VoL XXXVI, No. 4--- April 1999
Gem and Mineral Shows are a wonderful place to go. There is display case after display case showing off the best of materials and talents. The disciplines of rockhounding are so varied you can't really predict what you will see at any show. It could be fossils - not only of the Jurassic period dinosaurs but fossil plants, fish and animals much older than the Jurassic period - and of course some much newer fossils.
Minerals always make for beautiful displays. Crystals of diamond, ruby, garnet and peridot to name a few. Some of the important commercial ores have beautiful crystalline forms such as copper, iron, gold and silver. Cabochons, spheres and bookends demonstrate the skills in lapidary. And of course the talents of the faceters and the creative talents of those who carve stone and who create jewelry with silver, gold and gemstones. This is merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of what may be seen at a Gem and Mineral Show. If a person becomes interested in a particular area, there is probably a demonstrator at the show giving "how to" instructions in that area. At the show there are dealers to supply tools and materials to pursue rockhounding. The rockhounds you meet at the shows are friendly and helpful.
Now you say, "That's not new, I know that". We are all proud of our displays, and like to show the public what rockhounding is all about. There is a more important aspect of shows that sometimes we may loose sight of. Shows are the best membership drive we have. Many surveys indicate that Gem and Mineral Shows are responsible for recruiting more new members than any other activity we have.
It's a given that putting on a show requires a lot of time and effort and is expensive. Shows need a place to happen, they need dealers, programs, demonstrators and displays. The displays are the real focal point of the show. They are what the rest of the show is built around.
Shows almost without exception need more guest exhibitors. Some people think they have to wait to get an invitation to show at a neighboring club. Not so. You don't have to wait .... look in the ROCK AND GEM or LAPIDARY JOURNAL magazines under show dates and drop a line or call the show chairperson of any show you would like to show at and ask if they could use another case. You will be surprised how fast you will get a big welcome and an application.
If you are exhibiting at shows as a guest exhibitor, maybe you could add another show or two this year; or if you haven't been a guest exhibitor at a show yet .... try it, you'll like it. We all need to work together as neighbors to make our shows and rockhounding bigger and better. Our shows are the best Good Will Ambassadors we have, and of course the best source of new rockhounds.
CFMS 60th Annual Show & Convention
June 18, 19, 20, 1999
The Federation Show this June is a celebration of the 60th Annual Show and CONVENTION. What is a convention? It is a gathering of people with the same interests and concerns. Wouldn't it be fun and interesting to meet rockhounds from all over California and other states. It would be a great chance to swap ideas, tips, and field trip experiences.
CFMS COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN PLEASE NOTE: Any CFMS committee that needs a table at the Federation Show in June, send a letter to reserve space to:
C/O Mother Lode Mineral Society
P.O. Box 1263
Modesto, CA 95353.
The Mother Lode Mineral Society is pulling out all stops to make this show and convention a memorable occasion. We have so many great ideas for your enjoyment and we are working hard on a show that you will not forget! So come to Turlock in June...we will be waiting to share our hospitality.
For APPLICATIONS and ADVANCED REGISTRATION FORM (regarding RV CAMPING, ACCOMMODATIONS, MAPS, BANQUET and EDITORS' BREAKFAST & MEETING):
308 San Juan Dr., Modesto, CA 95354
It has come to our attention that some false rumors have been circulating concerning the condition of the "Golden Topaz", displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. We are including excepts from a letter, written on Smithsonian stationery, that was sent to Nancy Ballard, Editor of THE ROCKHOUNDER, newsletter of a club in Maryland.
Spring is definitely getting closer. We are having more days of sunshine than rain. St. Patrick's Day occurs in March to celebrate the Blarney Stone. Is this not a celebration for Ireland's "Country Rock"? As the first Club Show Dates appear on our calendars, and as you plan your display cases for the CFMS Show in Turlock, remember to choose your Member for Recognition. Keep your letters coming!
The Lake Elsinore Gem & Mineral Society presents MIKE STRADER and SANDY BRAUTIGAM. Mike has been the club President for three years and Sandy the Bulletin Editor for the same three years. Besides having vivacious and energetic personalities, Sandy, with Mike's help, has originated a writing contest for youngsters in the area. The subject of the contest must be about some form of Geology. The contest is in its third year and the winners receive a beautiful trophy and an U.S. Savings Bond.
