Note: Personal History first, then Marble History and Information Links at the end, so if you are in a hurry to learn more about marbles, and less about Round Rocks Etc. scroll down to the last paragraph.
Round Rocks Etc. started as a hobby for Keith Berger in about 1977. He had been collecting equipment and materials before that but had not found the time to set it all up and really begin making marbles. He had learned the process from his father-in-law, J. L. "Red" Wilson, who began making marbles in about 1951.
Red and Ann Wilson had Red's Rock Shop in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and later moved to Clovis, New Mexico. They collaborated on a small book entitled "Marble Making and Lapidary Hints" in 1977, some copies of which are still available. For years they demonstrated at about eight or nine Gem and Mineral Shows a year, mostly in the Southwest, but occasionally as far west as the Red Carpet Show in Santa Monica, CA and also at Federation shows in Iowa. They were regulars at the Quartzite shows for over 20 years. Red, now 90 years experienced, lives in Colville with Keith and Ann Berger. Ann Wilson passed away in Jan. 1996 after a long illness.
While Keith learned his marble making skills from Red, he has his own methods that differ somewhat from the original teacher. He says that the book will give people the general idea on how to make marbles, but each individual must adapt the techniques to their own style.
Keith was born in Nebraska, moved to the coast of Washington in 1938 and inland to Colville, Washington in 1948 when his parents purchased a ranch there. He entered the U.S. Air Force in 1950, due to the Korean 'police action'. While in the service stationed at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico, he met Ann W. Wilson, Red and Ann's daughter. They were married in 1953, and after his discharge in 1955 they returned to Colville, WA where he worked in various sawmills in the area. He also worked as a carpenter on Boundary Dam at Metaline Falls, WA for a couple of years before returning to the sawmills as a log scaler. He then worked about 8 years for the Burlington Northern Railroad on the bridge maintenance crew before returning to log scaling, which he continued until his retirement in 1996.
His interest in marble making has grown over the years and is now his major activity.
Keith and Ann have three children:
Rita Ann Miller, married to Glenn Miller, and they live in Pullman Washington, where they both work for Washington State University.
Tamara K. Fisher, married to James Fisher, living in McGill, Nevada, where Jim manages the Norco Store, and Tamara is employed by Motel Six as an assistant manager.
And last-born, but not least, their son, Daniel Berger, married to Donna, and proud parents of Sara Berger, age 4. Dan is manager of the Colville Safeway store, and Donna is a homemaker, also a master baker, who works occasionally at various Safeway bakeries in the area. Sara keeps her grandparents hopping, and very happy for her existence.
Keith is not much into computers, so being on the Internet is not necessarily his idea, but Ann spent the last 19 years working for the City of Colville, mostly as City Treasurer, and only recently retired on Oct. 23, 1998. After all those years working with computers and spread sheets, she was very interested in going on-line with the business, so here we are.
Round Rocks, Etc. was chosen as a name, because marbles are indeed 'round rocks', unless they are made from glass or other man-made materials, in which case the Etc. covers it. Ann is interested in hot glass bead making, and when her skills improve she hopes to add beads to the inventory. She also collects and sells limited addition plates and dolls. Therefore the Etc. can cover a variety of things in the future.
Your visit to our page is greatly appreciated, and we hope you will take the time to view our catalog. Since no two stones are exactly alike, the marbles in the catalog are only going to be similar to the next ones of the same material. Unless the material has few variations, such as gold stone, slag glass, sodalite, rose quartz (but that can vary a lot, at times) leopard skin, and so on, in which case the picture is pretty close to accurate.
Some materials, such as Amazon Valley Jasper or Pridey Polka Dot, are one color on the outer edge of the stone, and a totally different color or pattern on the inner portion. And no two stones ever seem to be exactly alike. Therefore we have the Satisfaction Guarantee. If you don't like it, return it for a full refund.I thought about putting in a history of marble making, but there are several sites out there that present that information so much better than I could and it would be redundant for me to attempt it. Instead, you can click on the following for information on Kinds of Marbles as presented by Alan's Marble Connection (http://www.marblealan.com/my.htm) , Marble History on web site, or Marvin Marble How to Play Marbles(http://marbles.net/how.html) .
Hopefully you will be able to follow our links to lots of good marble sites, and we welcome links to our page from other marble sites.