"THE GEM STATE"

OUTDOOR IDAHO

BRUCE REICHERT, HOST:

OUT OF THE VIOLENCE OF A TORTURED GEOLOGIC PAST, HAVE EMERGED MINERALS RARE AND BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH TO BE CALLED GEMSTONES.

PEGGY BLICKFELDT, BOISE GEMHUNTER:

I LOOK FOR THE PERSONALITY IN THE STONE, AND THAT'S ALL I LOOK FOR. THERE'S SO MANY THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH ROCKS. I MEAN IT'S LIKE, IT'S LIKE AN ARTIST'S GALLERY EVERY TIME YOU WALK OUT IN THE HILLS. BUT THEY ALL HAVE THEIR OWN PERSONALITY AND I LOOK FOR ONE THAT'S GOT A PERSONALITY AND INSTANTLY I CAN SEE SOME USE FOR IT. I CAN SEE IT IN A PEN SET, I CAN SEE IT AS A PIECE OF JEWELRY, AND THAT'S WHAT I LOOK FOR IN THEM.

REICHERT:

WHO ARE THESE MEN AND WOMEN WHOSE LIVES ARE CONSUMED BY THE SEARCH FOR GEMS? AND WHAT DO THEY KNOW THAT THE REST OF US DON'T?

ROBERT STOBAUGH, GEMOLOGIST:

I HATE TO COMPARE IT TO MY CHILDREN, WHEN I FIRST HELD THEM IN MY ARMS, BUT IN A WAY I GUESS THAT IS THE SAME SENSE OF GRATIFICATION.

I GO TO SOME OF THESE ARTS AND CRAFT SHOWS, PROBABLY GIVE AWAY MORE THAN I SELL.

REICHERT:

TONIGHT WE'LL EXPLORE THIS FASCINATION WITH IDAHO'S GEMSTONES\; THE JASPER, THE OPAL, THE STAR GARNET.

LOUISE DARBY, MOSCOW GEM OUTFITTER:

IT IS THE OFFICIAL IDAHO STATE GEMSTONE. AND THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT YOU FIND THE SIX RAY STAR GARNETS IS IN IDAHO AND FOUR RAYS COME FROM IDAHO AND INDIA. SO IT IS A VERY RARE COMMODITY.

REICHERT:

AFTER ALL, IDAHO IS THE GEM STATE.

P. BLICKFELDT:

WE NEED TO LOOK AROUND AND SEE IF YOU CAN FIND SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE IT IS ROUND AND IT'S GOT BUMPS ALL OVER THE OUTSIDE OF IT. WE CALL THEM THUNDEREGGS.

YOU FOUND A BIG ONE. HAS IT GOT BUMPS ON IT?

REICHERT:

EE-DAH-HOE. SUPPOSEDLY IT WAS AN INDIAN WORD MEANING "GEM OF THE MOUNTAINS". AND SO EVEN BEFORE IT BECAME A STATE, IDAHO'S TIES WITH GEMS HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED. UNFORTUNATELY AS IT TURNED OUT, EE-DAH-HOE WAS NOT AN INDIAN WORD AND IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH GEMS. IT WAS A MADE-UP WORD, MADE UP BY SOME PROMOTERS FROM COLORADO.

HI, I'M BRUCE REICHERT AND WELCOME TO OUTDOOR IDAHO.

NOW LUCKILY THE GEM STATE GREW INTO ITS NICKNAME EASILY. IT COULD HAVE BEEN EMBARRASSING HAD THAT NOT BEEN THE CASE. BUT TODAY IDAHO IS JUSTLY HONORED FOR ITS STAR GARNET, ITS JASPER, ITS SMOKY QUARTZ, ITS OPAL. TODAY, NO ONE DOUBTS IDAHO'S CLAIM TO BE CALLED THE GEM STATE.

WE FIND THEM IN VEINS AND CAVITIES OF ROCKS AND IN THE BEDS OF ANCIENT RIVERS. WE SEARCH FOR THEM IN SAGEBRUSH COVERED DESERTS AND IN THE GRANITE OF THE IDAHO BATHOLITH.

WE ADMIRE THEM FOR THEIR COLOR, THEIR LUSTER, THEIR HARDNESS. BUT PRIMARILY WE ADMIRE THEIR BEAUTY.

