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Billion Year-old Stones

As one of her Storytelling Tools, Cyndera Quackenbush utilizes a collection of rare stones she inherited from her father. They were found in Death Valley in 1975 by Jim Quackenbush and his friend Peter Spoeker. They are dated by geologists at Stanford to be 1.7 billion years-old. Minerals in the rock oxidized to form naturally-occurring images. Jim Quackenbush worked for over twenty years with powerful diamond saws to create a collection of masterpieces. 

Jim Quackenbush and the stones were featured on Ripley’s Believe or Not in 1984, and brought to schools throughout Southern California in a hands-on educational event.


The collection consists of 175 Masterpieces in themed displays. The inheritance also includes raw rock that can no longer be accessed from Death Valley.


Some names of the displays: Wildlife Collection, Myth and Magic, Man and Woman, Letters of the Alphabet, Mysterious Wonders in Stone, Evolution of Flight, Native American Country, Masterpieces of Nature, In Times of War, Forces of Nature, Dante’s World, Of History and Religion.


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