Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2019 at 1:01 pm by LaLonde Jewelers
When I would travel to Alaska to appraise jewelry, I acquired a sort of following of people who would come to see me when I was in their town. At first, I didn’t think much about it, but then it dawned on me that some of these people actually held me in high esteem and arranged their day or week to coincide with my schedule. Some of these folks lived far in the bush and only came to town a couple times a year for provisions and supplies. I was at first dumbfounded to think I was that important to them.
You see I would send an advanced postcard with the dates and times of when I would be in various cities and the location of each stop. It amazed me when someone would tell me that they had delayed their pilgrimage to town to make sure that they wouldn’t miss me. Some of these people lived out in the bush and were so-called mountain men or what the TV shows of today call them, ‘The Last Alaskans’. They would tell me that they had delayed their trip just to visit with me. It made me feel very important. This kept pressure on me to make sure I was there for them.
Gold Veins in Quartz
There was a certain man who would come and see me about once a year and he would have crystals that he had found in the rivers and streams in the areas where he eked out his living. I could tell he didn’t have much money and I was more than happy to go over his finds. He would tell me of the places he found this or that and I would share my opinion of what he found. I never charged him anything. I figured we were both getting an education of sorts.
Garnet crystal in host rock.
But one day he came in and he had on what I thought was the most unusual coat I had ever seen. It was very shiny, full length, all made of fur. He explained that the coat was made of fur from wolf, lynx, marten, bear, caribou, moose, fox, and others.
Now I’m not big on killing animals for their fur, but these people are wilderness folks that make their living that way, hunting and trapping. I never knew how these folks actually lived until in recent years I watched these shows of “ Mountain Men” and ‘The Last Alaskans’.
When I think back and remember the times I spent with this Alaskan, I have a hard time remembering the various crystals that he showed me, but frozen in my mind were the colors and the sheen of that very unusual fur coat.
Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert
© LaLonde Jewelers 2019