IN THE BEGINNING, ALL ROCKS WERE IGNEOUS, THE LATIN WORD FOR FIRE. THROUGH THIS SPHERE OF MOLTEN LAVA ATOMS MIGRATED FREELY. THE EVENTUAL COOLING ALLOWED ELEMENTS LIKE OXYGEN AND SILICON, ALUMINUM AND CALCIUM TO EMERGE AND COMBINE IN CHANCE ENCOUNTERS WITH THE RARER ELEMENTS TO FORM THE 3000 OR SO MINERALS THAT MAKE UP THE EARTH'S CRUST.

ONLY A HANDFUL OF THESE MINERALS, THE ONES FORMED UNDER THE RIGHT CONDITIONS, THE BEAUTIFUL, DURABLE ONES DO WE CALL GEMS.

A HUNDRED MILLION YEARS AGO IDAHO WAS A BATTLEGROUND WHERE CONTINENTAL AND OCEANIC PLATES COLLIDED. IT IS THIS TORTURED GEOLOGIC PAST THAT ALLOWS US TO FIND GEMS OF SUCH DIVERSITY. BERYL AND GARNETS WHICH REQUIRE INTENSE HEAT AND PRESSURE. AGATES AND OPAL AND PETRIFIED WOOD, THE PRODUCTS OF DISSOLVED MINERALS DEPOSITED IN CAVITIES AND VEINS.

MICKEY GUNTER EXAMINES GEMS AT THEIR ELEMENTAL LEVEL.

MICKEY GUNTER, MINERALOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO:

THIS IS A SINGLE CRYSTAL OF A MINERAL CALLED FELDSPAR, IN FACT THIS IS ONE OF THE SUNSTONES. ONE THING THAT AMAZES ME THE MOST ABOUT LOOKING AT THESE IS SIMPLY THE COLOR. MINERALS ARE VERY STRICTLY DEFINED BY AN INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE.

HOWEVER GEMSTONES, GEMS, IT'S A VERY ARBITRARY DECISION BECAUSE A GEM HAS SOME DEFINITIONS TO IT. USUALLY THEY HAVE TO BE PRETTY, BUT WHAT'S PRETTY? IT'S SIMPLY IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. THEY ALSO HAVE TO BE HARD, USUALLY TO STAND UP TO RESISTANCE WHEN YOU WEAR THEM. BUT I THINK MAINLY IT DOES COME DOWN TO THIS IDEA THAT IT HAS TO BE PRETTY.

REICHERT:

FROM OUR SCHOOLDAYS WE MAY REMEMBER THE THREE GENERAL ROCK TYPES. WELL, THIS IS WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE UNDER A MICROSCOPE.

IGNEOUS ROCK WHICH RISES FROM DEEP WITHIN THE EARTH. THE MORE ROUNDED SEDIMENTARY ROCK, FORMED FROM PARTICLES OF ORGANIC MATTER OR OTHER ROCKS. AND METAMORPHIC ROCK, IGNEOUS OR SEDIMENTARY ROCK THAT HAS BEEN CHANGED BY INTENSE HEAT OR PRESSURE.

GUNTER:

THIS ROCK IS ABOUT 15 MILLION YEARS OLD. AND IF YOU TAKE THIS ROCK WHICH FORMS FROM SEDIMENT, THAT WAS DEPOSITED IN THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE, BURY IT, WAIT A FEW MILLION YEARS AND APPLY THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF PRESSURE AND TEMPERATURE THAT THIS THIN ROCK HERE, MADE OF A LOT OF CLAY MINERALS, WOULD CONVERT FROM A SEDIMENTARY ROCK INTO A METAMORPHIC ROCK.

AND THIS ROCK RIGHT HERE, WELL IT CAN BE HARD TO BELIEVE, THIS BEND IN IT RESULTS FROM FORCES ACTUALLY PUSHING ON THE SIDE AND CHANGE THE SHAPE FROM THIS NICE ROCK LIKE THIS TO THIS ROCK.

REICHERT:

IT IS IN THIS METAMORPHIC ROCK THAT WE FIND IDAHO'S OFFICIAL STATE GEM.

