Mining for Koroit Boulder Opal ‘Down Under’ with Gene McDevitt, subject of July 20 Virtual Program Meeting

We’ve got an exciting feature presentation slated for Tuesday, July 20, 2021 when Gene McDevitt, explorer, entrepreneur, lapidary artist takes us on an armchair trip to Queensland, Australia for Koroit Boulder Opal mining. In addition to Koroit Opal, Gene cuts and wholesales other interesting stones such as Mooka Jasper (Mookaite), Noreena Jasper, Tiger Eye, and Rutilated Quartz, among others.

Gene McDevitt, Professional Miner and Cutter. Koroit opal miner since 2001. Photos used with permission from Gene McDevitt.

The Tuesday, July 20 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. This virtual rock hunting journey is not to be missed… hope you can join us!

Deep Earth subject of Tues., June 15 Virtual Program Meeting

Join us Tuesday, June 15 for a journey through the deep Earth, with Dr. Krista Sawchuk. The deep Earth, which encompasses the mantle and core, makes up 99% of our planet. Because we can’t physically go to the deep Earth, scientists employ a variety of techniques to learn more about it. Dr. Sawchuk will share what we do know about the deep Earth and how her research on the behavior of minerals at high pressures and temperatures is helping us learn more about the chemistry of the mantle.

Dr. Sawchuk recently graduated from UCLA with a PhD in geochemistry. Her dissertation research focused on the high-pressure behavior and chemical reactions of volatile-bearing minerals in Earth’s mantle. Since graduating, she started a postdoctoral research
position at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico where she continues her high-pressure research. In her spare time she enjoys mineral collecting and curating her personal mineral collection.

The Tuesday, June 15 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. We hope to “see” you there!

A Geologic Tour of Australia, via Zoom, is featured presentation for Tues., May 18 Program Meeting; 6:30 p.m.

Join us for our May 18 Program Meeting as we explore Australia’s most iconic natural wonders and visit several geologic sites that are unfamiliar to most people. Our guests, Dick & Mary Pat Weber, are retired exploration geologists and will take us on the armchair trip. In 2007 and 2008 they spent a year on what they refer to as their “Rocks ‘n Crocs” tour of Australia looking at and photographing the natural features and geology of the largest country in Oceania.

For our May Rock of the Month talk, Mary Pat Weber will present an introduction to a lesser known member of the garnet family, the rare and highly prized green garnet, which gives emerald a run for its money.

The Tuesday, May 18 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. We hope to “see” you there!

Explore the Geologic Diversity of New Zealand; Virtual Program Meeting March 16, 2021, 6:30 pm

Pasadena Lapidary Society’s Tuesday, March 16 program meeting will feature geologists Dick and Mary Pat Weber, whose presentation will focus on the geological wonder of New Zealand. From volcanoes to glaciers, caves and fjords, finding so much variety of terrain in such a small geographical area would be impossible anywhere else on Earth.

The Webers are exploration geologists who spent a month in 2007 visiting every corner of this tiny island nation; they have worked and travelled extensively in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Our program meeting will also feature the Rock of the Month, by PLS member David Lacey, whose presentations are always informative.

Interested in joining us virtually for Tuesday night’s meeting? Then RSVP to joenmar1[at]verizon.net for a Zoom meeting link, using ‘PROGRAM MEETING’ in subject line.

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.

Pasadena Lapidary Society Member Awarded Scholarship by CFMS

Pasadena Lapidary Society (PLS) is proud to announce that member Paolo Sanchez of Burbank has been awarded the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies’ (CFMS) Robert O. Deidrich Memorial Fund Scholarship for school year 2020-21.  This award was established some fifty years ago by the late Melba Deidrich in memory of her husband Robert.  The recipient of the $2,000 award must be an Earth Sciences major entering his/her junior or senior year at either UC Berkeley or Stanford University. Pasadena Lapidary Society is one of many member clubs in the CFMS.

Photo taken on Taal Volcano overlook in early January 2020, days before the Jan. 12 phreatomagnatic eruption that boiled off the crater lake in the immediate background and buried the entire surrounding area in ash.

As Filipino-Americans, Paolo’s parents Debbie and Ferdie trained and worked hard to establish themselves in the U.S.’s medical industry, and through their dedication and experience—as well as wonderful support from his older brother Joshua and younger sister Danielle—Paolo has been able to obtain a first-generation, U.S.-college education at UC Berkeley. With this he plans to continue his passion in the geosciences, working his way up to a PhD and possibly obtaining a career as a professional researcher.  He is in his third year of double majoring in geology and geophysics and is developing a research project involving the chemistry of molten glasses (tektites) formed during the meteor impact that killed the dinosaurs (a.k.a. the K-Pg Impact) 66 million years ago.

Paolo became interested in Earth Sciences as a kindergartener, developing an affinity for rockhounding through the years by reading geology field books and old textbooks, then applying that knowledge in the domain. He joined PLS as a Junior member at the age of 12 and since then he has given lectures about geology at PLS’ monthly program meetings, led educational rock and mineral identification seminars, and authored/coauthored numerous geological and mineralogical articles in the monthly PLS newsletter Rockhound Ramblings, among numerous invaluable contributions he has made to the Club. As part of Pasadena Lapidary Society’s community outreach, Paolo has taught basic geoscience to local elementary school students, along with providing hands-on teaching techniques with self-collected rock and mineral specimens.

Paolo in the San Gabriel Mountains

Prior to UC Berkeley, Paolo interned at Cal State Northridge for a year, doing research for the Geological Sciences Department.  At present he is a Research Assistant at both the Berkeley Geochronology Center and at the UC Berkeley Earth and Planetary Sciences Dept.  Paolo is also an editor and contributor to the popular non-commercial online mineralogical database mindat.org.

Along with his family, Pasadena Lapidary Society shares great pride in Paolo’s accomplishments, congratulates him at winning this prestigious award, and wishes him much success in his future endeavors.

The California Federation of Mineralogical Societies represents over 100 gem and rockhound clubs statewide, as well as a few clubs in Nevada and Arizona.  Visit cfmsinc.org for further information.

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.


Picture Rocks for January 21 Program Meeting

Ken Rogers of the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club, will be the featured speaker at our Tuesday, January 21st meeting when he discusses “Pictures in Rocks”.

Our January Rock of the Month talk will be presented by PLS member David Lacy with a focus on Feldspar.

The Tuesday, January 21st meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium of the Pasadena Main Library at 285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101.  Open to the public.