Submitted by Beverly Berg, Secretary
Larry passed away on February 6 after a long illness. He was an active member of the CFMS for many years and we all enjoyed our contacts with him. For many years he was in charge of the ribbons at the CFMS shows and kept them in good order, with everyone receiving the proper awards.
A member of the East Bay Mineral Society, Larry also was an enthusiastic mineral collector and his award winning display was seen at many shows throughout the Federation. He worked with the Juniors and was a great Junior Leader. He was also very active in the program to clean up the environment and received an award from the B.L.M. for his participation in the cleanup trips sponsored by the CFMS.
We all extend our deepest sympathy to Keesa and the family and are very grateful for the pleasure we all had from hearing him play his banjo and sing at so many rockhound gatherings.
Alberta passed away on February 9 after quite a long illness. She had been a very active member of the CFMS for a long time. She served as President of the CFMS in 1972-73 and held many other positions. She was honored as a recipient of the CFMS Scholarship Award and received the Golden Bear Award for her many activities within the CFMS.
She was Secretary of the AFMS Scholarship Foundation for 13 years and attended all of the meetings and took care of the duties for this position.
Alberta made beautiful jewelry and received both the CFMS and AFMS Jewelry Trophies She also helped many other members to learn this art. She served many years as a judge, both for AFMS and CFMS, and also served a term as a member of the CFMS Rules Committee.
She was an English teacher and taught English and drama for many years in high schools in the area, including Salinas and Richmond. Alberta was a very active long time member of the East Bay Mineral Society and she will be missed by all of us.
With the 1999 CFMS Show fast approaching, it's high time to get your juniors started on displays for Turlock. One great way to get the ball rolling is by holding a "Juniors' Show Clinic" at your next meeting. Bring in a copy of the exhibitors' rules and regulations, a display case, and a variety of fossils, minerals, and lapidary specimens with various styles of display stands, and then:
But don't get carried away and lost in technical detail. After all, the goal isn't to scare the kids away by overwhelming them. The main things are to provide support and show enthusiasm.
As always, have fun --- it's contagious!
Fossils tell us where seas were in the past and where land was. They show whether the seas were shallow or deep and the nature of the water. They act as guides in geological chronology, show changes in climate and the former distribution of plants and animals and routes of animal migration.
Index or guide fossils help identify strata and help date rocks containing similar fossils. Rings of growth in fossil trees indicate regional changes. Fossils show relationships of living plants and animals of today with those of the geological past.
Diatoms are used for testing the quality of microscopic lenses, for filtering liquids, in refining of sugar and manufacturing of paint and varnish. Geologists make use of foraminifers to help locate oil-bearing strata. Phosphate made from fossil bones is used in agriculture. Fossiliferous limestone and coquina limestone with large masses of fossil shells and fossil coral rock are used as building stones.
OK, all you knowledgeable rockhounds, you can skip this article. I'm sorry, I only know so much -- not everything and I probably forget to write some things which most ol'timers know anyhow. But this is not for you. We had a couple of neophyte rockhounds join our society recently. They know almost nothing about the good way to do things to prepare for a field trip. Notice, I didn't say the only way to prepare. I will, however, tell the novices some of the things I have learned during my years as a rock "bringer homer".
There have been many articles written on this subject, both by me and by others. Let's get on with it. You could go out on your own or join an organized trip. For this time, I'll assume you're going on a conducted trip, such as my CFMS Field Trip to the Monte Cristo Mountains.
The first thing to do is to decide where to go. Check with your club's field trip chairman. He'll be able to tell you of any upcoming FTs. He should have all the information; if not, he'll have the phone number (or e-mail address) of the leader to contact for better info. He'll be able to tell you if anybody else from your club is planning on attending the same trip. Even though it is always good to go with a friend you know, if no one else from your club is going, don't let that stop you. We rockhounds are a friendly lot and we enjoy leading others in the search for our natural richness, and you will meet many new friends who probably will become lifetime friends.
Make sure you have the map and instructions of where and when to go and where to meet.
