Stines showcase rose rock creations in museum, store

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
08/31/2018 02:00 PM
Audio Clip
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Rose Rock Museum in Noble is along Highway 77 and showcases rose rock creations in the museum and store. The rocks come from a vein of barium sulfate located east of Noble. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Joe Stine shows a creation he made using local rose rocks. A larger rose rock forms the base of the piece while smaller, dime-size rocks are used along with copper leaves. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
After mass pieces of barium sulfate rock are dug out of the ground, Rose Rock Museum co-owner Joe Stine uses a power wash to remove the rose rock formations located in the rock. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Rose Rock Museum co-owner Joe Stine looks at rose rocks that will be used for rose rock creations he makes to sell in the museum’s gift shop. The museum and gift shop are located in Noble. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Rose rocks ready to be made into centerpieces and other display items sit in the workshop of Joe Stine, who makes items for the Rose Rock Museum in Noble. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Nancy Stine assists customers at the gift shop in the Rose Rock Museum in Noble. She operates the museum with her husband Joe. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
NOBLE – A rose rock vein that runs through central Oklahoma and east of Noble has been good to Joe and Nancy Stine for nearly 50 years.

The couple own and operate the Rose Rock Museum along Highway 77, just south of Norman. The Stines are in the midst of their busy season when tourists get off of nearby I-35 to drive up and down Hwy. 77 in Cleveland County.

“June, I think, is our busiest month when people are traveling and they come in to buy things to take to friends, and travelers come in to buy things to take home,” Joe, a Cherokee Nation citizen, said

The Stines showcase reddish-brown rose rocks in the museum and store. Noble is considered the “Rose Rock Capital of the World” because its soil has a high barium sulfate concentration, which allows for the rocks’ formation. Joe said the vein goes down the middle of the state and can be found from Guthrie to Pauls Valley.

“The main concentration is east of here, and it’s not a very wide strip, maybe 10 miles wide,” he said.

Joe could likely talk about the state’s geology in detail having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology. He and Nancy have also studied metal craft and are painters.

The Stines utilized the barium sulfate vein to open their museum in 1986. They have operated it and its store for 32 years, but actually started their business 15 years before that, Joe said, from their home in Norman.

Joe started out placing rose rocks in tin cans with decorations and has evolved to offer elaborate rose rock pieces using wires to suspend dime-size rose rocks and added copper leaves. The couple also made rock sculptures, wall hangings and long-stem roses using the rocks.

“It’s been a process. I made good progress at the beginning, but I refined it over the years. No one had ever done anything like this before,” he said. “You can make jewelry with most fine stones, you can cut and polish them. You can’t do that with a rose rock, so I started thinking, ‘what can you do with it?’”

Rose rocks crystalize in sand and are a mass of sand until they are power washed to break loose their formations. Single “roses” range in size from a fraction of an inch to that of a dinner plate. But most rose rocks are smaller than a dime to 4 inches in diameter, according to the 1993 book “The Rose Rock of Oklahoma” written by the Stines.

After gathering stones, Joe power washes them to find the “roses” within the sand. The best stones have deep grooves and fragile petals and look like roses in full bloom.

During the years, Joe has built tools to enable him to work on the rocks and create decorations. The couple said its “heyday” was in the 1970s and 1980s. Nancy said they once had four to five people working for them to supply 50 stores, including the gift shop at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill.

The Stines are the only people in the area who sell rose-rock creations. Joe said they dug rock from the nearby vein for 20 years, but no longer. These days Joe limits his production as a “one-man assembly line” in the back of the museum while Nancy minds the store.

After nearly 50 years in the rose rock business, the couple knows they will need to stop eventually.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen when we quit, and we are going to quit one of these days,” Joe said.

Until then, visitors from all over will continue stopping at their store and museum to buy a piece of Oklahoma.
ᏣᎳᎩ

NOBLE- ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᎦᏙᎢ ᎤᏢᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ ᎠᎴ ᎧᎸᎬᎢ ᏗᏜ Noble ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎳ Joe ᎠᎴ Nancy Stine ᎯᏍᎩ ᏍᎪᎯ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎾᏂᎨᏍᏗ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏧᎳ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎢ ᎢᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᎪᏂᎪᏛᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎤᏗᏗᏢ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎦᏅᏅᎢ 77, ᎥᎿ ᎤᎦᏅᏮᎢ ᎢᏗᏜ Norman.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏂ Stine ᎥᎿ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎠᏁᏙᎠ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ ᎠᏁᏙᎵᏙᎭ ᎠᏂᎶᎯᏍᏗᎲᎢ ᎥᎿ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ I-35 ᎠᏁᏙᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎦᏅᏅᎢ. 77 ᎥᎿ Cleveland ᏍᎦᏚᎩ.

