Jim McCutcheon

Co-chair, Knoxville Gem and Mineral Society Show

What is the oldest rock or fossil a person could find at the show?

I'm trying to think just how many millions, but there will definitely be some that will be millions of years old. Trilobites would be one, fossils from the Paleozoic era. They can be 400 or 500 million years old.

The show also includes jewelry—is it the expensive kind?

There are unset gemstones—rubies, emeralds. There's also high-end jewelry. Someone will probably have diamonds there, but mostly a lot of color stones.

What are your favorites?

I like sapphires. People think they just come in blue, but they are every color of the rainbow.

How long have you been interested in gems and minerals?

I'm a newcomer to this—just about 11 or 12 years. I went to this very same show and just fell in love with it.

What happens to the money made at the show?

We are a non-profit organization geared towards education. Most of our vendors have been with us all 18 years of the show. The money we make goes straight to the earth sciences: scholarships for University of Tennessee geology students and projects like showing rocks to elementary school students and giving them crystals to look at at home. We also go to the centers where older folks congregate and show them some gems and minerals.

Isn't there an event where people bring something they found and you help them figure out what it is?

Yes, that's on Saturday. We'll have one of our members there with a microscope and many years of knowledge to help identify minerals, gems, and fossils. You'd be surprised at the stuff people bring in.

You give door prizes—are they rocks?

They can be anything a vendor happens to have in the booth.

Show dates: Oct. 17-19 at the Kerbela Temple. For more information: 966-5468