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Colorado Mineral and Fossil Show

I got up early to get six hours of work in, before we headed out to the Colorado Mineral and Fossil Show. It’s one of the biggest in the country, but we wouldn’t have known about it if not for our friend and fellow Airstream full-timer Jim Breitinger, who flew out here to sell meteorites.

Gem and fossil shows have become a favorite event of ours since we got addicted to the annual Tucson Gem Show a couple of years ago. At this one, I finally bought Emma a little meteorite for her rock collection. It’s a “Campo del Cielo” meteorite, which means it came from Gran Chaco Gualamba, Argentina.

Mostly meteorites are hunks of iron with some nickel and other trace elements. They aren’t much to look at, but I prefer meteorites and fossils to pretty gemstones because they are so inspiring to the imagination. Emma’s little meteorite was flying through space at something like 20,000 miles per hour for an unimaginable amount of time as part of a larger rock, until it fell into the Earth’s atmosphere and landed in South America. Then it sat for five thousand years, got buried several feet underground in a forest, and was finally discovered by one of Jose Guggiari’s people.


Jose is “the source” for Campo del Cielo meteorites. Jim buys a lot of his meteorites from Jose, too. Jose has a staff of a dozen people who spend all year with metal detectors and shovels, finding and uncovering these meteorites. Meteorites sell for anywhere from 20 cents per gram to a $1 per gram, depending on the quality and type. Because they are nearly solid iron, a small specimen can be surprisingly heavy.

denver-meteorite-fossil.jpgI also found a guy selling coprolites, and I insisted on buying one for Emma. Every kid ought to have a piece of fossilized fish poop from the Cretaceous Period, right? Especially for just a buck.

The heart-shaped thing in the photo is the coprolite, and the larger object is the meteorite. Just imagine, 75 million years ago, some big old fish pooped out something and here it is in the palm of your hand. Now that’s cool…

Just this morning I was talking to Eleanor about the need to carry only things we need in the Airstream, and not clutter it up with stuff we want or stuff that might be useful. “Useful isn’t good enough,” I said. “It’s got to be essential or we shouldn’t acquire it.” And now we have a piece of something that even a dinosaur fish didn’t want, and a hunk of iron from outer space.

I got away with this by buying Eleanor something for our 14th Anniversary, which happened a few days ago but hasn’t been properly celebrated yet. She has a very pretty piece of Australian ironstone with opal “tiger stripes” running through it to wear around her neck. So everyone got something fun.

I bet all the women who read this blog are going to say she got the better end of the deal, and that’s exactly what you should think. (But us guys know that a space rock and fish poop are way cooler.)

3 Responses to “Colorado Mineral and Fossil Show”

  1. sadira Says:

    Nope…sorry…gotta’ go with the jewelry on this one…Happy Anniversary!

    (I’ve never been down to Tucson for the gem and mineral show…dang. I gotta’ get down there!)

  2. Shari Says:

    I don’t know, getting a piece of fossilized fish poop on a pendant sounds pretty romantic. I think a new trend in jewelry may be coming on. Diamonds are SOOOO last year!