Then comes what are you going after, because that will determine the tools and equipment you will need. In the case of the Monte Cristo Mts., you will need a bag or some sort of container to pick up small items, and also you hopefully will accumulate larger pieces too, so you will need something in which to carry them and boxes to transport them in your vehicle. The larger pieces will usually be obtained by digging or hard rock mining. Sure - that is a lot of work. That's the fun of it, and the exercise is good .... that's what we love about it -- out in the fresh clean air.
Since you will have to do some digging, get your shovel, maybe a pick, a small scoop or trowel. And hard rock mining requires sledges (4-8 pounders should do) with a 2 or 4 pound small sledge, chisels, crowbar, a pick, and your rock hammer.
Before you leave home, check your tools. All handles should be tight. Wooden handles can be tightened by soaking in water or with small wedges driven into the hole in the head. All chisels should have the mushroom tops ground off. Painting your tools with fluorescent paint helps to identify them and to locate them in the dirt and gloom of evening light.
You should have heavy gloves, preferably with leather palms to help prevent blisters and bruises when you miss the head of a chisel and try to break a rock with your hand. A glove REALLY helps, I KNOW! Never break rocks without wearing eye protection. Either goggles or a face shield. If you are not wearing eye protection and someone else is beating on a rock or a chisel, TURN your face away from them.
Boots are a definite good choice, ones with steel toes are the best. Low quater shoes, tennis shoes --- ??? Well don't stay home if that is all you have. Trust me though, that sort of foot wear offers almost no protection and no support for your feet and ankles.
Extra clothes, shirts, pants, and socks if yours get wet or overly dirty (as mine always do) and coats because most places get cold and chilly at night. Rain gear is used often.
How are you going to spend the nights? Got a motorhome, trailer, tent? --- make sure they are serviced and ready to go. For a tent, collect the tent pegs, under-tarp, and poles.
Your vehicle should be also serviced; some places -- such as the Monte Cristo Mts - are a long way from a service station. Make sure your current registration is in it, the licenses have been renewed, you have your drivers license and proof of insurance, and notify a friend or family member of your destination and expected return.
If you plan to stay in'a motel in a nearby town, make your reservations. Most times there will be telephone numbers in your field trip info/map. If not, try an AAA book.
Normally there is a potluck one night. Saturday is the usual choice. Decide what you will take and get the items before you leave home. Bring your own flatware and dishes. And chairs if you don't wish to sit on the ground.
Remember! Rockhound trips are very seldom blest with toilets. And we don't go around messing up the landscape leaving things for ' some unsuspecting person to stumble onto. If all else fails, plan to bury it; with open plains upon which we camp, it is often a long way to cover to hide behind.
Now make a fist of all the things you have and want to take with you and the things you should do before you leave home. As you collect and do things, check them off. Maybe you won't forget anything. Add your camera, film, binoculars, and trash bags to your Est.
Finally, ask your wife if you can go. Maybe you can talk her into accompanying you. She might like it. Dot doesn't like rock hunting (except on beaches) but she goes along with me for the scenery and the friendship of our friends.
I would like to pass this on to all of our readers.
I received a telephone call from an individual identifying himself as an AT&T Service Technician that was running a test on our telephone lines. He stated that to complete the test we should touch nine (9), zero (0), pound sign (#) and hang up. Luckily, we were suspicious and refused.
Upon contacting the telephone compnay we were informed that by pushing 90# you end up giving the individual that called you access to your telephone line and allows them to place a long distance telephone call. With the charge appearing on your telephone bill.
We were further informed that this scam has been originating from many of the local jails/prisons. I have verified with UCB Telecomm. that this actually happens.
I called GTE Security this morning and verified that this is definitely possible and DO NOT press 90# for ANYONE. It will give them access to your phone line to make long distance calls ANYWHERE!!! The GTE Security Department told me to go ahead and share this information with EVERYONE I KNOW!!!
Could you PLEASE pass this on. If you have mailing lists and/or newsletters from organizations you are connected with, I encourage you to include this information.
Last month I discussed some ideas to assist with the display of mineral specimens. This month I'll continue with the "how-to" theme by discussing lapidary. Regardless of what you decide upon, the same basic principles apply as far as showmanship and how well the display is presented to the viewers.