DARBY:

THE COLORS VARY DRAMATICALLY IN IT. THEY CAN BE FROM A DARK BLACK COLOR TO A LIGHT PURPLE. THEY ACTUALLY CAN BE IN EVERY COLOR BUT BLUE. AND GARNET IS NEVER IN BLUE.

REICHERT:

LOUISE DARBY CALLS HERSELF THE GARNET QUEEN OF IDAHO. AND NO ONE WOULD DISPUTE THAT.

DARBY:

ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT I'VE TAKE IN THE LAST 22 YEARS TO THE GARNET AREA, I'VE NEVER HAD ONE WHO DIDN'T FEEL LIKE THEY HAD ALMOST HAD KIND OF A SAINTLY EXPERIENCE AND THEY GET HIGH ON THEIR OWN ADRENALIN AND THE GOOD MEMORIES. I TELL EVERYBODY THAT WHAT I DO IS CREATE MEMORIES, GOOD MEMORIES. AND YOU NEVER FORGET THOSE.

REICHERT:

DARBY HAS LEARNED TO TAKE A ROCK LIKE THIS, A TWELVE-SIDED RAW GARNET AND IN LESS THAN SEVEN MINUTES TURN IT INTO A VALUABLE GEMSTONE, EXPOSING ITS STAR.

DARBY:

THE SIX RAY STAR GARNET, SUCH AS THIS ONE ONLY COMES FROM NORTHERN IDAHO. THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY GOLD MINE FOR THEM IS IN NORTHERN IDAHO.

AND THERE'S THE MAGIC.

REICHERT:

FINDING THE MAGIC CAN TAKE TIME. BUT SOME OF IDAHO'S MOST RUGGED AREAS ACTUALLY REVEAL THEIR SECRETS PRETTY EASILY. PROVIDED, THAT IS, THAT YOU'RE PREPARED AND YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO.

CHRIS BLICKFELDT, GEMHUNTER:

THESE COLORS UP HERE IN THIS BASIN UP HERE, THE WHITE AND THE GRAY IS VOLCANIC ASH. AND THE PETRIFIED WOOD IS FOUND PREDOMINATELY IN THE GRAY.

REICHERT:

CHRIS BLICKFELDT IS A VETERAN ROCKHOUND WHO LOVES TO SHARE HIS HOBBY WITH THE NEW GENERATION OF GEM HUNTERS.

C. BLICKFELDT:

SHOWING KIDS - IT'S THE WONDERMENT AND THE ENTHUSIASM THAT THEY SHOW FOR NEW THINGS.

REICHERT:

TODAY, CHRIS AND HIS WIFE PEGGY HAVE BROUGHT SOME CHILDREN TO THE FAR SOUTHWESTERN CORNER OF IDAHO, ON THE OREGON BORDER. READY FOR ADVENTURE ARE 6 YEAR OLD JENNIFER AND 10 YEAR OLD JAIME AND JAIME'S 14 YEAR OLD BROTHER CARL.

C. BLICKFELDT:

EVERY LIGHT COLORED ROCK, ALMOST EVERY LIGHT COLORED ROCK IN THE GRAY IS PETRIFIED WOOD. IF IT'S ELM, THEN WE WERE IN KIND OF A TEMPERATE ZONE. IF IT WAS MORE IN THE BOXWOODS, WHICH IS FURTHER SOUTH OF HERE, THEN IT WOULD BE ON THE EDGE OF A LAKE. SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY TELL THE GEOLOGY OF THIS COUNTRY 16,000 YEARS AGO BY THE PETRIFIED WOOD THAT'S FOUND IN THE AREAS TODAY.

JAIME:

YOU'VE GOT GREEN AND BLACK AND RED.

C. BLICKFELDT:

HERE'S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE WHEN IT'S POLISHED. HERE, JUST TURN AROUND AND LOOK AT THAT. SEE, ISN'T THAT A PRETTY ONE?

C. BLICKFELDT:

YEAH.

REICHERT:

INDEED, PETRIFIED WOOD CAN GLEAM JUST LIKE OTHER GEMS, OR EXHIBIT A SOFT SHEEN LIKE AN ANIMAL'S FUR. AND ONCE YOU SEE RESULTS LIKE THAT, IT'S HARD TO KICK THE HABIT.

