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Polishing, cutting and making rocks sparkle

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Posted: Saturday, September 28, 2013 11:39 pm | Updated: 7:25 am, Mon Sep 30, 2013.

With a keen eye and steady hands, Michael Moreno found a fault line on a fist sized geode. He slid the rock up against a spinning ten inch blade trimmed in diamond. A sharp grinding noise filled the air as the blade forced two halves of the stone apart, revealing a crystallized universe within. 

Moreno is a member of the Stockton Lapidary and Mineral Club and one of many vendors and craftsmen who set up at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds on Saturday and Sunday.

The 62nd annual Earth’s Treasures event was a combination of gem and mineral presentations, mini gem and stonework shops, and demonstrations on wire wrapping jewelry and creating knife blades from glass. 

The club was joined by the Delta Gold Diggers mining club and the World of Wonders Science Museum for kid-friendly activities like panning for gold flecks. 

Inside, Dick Friesen labored over a spinning drill, carving, sanding and polishing  stones to make miniature designs. It can take up to ten hours per square inch to complete the intricate projects. 

“That’s one pass,” he said, sliding a jade green fragment under the spinning blade. “There’s still a long way to go.”

Dian Gaudner was polishing scratches off a quartz gem. Her goal? Create shimmering facets on the stone so the light bounces throughout to add sparkle. A small collection of her work rested in a jewelry tray.

“Most of those started as marbles,” she said. 

Margaret Kolaczyk twisted long thin wires around and around a small stone. A display of chainmail and linked circle jewelry lay before her on a table. She’s worked on her craft since 1997, and can make mail strong enough to stop a knife blade. 

Down the hall, Jack Hall used a copper tool to chip bits off a slab of volcanic glass he was fashioning into a knife. 

“They’ll break easy, but they’re pretty sharp,” he said, applying pressure at key points to crack the glass. A display case held knives made of green and red glass. Hall likes to sit out on hiking trails, working on a blade, and show the technique to passing hikers. If someone is interested, he’ll fashion them an arrowhead. 

“This is something that you pass on to people,” he said. 

Contact Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com

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Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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