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.

Tuesday, Nov. 16 Virtual Program Meeting Explores the Chixculub Impact Event with Paolo Sanchez; 7:00 p.m.

Pasadena Lapidary Society’s very own future geologist/geophysicist, Paolo Sanchez, will present “Traces of Extinction: The Search for Rocks and Minerals at Chixculub” for our November program meeting. For those wondering what the heck ‘Chixculub Impact Event’ is, think meteor meets dinosaurs. Paolo will present his current ongoing research examining tektites derived from Chixculub and what their respective chemistries tell us about the minerals and lithologies associated with the impact event, with the potential of understanding the lithology of the meteor itself.

Earlier this year, Paolo was awarded the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies’ (CFMS) Robert O. Deidrich Memorial Fund Scholarship for school year 2020-21. He’s been studying geosciences at UC Berkeley, working his way up to a PhD and possibly obtaining a career as a professional researcher.

There will be no Rock of the Month discussion for this meeting.

The Tuesday, Nov. 16 program meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. To join us, send an email to (new email address!)… marcia.pls.emails[at]gmail.com in advance, using ‘PROGRAM MEETING’ in subject line, and request the Zoom meeting link. We’re looking forward to seeing Paolo – and hope to see you virtually as well!

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

Tuesday, Oct. 19 Virtual Program Meeting Focuses on Urban Rockhounding in Tucson; 7:00 p.m.

Among some of our favorite rockhound travel guides are Dick and Mary Pat Weber. For the Tuesday, October 19 presentation, Mary Pat will take us on a Practical Guide to Urban Rockhounding in Tucson.

In a few months dealers, buyers, and collectors will gather together for the largest rockhound  event in the world.  You will find great bargains relating to all aspects of our hobby offered by vendors from all corners of the globe.  If you can’t find it in Tucson, it probably doesn’t exist anywhere.  According to Mary Pat, you will run out of money long before you cross off all the items on your wish list.

With over forty shows from which to choose, it can be a bit confusing for the first-timer.  Mary Pat will offer practical advice for navigating though the “Tucson experience” to make it both efficient and fun.  This program is jammed packed with photo highlights of the biggest club show in the world, including specimens from world class museums such as the Smithsonian and other private collections. If you’ve been thinking about visiting Tucson for the rockhound shows but have yet to, here’s a chance to see what they’re all about.

PLS member Mona Ross will provide October’s Rock of the Month talk on one of the world’s rarest gemstones, Grandidierite.

The Tuesday, Oct. 19 program meeting starts at 7:00 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. Hope to “see” you there!

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.

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!

Eastern Sierra Field Trip Saturday, May 15th, 2021

Forsaking the desert, we’ll head deep into the forests of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The PLS May field trip will be to the Obsidian Dome area where we will study the products of volcanic activity near Mammoth Lakes, CA. Geologically speaking, this volcanic activity is thought to have occurred fairly recently in the summer of 1350AD. This is a one day trip.

We will start at Obsidian Dome–a plateau with some small hills on top, littered with various sized pieces of obsidian. Most of the obsidian pieces at the Dome have tiny gas bubbles and aren’t gem quality but the shiny glass pieces almost glow in the morning sun.  

We’ll head to Crowley Lake after touring the Dome to look for fist size chunks of obsidian and arrowheads in the hills overlooking the reservoir.

After that, we’ll stop at Hot Creek visitor center, visit the free hot tubs in the area and hopefully explore some mine tailings looking for minerals related to gold mining.

High clearance is recommended for this trip.

For more information, please contact Rex at rexch8@yahoo.com.  Please put “Obsidian Dome field trip” in your subject line.

March 13 Sidewinder/Ord Mtn fieldtrip

Attendees of Pasadena Lapidary Society’s fieldtrip of Saturday, March 13 collected tricolor marble from the Sidewinder Mtn area and copper minerals from Ord Mountain.

Chrysocolla on quartz found vicinity of Ord Mtn.
Malachite on Cuprite and Quartz


Parked and ready to rock(hound). Vicinity of Ord Mountain.

Old mine shaft; Ord Mountain.

Careful collecting on hillside; Ord Mtn area.