Erik Rintamaki knows rocks. A collector all his life, the gem and mineral dealer lives near the Lake Superior shore where, in 2017, he made the greatest discovery of his career. Equipped with a longwave UV flashlight, he had gone to the beach in the dark to hunt fluorescing agates. What he uncovered were two small, glowing rocks. After finding additional specimens, he had experts at two universities confirm that they were the first “syenite clasts containing fluorescent sodalite” documented in Michigan.

To the naked eye they look like plain gray rocks, but under black light they display an eerie orange glow. Rintamaki named them “Yooperlites” and unleashed a media frenzy. He sells Yooperlites at his website, but loves to take people on guided excursions, so that they can experience the thrill of discovering that distinctive flash of orange.

Photo courtesy Yooperlites Experience

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