C. BLICKFELDT:

I TELL PEOPLE THAT THIS HOBBY IS ONE THAT THE MORE YOU KNOW THE STUPIDER YOU ARE, BECAUSE IF YOU FIND A PIECE OF PETRIFIED WOOD THEN YOU WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT THE CLIMATE WAS WHEN THE PETRIFIED WOOD WAS REAL WOOD. THEN YOU GET INTO POLISHING ROCKS, AND THEN YOU CAN GET INTO THE FLUORESCENT ROCKS, AND THE FACETING AND EACH ONE IS A LIFETIME OF LEARNING TO UNDERSTAND.

REICHERT:

ONE ROCK THAT POLISHES WELL IS PICTURE JASPER. IT'S ALSO FOUND IN ANCIENT VOLCANIC AREAS.

AT THIS COMMERCIAL MINE SITE, AMATEURS CAN PICK UP PIECES OF THIS UNIQUE STONE.

C. BLICKFELDT:

IT DOES HELP TO BE ABLE TO GO THROUGH THE TAILING PILES. IT MAKES LIFE A LOT EASIER FOR THE HOBBYIST.

REICHERT:

OF COURSE, MAKE SURE YOU'RE ALLOWED ONTO A PROPERTY LIKE THIS.

AFTER THAT, YOU REALLY DON'T NEED A LOT OF TOOLS, JUST SOME GOOD EYES AND PERHAPS SOME WATER TO SPRAY ON THE ROCKS.

FOR JASPER, THAT BRINGS OUT THE PICTURE.

C. BLICKFELDT:

NOW SEE THE SUN'S COMING UP IN THAT PICTURE.

P. BLICKFELDT:

BOY, IT SURE IS.

C. BLICKFELDT:

SEE HOW IT GETS LIGHT RIGHT HERE LIKE THE SUN'S COMING UP. SEE.

I GUESS THE BEST PART ABOUT THE PICTURE JASPER IS THAT IF I POLISH A PIECE I MIGHT SEE ONE THING BUT IF I SHOW IT TO SOMEBODY ELSE, THEY'LL SEE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. AND IT'S ALWAYS AMAZING WHAT DIFFERENT IMAGINATIONS AND PERSONALITIES YOU SEE IN THE SAME ROCK.

P. BLICKFELDT:

I LOOK FOR THE PERSONALITY IN THE STONE, AND THAT'S ALL I LOOK FOR.

REICHERT:

CHRIS' WIFE PEGGY MAKES JEWELRY OUT OF THE MANY GEMS AND ROCKS SHE FINDS.

P. BLICKFELDT:

THERE'S SO MANY THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH ROCKS. I MEAN IT'S LIKE, IT'S LIKE AN ARTIST'S GALLERY EVERY TIME YOU WALK OUT IN THE HILLS. YOU WANT SOMETHING THAT'S SOLID AND NOT REAL POROUS BECAUSE IT POLISHES BETTER. YOU GET A BETTER POLISH WITH IT WHEN YOU ARE WORKING IT.

THE BEST THING TO DO IS EITHER SPRAY IT, SPIT ON IT, LICK IT, SOMETHING LIKE THAT. IF THE MOISTURE SEEPS INTO IT INSTANTLY IT'S TOO POROUS TO POLISH.

REICHERT:

PEGGY'S GOOD EYES PAID OFF AT THIS SITE, WHERE FIRE OPALS ARE LODGED IN ROCKS.

P. BLICKFELDT:

PROBABLY ABOUT THE BIGGEST PIECE I'VE SEEN COME OUT OF HERE.

REICHERT:

BUT IT WASN'T ALWAYS THAT EASY.

P. BLICKFELDT:

YOU PICK UP PROBABLY BUCKET LOADS OF WHAT WE CALL "LEAVE IT RIGHT" WHICH MEANS YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT IT RIGHT THERE BUT YOU TAKE IT HOME ANYWAY.

REICHERT:

YOU MAY NOT GET HOME THOUGH IF YOU'RE NOT PREPARED.

P. BLICKFELDT:

PROBABLY THE BIGGEST ONE TO BE AWARE OF IS TO MAKE SURE YOU DON'T EVER GO OUT BY YOURSELF. BECAUSE IF YOUR CAR BREAKS DOWN YOU COULD BE MILES, YOU COULD BE DAYS AWAY FROM A ROAD OR AWAY FROM SOMEBODY ELSE.

