JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of people shopped at the 29th annual Magnolia State Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show in Jackson County.
“Because of who we are, we are mostly jewelry makers. We do things like fastening gems and semi-precious minerals. We also make cabochons of the same materials. A lot of wire wrapped jewelry. So people who like to make jewelry, they come and join our club and come to our show," said Patrick Barrett, President-elect of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society.
A lot of shoppers got the chance to mine for gems, a once in a lifetime experience.
“This is my first time, and I love it. It’s just wonderful," said Regina James. “I had a lot of fun.”
Neal Thomas of Thomas Rocks, Gems and Jewelry created an eye catcher for this year’s show. He set up a flume and sluice, with running water. He said it can bring out the kid in all of us. Participants purchased a bag of dirt for $10, then washed it in the flume to reveal gems that are yours to take home.
It’s just one feature at the show. Vendors from across the country set up shop for one weekend only, including Susan with C&S Beads out of Vero Beach, Florida.
“I’ve been in it 20 years just because I have a passion for beads," Susan Onderlinde said. Her best seller - rosary beads.
You won’t just find vendors set up with goods to purchase, you’ll catch a glimpse of them at work.
Buddy Shotts is a fastener and cuts gemstones. He was busy cutting and shining a Montana sapphire.
“It’ll turn out to be just a nice gem to put in a pendant or ring, or however he wants to use it," Buddy said.
A kids station also gave little ones a chance for some hands-on learning.
“It’s very educational. They know more about the rocks than I do. When I came she immediately began to tell me about the amethyst, all the different rocks. And I’m like, really. They’re true rock hounds. Now I’m one," James said.