Langford rockhounds Vonna and Doyle Sheffield go through some of the collection of stones and fossils they've gathered over the past 40 years.

Langford couple searches for unpolished treasures

Couple has been finding stones and gold for more than 40 years

Whether it’s wandering on beaches or hillsides – even standing in a stream – Doyle and Vonna Sheffield love finding precious bits of nature to bring home to cut, grind or melt.

The self-described rockhounds have been married 58 years and have shared a love of stones for most of that time.

“It all started when we would go look for arrowheads together. But you can’t do that anymore,” Doyle says, adding the pair really began rockhounding together about 40 years ago.

“It’s a together hobby,” Vonna adds.

When scouring the beaches for new stones to pocket, “The first thing you look for is colour,” she says. “We are always looking for pretty colours.”

The couple has a workshop at their Langford home and Doyle proudly boasts he can polish about 70 pounds of rocks at a time.

“I like to polish them up and then share them with people,” he says.

Also in the shop are rock saws and grinders Vonna uses to cut and polish stones to be converted into jewelry.

Among their favourite spots around the region, the couple wander Island View Beach looking for agates, hunt for dallasite on the beaches along and look for gold at Esquimalt Lagoon.

“Gordon Beach out beyond Sooke has some gorgeous rocks,” Vonna says. “The rocks are already tumbled somewhat.”

Growing up in New Mexico, her parents were avid rockhounds. Vonna still has trays of carnelian that her folks found and passed on to her.

“If you go back to that place you cannot find it anymore,” she says. “I don’t give these away to people – when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

In winters the couple likes to head south to New Mexico and Arizona. One of their favourite rockhounding spots is along the Colorado River, where they often find agates and jaspers.

In Arizona, the Sheffields search for chalcedony, a white volcanic glass.

“Once rocks get in your blood, it’s in your blood,” says Vonna, holding a fossil. She has a collection of fossils that include coral, shells and even little creatures.

The pair have also been gold panning for years, but these days Vonna finds it hard on her knees, so Doyle tends to search for gold solo.

The key to success, they say, is to search for quartz veins first, which can appear as a white stripe in a rock.

While he enjoys the hunt, he doesn’t admit to having “gold fever.”

“In the last 41 years, I’ve found about three ounces. I just do it for the pleasure of it.”

charla@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits with Langford high school students

Students asked him questions about current political issues

New report finds B.C. victims of opioids crisis on lower of end of socio-economic spectrum

UVic scholar calls for decriminalization of drugs responsible for opioid crisis

Alleged child abduction attempt in Langford a family issue, RCMP say

Const. Matt Baker with West Shore RCMP says parents should not worry

City of Victoria to see 588 affordable housing units

Provincial funding is aiming to see 4,900 new mixed-income rental properties across B.C.

Victoria Curling Club, arena parking lot considered for new Crystal Pool location

Considering other vendors could cost Victoria first year of provincial and federal funding

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Student arrested at Vancouver Island elementary school

Pupils never in danger, incident unrelated to the school

POLL: Have BC Ferry waits ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

Racist slur cleaned off memorial at Qualicum First Nation graveyard

Site was hit by vandals on Friday; many immediately offered support and assistance

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Most Read