Nature Collector’s Garden had a Valentine’s Day special from February 9 through 14, 2020. As of Monday morning, February 14, there were still some leftover bags of Valentine’s Day stones on a table in the front garden at 1003 South Elmwood in Oak Park. Each bag includes six free pink and red stones and an identification chart, in case you want to learn the names of your new specimens.
Each Valentine’s Day Grab-and-Go bag includes four stones that have been rounded, smoothed, and polished in a rock tumbler: Rose Quartz, Red Jasper, Red Tiger’s Eye, and Pink and Green Unakite. Each bag also includes two rough stones, freshly broken from a rock quarry: Pink Quartzite and Red Granite. You can scroll down to read more about each kind of stone.
PLEASE NOTE: One bag per person, please. Wear a face covering and/or keep your distance from other families. If your child still eats rocks, please take a bag to save for NEXT Valentine’s Day.
The Collector’s Garden gnomes will also be clearing snow from Nature Collector’s Garden, so you can search for more stones, fossils, and shells during your visit. You may even find more pink stones in the garden, like pink feldspar crystals and rough (unpolished) rose quartz. There are also Grab-and-Go bags with fossil shark teeth leftover from Fossil Shark Week.
The rest of this page includes photos, identification hints, and more information about each of the Valentine’s Day stones.
The pale pink, rounded and polished stone in your bag is Rose Quartz. Each Rose Quartz stone is made of crystalized quartz, colored pink by microscope bits of other materials dispersed throughout crystal. You can read more about Rose Quartz here and here.
The deep red, rounded and polished stone in your bag is Red Jasper. Red Jasper is a form of quartz where the crystals are really tiny and packed together. The red color is most often from iron oxide molecules dispersed within the mineral. Jasper also comes in many other color combinations, which you can read about here.
Red Tiger’s Eye
The shimmery looking red and black stone in your bag is Red Tiger’s Eye. Red-Tiger’s Eye is what happens when the more common golden Tiger’s Eye is heated, sometimes naturally but more often in an oven. Like golden Tiger’s Eye, Red Tiger’s Eye has bands that shimmer in reflected light, but the bands are reddish instead of yellow. You can read more about Tiger’s Eye here.
Pink and Green Unakite
Unakite (pronounced YOU-neh-kite) is made of interlocking crystals of pink feldspar and green epidote. It forms when granite, buried deep within the earth, is exposed to hot, mineral-rich fluids. You can read more about Unakite here.
Pink Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that forms when grains of sand are fused together by tremendous heat and pressure, deep within the Earth. Pink Quartzite is quarried along the South Dakota-Minnesota border. Pink Quartzite gravel is used to build roads in that area, which are then, of course, colored pink. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, very close to that border, and it has been declared “America’s Pinkest City.” You can also buy 40-pound bags of Pink Quartzite in landscape stores and stone centers, where this rock is called “Tiffany Pink.” Many of the rock formations at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin are also made of Pink Quartzite.
Red Granite is a rock made of interlocking crystals of pink feldspar and grayish quartz. Red Granite forms as melted rock (called magma) cools and hardens deep within the Earth (instead of pouring out onto the Earth’s surface as lava). Large pieces of Red Granite can be cut and polished to make kitchen counters or tombstones. You can read more about granite here. By the way, Red Granite is the state rock for Wisconsin.