THE SECOND ONE TO BE AWARE OF IS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF WATER AND EXTRA FOOD AND LOTS OF FIRST AID STUFF IN CASE YOU DO SCRATCH YOURSELF OR HAPPEN TO HIT YOUR FINGER WITH A HAMMER OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. ALWAYS HAVE A FIRST AID KIT WITH YOU.

REICHERT:

IF YOU'RE PREPARED, YOU CAN RELAX, SO EVEN IF YOU DON'T FIND THE PERFECT GEM IT CAN STILL BE A PERFECT DAY.

ROBERT STOBAUGH, GEMOLOGIST:

I USED TO LOVE TO FISH AND HUNT BUT I HARDLY GO FISHING ANY MORE.

REICHERT:

FOR 83 YEAR OLD ROBERT STOBAUGH, THIS IS A PERFECT DAY. HERE IN THE BASEMENT OF HIS TWIN FALLS HOME.

STOBAUGH:

THIS STEM IS ONE OF THE CRITICAL THINGS IN WORKING IT BECAUSE IT IS AWFUL EASY TO BREAK THAT STEM OFF.

REICHERT:

HE MAY NOT BE THE FISHERMAN HE ONCE WAS, BUT STOBAUGH IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD AT TURNING A UNIQUE TYPE OF JASPER, BRUNEAU JASPER, INTO A WORK OF ART.

STOBAUGH:

THAT'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE STONES BECAUSE OF THE HIGH DENSITY OF IT, THE GLOSSY POLISH THAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE ON SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

TO GET A GLOSSY POLISH IT HAS TO BE GOOD QUALITY MATERIAL TO BEGIN WITH. DOWN IN THE BRUNEAU CANYON, IT'S THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT THEY'VE EVER FOUND THAT OCCURRENCE OF JASPER, THAT COLOR AND THE PATTERNS AND THE TYPE OF IT.

BRUNEAU JASPER IS ALL UNDER MINING CLAIMS, IN EFFECT PRIVATE PROPERTY. WHEN YOU GET BRUNEAU JASPER YOU GO BUY IT FROM ONE OF THE MINE OWNERS. THAT'S THE WAY YOU GET IT.

WHEN I STARTED OUT I ENTERED IN NOVICE CLASS. WELL, THE FIRST TIME I GOT A BLUE RIBBON. I THOUGHT, THIS IS EASY. THEN AFTER THE NOVICE CLASS I WENT INTO ADVANCED, GOT BLUE RIBBONS RIGHT AWAY. WELL, THIS IS A CINCH. THEN I GOT INTO MASTERS AND I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY I COULDN'T GET BLUE RIBBONS IN THE MASTERS COMPETITION. THEN THE TRUTH STARTED COMING OUT. MY WORK WAS LOUSY.

THE JUDGES WOULD WRITE UP THE TICKETS AND I'D BE MAD AT THEM. I'D SAY AND I'D SAY, "WHY YOU'RE DANGED NITPICKERS." AND IT FINALLY DAWNED ON ME THAT IT WASN'T THE JUDGES, IT WAS MYSELF. AND SO I TOOK MORE TIME, WORKED HARDER AND GOT THE SCRATCHES OUT OF THEM. I KNOW SOME OF THEM, AT THAT TIME SOME OF MY CABOCHONS LOOKED LIKE A PLOWED FIELD UNDER A MAGNIFYING GLASS. BUT I FINALLY GOT TO WHERE I COULD ACCOMPLISH QUALITY WORK.

THERE ARE TRICKS TO IT, YES. IT'S PATIENCE IN SANDING THEM, DON'T GO TO THE NEXT FINER SANDING GRIT UNTIL YOU'VE GOT ALL OF THE PLOW MARKS OUT OF IT, YOU MIGHT SAY.

USE A GOOD SQUARE CORNERED STONE FOR THEM TO GET INTO THESE CORNERS. STRIPS OF SILICON CARBIDE SANDING PAPER ARE USEFUL IN FINISHING THE STONES.

