Carizzo Plain is just one of the beautiful sights the Central Coast has to offer. Sonya Jindal | Mustang News

From the soft touch of sand on Pismo Beach to the crisp smell of the trees in the Los Padres National Forest, the Central Coast is an enriched area filled with an abundance of natural resources.

San Luis Obispo community members take advantage of the Central Coast’s unique environment, developing hobbies and interests based on their appreciation of these
natural locations.

Fueling business through the beaches

After her exposure to Central Coast beaches, agricultural and environmental plant sciences sophomore Mari DeBarros established MarWarps, a handmade jewelry business highlighting the resources available on the Central Coast.

Photo courtesy of Mari DeBarros

“I grew up living by the beach in Southern California, which is a completely different beach scene than it is here,” DeBarros said. “The diversity of each beach here
is incredible.”

DeBarros began scouring the Central Coast for a way to bring a piece of her life in San Luis Obispo back home with her. Having collected various stones from Moonstone Beach, DeBarros contemplated how to incorporate these mementos into her everyday lifestyle.

“I’ve always been into jewelry and was really interested in the idea of creating my own pieces,” DeBarros said. “The stones have a huge range of striking colors which, ultimately, was the catalyst for this whole venture.”

The business built around the stones appeals to many members of the Central Coast community. DeBarrios accredits her business’ success to the mix of her talent and the elements of the Central Coast that the stones embody.

“I think that people are very proud to wear something that represents a little piece of home or home away from home,” DeBarros said.

Developing an avocation of agate

The geological artifacts found on the Central Coast differ from other California regions because of the distinct tectonic forces and environmental patterns at play in the area throughout history.

“The geology and topography of the Central Coast truly is significant,” geology professor Antonio Garcia said. “Because of the various rocks and fault line formations, the landscape provides fundamental knowledge of the history of California from a million years ago through the present day.”

Agates and geodes flood the Central Coast through different climate cycles. Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Geology enthusiast and San Luis Obispo resident Ray Brooks has been collecting various rocks and geodes around the country for 15 years.

Professionally known as a lapidary, or a person who cuts, polishes or engraves gems, Brooks became fascinated with the idea of accumulating stones.

“A fun day-trip to the desert turned into what you can call an obsession,” Brooks said.

Ray Books shares his passion of lapidary. Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Brooks, alongside his late collecting companion, traveled all through California to appease his geological interest. Brooks’ collection of rocks pays homage to the fascinating earth cycle on display in the California landscape.

“My buddy and I would go on long, extended trips to places like the Mojave Desert to look for these artifacts,” Brooks said. “However, after finding a Chumash arrowhead down in the rift valley zones here in the Central Coast … we realized, ‘Why drive out six [or] seven hours to the desert when we have this in our very own backyard?’”

Brooks is extremely passionate about his lapidary work.

“These agates are basically formed just out of mineral-rich water filled in a pocket – and some can be 80 million years old! We live right at the top of an ocean ridge, which gives us such an assortment of goodies,” Brooks said. “The importance of rocks is that they are a record of the history of Earth. I collect rocks because they tell stories!”

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