskin said. “It’s just good to be able to share the knowledge I have with other people.”

Hoskins said he’s been carving since 1998 and gets his materials from Texas, Brazil, India, South Africa and more.

“Rock carving takes me around,” Hoskins said. “I get to see who’s got what kind of materials and it takes us all across America, which is cool.”

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