Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Ratters of Lightening Ridge by Richard Holmes

Devin and the author, Richard Holmes

Over the weekend, Dev and I attended a small show put together to support the Charlotte Gem and Mineral Club. At the show, we were fortunate enough to meet Richard Holmes, the author of The Ratters of Lightening Ridge, and Bryan Cook, his illustrator. Richard was kind enough to show some of the gorgeous opals that he has cut. They are just stunning. In facet, I had a hard time concentrating on the conversation, I was too mesmerized by the opal in Richard's pendant. (See picture above)

His book, The Ratters of Lightening Ridge, is a fictional novel that draws on the author's life for inspiration. Ratters is not only an entertaining story, it is chocked full of information about opal and opal mining. It is also a great way to learn Aussie vocabulary for opals! The expressive line drawings by Bryan Cook lend a great charm to the book.
What is a ratter? From the book:
Ratting comes in many forms. A miner rats on a friend. A neighbor rats on his neighbor's claim by mining into it. People come in secret by day or by bight and gouge out opal ratting a friends claim. A miner rats on his partner. Maybe a miner finds opal and never lets his investment partner know, or just shorts him with the hunk opal and none of the good stuff. A miner can be out of money and have to sell his good opal to someone who says it is cracked and worth nothing. There is no end of the ways people dream up ratting for valuable opal when it come into their possession.

The book is available here. (This would make a great gift for any rockhound!)

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