When Pamela Polachi talks about something she is passionate about her eyes twinkle and there is no end to her enthusiasm. Her recently acquired gem, rock, fossil, and mineral collection is her biggest passion to date, and her enthusiasm can not be denied.
The show, with the collection of Polachi (owner of Settings by All Things Montana, is sponsored by the Western Legacy Center and began Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at the Whitehall Community Center. The show runs from 10 AM to 4 PM, Monday - Saturday through March 26.
As passion is hard to describe secondhand, The Ledger thought it best that the description of this show came from Polachi herself. This conversation says it best.
Ledger: I'm looking around this room and there are boxes upon boxes of boxes of items. How did you come across all of this? It looks like a multi-million dollar collection.
Polachi (laughing): Well, it's not quite that, but close enough! A customer came in and told me about their family friend whose dad is 82, and owned a rock business in Kalispell. He was looking for someone to sell his collection as a whole. I love rocks. So I drive up to Kalispell and when I saw the collection I just cried.
He said if you feel so strongly about these, I wish you would just buy it. And I was like, well, I'm going to need some time (laughing). He was very patient, and I was very determined. I mean, I've never seen a collection like this in one place. These are things people have never seen before.
Ledger: So what are we talking about here? When I think rocks, I think mud and concrete.
Polachi: (shaking her head, laughing) No, these are not those. These are things like...ok, so it's so hard to get the words to describe!
There is mica with aquamarine and these aquamarine crystals are an inch across, which is really unusual.
And we have museum-quality pieces that are just unbelievable.
Ledger: What are some things you think no one has seen before?
Polachi: We have fossils. So many fossils. We have two dinosaur eggs, baby fossils, and these are so fun. I want kids to come in...that's a big part of this. I want kids to come in and see something that I wasn't able to see growing up in small-town Montana. I want this to be something that kids remember all their lives - I saw THIS in Whitehall, Montana when I was little.
Ledger: What are these massive things? (pointing to a half dozen or more two-foot and taller sculptures.)
Polachi: (laughs) Isn't there just so much to see? There's everything from soapstone sculptures from China, which are these huge sculptures, to ammonites that weigh 45 pounds apiece and have opalized, to itty bitty items. I have probably over 1000 ammonites ranging from half an inch on up.
We have whole fossil formations and crab fossils and mammoth teeth and hair. And oh, one of my very favorites is the fossilized turtle poop! I love dinosaur poop and we have that and turtle poop and it's amazing how beautiful this collection of poop is!
And the tektites are just amazing. Basically, an asteroid hit our Earth and turned whatever it hit into glass because it hit so hot and so fast. (She picks up, very delicately, a tektite) This is from China and this is 700-800 million years old.
Ledger: On a totally different note. You have items here that are millions, billions, of years old. Irrefutable proof. Yet, we see all the time on social media people saying that the world is only a few thousand years old. Have you run into any of those people? And what do you say?
Polachi: Ok, so first off. A true believer in Jesus, right here, sold completely 100%. But there was so much that went on before his time. The Earth was created and we just slowly came to be from little swimmy creatures (laughs) to growing legs to all of that stuff.
When people come to me and they say you can't really rely on the healing of crystals or the fact that they make you feel good when you're in a room with them, I just remind them that if they believe in God, God created all of this. It's just so incredible.
Scientists can literally measure the difference in vibration between us and the vibration between a piece of jade or a piece of quartz.
Ledger: We're in a room full of pieces. Do you feel a difference, even though everything is currently boxed up and getting ready to be displayed when you're around the pieces?
Polachi: Absolutely. Even in my store, I will find myself going in on my days off just to sit and feel the energy. People come in all the time (it's not just my perfect sparkling personality they want!) they come in to feel the energy
I really believe our bodies are connected to the Earth. I mean, I'm such a nerd by all of this, but we are pulled by the Earth's gravity and all of nature affects us. When you get a bouquet of flowers, it's a beautiful creation from nature and it makes you feel good. When I did interior design, I would tell clients to pick something from outside and bring it indoors, especially in Montana with the long winters we have. A beautiful crystal that catches the light in your window and it has a positive energy about it - that's really important to include in our lives.
Ledger: Who is the target audience of your show? Is this for collectors only? You mentioned kids, but is the display safe for kids to be around?
Polachi: (laughs) Just don't touch! I mean, yes, this is a show collectors will absolutely appreciate, but this is for everyone.
If you brought a mineralist or a specialist in here, he would show you just how little I know about these things. I don't claim to be an expert. I just know they are beautiful. And they are beautiful to people in all different ways.
Like, this wired silver has an intrinsic value because it's silver, but he's awesome because he looks like he's just having a bad hair day! It might be ugly to one person and beautiful to another. People tend to love one certain thing over another. There are some pieces you can't touch without them disintegrating - and there's beauty there because how the heck were these things brought out of the Earth and how have they made it this long?
We have the super delicate stuff in cabinets, but we want everyone to come to see everything. Kids, adults, experts, everyone. I don't care if it's someone buying a $3 tiny fossil or buying a $3,000 sculpture - I feel like everyone who walks in will be amazed I just want people to be able to see it in Whitehall and remember it for a lifetime.