I COULDN'T SELL ONE OF THOSE FOR WHAT THEY'RE WORTH IF YOU FIGURE YOUR TIME WORTH ANYTHING.

THIS IS GOING TO TAKE A GOOD MANY HOURS TO FINISH THIS. IT'S GOING TO INVOLVE SOME SANDING THE DOME, PERFECTING THE DOME. I'D SAY I'VE PROBABLY GOT, THAT I'M 40 HOURS AWAY FROM FINISHING THIS STONE TO WHERE I'D BE WILLING FOR SOMEBODY TO WEAR IT AND SHOW MY WORK.

REICHERT:

STOBAUGH QUIT ENTERING COMPETITIONS IN 1995 AFTER WINNING TWO PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARDS.

STOBAUGH:

I'VE JUST ABOUT QUIT ENTERING COMPETITIONS BECAUSE I'VE PROVED MY POINT AND I SAID THAT WHEN I GOT THE NORTHWEST TROPHY AND THE AMERICAN TROPHY I WAS GOING TO QUIT ENTERING COMPETITIONS.

HI GERALD.

GERALD SCARROW, JASPER MINER:

HOW ARE YOU DOING?

STOBAUGH:

OKAY.

SCARROW:

LONG TIME NO SEE.

STOBAUGH:

BEEN DOWN TO THE MINE LATELY?

SCARROW:

YEAH, WE JUST GOT BACK. WE HAPPENED TO HIT A LITTLE POCKET. THIS IS ABOUT THE BEST ONE WE'VE GOT IN A WHILE. YOU DON'T SEE THEM THAT MUCH OFTEN ANYMORE.

STOBAUGH:

THAT'S BIGGER THAN I LIKE TO WORK WITH. THIS ONE HERE IS NEARER MY SIZE. IT WOULD MAKE SOME GOOD BELT BUCKLES, BOLA TIES. IS THAT THE PRICE ON IT, $150?

SCARROW:

YEP, THAT'S THE PRICE.

STOBAUGH:

OH YOU HI-BINDER.

SCARROW:

OH, TO YOU ABOUT $100, SINCE WE'VE BEEN FRIENDS FOR ABOUT 20-25 YEARS.

STOBAUGH:

IT'S JUST A FASCINATION TO ME THAT I, WHEN I SEE A GOOD PIECE OF IT I LIKE TO GET A HOLD OF IT.

SCARROW:

US OLD ROCKHOUNDS, WE CAN'T HARDLY EVER RESIST A ROCK.

REICHERT:

THAT UNDENIABLE ATTRACTION. WHAT IS IT ABOUT GEMS, BITS OF MINERALS FIRED BY THE EARTH THAT DRAWS US TO THEM?

AS JEWELRY, AS DECORATION, AS SOMETHING MORE THAN WHAT WE SEE.

THE BIBLE DESCRIBES A SPIRITUAL CONNECTION TO GEMS. TWELVE JEWELS, EACH REPRESENTING ONE OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.

TWELVE JEWELS, SYMBOLIZING THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC OR THE MONTHS OF THE YEAR.

ONCE IT WAS THOUGHT GEMS COULD CURE DISEASE AND WARD OFF EVIL SPIRITS.

EARLY ROMANS USED GARNETS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM POISONS.

AGATES PROTECTED THE EYE, LAPIS LAZULI EASED MELANCHOLY, AND MOON STONE AROUSED PASSION.

MISHA CHMIELEWSKI, CRYSTAL HEALER:

I CALL UPON THE POWER OF COLOR AND LIGHT TO ACT UPON AND THROUGH THESE CRYSTALS AND STONES.

REICHERT:

THIS IS A CRYSTAL HEALING.

BELIEVERS CONTEND THESE STONES, GEMS AND CRYSTALS, HAVE A THERAPEUTIC EFFECT.

MISHA CHMIELEWSKI USES A WIDE VARIETY OF CRYSTALS AND GEMS IN HER WORK.

IDAHO'S SMOKY QUARTZ, ROSE QUARTZ FOR THE HEART AREA.

SHE SAYS THE HEALING QUALITIES IN THE STONES ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE PATIENT.

CHMIELEWSKI:

CRYSTAL HEALING CAN, BECAUSE OF LIGHT AND ENERGY IN THE ROCKS AND STONES, CAN CLEAR THE MAGNETIC FIELDS AROUND YOUR BODY, WHAT'S CALLED YOUR AURA.

