When some people think of fracking, they think of jewelry

Aired March 7, 2013 on WYSU

Aired February 28, 2013 on WQMX and WNWV

Published February 28, 2013 on Akron News Now (Link)

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, creates business opportunities where you might not expect. Rachel Lundberg brings us a story about a century-old jewelry and engraving store in Towanda, PA., and what’s happening locally.

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Gary Wilcox is a jeweler in Susquehanna County, PA. He started getting unusual requests about three years ago. That’s when drillers and frackers came to the area to tap the Marcellus Shale.

Drillers came in and they wanted everything from the drill bits, frack pumps, frack trucks, everything to do with the gas industry.

At one point, about 20 percent of his business came from drillers. Wilcox says the drillers spent about a month in town, before going home. They often bought jewelry for sweethearts during their rotation. He says the drillers have moved on to Ohio and the Dakotas, but other industry workers are stepping in.

We sell some to even the pipeline guys, cause that’s what’s going on here now.

At Wilcox’s store, C& G Wilcox,  people most often ask for tricone drill-bit trinkets. The real tricones are less than 2-feet-wide and have three interlocking heads that spin as they cut into the earth. The imitations are quite a bit smaller.

That’s what we sell the most of – the tricone bit, cause these turn. And they use them for keychains or for pendants.

Wilcox says a tricone drill-bit keychain will run you close to $69, but other fracking memorabilia can cost up to thousands.

The more recently tapped Utica Shale region hasn’t seen local interest in industry-related keepsakes yet. Here’s Robert Komara of Komara Jewelers in Canfield, OH.

We’ve had a lot of customers come in from the Salem and Columbiana area that have gotten their oil rights, but none of them have come in with crazy requests of their fracking jewelry requests.

But jewelers will meet the demand if it ever comes.

We most certainly do what the people are asking for.

And although anti-fracking and pro-fracking jewelry may not yet be available at local stores, they are available through some online retailers.

Reporting for TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Rachel Lundberg.