By Jim Brace-Thompson
Figuratively speaking, some of us “glow” about our rockhounding interests, whether they involve gems, minerals, fossils, field trips, prospecting, or lapidary arts.
But Trent Meyers has an interest that literally glows! Trent is a 15-year-old member of the Central Pennsylvania Rock & Mineral Club (CPRMC), a club for which his mother, Carrie, has served as president. Trent attends both junior and adult meetings whenever he can. With Carrie also serving as their club delegate to the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical & Lapidary Societies (EFMLS), Trent has tagged along to the last three EFMLS shows and conventions also.
At the convention, where he is often the only junior in attendance, he has shown unusual interest and maturity for a young teen. As an example, being starstruck for Trent very likely included the thrill of meeting legendary Rock & Gem’s Senior Consulting Editor Bob Jones at an EFMLS show in Bristol, Connecticut.
Enthralled by Fluorescent Minerals
Bob Jones has noted how his fascination with minerals was spurred by a fluorescent mineral display that glowed in the dark under ultraviolet lamps. Like Bob, Trent became hooked by fluorescent minerals. When his family joined CPRMC in 2015, a fellow club member gave a presentation about fluorescence.
At every meeting after that, Trent posed questions to that member, who became a valued mentor and eventually gave Trent a box of fluorescent minerals as a gift. In 2016, Trent and his family spent a day and night at the annual “Super Dig” of the famed Sterling Hill Mineral Museum in New Jersey, which boasts world-class fluorescent minerals. Attending the “Super Dig” marked a turning point. For Christmas that year, Trent received a short- and long-wave UV lamp and still more specimens for his collection. This tradition has continued every Christmas since.
Trent has become a local expert on this fascinating class of rocks and minerals. He has provided talks on fluorescence for both CPRMC and the Lancaster County Fossil & Mineral Club, of which he is also a member. Additionally, he is a member of the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society, the Mason Dixon Gold Club, and the Pennsylvania Flintknapping & Stone Tool Guild. He has exhibited specimens from his collection at CPRMC shows and at “Rocks 4 Kids” junior outreach days, where he has also served as a presenter. Furthermore, he has received EFMLS awards for articles he’s written about field trips.
Trent became captivated by fluorescent minerals because—in his own words—”you never really know what you’re going to get until you put a light on them.” Goodness, has he ever put a light on them! His assembled collection fills the family den, which is affectionately known as “The Rock Room.” The collection includes nearly 1,000 specimens. In addition to pieces visibly on display, many appear in an enormous display case and storage cabinet built by Trent’s grandfather. Among the most popular specimens in Trent’s collection is that of hackmanite from Ontario, Canada, willemite, and esperite cabochons from Franklin, New Jersey, tugtupite from Greenland, and fluorite from the Rogerley Mine of Durham, England.
To parents of budding rockhounds, Trent offers the following advice: “Take it slow and make sure your kids are committed, especially before purchasing expensive materials like UV lights.”
To fellow juniors, he advises, “Specialize in one field.” The one field Trent has chosen, and that he shares with his broader community, truly glows!
CALL OUT TO ALL JUNIOR ROCKHOUNDS
We are always seeking more participants for the Spotlight on Juniors column, which is the brilliant idea and effort of esteemed R&G columnist and contributor Jim Brace-Thompson, who is also the Juniors Program Chair, for the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies — www.afms.org.
If you are a junior rockhound, pebble pup or know someone who is active in any aspect of the rockhounding and lapidary hobby, Jim would love to hear from you so we can share your/their story. Plus, rockhounds featured in Spotlight on Juniors will receive two complimentary copies of the issue of Rock & Gem in which they are featured. Please note, parents or guardians of junior rockhounds are required to sign a release form.
For more information and to participate, please contact Jim Brace-Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.