I was twenty-six and guiding a group of geology professors through the Himalaya Tourmaline Mine where I was doing my undergrad thesis. One of the professors was Dr. Brian Mason, a geochemist who authored the mineralogy text most universities were using, including mine. Also in the group were Cal-Tech professors George Rossman, a mineralogist studying the causes of color in gemstones and Barclay Kamb, a structural geologist who was one of the first scientists to study glaciers in Antartica.

I was excited, and nervous about leading this group of geologic super-stars and wanted some extra sparkle. I felt very sophisticated and unstudent-like in my little 6-mm amethyst studs in 14-karat yellow gold.

Back at school, it was hard to get people to believe I had met these guys, let alone led them through my thesis project.

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