Arizona is a gem of a state — at least according to the numerous clubs devoted to rocks, minerals and gems. The state has the largest value of nonfuel mineral production in the nation — much of it copper-related, since we produce 65 percent of the nation’s domestic supply. And over the next week or so, three events are designed to let more people know about all things rock-related.
Never heard of grandreefite, gilalite, girdite, guildite, gerhardtite or graemite? All are minerals first discovered in the Grand Canyon State, according to the Mineralogical Society of Arizona — and that’s just the Gs. (The group’s Web site, www.azminerals.com, has the full list.)
But rather than surfing the Web, try some surface streets — this weekend, kids and adults can pan gold at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, where prospectors will demonstrate equipment. For a fee, participants can go gold panning or "shooting" for gold nuggets with a metal detector — the museum says results are guaranteed.
The East Valley offers two weekends’ worth of demonstrations and dealers. Apache Junction Rock and Gem takes over the town high school Saturday and Sunday for the "Ancient Treasures for a Modern World" show, which includes auctions, displays, demonstrations and prizes. And the Maricopa Lapidary Society sponsors the "Phoenix Gems Rising" show Feb. 28 to March 2 at Mesa Centennial Center, which also includes fossils. Bring a copy of this article to receive $1 off admission.