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When I was a kid, my nickname was Rocky, not because I was any good at boxing, though I did hit that boy pretty squarely in the nose in 3rd grade when he made fun of the picture that I drew of my teacher. They called me Rocky because I had rocks everywhere – in my dresser, in my pocket, in my toybox, and even under the fitted sheet on my bed. My parents made me a little, red hooded jacket with Rocky inscribed on the back, and from then on out, that was what everyone called me.

When I became a teenager, Rocky was not a very attractive name in a teenage girl\’s mind, so I changed it to Raqui, a creative combination of my Spanish name (I was born in Puerto Rico) and my love for petrology and mineralogy. That mindset continued through my college years, where I pursued my creative talents and left my rocks laying by the side of the road.

But a few years ago, I looked around my house, and guess what? I have rocks everywhere! They are in my flowerpots and holding up my books. They are display alongside vases and holding open my doors. They are my paperweights, suncatchers, and in the bottom of my purse. I have rocks in every single room of my house and use them as accent points in my landscaping. For Christmas, I bought myself a grown-up version of my favorite childhood rock tumbler and am now playing around with making jewelry and incorporating rocks into my art.

But with all of this renewed interest, I also discovered something else. When I was a child, I collected rocks because they were interesting. I knew nothing about them. I still don\’t know much. But I\’ve bought books and videos on gemology, and I\’ve sought out groups like this one to connect with others and learn the craft. I\’m not rich, so I won\’t encounter many diamonds, except for the one already on my left hand. I\’m old and out of shape, so I won\’t be going on expeditions. but I love an interesting rock and I like to examine its details, turn it so that I can see it from different perspectives, feel the weight of it in my hand, and envision what it could be. I\’m here to learn if you\’ll be my teacher.

Rachel (aka Raqui, aka Rocky)