It's normally quite quiet back in my scrapbook room but as I've sat at my desk these past few weeks, there's been a low rumbling coming from the garage on the other side of the wall. No, it wasn't the sound of something ominous; it was us rockin' and rollin'...or perhaps more accurately, our rocks rolling.
Yes, we bought a rock tumbler. We're nerds, what can I say. We've talked about it from time to time in years past but never acted on it until now. Doing a little gem mining in the North Carolina mountains, however, was just the push we needed to act. It made a perfect Christmas present to ourselves.
The tumbler came with this assortment of quartz. We figured it was a great way to figure out the ins and outs of our machine so we loaded it up in the little cylinder along with some grit and plugged it in. It couldn't be easier. Every weekend we'd open the cylinder, excited to see what progress all that rolling had done then we'd wash off the old solution and add the new one for another week of work.
Four weeks later they were done. It's amazing how smooth and polished they are, almost silky feeling. And how much they changed, especially the two almost-square rocks. They're the ones with a white, chalky outside layer in the top photo and they turned into the shiny black squares in the second picture.
You can see all the rough edges in this rock in its original form.
And how smooth and finished it is when its done. I love the changes in color where eons ago one layer of sediment or lava blended into another composed of something just a little different. Geology was my science credit in college, mostly because I didn't want any of the other choices, and in some ways I wish another class had been required because I found it fascinating.
Here's another before...
...and the after, although I think this is the other side of that rock. We had such variety in the colors but then that's part of the beauty of nature.
The tumbler we bought will hold two cylinders so part-way through the cycle on the first one, we started a second one. It was more quartz but what we found in North Carolina plus this piece of petrified wood Wayne has had since he was young. The photo doesn't show the shine very well but it turned out pretty too.
What are we going to do with them? We're not sure at this point, other than pick them up and marvel at their uniqueness. I'm thinking I might see if I can turn these two much smaller pieces into jewelery. They would be a fun memento from our trip.
There are more rocks waiting to be tumbled...some garnets and rubies we found in North Carolina and somewhere in the garage is a box of rocks we collected in Michigan. There's plenty of rockin' and rollin' in our future.