Collectors shows of nature's treasures at gem and mineral show in Jasper

JASPER, TX (KTRE) - Thousands of rocks, minerals and gems were on display this weekend at the 19th annual Pine Country Gem and Mineral Show.

Many of the rocks and fossils pre-date dinosaurs and are millions of years old while some exhibits look good enough to eat.

Table after table of uncut rocks, minerals, gems, jewelry, fossils and petrified wood filled the Event Center in Jasper.

Rock enthusiasts displayed their collections of nature's treasures.

And one of the show favorites is the rock food table, that looks good enough to eat.

"This is the highlight of the show for many people," said rock food table creator, Charlotte BeeBee. "They say they come every year just to see the food table."

Beebee has been collecting rocks that look like food for more than 15 years and her display has something from every food group.

"My favorite is the mashed potatoes and gravy with the chicken leg and the peas and carrot and the biscuit," said Beebee. "And of course I have a coke and the straw is also a stone. It's limestone."

"I have chicken legs. I have ham and bacon and I have rice and mashed potatoes with gravy on it, that were formed by nature and I have all kinds of cookies and biscuits," said Beebee.

BeeBee's collection has grown over the years to the table it is now thanks to people gifting her rocks that resembled food. She says her exhibit wouldn't be what it is today without people keeping an eye out for food-like rocks.

"It's a wonderful hobby and I get to talk to all kinds of wonderful people at the shows," said BeeBee. "My payoff for coming and doing all the hard work getting set up is the smiles and the giggles on the faces of people. They just laugh and point and giggle. They can't believe their eyes."

The newest exhibit is the 'A Bite In Time' diorama of fossilized teeth matched to the animal it came from.

"What we have here is a display of roughly 60 teeth from the dinosaur age up to the time of a wooly mammoth," said Rich Geist, who spent more than 6 months tracking down the teeth and figurines from all over the world.

"I wanted people to be able to walk up and be able to see the animal and then relate it to the tooth because if I display the teeth and the labels it would be cool and it would be neat to see but without the animals in there they kind of don't make the connection to what the animal was," said Geist.

Geist's diorama will be traveling to many other rock and mineral shows in Texas in the near future.

Ellen Taft specializes in septarian nodules, rocks that are formed after 50 to 70 million years only by decomposing animal bodies.

"Some little sea urchin had to pass away and fall to the bottom of the ocean and then his little sticky body stuck to the next little sticky body and all these little sticky bodies over [millions of years] became a rock," said Taft.

And Taft's method to finding these rocks is a little unconventional.

"What I find is I watch for construction sites and see if they have eagle ford shale within that construction site and they take off with their bulldozers the top 30 feet of a mountain and then I come in at night when the workers have gone home and I leave my truck lights on and I hunt," said Taft.

Taft is from the Dallas area and she travels to schools for free with her exhibit to inspire kids to enjoy science.

"Once you get to hold science in your hand most of the time you get more excited so that's my goal," said Taft. "So I'm just trying to make it possible for more people to know more about septarian nodules."

For more information on the gem & mineral society go here:

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