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Eye-catching rocks and crystals taking centre stage at Colchester Historeum


Few things deter Ashley Sutherland from examining eye-catching crystal. A large arachnid is one of them.
“I was in a cave, looking at a beautiful calcite crystal, when I looked up and saw the spider,” she said. “I got out of there – right after I took a picture.”
Sutherland is usually able to pick up rocks and crystals without interruption from eight-legged creatures. She'll present some of her collection for a special event at the Colchester Historeum, April 25.
“I’ve been fascinated with them since I was young,” said Sutherland, who is the archivist at the historeum. “My family used to camp at Five Islands and I would beg my parents to take me to the rock shop in Parrsboro.
“I started by collecting polished stones and later started exploring. I learned a lot from other people who’d been doing it for a while, and I realized there was a lot of opportunity to discover local stuff.”
Because she's an avid outdoorist and enjoys hiking, it’s an ideal fit.
She once took part in a Not Since Moses run mainly to see rocks and crystals.
“It was when they dropped people off at an island and you waited for the tide to recede to begin the run,” she recalled. “It was really exciting because there was quite a bit of amethyst. I ran back with several pounds of rocks in my pockets.”
Sometimes she finds something beautiful embedded in cliffs, so she takes photos. To prevent her home from becoming overcrowded, she’s also become more selective about what she takes with her.
“Agate is a favourite,” she said. “I really like the way the light shines through it and I love intricate patterns. I’ve used patterns from rock as inspiration for my art.”
She tumbles and polishes some of the small crystals and stones and makes jewelry with them.
“This is such a passion of hers,” said Margaret Mulrooney, curator at the Colchester Historeum. “I was in her office looking at some of her collection; they’re beautiful and the stories connected with them are really interesting.
“I love beachcombing when I’m on vacation, but I don’t know what I’m looking at. I think I’ll learn many new things during her presentation.”
Sutherland will discuss the variety of minerals that can be found throughout the province and offer tips on rockhounding. She welcomes visitors to bring in their own finds they would like help identifying. 
“I might not have all the answers, but I’ll answer what I can and point people in the right direction if they need to know more,” she said. 
For a look at some of her collection, visit her Instagram page at  
The presentation is Thursday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the historeum. Admission is $5, and free for members.

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