With a stream of customers to the market a variety of conversations ensue. Friends from your past stop to talk and newcomers find what you offer helpful.
Even with our gravel bags quiet contemplative time can be found in the back of our booth as visitors search for their shiny gems in the dirty gravel. Thus are the scenes for the day.
One interesting factor was a Canadian family visiting from Alberta when sluicing the rivers and streams up north came up as a topic. He said how Canada serves the recreational prospector is by separating it out into two categories. If you only want to pan in the streams, the fee is $50.00 for five years. If you want to use a sluice box, you go into a different category and pay a different fee. Of course, commercial mining is separate from that.
The Canadian mentioned that my gold hog pan that I had on the table would be considered a sluice in Canada. But in the United States it is NOT considered a sluice; it is considered a gold pan in America, so there is are differences between countries in viewing recreational prospecting.
A roofer who was replacing in the hills of Maiden, Montana out of Lewistown told of finding Herkimer Diamonds all over the hillside when he was repairing a roof in the woods. We solicited him as a source of guidance for our upcoming trip in September when we visit the Chokecherry Festival in Lewistown.
Dean Schamp refers to the Herkimer Diamonds as "dobbs." Phyllis Gunther of The Yogo Sapphire Jewelry Company on Central Ave. in Great Falls says that the Herkimer diamonds don’t polish up well. But we want to find some of these stones that have double points at both ends just because they're curious to us.
The allure of a tray of Montana sapphires attracts customers who have interfaced with sapphires in Montana. Those shiny blue stones make people wonder how they can to get such beauties. The idea of heat treating has been brought up. Some like the stones as they are but when you heat treat them stronger colors come out.
Heat treating sapphires is a personal choice.
Many questions in regards to handling Montana gemstones are brought up and discussed at our booth at the Great Falls Farmers' Market it is a great way to share your stories of recreational prospecting in a give and take manner. We are here to help the general public develop their understanding and appreciation of the great resources we have in Montana.
Yeah for the Great Falls Farmers' Market!!