The Adirondacks are a geological treasure chest. They are an extension of the Canadian Shield, one of the world's largest continental shields.
These mountains, rivers, and lakes have the ancient magma, glacial errata, and billion years old rocks that make for fine hunting. Iron ore seams, dramatic sandstone layers, and plenty of igneous minerals add up to a delightful mix of opportunities.
Saranac Lake is a great base for exploration, with the additional attraction of the Twin Crystal Rock Shop. This delightful shop, run by twins Kean and Kasey Riley, offers custom crafted jewelry, rock-themed gifts, rock candy, and amazing displays of local and worldwide specimens of the geologic arts.
From passionate rock hounds to kids looking for stuff that glitters, Twin Crystal has enough variety that there is plenty to fascinate. One of my favorite parts is the jewelry.
When polished, Herkimer diamonds (as seen in the header photo above) can be crafted into beautiful jewelry items. While not actual diamonds, they sparkle beautifully because they have both unusual clarity, and unique natural faceting from double termination points and 18 total facets.
The name comes from finding them in dolostone outcrops in Herkimer County, NY. All such gems still must come from there to be called "Herkimer diamonds."
Some of the jewelry is made on the premises by the proprietors, who also offer all kinds of classes on the lapidary arts; from choosing and polishing to actual jewelry design and assembly.
Since fossils are the art of turning living things into rocks, there are plenty of "living rocks," too. There are displays of petrified wood, dinosaur bones, and the pattern of ferns in rock, which I always find beautiful.
These rocks tend to have a beauty of form. Since the rock they were formed from could not be subjected to the great heat and pressure that forms crystals, the result is an array of pretty shapes and colors.
Turning to things which are brand new, some of the items in the shop are not minerals themselves, but they do have a rock theme. I am particularly drawn to the SoapRocks. A real "gem" of a gift for anyone who loves rocks.
Something for anyone
Kean or Kasey will be happy to identify rocks people bring in. "I get a lot of Leeverite," Kean told me. "I could have told you at the time, 'Leave 'er right there.'"
That sense of humor extends to the way people cannot tell which twin is manning the shop at any given time. Because it is hard to tell.
This holiday season, the "Lights are shining bright on Broadway" promotion will include the Twin Crystal Rock Shop. The shops on the street named Broadway will be open until 9 p.m. through Christmas Eve.
This is only one of the fun and interesting shops we have in our walkable, historic, park-filled downtown.
See you there!