Sparta couple prepares for fossil and gem expo
$2 million, 38-foot T-Rex to make an apperance
If you go...
WHAT: New York/New Jersey Mineral, Fossil, Gem and Jewelry show
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 11 to 13.
WHERE: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center,97 Sunfield Avenus, Edison, N.J.
HOW MUCH: $8 adults, $3 children ages five through 12, and kids under five and parking are free. One ticket is good for all three days.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.ny-nj-gemshow.com.
SPARTA — Only in its third year, the New York/New Jersey Mineral, Fossil, Gem and Jewelry show is already the third largest event of its kind in the United States thanks, in part, to Sparta resident and event organizer Christine Perner.
“The expo is still not mainstream,” Perner said, “but if everybody knew about it, they would go.”
Besides the 200-plus vendors from all over the world specializing in the show’s namesake materials, Perner said visitors will be treated to a “great family event” with a “hands-on, touchy-feely atmosphere.”
Special exhibits at the show will include a huge display of the fluorescent minerals that make Franklin and Ogdensburg world famous; a chance for guests to touch mineral specimens from the moon, Mars and Vesta; and a 38-foot genuine Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton — on sale for $2 million.
“Russell (the T-Rex) is the only complete T-Rex available on the market worldwide,” said Stefan Perner, husband of Christine and owner of Sparta’s Earth Art Gallery, who will have a display at the expo.
He assured guests not all specimens for sale would cost as much as Russell, promising pieces available for as little as $1.
What also makes the show so interesting is the availability to speak with the miners, paleontologists and gem carvers, which provides “background you usually don’t have,” said Stefan — a paleontologist who digs up most of his own specimens.
These “adrenaline-filled” jobs are “dangerous to do, but also glorious,” Christine added, noting that stars of the Weather Channel’s TV show “Prospectors” will also be attending the event to speak with guests.
About the Perners
Christine admitted she originally wanted to be a teacher before being introduced to the fossil industry by her brother-in-law. She then went on to create Eons Uncovered, a fossil preparation and restoration business, and co-found Eons Expos, who specialize in establishing fossil and mineral events.
Luckily, though, Christine says she finds herself doing plenty of teaching, despite the self-employment.
“Children love this stuff,” she says, and her passion for the artifacts allows her to keep their attention.
Stefan was introduced to paleontology by his parents and began learning the industry as a young child. Once a Professor of Paleontology in Beijing, China, Stefan now owns and operates Lake Mohawk’s Earth Art Gallery. The store specializes in fossils, minerals and gemstones, many of which Stefan has himself excavated from his family’s Wyoming fossil quarries — more than 1,500 of which will be on display at the expo.
The third-annual expo will be held from April 11 through 13 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, less than an hour’s drive from Sparta. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day. Admission is $8 for adults, $3 for children ages five through 12, and kids under five and parking are free. One admission ticket is good for all three days. For more information, visit www.ny-nj-gemshow.com.
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