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!

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.”

Time to Go to the Sierra Pelona Travertine Claim

Whether it’s planting a new tree for the garden or extracting a boulder while mining, there’s something satisfying about digging and rocks.  No, I’m not talking about hard rock mining, for that is pure torture.  I’m talking about the Sierra Pelona claim out in North Edwards, CA, a renowned location for prize winning travertine onyx.  The only difference is that while rocks are the bane of any happy garden, the goal at the Sierra Pelona is using a pry bar to make that rock wiggle and finally extracting it in triumph.

Though hundreds of clubs and rockhounds have visited the claim over the years, this location still produces hundreds of pounds of quality travertine onyx. 

On our last visit October 30th, we were able to excavate one hundred pounds of travertine in about 2 hours.  That’s a pretty good haul for any rockhound and the colors were spectacular.  I hadn’t seen the greens that color in a few years, but it looks like the seam is into a green band right now.  Greens, reds, and even blue bands of agate make beautiful spheres or cabochons. 

The claim is open to rockhounds everywhere and though access is fairly straightforward, you’ll need a high clearance vehicle.  This is a great trip for an experienced miner or just a weekend warrior who wants to get out and smell the dirt.

The weather is cool and it’s time to get out your picks and shovels and go rockhounding.   No one knows when the green banding will run out again, so plan your next trip with your local rockclub to collect this beautiful material.

‘til next time,

Rex

Sat., Oct. 30 Field Trip to North Edwards, 7 a.m.

Our October field trip will be to Brown/Castle Butte, the Sierra Pelona travertine claim, and the Rio Tinto/U.S. Borax visitor center in Boron. This area is known for a variety of minerals, and we hope to find agate, bloodstone, travertine onyx, ulexite (“TV rock”), kernite, and petrified wood.

High clearance truck or SUV is recommended. For more info, please contact rexch8@yahoo.com with the subject line “North Edwards field trip”.

Two Fieldtrip Weekends in September!

If you’ve been looking for a chance to head out of town for some rockhound fun more than once in a month, here it is!!

We’ll be heading to Palos Verdes for agate and glaucophane on Sat., September 18.

The following weekend, we head inland to the Stoddard Wells Rockhound Tailgate to join our friends from Victor Valley Gem and Mineral Club. Their tailgate runs from Friday, Sept. 24 to Sunday, Sept. 26 and a FIELDTRIP will be held on Sat., Sept. 25 to seek tri-color marble nearby.

September 18 Field Trip to Palos Verdes for Agate and Glaucophane

Boy, is it hot outside! Nothing beats summertime rock collecting at the beach!

CHANGE IN DEPARTURE TIME! Our next trip will be at 10AM to Palos Verdes on Saturday, September 18th, 2021 to collect striped root beer agates, yellow agates, and bluish green glaucophane. For more information, please contact Sue D at: apple_pis@yahoo.com

Yellow Green Agate from Palos Verdes
Glaucophane from Palos Verdes

Pics above of striped root beer agate, yellow green agate, and glaucophane were provided by PLS member Rex N.