Rocks have a raw, earthy quality that you don’t find with a lot of man-made, commercial items. This is the main reason why I don’t like rocks or gems that you can buy in plastic covered boxes from stores like Australian Geographic or Tree Of Life, as they have been cleaned and lack the crusty dirt that should be hiding in the nooks and crannies of minerals you would otherwise find in the ground.
It’s authenticity that I’m after, the reason why I collect as a hobby.
I don’t collect out of searching, I collect out of surprise. It’s an instant magnetic appeal to the object of choice that occurs. I like the quality of finding something rare that has taken millions of years to make.
When I was in Coober Pedy, age 13 on a ‘trip-around-Australia’ with my family, we stopped at an opal mine on the dusty highway and did “noodling”. This is a term used to describe those who scourge through the mounds of dirt that have been rejected or considered ‘useless’ by local mines, but were known for having hidden opals lost and left within. Whatever you find you could keep. I found this alluring.
I ended up asking my parents if I could take home ice cream buckets full of this ‘worthless’ dirt to sift through, sure that there were millions of dollars worth of hidden, natural, treasures amongst the dirt particles.
Of course they said no. Being at the bottom of that dirt mound with a plastic fork that I had found on the ground, scraping at the rock face continuously, questioning when I might find the “mother load” as I had affectionately named the prize awaiting me, it was a very exciting time, a memory I treasure.
The first amateur geologists were prospectors looking for valuable minerals and gemstones for commercial purposes. Eventually, however, more and more people have been drawn to amateur geology for recreational purposes, mainly for the beauty that rocks and minerals provide.
One reason for the rise in popularity of amateur geology is that a collection can begin by simply picking up a rock, much like how my passion begun.
I hadn’t considered this odd behaviour until I first met my boyfriend Aaron and he came into my room and saw my collection of rocks scattered along my bed head and throughout my room.
I didn’t know a certain type of person did this until then. To my luck Aaron was also a rock collector. He said to me “Do you collect rocks?! I do too; if you came to my house in Lilli Pilli you would see all the natural quartz in the bush reserve behind my house, I still have some in buckets in the garage.”
I was pretty excited. Free rocks? From my love interest! Needless to say, we are still together and our relationship is rock solid.