Pyrite, Aragonite and Quartz – A Few Samples From a Rock Enthusiast  

“I’m spending too much money on rocks,” I said to a friend.

She told me that rocks were free, and I could find them outside.

“Not these rocks,” I said. “Not where I live.”

Pyrite cubes
Pyrite cubes in the matrix. Photo by Karen M. Free

I may have had a slight rock addiction for about nine years. I had a go-to guy and gal – a couple who bought rocks in bulk from estate sales and closing businesses and resold them from their house. I went to get my fix several times a year. Also, I looked online to buy specimens I wanted that they didn’t sell.

I went to the local Gem and Mineral Show when it came to town. Joining all the other enthusiasts packing into the large square building, I bumped and jostled with others as we all tried to maneuver through the aisles to get close enough to see the items on display. Specimens sat on tables, in china closets, in geology storage cabinets and even in old Dewey Decimal System cabinets. But I was a bargain-hunting shopper, so I mostly enjoyed these shows as an indoor, temporary rock garden.

Aragonite cluster
Aragonite Cluster. Photo by Karen M. Free

Over the years, I naturally spread out my rocks throughout my apartment on bookshelves, counters, tables, dressers and desks at home and work, so it didn’t look like too much. I could pretend I wasn’t obsessed if the rocks were not all in one place. I just liked them and wasn’t a collector or hoarder, I told myself.

It wasn’t just that the rocks were pretty. I wanted to know their names, their ages, where they were unearthed, and how they were formed. I looked up information in my many books on the subject. Beyond how amazing it is to hold something that may be millions of years old, the rocks felt comforting and like they had a unique life story that I could only imagine.

Aragonite cluster close-up
Close up of Aragonite cluster. Photo by Karen M. Free

When I think about the origin of my fascination with rocks, part of it includes the 1978 Superman movie I saw as a kid. Superman’s Fortress of Solitude created by a crystal and containing crystals that gave him access to memories and knowledge. Maybe that sunk into my consciousness and as soon as I had a budget and opportunity, I began looking for my own version of these crystals that seemed magical and could connect me to the distant past.

Twin Quartz
Twin Quartz from Arkansas. Photo by Karen M. Free

While I am still fascinated by the world of rocks, my purchasing days are over as my last receipt is dated 2015. And I have given some away to friends and coworkers who were interested in them. Now, I actually keep some outside, which seems like a more natural place to rest them. And since I am no longer in a purchasing frenzy, I can admit that I have a rock collection.

Are there any kindred spirits out there?

2 thoughts on “Pyrite, Aragonite and Quartz – A Few Samples From a Rock Enthusiast  

  1. This is such an enjoyable read with a brilliant dry/wry//sly sense of humor running all the way through.
    What’s better than the Fortress of Solitude?
    Drinking champagne bubbles while IN the Fortress of Solitude!

    (Will probably need to turn up the volume on this clip)


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