Romancing the stone

  • Maurice McKinney

 

NAME Maurice McKinney
AGE 83
HOMETOWN Whittier, Calif.
OCCUPATION Retired gold miner and gemologist
HCN SUBSCRIBER SINCE 2008 (longtime reader)

For some time now, we've been receiving occasional -- and very entertaining -- letters from HCN reader Maurice McKinney. The self-described rockhound writes about his love of gems, Mexico and the great outdoors. "All my life I was in love with mining," he writes. His passion for gems led him as far as the emerald mines of Colombia, but Mexico, where he spent many summers collecting crystals, is, he says, "my love, my life." A lifelong Spanish speaker, McKinney would like to run rockhounding trips to Mexico, home to some of the world's finest amethysts and fire opals.

These days, the retired gold miner and great-grandfather tends his orchids, roses, apples and artichokes at his Glendale, Ore., home with wife Lilian. He still cuts and polishes agates and petrified wood, and is working on an autobiographical book about his rockhounding travels, titled Quest for the Bonanza. He never quite hit the mother lode, he writes, but he came close.

HCN staff looks forward to the next installment from Mr. McKinney and perhaps a copy of his forthcoming book.