BRIDPORT-Charlie and Sandy Jago are a match made in heaven. The husband and wife team were born collectors and their passions have taken them to unusual places in search of rocks and minerals.
For Charlie, rocks and minerals are his life's passion; for Sandy, farm collectibles and jewelry making are her special passions. When the couple first met online, they knew they had a lot in common-so when they married they combined households and collections. The result is now a part of a unique home exhibit known as C&S Minerals and Collectibles located in Bridport.
Charlie amassed a large collection of rocks and minerals from various rockhounding adventures that include unusual New England volcanic minerals such as datolite and prehnite-minerals found inside Triassic age basalt traprock located in Connecticut and Massachusetts-apatite from Ontario, Canada, crysocola from Zaire, Africa hexagonite from New York, actionolite from Vermont, and grossular garnet from Quebec, Canada-just a sampling of the many fascinating specimens in Bridport.
"The Earth is a mineral treasure chest," Charlie said. "We have a sampling of this immense wealth. We get all kinds of folks who visit-collectors, crystal enthusiasts, jewelry makers, and just those curious about what's inside the Earth, beneath their feet."
When not in their Bridport home garage exhibit area, Charlie and Sandy are on the road attending rock and mineral shows throughout the northeast and beyond.
For example, the couple enjoy displaying at the Sloan Stanley Museum and the Connecticut Antique Machinery in Kent, Conn.; they will be there Sept. 25-26. They will showcase their collectibles to visitors. Charlie will display a portion of the rock and mineral collection while Sandy will display jewelry items and John Deere collectibles, popular with New England farming families (these include the coveted John Deer Precision series of die-cast tractors). Many of these items were part of her late first husband's collection.
One treasure of Mother Earth that Charlie enjoys showing visitors dropping by the Bridport shop is a perfectly preserved, genuine dinosaur egg from China.
"It's not a replica," Charlie said, referencing the many 'fakes' of dinosaur and other fossil material being offered to new, unsuspecting collectors.
After being dug up in the Gobi Desert and then transported to its new home in Jago's collection in Bridport, the egg has made a 75-million-year-old and more than 10,000 mile journey.
"This egg has made a very long journey to us," Charlie said. "It ended up along the ancient Silk Road then made a long and winding air and ground trip to the lower 48 U.S. states-and ultimately here to Vermont-via the U.S. Air Force in Alaska."
You can tell Charlie and Sandy are especially proud of their unborn dinosaur forever encased in its rocky tomb.
Also prized in the Jago's collection is a variety of beryl, a mineral mined in New Hampshire. According to Charlie, Beryl is a beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate. It was used in the assembly of the first atomic bomb in 1945.
"We owned the former Beryl Mountain Mineral Shop in South Ackworth, N.H.," Charlie said. "I collected a considerable amount of beryl from that area."
Beryl is the pride of New England, according to Charlie. And what he refers to is New Hampshire's beautiful beryl specimens as well as other New England beryl, such as the famous Rose of Maine beryl gem discovered in 1989-it is the largest beryl gemstone ever discovered; it was uncovered at the Bennett Quarry located in Buckfield, Maine. The Rose of Maine is an orange crystal is 9 inches long and 12 inches and weighs over 50 pounds.
While collecting is their passion, Charlie and Sandy Jago enjoy the fact that their interests have brought them closer together. Perhaps the best lesson the Jagos have learned from the collecting hobby was uttered by the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus in 275 B.C.: "Of all the treasures on this Earth, friends are the most precious."