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Gold Dust, Georgetown Alley, Laurel Shopping Center, Laurel. Open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.: Sunday noon to 5 p.m. 498-1611.

Gold Dust looks like a cross between a living room and a rock quarry, furnished as it is with a Victorian sofa and 10,000 rock specimens. Mark Liccini, who runs it, has so much fun working with rocks that he practically lives there. What he does, besides cutting and polishing his rocks and making them into jewelry, is teach other people how to do it. Bring in your rock and he will tell you what it is and how many carats it weighs, as well as what it is really worth. He will make it into jewelry for you, or sell you the equipment to cut and polish it yourself and the gold or silver for setting it. If you don't have a rock, you can buy one there, from fifty cents up, from broken pieces to a cut and polished one inset with the whole cast of Snow White and Seven Dwarves. You can sit around and watch the staff work, or sign up for an entire course, which is, as Liccini put it, "filled with lectures, stories and satires.