The Mystery of the Star Ruby created by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Aldens are on their way back home from yet another vacation, when they decide to take another vacation. They’re driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway and see signs for a ruby mine. There, they find out there is a contest to find the best rock gem grubbing in a few days. Grandfather rents some cabins like he’s made of money and the Aldens buy bucket after bucket of rocks searching for precious and semi-precious stones.
Jesse finds a star ruby, which is rare, then the thing disappears, but who took it? Was it the guy who wanted to find a nice stone to make an engagement ring for his girlfriend, or was it someone else?
What I liked
This book is basically set in my backyard, well, close enough. I’m thinking the ruby mine may actually be referencing a popular emerald mine in the area. The Brown Mountain lights are also mentioned in this book, although, the lights don’t really come out anymore, whether they were ghosts, swamp gas, or aliens, they just don’t make the effort to show themselves much anymore.
I also grew up around gem grubbing, so I can vouch for much of the information in this book.
What I didn’t like
Grandfather must just be rolling in money. Look, gem grubbing, while not too terribly expensive, isn’t cheap. You’re looking at around ten dollars, at the least, for a bucket to pick through. That’s for the small bucket. They go up to over fifty dollars a bucket. Yes, you could find some great stuff, but there’s also a big chance your bucket isn’t worth the money you put into it. Some places seed their buckets, while some dredge the stuff right out of the river or hillside. Ideally, you’d want a place that didn’t straight-up seed their buckets. That way, you know if you find something really awesome that it wasn’t placed there by someone else.
People can, and do, get extremely lucky at gem grubbing sometimes and find some stones worth thousands of dollars. That’s the exception. You’re not going to go gem grubbing and find a giant star ruby like Jesse did. You’re also not going to drop, goodness, at least five hundred dollars on the endeavor like Grandfather did. I think if Grandfather got away from this second vacation under five-hundred dollars, he’s extremely lucky.
Who can afford to take a second vacation after they just took a vacation?
Gem grubbing is fun; you’ll find rocks.
Have you ever been gem grubbing?
If so, what’s the best thing you found?