"Nebraska's Gemstones: Tiny Little Treasures" will give rock hounds a chance to learn from Roger Pabian's decades of experience and research.
Pabian's talk at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the Hardin Hall auditorium, 33rd and Holdrege streets, is free and open to the public.
Pabian, an emeritus professor of geology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will talk about Nebraska's naturally occurring gemstones -- quartz, agate, jasper, agatized wood, and occasional pieces of jade or opal -- and where they can be found. His talk is part of the fall outreach series at the university's School of Natural Resources.
People are invited to bring their geological finds, whether rock or bone, if they'd like help identifying them.
Pabian got his start back in the 1960s, when he worked for the Nebraska Roads Department and prospected all over the state for building materials.
"I've worked in all 93 of Nebraska's counties and different drainage basins," he said in a news release. "I noticed that what you find in one basin is completely different from what you find in another."
Most of the gems in Nebraska either formed in place, eroded from mountains to the west or northwest or were carried from the north by glaciers.
Although new gems are washed onto sandbars every time rivers rise, Pabian doesn't advise basing any get-rich-quick schemes on discovering these local treasures.
Among other things, he said, markets are highly variable, and it's impossible to compete with international labor costs. Instead, he recommends learning about naturally occurring gems and going out to find them as a great family activity.
"There's a lot of good geology that can be learned through gemstones," he said.
Pabian also will delve into why the prairie agate "is a dreadful choice for state rock."
Pabian is the author of "Minerals and Gemstones of Nebraska," which was published in 1970 and is still in print.