IN A HEALING, I LAY OUT STONES ON ALL THEIR CHAKRAS OR THEIR ENERGY CENTERS, THEIR NERVE CENTERS.

I BASICALLY START AT THE ROOT CHAKRA, WHICH IS AT THE BASE OF THE SPINE AND I PUT MY HANDS OVER THAT AREA AND GET A FEELING, KIND OF ASK WHAT STONE WHICH WOULD BE BEST TO USE OR JUST WAIT TO HEAR.

I THINK IT WORKS ON A, LIKE A SUBLIMINAL LEVEL TO YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS. IT TELLS YOUR MIND THAT THERE IS PERFECTION AND BALANCE AND HARMONY AVAILABLE.

REICHERT:

QUARTZ AND TOURMALINE DO HAVE A UNIQUE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTIC. WHEN PRESSURED BY SOUND WAVES, THEY PRODUCE ELECTRICITY. AND IT'S THE PIEZOELECTRIC PROPERTIES OF THESE STONES THAT MAKE THEM ESPECIALLY VALUABLE FOR CRYSTAL HEALINGS.

KARLA MANLEY, CRYSTAL HEALING CLIENT:

WHEN SHE DOES A HEALING, IT'S VERY LIGHT. I FEEL LIKE MY WHOLE BODY IS FILLED WITH LIGHT AND WITH THIS INTUITIVE KNOWLEDGE THAT'S READILY ACCESSIBLE.

I THINK MOST PEOPLE QUESTION AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER IN THEIR LIVES WHY WE ARE HERE AND THE CRYSTALS HELP ME WITH THAT PERSONAL GROWTH AND HELPS ME TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS. IT'S JUST ONE OF MANY TOOLS I USE TO GIVE ME THAT INSIGHT.

CHMIELEWSKI:

I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE INTO CRYSTALS FOR HEALING AND THE METAPHYSICAL SIDE OF IT ARE WORSHIPPING THEM SORT OF SPEAK, AND I DON'T LOOK AT IT THAT WAY AT ALL.

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE THEM IN THEIR HOMES OR ARE INTO COLLECTING THEM JUST FOR THE SAKE OF THEM FOR SPECIMENS AND THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE TO ME THEIR ENERGY IS THERE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

REICHERT:

THIS IS SOMETHING IN WHICH YOU CAN DEFINITELY BELIEVE...

CERTAIN DULL, UNINTERESTING ROCKS WILL BURST INTO COLOR WHEN EXPOSED TO ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT. IT'S CALLED FLUORESCENCE. USUALLY AN IMPURITY ELEMENT, LIKE MANGANESE MUST BE PRESENT IN THE ROCK, BEFORE IT WILL RELEASE THESE VIBRANT, INTENSE COLORS.

BUT SOME ROCKS BURN WITH INTENSITY, EVEN IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.

NO OTHER GEM PRODUCES THE RAINBOW OF SPECTACULAR COLORS, THAT AN OPAL IS CAPABLE OF. IT HAS BEEN CALLED THE MOST MYSTERIOUS, COLORFUL, AND ENCHANTING OF ALL STONES.

STONES DISPLAYING A PREDOMINANCE OF RED ARE CALLED FLAME, OR FIRE OPAL.

A MOSAIC OF EXCEPTIONAL COLORFUL PATCHES IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS HARLEQUIN OPAL.

THE DARKER, PRISMATIC VARIETIES ARE FREQUENTLY CALLED BLACK OPALS, WHETHER THEY ARE VIVID GREEN, BRILLIANT BLUE, OR TRANSLUCENT GRAY.

ROSS SMITH HAS BEEN COLLECTING AND CUTTING THESE FASCINATING GEMS SINCE AN EARLY AGE. HE GATHERS THE RAW STONE FROM THE MINES JUST EAST OF SPENCER, IDAHO AND PATIENTLY CUTS THEM, CREATING PRECIOUS OPAL TRIPLETS.

