After reading a Southside Sentinel article about our upcoming fossil exhibit, the museum was contacted by Nancy Gibbs, a rock hound from Toano. She had been collecting Virginia specimens for over 40 years and was looking for a home for her minerals, gems and fossils. Gibbs had gathered her pieces from rivers, woods and newly tilled farmer’s fields across the middle peninsula, coastal and piedmont regions.
Her rocks are little slices of earth formed millions of years ago with all manner of minerals trapped and pressurized into beautiful bands of sparkle and color. Samples she shared include Rose-colored Morganite (Beryl), Snowflake Quartz with grey Tourmaline, Azeztulite Pink Fire, Granite with white and black feldspar crystals, and shiny mica. Red Garnets and Gem Stones, Moonstones, Sapphires, Native Capper (Peacock Ore), Glaucophane, Cats Eye Quartz, and Bog Iron. Other samples include: Mica, Pyrolusite, Green Amazonite, Feldspar, and rock with Amethyst matrix.
Virginia was covered with water up to Richmond at one point in time and the fossil record supports that theory. Gibbs’ collected Fossils from the sea include: sand dollars and sea urchins, brain coral colpophyllia, cephalopods, octopus, squid and cuttlefish fossils trapped in seabed sand. Other pieces include Helicotoma, barnacles, and seabed stone with tubeworm channels.
These are but a sample of the full donation that she gifted the museum. It is a wonderful addition to our Natural History Collection and will nicely complement pieces of the past that we now hold in the museum’s permanent collection.