“ᏕᎭᎷᏱ, ᏂᎨᎵᎲᏃ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏩᏍᏓᏴᎢ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎧᎸᎢ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏴᏫ ᎠᏁᏙᎵᏙᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎷᎪᎢ ᎤᏂᏩᏒᏍᎬᎢ ᎤᏂᏫᏛᏗ ᏚᎾᎵᎢᏴᎢ ᏧᏂᏁᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏁᏙᎵᏙᎯ ᎠᏂᎷᎪᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏩᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᏧᏁᏅᏒᎢ ᎤᏂᏫᏛᏗ,” Joe, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ
ᎠᏂ Stines ᎬᏂᎨᏒᎢ ᏂᏓᏅᏁᎲᎢ ᏗᎩᎦᎨᎢ-ᏧᏬᏗᎨᎢ ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏓᎾᏅᏅᎢ. Noble Z ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏗᎬᏩᏛᏗᎢ ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ” ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᎭ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴᎢ barium sulfate ᎤᏢᎢ ᎥᎿ ᎦᏙᎯ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᏟᏓ ᏅᏯ’ ᏧᏙᏢᏅᏗᎢ. Joe Ꮓ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏙ ᎤᏢᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩᏃ ᎠᏰᏟᏴᎢ ᏭᎶᏌ ᎠᎴ ᏴᏩᏘ Guthrie ᏂᏛᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ Pauls Valley ᏩᏍᏗ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏭᎪᏛᎢ ᎠᎲᎢ ᎥᎿᏃ ᎧᎸᎬᎢ ᎢᏣ ᎠᎭᏂ, ᎠᎴ ᎥᏝ ᏯᏖᎾ ᏱᎩ, ᎡᎵᏍᏗ 10Ꭿ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎢᏯᏖᎾ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ.

Joe Z ᏱᎧᏃᎲᎵ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏛᎢ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᎥᏃ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎤᎾᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᎥᎢ ᎤᎦᏎᏍᏔᏅᎢ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅᎢ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴᎢ ᏧᏕᎶᏆᎥᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏮᏌ ᎠᎴ Nancy ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᏚᎾᏕᎶᏆᎥᎢ ᏔᎷᎩᏍᎩ ᎬᏗ ᎤᏃᏢᏅᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏂᏑᏫᏍᎩ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏂStines ᎠᏅᏗᏍᎪᎢ Ꮎ barium sulfate ᎦᏙᎯ ᎤᏢᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏍᏚᎢᏍᏗ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᎪᏂᎪᏛᎢ ᎾᎯᏳᎢ 1986 ᏥᎨᏒᎢ. ᏄᎾᏂᎩᏍᏙᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ ᎠᏓᎾᏅᎢ 32 ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ, ᎠᏎᏅ ᏙᏳᎢ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ 15 ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᎢᎬᏱᏱ ᏅᎾᎴᏂᏍᎬᎾ ᎪᎯ ᏧᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗᏓ, Joe Z ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ, ᏧᏁᏅᏒᎢ ᎥᎿ Norman.

Joe ᎤᎴᏅᎮᎢ ᏅᏯ ᏔᎷᎩᏍᎩᎢ ᏕᎦᏢᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏕᎪᏚᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏓᏁᏟᏴᏌ ᏧᏬᏚᎯ ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏓᏃᏚᏍᏗᎲᎢ ᏧᏯᏅᎢ ᎬᏗ ᏗᎦᏛᏗᎢᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏍᎪᎯ ᏱᏓᏅᏖᏗ ᎢᏗᎩᏓ ᏅᏯ ᎠᎴ ᏓᏅᏠᏯᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᏣᏱ ᏗᎪᏢᏅᏔᏅᎢ ᏧᎦᎶᎦ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᎠᏃᏢᏅᏍᎪᎢ ᏅᏯ ᏗᎬᏗ, ᎠᏐᏴᎢ ᏗᎦᏛᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᏅᎯᏓ ᏧᏴᏗᎾ ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᏗ ᏅᏯ ᏗᎬᏗ.

“ᎡᎵᏙ ᎠᎯᎸᏍᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᎯᎸᏓ ᎠᏓᎴᏂᏍᎬᎢ, ᎠᏎᏅ ᎤᏁᏉᏨᎢ ᎢᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᎶᏓ ᏂᏛᎬᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ. ᎥᏝᏃ ᎢᎸᎯᏳᎢ ᎥᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᎸᎢ ᎩᎶ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᏫᏓᎾᏤᏢᎢ ᏅᏯ ᏗᎬᏗ ᎠᏣᏅᏙᏗ ᏴᎪᏢᎾ, ᏱᏕᎯᎬᎭᎵᏃ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏥᏍᏓᎷᎩᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᏛᎬᎦ. ᏞᏝᏃ ᎥᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᏛᎬᏰᎬᎦ ᎤᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᎬᏗ, ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏖᏢᏃ, ‘ᎦᏙᏍᎩ ᎤᏍᏗ ᏱᎬᏗ?’”

ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᎤᎸᏌᏗᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏱᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ ᏃᏱᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏃᏱ ᎤᏓᏡᏅᎢ ᎨᏐᎢ ᎩᎳ ᏱᏗᎫᎯᎶᎠ ᏚᏙᏢᏒᏃ Ꮓ ᏓᏲᎪᎢ. ᎤᏩᏌ “ᎤᏥᎸᏍᎩ” ᏂᏕᎬᎢ ᏂᏛᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎢᏯᏏᏔᏗᏍᏗ ᎢᏗᎩᏓ ᎠᎴ ᏖᎵᏙ ᎢᏗᎩᏓ ᏩᏍᏘ. ᎠᏎᏃ ᏭᏂᎪᏛ ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏚᎾᏍᏗᎪᎢ ᎠᏏᏅ ᏍᎪᎯ ᎢᏓᏅᏖᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᏩᏍᏘ 4 ᎢᏯᏏᏔᏗᏍᏗ ᏩᏍᏘ ᏂᏕᎪᎢ, ᎥᎪᎯᏗᏍᎬᎢ 1993 ᏗᎪᏪᎵ “ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ ᎡᎯ” ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂStines ᎤᏃᏪᎳᏅᎢ.

ᎾᏊᏃ ᏚᏄᏖᏏ ᏅᏯ, Joe ᏕᎫᎯᎶᏍᎪᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᏩᏛᏗᎢ “ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ “ᏃᏳᎢ ᏄᎾᏍᏛᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏫᏓᎾᏤᏢᎢ ᏅᏯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎭᏫᎾ ᏚᏅᏪᎠ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎯᏓ ᏧᏲᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏥᎸᎭ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏂᏙᎬᏫᏍᏙᎢ ᎧᎵ ᎤᏂᏥᎸᏐᎢ ᎡᎵᏍᏗ.

ᎾᎯᏳᏃ ᏂᏓᏕᏘᏱᏒᎢ, Joe ᏚᏬᏢᎾ ᏗᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎪᏢᏅᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏰᎵ ᏗᎬᏩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏅᏲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎪᏚᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᏬᏅᏗᎢ. ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯᏃ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᎯᏳᎢ “ᎬᏂᏱ ᏣᎢᏎᎢ” ᎾᎯᏳᎢ 1970Ꮝ ᎠᎴ 1980Ꮝ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ. Nancy Z ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏅᎩ ᏳᏓᎭᏃ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏏᏴᏫ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ 50 ᏓᏓᎾᏅᎢ ᏚᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗᏗᏒᎢ, ᎬᏩᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏗᏓᏁᏗ ᎠᏓᎾᏅᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎠᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ.

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᏂ Stines ᎤᏅᏌ ᎠᏂᏏᏴᏫ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᎠᏁᎯ ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏓᏂᎾᏕᎪᎢ. Joe Ꮓ ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏅᏯ ᏧᏂᎴᏍᏗᎢ 20 ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏱᎪᎯᏓ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎥᏝ ᏱᎪᎯᏓ. ᎪᎯᏃ ᎢᏴᎢ ᏥᎩ Joe ᏭᎵᏍᏙᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᏛᏁᎲᎢ “ᏌᏉᎢ ᎠᏍᎦᏯ ᏱᎬᏩᏛᏁᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ” ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛᎢ ᏱᎪᎯᏓ Nancy ᎠᏓᎾᏅᎢ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ.

50Ꭿ ᎢᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏧᏂᏥᎸᏍᎩ ᏅᏯ ᏓᏂᎾᏕᎬᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᎤᎾᏂᏙᎢ ᎢᎸᎯᏳ ᎤᏂᏑᎵᎪᏍᏗ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎢᎸᎯᏳᎢ.

“ᎥᏝ ᏲᎩᎾᏂᏔ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏔᏂᏒᎢ ᎣᏍᏗᏑᎵᎪᏨᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏓᏲᏍᏗᏑᎵᎪᏨᎢ ᎢᎸᏂᏢᏴᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Joe.

ᎩᎳ, ᎠᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏙᎯᏃ ᏂᎬᎢ ᏂᏙᏓᏳᎾᏂᎩᏓ ᏂᎬᏂᎯᎳ ᎠᎾᎴᏫᏍᏗᎲᎢ ᎥᎿ ᎤᎾᏓᎾᏅᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛᎢ ᎤᏂᏩᎯᏍᏗᎢ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅᎢ.

– TRANSLATED BY DAVID CRAWLER

About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He e ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He e ...

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Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
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From April through August pl...