Extraordinary Stories

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Friday, May 20, 2016

The "St. Martin Garnet" Story

Carol talking with Vicky about the St. Martin Garnets she sells.
It was an ordinary day.  Talking with my wife about her new acquisition she made earlier in day at the Marigot Marketplace in St. Martin.  We awoke today to cloudy and overcast skies so decided to check our list of non-beach activities we had discussed and made a plan for the day.  
I'm holding one of the mined rocks that hold Garnets.
The stop at Marigot was at the top of the list so we made the 15 minute trip, found a parking spot along the waterfront and headed to the market- place.  On one side of the market was a stand that we had seen during previous visits to the island, but never stopped to look at what they sold.  Seems the stand sells jewelry made from garnets that are found on the island of St. Martin.  
Friar's Bay Beach is seen in the foreground while Guichard
Pond is the brown area behind it in the center of the pix.
The jewelry is made under the direction of Joel Sodboker who runs the stand with his wife Vicky.  They mine the garnets in an area near Friar's Bay on the French side of Sint Maarten/St. Martin.  Carol and I have traveled the road to Friar's Bay many times in the past 15 years, but never realized there was a garnet mine along the road.  The mine is located on the banks of Guichard Pond as well as on a hill above St. Louis Ravine, about 300 feet from the beach.  There, along a path which leads to the beach, are found Pyropes while if you continue toward Guichard Pond you will find both Spessartites and Essonites associated with Quartz and Hematite.  It was along a vein of Hematite that Joel discovered the garnets.  
Carol's Garnet!
Garnet is actually a group name for the silicate minerals Almandine, Pyrope, Spessartine, Grossular, Andradite, Mozambique and Uvarovite, so the garnet is a far more diverse gem than its name might suggest.  The Garnets he collected range in size from millimeters to centimeters.  The garnet that is mined is made into rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets right on the island and sold at the stand we are standing in front of right now.  Vicky explained to us that the more the jewels are buffed and rubbed, the lighter red they get.  Carol liked the deeper reds so she chose a pendant with deeper tones to it.  As a gift to her, they included a neck hoop that she could wear her pendant on if she wishes.  The pendant is set in Sterling Silver and is fashioned in a modern look.  Pretty neat souvenir as well as a nice addition to the other pieces of jewelry she has purchased in the past on visits to the island.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

1 comment:

  1. Everything is false!That's a fraud! I'm born in St Martin and I can tell you there's no garnet mine on the island! I'm sorry to say you've bought garnets made in China.

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