Fordite, courtesy of Gary Wilson. Image by Gary Roskin
Roskin Gem News Report

Surfs Up at the Tuscarora Gemarama!

Gary Roskin
Roskin Gem News Report

Local gem & mineral club sponsored shows are always great places to find unique gem materials and seasoned expert gem dealers.

At the recent local Tuscarora Lapidary Society gem & mineral show, the 54th annual Gemarama, held this year at the Oaks, Pennsylvania, we ran into Curt Herer of Rare Earth Mining Company. Curt always has a great selection of beautiful material, and the stories to go along with. This year was no different as he immediately pulled out some rock crystal quartz with planar covellite inclusions that lit up hot pink when the ceiling lights touched the stone at just the right angle. More on Rare Earth Mining as we get closer to Tucson.

Bi-color Indonesian fossil Palm Root matched pairs.
Greg Genovese / GemsbyGenovese
image by Gary Roskin

Gems by Genovese

We were also introduced to a very talented veteran gem artist, Greg Genovese. Amongst so many wonderful and interesting gem materials, including bi-color Palm Root, Purple Passion Agate, Art Deco carved matt finish Black Chalcedony, and Scenic Indonesian Blue Opal, we stumbled across a tray somewhat hidden in the back of his stand that contained what looked like “Fordite” (also known as “Dearborn agate”).

What is Fordite?

Fordite, Dearborn Agate, or Motor Agate, is a unique automotive enamel material “harvested” near Detroit, Michigan, the U.S. auto manufacturing capital of the 20th century. You may see the layered automotive paint slag, the “rough,” or even polished cabochons at gem & mineral shows. This material was produced decades ago when they used to hand spray paint new cars in the large Detroit area automobile factories.

Examples of Fordite, courtesy of Gary Wilson / Rockhound GaryB

But what we found was not Fordite.

We uncovered a box of Surfite!

What is Surfite?

“It’s basically resin that is used in the making of surfboards,” tells Genovese, picking up a few chunks of the material. “The craftsman pours it from a bucket onto the Styrofoam core of a surfboard, and the excess drips onto the floor. The floor is covered in wax paper. The leftover resin then builds up and dries, creating different colored layers as time goes on. Eventually, when it builds up to 1”-3”, they pick it up and cut it into these chunks.”

Part of the “identification” of Surfite is in seeing the wax paper still attached to the blocks of layered resin.

“The collection you saw on my table is from a surf shop located in La Jolla, California, from the 60’s.”

Radical, Bro!

Surfite! Image by Gary Roskin


You can find Greg Genovese at Gems by Genovese, in Tucson, at the 2024 Pueblo Show. You can meet up with Curt Herer at Rare Earth Mining Company, in Tucson, at the AGTA Gem Fair.

And a local shout out to TJ’s Legacy Rocks & Gemstones of Downingtown, PA. They too had a fabulous collection of interesting materials that we will be reporting on over the next few months.

More about the local Tuscarora Lapidary Society can be found on their website at www.lapidary.org


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