The family and I were feeling a little stir crazy, so we hopped on social media to see if there was anything interesting to do this weekend. The cold weather and snow meant indoors would be preferable. We ran across an ad for the Kansas City Rock and Gem show. None of us had ever been to something like that so, we’re off to see the wizard.
I really had no idea what to expect. The FB post said the show was sponsored by several area clubs. It was in a building up by our airport. For the non-KC readers, our airport is an hour away from everywhere. It’s almost always the first thing any visiting celebrity mentions in their opening dialogue. “Holy cow, you need a flight to get to town from the airport”, is a pretty common theme.
I wasn’t expecting the crowds. The place was packed. There was a one-hundred-person long line stretching out the front door of the KCI Expo Center building. More importantly there were exactly zero available parking spaces, like anywhere.
Here in KC, we all drive 4X4s for just this type of thing. There was already a field lot forming across the street. Last night’s snow was melting. The tires of the trucks and SUVs that hopped the curb had already made mud soup of the entire area. I figured the Pathfinder was up for it, jumped the curb and found a spot in the middle. I warned the fam to watch their steps and made a mental note to take the wife’s car through the wash on the way home.
Inside were rows and rows of picnic tables, covered in every kind of rock and semi-precious stone I’ve ever heard of. And people, an ocean of people were making their way up and down the rows in neat orderly lines. Heads bent over the tables, faces twisted in observation and inspection.
Raw ore, raw hunks of metal like copper and silver, geodes, turquoise Native-American jewelry, green malachite, countless minerals of all colors, were all displayed on open eight-foot table tops that stretched as far as the eye could see. All of the colors, shapes, and sizes made it difficult to know where to look first as you approached each display. Luckily, each was tended by a friendly vendor, or club member that was more than happy to answer questions, point out interesting facts, and generally help you understand what you were holding as they encouraged you to pick up everything.
The semi-precious stones were also offered in almost every 3-D shape that comes to mind. Cubes, cylinders, pyramids, obelisks, and globes occupied a significant percentage of the table’s sufaces. I was shocked at some of the prices. I picked up what I though was probably a fifty-dollar, baseball sized blue sphere, that turned out to be six hundred. Others were less than I expected. A wide price range was represented, from a single dollar to thousands.
The vendors weren’t fond of photographs inside the show’s space, hence this post’s lack of them. Some of the minerals are light sensitive, some are rare and valuable. We saw gold in various forms. You could purchase Iridium, gallium, even small coins made from pressed depleted uranium, but people made faces when you pointed a camera at their stuff.
Out of all the fantastic items we saw, my absolute favorites were the fossils. There were some small four-legged impressions too, just no T-Rex. Unless you count the foam puppet a gentleman was entertaining the younger crowd members with.