When once a month is enough...
When once a month is enough...

Mining for Treasures in the Back Yard

The old proverb tells us you can’t get blood from a stone, but you can get a treasure.
Just ask Elkton craftsman Stuart Mercer.  The lowly rock or stone - seemingly inert, lifeless and uninteresting  - is anything but.  It is a surprise package from the earth, needing only someone to unwrap its ribbons of time, and pressure, and geology to reveal a most amazing paradox:  rocks are alive with the color, light, and shape that only ancient, unfathomable eons of time can create and only the much younger hand of man can coax forth.
Mercer delights in this paradox.  He always has and will.  As a youngster growing up in Cape Cod, he was scouring the beach for interesting rocks and stones from the time he was able to stroll out to water’s edge on his own. “I knew what I wanted to do from the time I was five or six,” Mercer says.  It has been a lifelong pursuit that eventually brought him to Virginia in 1978 and a degree, in what else, geology, from James Madison University.
Little wonder then that Mercer would eventually settle into his passion for good - when economic conditions, the family grown and gone and an aging body made his roofing contracting business no longer viable and attractive.  But even then, during the ‘roofing years,’ Mercer was collecting rocks and pursuing his hobby, just like in college, just like in high school, and even back in grade school when his mother thoughtfully sent her son to local silver smiths and fellow rock rounds to intern in their shops. 
Elk Run Mining is Mercer’s quest and passion to bring forth pendants, necklaces, earrings, rings and more using the rocks he finds on his frequent field trips around the State of Virginia.  His lone rule is simple: it must be a stone or rock that comes from his adopted state. 

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