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.

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.

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.

Caltech Professor George Rossman takes a look at Chinese Andesine Feldspar for Tuesday, Sept. 21 Zoom Program Meeting

A variety of faceted andesines in table-down orientation.

There’s a controversy brewing over a new and beautiful red transparent gem out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as Tibet or an unspecified location in China. Caltech Professor of Mineralogy George Rossman will discuss his research on this red copper-carrying feldspar at our September program meeting.

The Tuesday, Sept. 21 program meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. To join us, send an email to joenmar1[at]verizon.net in advance, using ‘PROGRAM MEETING’ in subject line, and request the Zoom meeting link. “See” you there!

Image borrowed from: http://minerals.gps.caltech.edu/manuscripts/2011/Chinese_Red_Feldspar_I/Index.html

Focus on Ametrine for Tuesday, February 16th

Join us for our next virtual general meeting on Tuesday, February 16th. We will be joined by our friend, Professor George R. Rossman. Professor Rossman will highlight the troubled history of Ametrine. Specifically, he will discuss the controversy that developed about ametrine early on, and his personal experience traveling to Brazil amethyst mines, the Bolivia ametrine mine, and Russia where synthetic ametrine was produced. RSVP to joenmar1[at]verizon.net for a Zoom meeting link, using ‘AMETRINE’ in subject line.

The Rock of the Month will be presented by PLS member Phil Lahr, who will discuss “Tumbling through the Pandemic” – a personal journey of rock tumbling triumphs and tragedies during the summer of 2020.

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.  

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

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.

Quartzsite January 2021

Members of Pasadena Lapidary Society, along with most serious rockhounds, wait anxiously all year to make the 3-1/2 hour trek to Quartzsite, AZ in January. Some stay right into February, camping nearby in order to go rockhounding at their leisure, and others check in to the few motels in town or travel the 22 miles back/forth to Blythe, CA for lodging.

One of the biggest draws in Quartzsite is the QIA POWWOW, always held the third week in January. This year the POWWOW runs from January 20-24. If you’ve never been, the POWWOW is like a huge swap meet focused on gems, minerals, rocks and everything related. Admission is free and so is parking. Here’s a weblink to check it out: http://www.qiaarizona.org/.

There are other rock shows being held throughout both months, two of the most popular ones being Desert Gardens https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Event/Desert-Gardens-Rock-Gem-and-Mineral-Show-667193560050537/ from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, and Tyson Wells https://www.tysonwells.com/. Here’s the calendar of events from the City of Quartzsite website: http://www.quartzsitecalendar.com/

Self-professed as “The Rock Capital of the World”, Quartzsite is a town in La Paz County of +/- 2,000 inhabitants that swells to a couple of million in January and February each year. Situated 125 miles west of Phoenix at the junction of Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 95, it enjoys a close association with the Colorado River, just 18 miles to the west.

DesertUSA

Town of Quartzsite