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Burnie's Rock Shop may conjure up images of geeks poring over fossils on dusty shelves and bins of quartzite pieces—but those in the know (and there are many) are already aware that this Madison institution is much more than that. Like the agates and geodes (and much more) that it stocks—pieces that have been embedded in the earth for thousands of years—this near east side treasure is ingrained in Madison's DNA, having celebrated its fifty-second anniversary this year.
The boutique sells jewelry, gifts and home décor; it's also a fine jewelry repair shop and hangout for, yes, people who are passionate about rocks and minerals.
The shop is now owned by Burnie Franke's son Nevin and his wife Sonali. The two took over in 1999 and both have extensive knowledge in jewelry making, gemology, lapidary, minerals and jewelry repair. Nevin started studying rocks and cutting them at the age of seven, eventually traveling with his father to shows and working at the store; Sonali is the sixth generation in her family to work in the jewelry trade and is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America.
Despite its age, the store has kept up with the times nicely. The business even opened up a second location on Park Street last May, with more of a home décor focus and a spare, clean shop interior.
So rock out, Burnie's, and keep the good times rolling.
Burnie's Rock Shop 901 E. Johnson St., 251-2601 636 S. Park St., 630-9419 burniesrockshop.com
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