Lavic Siding February 13th, 2021

Miles from Pasadena, about a third of the way between Barstow and Needles, is the sleepy town of Ludlow, CA.  Most of the time, people never even notice it’s there, unaware that a well known jasper collecting area beckons in the blistering desert heat.  Such is Ludlow most of the year. 

Ludlow in the dead of winter is totally different. The ground is stripped of vegetation, blown away as tumbleweeds, or consumed by moisture-loving denizens of shifting desert sands.  The barren landscape causes the jasper to magically appear on the desert floor waiting for us to pick it up.  February’s trip will be on Saturday the 13th, to the renowned Lavic Railroad Siding jasper location near Ludlow, CA.  Our meetup spot is 148 miles from Pasadena.  We’ll meet there at 9 AM. Late arrivals will miss the fieldtrip. Read on for further information.

All colors, shapes, sizes of jaspers and agates cover the ground at Lavic Siding.

Since this is a semi-local trip, it will be for one day only.  We’ll explore the traditional Lavic Jasper collecting areas and the brindle jasper location in the foothills north of Ludlow.  

A high clearance vehicle is required for this trip, but 4wd is always better. Attendees will need to sign a waiver of liability.   RSVP is required.  Please email rexch8[at]yahoo.com for directions, inserting LAVIC FIELDTRIP in the subject field of your email.

Red, ochre, brown, black… jaspers, agates… one in back has some drusy.. all found in the vicinity of Lavic Siding.

QIA PowWow at Quartzsite, January 2021

A peek inside one of the display cases at the QIA PowWow 2021, held last month.

Pasadena Lapidary Society member Sue Pang shared some pics she’d taken during her visit in January to the annual QIA PowWow in Quartzsite, AZ. Members who didn’t make it out there this year were certainly there in spirit, as we’re not just lapidarists; we’re ROCKHOUNDS. For those who don’t know, the QIA PowWow is a rockhound’s mega candy store.

A Noreen Jasper slab from Australia fills the bottom of this lovely pine needle basket, created by Pamela Caskey. Pamela has taught other basket weavers.
Vendors George and Sharon hold spiderweb stromatolite at last month’s QIA PowWow in Quartzsite.
Artist Pamela Caskey developed a way to set pictures in resin to use them as basket bases.
Polished slab base in basket and lovely pendants below were on display at the QIA PowWow in Quartzsite last month.
One of the many unusual stones offered by vendors at the annual QIA PowWow in Quartzsite, AZ… leopard agate
Some sizable chunks of beautiful Lapis Lazuli, at vendor booth of a past year’s QIA PowWow in Quartzsite.

Christmas Tree Agate

We couldn’t resist sharing pics of Christmas Tree Agate, found by a member of Pasadena Lapidary Society while out visiting the Southern Cady Mountains/Lavic Siding area.


North Cadys Fieldtrip; Nov. 27-29, 2020

PLS Members visited one of our favorite spots for gemstones in the North Cady Mountains, about three hours northeast of Pasadena, over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Cady Mountains have produced more gemstones than almost any other Southern California location and we explored the northern part of the range, looking for jasper, agate, fluorite, calcite, and amethyst in places where few rock hounds go. You can join us in the Cadys sometime in the future, by becoming a member of Pasadena Lapidary Society. Check out the photos below to see some of our finds.

Black and blue agate

Blue agate

Botryoidal blue agate

Jasper agate

Calcite with fluorite

Mud tube agate

Orbicular red jasper

Top notch agate

Whittier Claim Field Trip Report

By Joe Goetz

Friday morning turned out to be a perfect morning: The temps were not too hot or cold. The sun was shining as Marcia and I were trying to get ready to leave. We caravanned out with Sylvia Cliffe, Carolyn Duncan, and Charlotte Bane. The traffic was flowing better than I had thought, and a couple of hours later we were at the hotel. We got there safe and hung out for the rest of the day. All too soon I was dreaming about the rocks we would collect on Saturday, which came all too fast, and the sun was just barely up and breakfast was in the schedule.

We were getting things ready as people (30 in all) began showing up, and we talked about the upcoming day’s events and got release forms signed. Before you knew it, it was 8:30 a.m. and I gave a little safety talk. I reassured everyone that if you got bit by a snake, we’d get you to help. Of course, along the way we might just have to stop to collect some rock here and there. But we’ll get you there (just kidding).

The first place we went was the Whittier Club camping area. We stopped at a rock pile where some members have brought out their overflow and deposited it there for anyone to collect. Chances are you could find a piece of something there that you might not be able to collect anymore. Then it was off to the claim itself, and after about 30 minutes or so we headed over to the red moss agate area. I think everyone got some agate of different types as well as some of the red moss agate.

We headed back to the hotel for lunch. From there, we headed over to what we call Jason’s place. It is an area below some of the transmission towers. The reason we call it Jason’s place is that longtime Junior member Jason Badgley had told us he had been there, and when we got there every stone had been chipped. Stones were collected, and after 30 or so minutes we were off. Jay Valle led the group, and Marcia and I were bringing up the rear as we headed to “the wide spot in the road.”

Marcia and I decided to take the road a little further, passing Steve Cady who hiked up the hill. Marcia started to dig out what she thought was a double-fisted size piece of agate. However, it just kept getting larger and larger. I took over the digging, and it still got bigger. It started to wiggle in the hole a bit, so we asked Steve Cady for some help. He grabbed the stone with both hands and yanked it out and carried it to the truck bed (oh to be young again!). After we showed off Marcia’s little pebble, we all decided it was time to go back to the hotel and ready ourselves for dinner at Peggy Sue’s. Dinner was excellent as it always has been.

Sunday morning arrived, and we were getting ready to head out to some other locations. We had three guests from the San Diego area that day. We headed out and went to the silver lace onyx area. I do believe everyone who wanted it got some of the material. Marcia and I picked up little pieces for putting in grab bags for the CFMS Show in March 2019.

Next, we headed out to Mule Canyon to the algae agate area. We all found out just how much the canyon had been rearranged by rain. We did find the right road and got to the spot. I found lots of black agate; Jay found a nice algae agate. Someone asked if the green was indeed algae. The answer was the area at one time was much wetter, and there were ponds all over the place. In the ponds, there was in fact algae and pond scum growing. The area was suddenly covered with volcanic ash, and over time the algae and scum were petrified. The algae agate shows as a very distinct algae pattern in the stone. As for the pond scum, well, that was compressed and then petrified. If you think about that black agate I found…