Rhodochrosite is Spotlight of In-Person Program Meeting; Tuesday, May 17th, 7:00 p.m.



The story of the Sweet Home Mine from its beginnings as a modest 1870’s silver mine to its rebirth as a world-renowned source of beautiful red rhodochrosite crystals will be featured in this month’s program. We will view Part 1 of a video illustrating the accidental discovery of one of our nation’s most impressive sources of this beautiful gemstone.

This program meeting is at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 17 and will be held IN PERSON. Check out our Meetings page to get directions and further info about the location.

MEMBERS’ CORNER:

PLEASE NOTE: Our JUNE WORKSHOP will be held on SUNDAY, June 12, instead of Saturday, June 11. The July Workshop will return to the second Saturday of the month, as will subsequent workshops.

In-Person Program Meeting April 19, 2022, 6:30 PM

We are having our first in-person program meeting in over a year! PLS member Janie Duncan will provide a presentation on the History of Beads Tuesday night, April 19, and members are looking forward to seeing each other in the flesh for a change, instead of virtually. Check out our Meetings page to get directions and further info about the location. We are VERY excited!

Gem Pegmatites of Southern California Subject of March 15 Virtual Program Meeting with Walt Lombardo

Zoom Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Walt Lombardo, Owner & Founder of Nevada Mineral & Book Co., located in Orange, Calif.

Southern California is known worldwide for the production of gemstones and mineral specimens from the granite pegmatites in San Diego, Riverside & San Bernardino counties. Some of the more well-known gem minerals are Tourmaline, Garnet, Aquamarine, Morganite, Kunzite, Quartz, Topaz and Lepidolite. Most notable are the Pala and Mesa Grande mining districts, which supplied beautiful tourmalines to the last Dowager Empress of China in the early 1900’s, and continue to produce world-class gems and mineral specimens today. Our program speaker this month is Walt Lombardo, a geologist with over 35 years experience related to mining and mineral exploration. Walt’s talk will include discussion of the regional geology which made these deposits possible, history of mining in Southern California, some of the more important mines, and the gem minerals that they produced.

Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. If you’d like to join us, write marcia.pls.emails [at] gmail [dot] com to request a Zoom link.

PLS Explores “The Inner Beauty of Caves” by Mary Pat Weber

Program Meeting, Tuesday, February 15, 2022; 7:00 pm via Zoom.

Photo courtesy of Mary Pat Weber

A cave is more than just a hole in the ground.  These spectacular creations are natural laboratories for preserving fossils, recording past climate, and providing habitats for unique and rare animals.  Due to their global importance physically, culturally, and ecologically, 2021 was designated the International Year of Caves and Karst. As a geologist, Mary Pat finds caves fascinating and takes every opportunity to tour them.  Join us Tuesday night to explore this intriguing subterranean world that includes some of the major show caves of the Western U.S. You can leave your high boots and flashlights at home – this meeting’s virtual!

Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. If you’d like to join us, write marcia.pls.emails [at] gmail [dot] com to request a Zoom link.

January 18 Virtual Program Meeting Explores Crystals

Pictured above: Actinolite, Quartz point, Axinite. Can you identify the other four?
Photo credit: PLS member Elizabeth Weston

Our Tuesday, January 18, 2022 Program Meeting will be held via Zoom. PLS member David Lacy will provide the evening’s presentation as an overview of Crystals and Crystal Forms.  We will look at the differences between geometrical (ideal) crystal forms and some of the crystal habits in nature, where geometric forms meet the real world.  We will check on just what are the characteristics of a crystal, what is a crystal habit, symmetry in crystals, and the seven crystal systems met in nature.  Some mineral specimens will be visually shared to demonstrate real-world crystal habits. Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. If you’d like to join us, write marcia.pls.emails [at] gmail [dot] com to request a Zoom link.

DIY ‘Field Trip’ to… Quartzsite, AZ!

QIA PowWow photo credit by Sue Peng

For the month of January, many members of Pasadena Lapidary Society join the ranks of rockhounds and lapidarists across the nation – and beyond – in an annual sojourn to our ‘mecca’ of rocks – Quartzsite, Arizona. While this isn’t a fieldtrip that requires a rock hammer, shovel or other tools, it’s a great opportunity to see what wonderful gems and minerals exist in our world – all in one place. There are several gem and mineral shows which are held between December and late February in this town, which swells to over a million visitors in the month of January from a paltry 3,714 +/- residents the rest of the year. One of our favorite shows to check out is the QIA Pow Wow, which takes place this year from January 19 – 23, 2022, with free admission and free parking and way more than a day’s worth of treasures to see. It’s like a giant open air swap meet held under the beautiful blue sky with giant puffy white clouds floating overhead – which sometimes open up with a quick light rain or a heavy shower – then dissipates as quickly as it starts. Quartzsite is just 18 miles east of the California border, along Interstate 10. One can make it a full day trip, or if you’re able to secure lodging in Quartzsite or Blythe, CA, turn your visit into more than one day so you can visit the other shows taking place as well, such as Tyson Wells or Desert Gardens. If you prefer to take an RV and camp, there’s plenty of open space just on the outskirts of town. How to get there? Take I-10 East until you get to Quartzsite, about a four hour drive from Pasadena when traffic isn’t bad. We often make a quick stop at Chiriaco Summit either on the way to or from AZ, where one can fuel up and stop for a bite or snacks.

The Tunnel to Nowhere

December’s educational field trip will be at 8AM on Saturday, December 18th to Shoemaker Canyon Road above Azusa.  We’ll be visiting the Tunnels to Nowhere, which were hewn out of solid granite in 1969.  These tunnels were built to provide an escape route out of LA in case of nuclear attack.  Now they sit vacant; a lone sentinel to times forgotten. 

This trip is suitable for any passenger car and is 31 miles from Pasadena.  The walk to tunnel is 2 miles with an elevation gain of 700 feet.   We’ll be on the lookout for various ores and minerals, but this is more an educational/nature walk rather than a collecting trip.  For more details, please contact Rex at rexch8@yahoo.com 

Baxter Wash Rockfishing Report

   

Unlike fishing, the good thing about rock hounding is you pretty much never get skunked.   Here’s my fishing-for-rock report from the Thanksgiving 2021 weekend field trip to Baxter Wash, near Baker, CA. 

Weather:  Light winds, temperatures 75/40

Sea (Road) Conditions:  heavy sand 12” deep or more.  4wd definitely required

Anglers (Rock hounds):   13

Species caught (rocks found)

          Angel wing agate

Green angel wing agate

          Lace agate

Top Notch agate

          Blue agate nodules

This nodule is about the size of a baseball!

          Sagenite

There’s better sagenite where this came from but you gotta’ dig for it!

          Amydules and chalcedony extrusions

Morning sunlight on chalcedony extrusion

          Marble and green/purple fluorite

Emerald Green Fluorite (photo by Gabe Morley)

Entertainment value:  limits for all

Kids and campfires

Cost-free

If I don’t see you in December, be sure to join PLS for the upcoming 2022 field trip season!

‘til next time,

Rex

Thanksgiving Weekend Trip to the Cady Mountains

Seam agate

PLS will be rocking in the Cady Mountains at the end of the month. This 3 day trip will begin Friday at noon on November 26 and finish on Sunday, November 28 at 11 AM. We’ll be searching for agates, jaspers, and fluorite. Though you can make it to base camp with high clearance 2wd, 4wd is required for the rockhounding part of this trip.

Must RSVP to field trip leader, Rex, at rexch8@yahoo.com with the subject line “Cady Mountain field trip.”