The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals , Hillsboro . One couple's personal collection of rocks , minerals and petrified wood , housed in their ranch style home that sits in a wooded estate of 23 acres.
Richard and Helen Rice picked up an interesting rock by the beach on their honeymoon ( in 1930s) and it turned out to be agate . They were hooked for life.
Their collection has grown to 20,000 exhibits now . A grand obsession !
And an infectious obsession ! A visit leaves one in total awe of the treasures the earth stores beneath our feet......now feel like giving each and every pebble stumbled upon a second look , with much respect .
The collection is divided into well captioned galleries - Minerals , Gemstones , Meteorites , fossils etc. with explanatory notes about each exhibit and gallery .
Discovered " Thundereggs " ! The State Rock of Oregon . Native American legend says that these roundish stones are eggs of the Thunderbird. ....Geology says Thundereggs are " mineral aggregates that form within rhyolitic volcanic ash layers " . They look like a lump , but when broken reveal lovely deposits of chalcedony , jasper , opal or agate .
The museum had the largest opal filled thunderegg in the world . ( bottom one in the first collage )
" Oregon Sunstone " : copper bearing Labradorite Feldspar , formed in lava . Translucent stones that flash when it catches the light.
One section is dedicated to minerals they obtained from Maharashtra ( India ).
Top and below : all from maharashtra .
Rhodocrosites ( The Inca Rose ): containing manganese carbonate , these minerals have brilliant colours : all shades of pink and rosy red . The Incas believed that the blood of their former kings and queens crystallised and became gems infused with magical powers .
The first specimen, that looks like watermelon salad, is called " Alma Rose " , a pride of the museum .
ChickenBlood Stone : considered lucky and protective by the Chinese who carve charms and talismans out of it . It is a polymorph of kaolinite ( clay ) and quartz streaked with cinnabar that gives the distinct red color . The slab exhibited was mined in California and is named for the person who found it.
A gallery for Petrified Wood :
Each exhibit more interesting than the other . Who can ever imagine what the inside of a rock can look like !