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Rockhound Wannabes in Bancroft

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I was fortunate enough to travel to Ontario Cottage Country in order to attend the 46th Annual Rockhound Gemboree in Bancroft. My husband & I are rock & minerals geeks but are very green when it comes to rockhounding. It’s definitely something we want to make a family activity. We met some wonderful encouraging amateur rockhounds & look forward to getting out to the field once the children are a bit older.

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Bancroft is the Mineral Capital of Canada and the show did not disappoint. Two buildings plus an outdoor area filled with jewelry making supplies, specimens, info on rock hounding & many talented artists from jewelry makers to stone carvers. We did the full show: 4 days and we were never bored. We actually felt a little sad when it drew to the close on the 4th day. We Definitely will be back next year. Staying at a cottage with no electronics was also so clearing for the mind. My cell phone didn’t even work. We were just able to sink in and enjoy the natural beauty the area had to offer despite all the mosquitoes (thanks to a rainy summer!).

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Besides jewelry making goodies we also picked up several wonderful specimens. Our favourite place to buy was from the amateur rockhounds who set up shop in the sweltering heat outside. Not only were they wonderful quality, but it carried so much meaning to us to acquire pieces that were collected by such passionate individuals. We had a collection of a few specimens picked up over the years, mostly from our days in Nova Scotia attending the Parrsboro Gem & Mineral Show. But after the haul of goodies we obtained from Bancroft, it was time to set up a display case so that we could enjoy our finds all in the same place.

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Dare I say – our collection is TOO BIG for the display cabinet!! Next year, we will have to look at acquiring another one…

I would share here some of the jewelry making materials I acquired, but 1) the photos were pretty bad and b) it’s more fun to let the creativity flow & share the treasures through design! Stay tuned!

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Malachite Does Not Contain Arsenic

The other day, I got a convo from a fellow Etsian wondering if I was aware that Malachite contains arsenic, as I have several pieces containing Malachite in my Etsy Shop.

I’m not sure where this belief came from, but I have a couple of theories. Firstly, the chemical composition of the stone Malachite is Cu2CO3(OH)2 Copper Carbonate Hydroxide. As you can see, there is no arsenic contained in the chemical makeup. There is, however, copper. Due to the presence of copper, which is toxic if ingested or inhaled, Malachite should not be ingested or inhaled as well. It is theorized that perhaps while working with Malachite, cutting the stone in poor ventilated areas without a mask, dust is inhaled causing symptoms that may be mistaken for Arsenic poisoning.

The other theory that I have, is that people are confusing green malachite, a semi-precious gemstone, with the chemical malachite green, which gets its name from its colour and not because it contains the stone. In the past, malachite green has been diluted & used as an antiseptic in fish farms, but since has been determined as being very toxic to humans.

Of course I am no expert, but I am very confident that malachite is a safe gemstome. For more on this stone and others, check out Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop. I love this site for detailed information on different kinds of minerals. My DH also found this blog, as he is also a bit of a rockhound himself. The Rock Professor’s Blog has this good post that pretty much sums it up. He had the stone tested and confirmed there is no presence of Arsenic in Malachite.

This is a beautiful stone, & even though I am not partial to the colour dark green I am very much drawn to malachite. I hope this rumour does not deter others from enjoying it as well…