ROSS SMITH, OPAL CRAFTSMAN:

IT'S USUALLY, FAIRLY RARE TO HAVE THIS MANY DIFFERENT COLOR LAYERS IN THE SAME PIECE OF OPAL. IT'S REALLY FUN BUT IT'S A BIG CHALLENGE TO CUT. IT'S REALLY HARD TO CUT.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE JUST THAT FINE POINT. IT'S BASICALLY HOW CUTTING THE OPAL IS. IF YOU GO TOO FAR ONE WAY OR NOT ENOUGH THE OTHER WAY IT ISN'T RIGHT. SO YOU HAVE TO FIND A HAPPY MEDIUM AND STICK WITH IT.

REICHERT:

AFTER CUTTING AWAY THE EXCESS ROCK, ROSS BEGINS THE CAREFUL PROCESS OF FLAT LAPPING THE STONE, REMOVING THE WHITE, OR COMMON OPAL, AWAY FROM THE FIRE LAYER.

THIS SIDE OF THE STONE IS THEN EPOXIED TO A VOLCANIC ROCK CALLED BASANITE, IT'S DARK SURFACE MAKING AN IDEAL BACKING TO BRING OUT THE COLORS IN THE GEM.

IN WORKING WITH OPALS, ROSS IS FOLLOWING A FAMILY TRADITION, A CRAFT HE LEARNED FROM HIS FATHER, CHARLIE.

SMITH:

HE SHOWED ME A LOT OF HIS STEPS, YOU KNOW, SECRETS AND SHORT CUTS AND IT REALLY HELPED LEARNING FROM A PROFESSIONAL.

REICHERT:

THE MOST PRECISE AND CAREFUL STEP IN MAKING TRIPLETS IS FLAT LAPPING THE STONE ONE LAST TIME.

SMITH:

YOU CAN ACTUALLY START TO SEE THE FIRE NOW. IT'S KIND OF A CATCH-22. IF YOU GO TOO FAR YOU WILL CUT DOWN THROUGH THE FIRE COLORS. IF YOU DON'T GO DOWN FAR ENOUGH, THE OPAL WON'T BE AS BRIGHT AS IT SHOULD BE.

THAT'S ABOUT ALL I DARE TO GO DOWN, I BELIEVE.

REICHERT:

THE FINAL PIECE OF THE TRIPLET IS A CRYSTAL QUARTZ TOP. THIS SEALS THE OPAL LAYER, PROTECTING IT FROM CHIPPING OR BREAKING.

AFTER EPOXYING THE QUARTZ TOP, ROSS GIVES THE GEMSTONE A FINAL AND DELICATE TRIM.

SMITH:

IT'S KIND OF TOUGH WHEN YOU GO TO TRIM AROUND THE OPAL NOT TO RUN TOO FAR INTO THE QUARTZ CAP. YOU DON'T WANT TO LEAVE AN EDGE.

REICHERT:

IT IS UNKNOWN WHAT EXACTLY CAUSES THE CHANGING COLORS IN THE STONE, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE MANY THEORIES. NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO ACCURATELY DUPLICATE THE PROCESS.

SMITH:

I GUESS WE'RE KIND OF LUCKY BECAUSE OUR OPAL COMPETES IN THE WORLDWIDE MARKET. SOME PEOPLE SAY IT'S THE BEST IN THE WORLD. I FIGURE WE'RE JUST REALLY LUCKY TO HAVE IT RIGHT OUT HERE IN OUR OWN BACKYARD SO TO SAY. I THINK IDAHO IS VERY LUCKY TO HAVE IT'S GEM RESOURCES.

REICHERT:

THEY WERE AMONG MANKIND'S FIRST PERMANENT POSSESSIONS, THEIR MAGICAL POWERS PROTECTED THE WEARER AGAINST UNHAPPINESS, BAD DREAMS, EVEN SNAKE BITES.

AND THEY ARE STILL AMONG OUR MOST TREASURED OBJECTS.

FOR SOME, GEMS ARE NOTHING MORE THAN BEAUTIFUL JEWELRY\; FOR OTHERS, THEY ARE A MAGICAL WAY OF PEERING INTO THE DISTANT PAST, FOR THE STORY OF OUR PLANET IS WRITTEN ON THOSE MINERALS BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH TO BE CALLED GEMS.

THANKS FOR WATCHING. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

CLOSED CAPTION TRANSCRIPTION BY KELLY ROBERTS.


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