I don't remember how I got into it but you can say that I started my passion for stones with selling semi-precious stone beads. I just happened upon a bead shop and figured it was a good investment. I started selling them out of my house on eBay way back when eBay started. It was a lot of fun.
When I was 30 I joined the Keane Mineral Club in New Hampshire. I thought it would be a cool thing to check out, finding minerals, meeting new people. I was introduced to this idea by a co-worker/friend. I have to call him, come to think of it. Anyway, I joined the club and started making friends. We started going out to different localities such as Kirk number 2 mine in Gilsum, New Hampshire and mining for golden beryl, mica and garnet. Digging quickly became my passion.
There was a trip to Folsom Gulch Ossipee, New Hampshire to dig around 20 different minerals including: smoky quartz, fluorite, amethyst smoky scepters, and feldspar. This is when I met my mentor and property owner Jon Herndon.
Jon took me and my best friend Chris under his wing. We dug pegmatites and he took us to his private localities. He became one of my closest friends and trusted teachers. Most of my experience comes from The White Mountains in particular Moat Mountain. Chris and I began going digging every weekend.
My interest in Herkimers started with a club dig to Hickory Hill. Chris and I spent about five years digging there. We found mainly smaller gemmy crystals and some smoky larger material as well. We were hooked.
Soon, we heard about a place called Diamond Acres. We started by digging on a friend's claim and eventually got our own claim. We worked tirelessly for hours every weekend. We dug through 7 feet of solid rock. This took about 2 and a half years but we loved every second. When things got frustrating we would walk around to the other claims where we met some of our closest friends to date.
Eventually, we switched claims. There was one claim that had been worked a bit but it looked promising. We really hoped we could get that one. Luckily, it was one of the two that was offered.
First, we dug on our own along with our great friend Erik but it only took a few months before we realized we had to share this with others. .You see, the fifth pocket at this claim was the largest found there to date with about 55 pounds of crystals in it. That first year we opened 17 pockets alone. You can image how stoked we were.
The claim number 51, slowly transformed into Area 51, because we believed. We invited dozens of people up. We had family digs twice a year and gave away every goon (large crystal) pocket and even some of the druse.
Eventually, I met and invited my future wife to dig there with some of her friends. She never left. To my surprise she loved it as much as I did . And that's it. It just evolved into the juggernaut that it is today.