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Whidbey rocks this weekend

"Whidbey Island’s biggest rock show takes place Feb. 3-4 in Oak Harbor at the Senior Center.The 27th annual “Sweetheart of Gems” show is the combined effort of the Whidbey Pebble Pushers of South Whidbey and the Whidbey Island Gem Club of Oak Harbor.The 2001 version of the show will feature old favorites and some new additions, including a selection of fossils provided by new Pebble Pushers member John Elverum.Elverum, a Clinton resident, retired at the age of 52 to devote time to his first love of fossil hunting. “It’s what I studied for,” he said. He works with the Burke Museum at the University of Washington in collecting plant fossils, and on Whidbey Island he displays the fossils in schools and educates the students.Among the fossils on display in the rock show will be 500,000,000 year old birch leaves from the Eocene period. Elverum takes his entire family fossil hunting, including his wife Joanne and their children Kelsey, 14, Kaesie, 9, and Stryder, 6. The birch fossils were found near Republic, Wash., and Princeton, B.C.The ancient birch leaves look like they fell from the tree yesterday. “They’re world famous for their clarity,” said Elverum. “And it was just yesterday in the world of geology,” he said, noting that the Eocene era occurred comparatively recently. The Elverums will also display fruit blossom and fish fossils at the Sweetheart of Gems show.Another feature display this year involves pictures made out of “concretions,” which are masses of mineral matter found generally in a rock formation of a composition different from its own and produced by deposition from aqueous solution. They are formed in a variety of shapes and make a basis for pictures based on the imagination of the creator.The rock show will also feature demonstrations of lapidary skills, a silent auction, and “women’s sale table” filled with creations made from unusual rock specimens. Examples are rock “critters,” seascapes, polished stones, butterflies, wind chimes and whirligigs. The “men’s table” features a wide variety of mineral specimens, including rough material for cutting and polishing, cut slabs, geodes, and polished rock, all at a reasonable prices.The show features dealers of lapidary supplies, mineral specimens and finished jewelry for those Valentines presents.Both Whidbey Island rock and gem clubs are non-profit and are affiliated with the American and Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies and the Washington State Mineral Council.---------------Sweetheart of Gems ShowWhen: Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 3-4, Oak Harbor Senior Center, 51 SE Jerome St.Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.Admission and parking: Both free.Highlights: Rocks, gems, fossils, supplies, jewelry, door prizes, homemade food and pastries. "

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