DAVENPORT -- Four-year-old Sam Israelite hardly could contain his excitement Saturday at the Black Hawk Gem and Mineral Club's fall Rock, Gem and Jewelry Show.
The pint-sized boy jumped up and down and twirled through the air, swinging a brown paper bag around himself between vendor booths in Keppy Hall at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.
"Guess what we cracked!" he exclaimed with bright eyes and a grin as wide as his face. Before his mom or aunt had a chance to answer, he shouted, "A geode!"
His mom, Mary Israelite, said the family came from Skokie just to attend the show with her sister, Mindy Diaz, of Rock Island.
"He wants to buy pretty much everything (here)," she said.
Ms. Diaz is a jeweler at her shop, Inspiredesign Jewelry, in Rock Island, and a massage therapist. She said she's been coming to the show since she was 7 years old.
"I'm hopelessly addicted to gemstones," she said, saying she loves the energy components of the stones and the healing powers they possess.
They're "pretty groovy," she said.
She said she loves coming to the show to grab stones for her collection and to make jewelry with. When they heard of the show dates, she said, "Let's go find some new toys!"
She pulled an oddly shaped stone from her pocket and pointed at it, describing what she could add where.
"Sometimes it (the stone) just looks like jewelry already," Ms. Diaz said.
Ms. Israelite used to mock and tease her when they were growing up, Ms. Diaz said. She said she would come home with oodles of rocks and look up information about them in the encyclopedia.
Now, Ms. Israelite admits to loving rocks, too.
"Rocks are so beautiful," she said. "They have such energy."
Sam said he got to use a "big tool" to crack open a geode. He loves rocks "because they're shiny."
Diamonds are his favorite stone, he said, "because they're so rare."
He knelt down and opened his brown paper sack. He pulled out a small geode, smaller than the one he got to crack open, he said.
A geode is "a big round rock that has lots of big crystals inside," he explained. "All we had to do was use a big machine" to crack it open.
"The lighter the geode," Sam said, "the more shiny the inside."
Ms. Israelite said, at home, the family plays rock museum and jewelry store "like Aunt Mindy" -- and sometimes, they pretend they are pirates.
There was plenty of booty on display Saturday. By late afternoon, more than 400 people had come to the show to see the tumble-polished stones, rocks, minerals, stone beads, figurines, necklaces, pendants and earrings.
Roughly a dozen vendors from the Midwest filled the hall, some utilizing the floor beneath their tables to house larger rocks that wouldn't fit with the rest of their table display.
In the corners of the room were demonstrations of faceting and flint knapping to make arrowheads, geode cracking and more.
Shimmering stones of purple, green, blue and every other color of the rainbow caught even the tiniest bits of light, glittering even while stationary on their tables.
Collecting rocks and gems is "just a hobby that I enjoy," said Black Hawk Gem and Mineral Club Vice President Craig Moore, of Davenport. The nonprofit organization hosts the Rock, Gem and Jewelry shows to raise money for its scholarship fund, he said.
"It's a fun hobby," Mr. Moore said. And now that he's a vendor, he also noted "it puts a little lunch money in your pocket."
The show is a great place to buy gems, rocks and jewelry, for yourself or as gifts, he said.
"(You're) not going to walk into (a big box store) and find a phantom quartz," he said, gesturing to a pile of faceted, clear and white stones. "You don't have to spend a lot of money to get something neat."
If you go:
The Black Hawk Gem and Mineral Club's fall Rock, Gem and Jewelry Show continues today from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, 2815 W. Locust St., Davenport.
Today is Monday, March 10, the 69th day of 2014. There are 296 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Numerous counterfeiters are around, taking advantage of the influx of currency to pass their worthless trash. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.J. Reimers, secretary and treasurer of the Rock Island Lumber and Manufacturing Co., on behalf of that firm, contributed $500 toward construction of a new Methodist church. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Samuel Ryerson, county recorder, was re-elected president of the 19th District of Knights of Pythias. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Three condemnation suits have been filed by the city of Rock Island to acquire property needed for an approach to the Rock Island-Davenport bridge, which has been under construction since March 6. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Plans for an eight-story Sheraton Inn in downtown Rock Island were announced today at a luncheon meeting at the Gay Nineties sponsored by the Rock Island Chamber of Commerce. Cost of the structure is estimated at $2.5 million. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Representatives of the Hardee's Golf Classic and tournament sponsor Hardee's Food Systems may meet next week with PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to discuss a possible change in the tournament dates.