New shop devoted to rocks and geology opens in Westmoreland
In February, Jason Beraka opened "Portland Rocks", a new business centering on collecting rocks and studying geology, at 6658 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue in Westmoreland, in half of the space vacated by the recent retirement of the owner of "Branches".
"It's real handy, since I just live down the street," he says. Passersby can view many large amethyst geodes and other gems in the window.
"I've been a hobbyist & rock collector for 25 years," explains Beraka. "I've developed great relationships with miners, gem-cutters, and suppliers from around the world. About five years ago, I became a buyer and seller, and decided it was time to open my own business. I can get large amethyst geodes – some up to three feet wide – shipped direct from Brazil, which cuts down on shipping costs."
Many of these large geodes are on display in the store – either free-standing, or covered with tempered glass sheets and set up as coffee tables and conversation pieces. There is even an amethyst geode "sink", with a faucet and handle attached, displayed in the front window. "Those end-tables are very popular," he comments.
Beraka also has a free-standing "geode cracker" he designed a few years ago that was built by a local company called Metalwood Salvage. "Customers who purchase a small geode here can crack their own geode in the contraption," he says.
There are many polished rocks, crystals, gems, spheres, and unusual mineral specimens displayed in the store, and Beraka enjoys talking about rocks with customers. "Come on in any day except Mondays, when we're closed," he invites. The hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. The phone number is 503/267-6700.
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