With all the amusement surrounding the idea of ‘pet rocks’, it is disconcerting to step up and admit that I’m one of those people who have them. Quite a few, in fact: tumbled stones, faceted crystals, chunky minerals — a glass-bowl full of shiny, coloured rocks. So, Big Australia fascinated me, among other things, for its geological different-ness. I found these beauties in a tucked-away store in Kuranda, Queensland. The big, interesting globule is a thunder egg — jasper encased in rhyolitic lava. Also fossicked locally is pyrite, the small glittery lump. It looks like gold, and during Australia’s gold rush, many shouts of discovery were due to this ore — and so named Fool’s Gold. The third stone has a romantic name and a romantic story; it’s called Apache Tear — believed to be tears of the widows of Apache warriors. It’s volcanic black glass and feels wonderful to hold. I paid AUD 10 for them all. Now if I could only afford the opals…



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