Digging for Treasures with the RI Mineral Hunters

The club organizes field trips in search of rare and interesting rocks, minerals and crystals.
mineral
Cumberlandite. Courtesy of Paul Koczwanski.

The state rock, Cumberlandite, may exist nowhere else on Earth except Rhode Island, and it’s rare even within state borders (almost all of it is found in a small area of Cumberland). Other hard-to-come by geological specimens include natural copper crystals and Danalite, says Rhode Island Mineral Hunters (RIMH) club president Bill Wilson.

Wilson, a retired chemist from Smithfield, has been a RIMH member since 1965. The seventy-nine-year-old has accumulated thousands of minerals over seventy years.

RIMH organizes field trips in search of rare and interesting rocks, minerals and crystals. They visit abandoned quarries and mines in Lincoln, Cumberland and Smithfield, but members also travel to other New England states. “The easy pickings are gone,” says Wilson, adding that if you want to find something good, “You’ve got to work; you’ve got to dig.”

Some club members are interested in the geology and chemistry of rocks, while others like the beauty of crystals and minerals (especially when they’ve been cut and polished). There’s also the thrill of the chase. “I enjoy the hunt more than the having, but the having is good, too,” says club member Tony Cesana, whose wife, Rachel, coordinates RIMH field trips.

The Mineral Hunters hold monthly meetings, which include a presentation, a rock raffle and socializing. The club’s annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show will be held October 28 through 29 at CCRI in Warwick. A big attraction will be the “fluorescent display,” a darkened tent where fluorescent minerals are illuminated using UV lights. rimh.us

 

 

 

 

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