I was glad to see a young person here. It often seems that most of
us craftspeople are way over the hill on a second career or hobby. My
advice to a young person is to take advantage of the fact that old
folks (I guess that's anyone over thirty to you) are enchanted by
your interest and only to ready to help if you ask. This is almost
universally true, so if you get put off the first time, do try again,
as few will refuse you.
In particular, I know this is true in the lapidary arts, because
I've been party to many discussions lamenting the lack of young
people in the hobbies of amateur geology, rock hunting and lapidary
(both cabbing and faceting).
Since a lot of things are pretty much passed from one to another and
a lot of the info is hard to find in books, it would be great if you
could find one or more mentors in your area. Try going to a meeting
of the local Gem and Mineral Society, which in your case would
probably be the Shasta GMS in Redding, meeting second Friday of the
month and announcing your interest in some mentoring. If you speak to
the person running the meeting beforehand, I'm sure they will let you
have the floor at the appropriate time. If they don't do everything
but lick your face (maybe that, too) I will be surprised.
I apologize if all of this is old news to you. If you want email
help on getting into lapidary or if you want some Tennessee agate and
other stuff to cut, email me with your address at rkerseyATtdsDOTnet.
I cab and facet and do some silvework, so happy to help out.