Phyllis inspires you to explore. She is a self-proclamed "digger", but not a "professional rock-hound." She loves the hunt. Over her lifetime she has explored and discovered many wonderful pieces, collected some, traded some and piled many up in her yard on the Eastside of Tucson. She and her husband enjoy the quiet and also great views of the mountains from their home of 36 years. After retiring from the Air Force they settled here. Together they have hunted rocks all over Southern Arizona and beyond, uncovering some really fantastic pieces as well as a little gold here and there for fun.
Phyllis began her love affair with gemstones as a child. She remembers watching Snow White and the Seven Drawfs, seeing the drawfs go into the mine and pluck gemstones from the walls. It took her a while to find out that those gemstones don't grow perfectly for picking right on mine walls, but she still had been bitten by the bug. She was hooked from Snow White on, and has been now for over 70 years, though she didn't start digging until around 1980.
Nowadays she hunts a little less, but still has fun every time her helmet is on. She will be the first to tell you she is no expert, but she has learned a tremendous amount from other members. She loves being a member and part of the TGMS community.
And now, here is Phyllis in her own words:
As a young child I was drawn to sparkley things and that led to gemstones. Pictures of Kings and Queens danced in my head. I remember being absolutely taken by the Disney movie 'Snow White and the Seven Drawfs' who go to their mine and pick rubies. I was probably a teenager before I found out that stones aren't faceted when found.
My other rock memory was a small book I found in our school's small library, about digging rubies in the Cowee Valley in North Carolina. I read the book in 1943 and actually dug Cowee Calley rubies in 1975 when we were stationed in Georgia with the AirForce. I still have a small handful of tiny ones.
The more I learned about gemstones the more I wanted to know about the minerals that produced them. When we were assigned to Tucson (our retirement choice) and I found out about the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society club from Peter Meagaw at the 1978 show I was delighted to join it and have enjoyed the association ever since. I found that I am not a collector but rather a 'Digger'. I would like to say a "finder" but that is seldom the case. But part of the fun is in the hunt. I have learned a great deal from the club members, meetings, classes and shows. The world of 'rock people' is fascinating!!
84 years old
Primary focus: digging & finding
Society Member since 1978