Rock & Gem



The world is slowly moving back to some form of normalcy after one of the most trying times in world history.

The pandemic challenged all of us to adapt to what was being called at the time “the new normal.” But there was nothing normal about wearing masks, social distancing from your friends, or worse, not even being able to see friends and family because of travel restrictio­ns. But think about it; if you are reading this right now you should consider yourself one of the lucky ones to have survived one of the most devastatin­g and deadly plagues in history.

But through the barrage of distressin­g and paralyzing daily updates while we were holed up in isolation, some of you found a way to still participat­e in rockhoundi­ng and gem mining…even via a computer screen a world away. Contributi­ng writer Jim Landon details how he developed a virtual friendship with a third generation African rough gemstone buyer and how that led to learning – through the buyer’s eyes and images he sent to Jim – about the business of gemstone mining and selling in Kenya. And Jim never had to leave his home. Although some of us may not believe it all the time, technology is our friend. During a health pandemic, we still connected in whatever way we could. See Jim’s story starting on page 60.


Just before this issue of Rock & Gem went to press, we put to bed the Rock & Gem 50th Anniversar­y commemorat­ive issue. One of the lead pieces is written by senior consulting editor Bob Jones.

The 112-page, all-color magazine is a fitting tribute to Rock & Gem, its readers and its contributo­rs. RG50 can be purchased by visiting www.beckettmed­­y, or by calling 855-777-2325.


I called R&G designer Shawn Stigsell “the last of the dual threat designers” the other day. It was meant as a compliment after Shawn – who typically doesn’t get involved in the actual editorial text – came up with a brilliant headline for Janie George Duncan’s piece on five generation­s of rockhounds. You can see part 1 of her three-part series starting in this issue on pages 18-19, where you can also see Shawn’s contributi­on.

He took a rather blasé headline and changed it to something fun.

That’s great teamwork.

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