Lapidary is the broadest category available to the competitive exhibitor. It includes classes for cabochons, faceted stones, specialized techniques such as flats and spheres, carving, intarsia, to name a few. If you excel in a variety of lapidary techniques there is even a class that allows for a variety of work.
Exhibitors are encouraged to read the rules which apply to the class which they plan to enter. Be sure to read the definition of what the technique is which you plan to display and what can be shown in those classes without incurring a penalty (points off for an item being out-of-class). Lots of things are out-of-class in lapidary classes. Examples include dyed materials, glass (unless allowed), entries with more than 50% of the specimens being petrified wood. Each out-of-class deduction will cost 5 points!
Labeling counts only 5 points in these classes and a one point deduction is allowed for each error up to the full 5 point limit. Make sure you proof read those labels and have them in front of the right specimen. Check the AFMS list of approved lapidary names if in doubt.
Most of the points available in the lapidary classes fall into two categories: workmanship and quality of material.
Quality of material refers to color, color pattern, freedom from flaws, freedom from undesirable inclusions, and suitability of the material for the use to which it is put. Natural materials are to be used unless other materials are allowed by the class, i.e. synthetics in a faceting class for synthetic materials.
When purchasing lapidary material for your projects, buy the best. I recommend examining slabs only when they are completely dry. They may look pretty laying in that dishpan, but all that water conceals cracks and pits that will detract from the beauty of your finished piece.
Workmanship refers to shaping, symmetry, and polish, etc. Variety of shapes is considered in cabochon classes as well as size of the pieces. The person who demonstrates the ability to work a greater variety and hardness of material generally receives a higher score than the person with a more limited display. It is my opinion that the most important aspect of workmanship is the polish. The quality of the material you use will in most cases determine how well you can finish the piece. Some materials are simply not going to take a really good polish. One example is a material called "wonderstone", actually a type of rhyolite. As attractive as this material is, it really should not be included in a competitive lapidary display. Most experienced lapidaries like to see light reflect off the surface of the material as the sign of a good polish.
There were changes made to the rules which pertain to Division A and exhibitors at the AFMS show will be subject to those rules. Exhibitors at CFMS shows will be subject to them at the 2000 show. Old rules apply at Turlock. Updated rules for Division A are now available from CFMS Exec. Sec/Treas Renata Bever.
Under the auspices of the CFMS, the Oxnard Gem & Mineral Society, the Conejo Gem & Mineral Club, and the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society will host a one day workshop aimed at potential exhibitors/competitors for forthcoming shows, county fairs, and our own annual convention and show.
Concerns and uncertainty about Rules, Divisions, and Material often create negative feelings about exhibiting or entering competition. We feel this interactive workshop based directly on expressed interests and concerns will assist in allaying these fears, and result in a more positive attitude .... one with positive results. Given the time frame, all questions may not be answered, but participants should then have the tools that will enable them to get those answers.
The outstanding and experienced judges: Arlene Billheimer, Bob King, Pat LaRue, and Jeane and Bob Stultz will join exhibitors to share their knowledge and expertise with those attending the workshop.
The workshop will be held in Thousand Oaks, right off the 101 Freeway, and roughly an hour from Santa Barbara, Pasadena and Long Beach. Maps and material will be sent upon receipt of following registration form. Click here to see the full registration form.
via AFMS Newsletter 1/99 & Breccia 2/99
The Commemorative Stamp Committee proposes a specifically directed campaign to try to encourage the issuance of twelve stamps depicting birth stones. (The USPS has a policy that no stamp subject already covered can be reconsidered for 10 years, thus not enough time has passed for more mineral stamps.)
Gemstones have never previously been featured on U.S. postal stamps, although many other countries have issued them. Furthermore the concept has been endorsed by the Manager of Stamp Services as one that would likely garner high public interest. Of course, the proposal must be accepted by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee and have the stamp of approval of the new Postmaster General.
A form (below) has been designed to be used by each AFMS club member to ask for support of the idea. We solicit your help in accomplishing this task. We have tried to make it as easy as possible for members to reply. All you need to do is copy the form, sign it, and mail it off to the indicated address.
Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Management, U.S. Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4474EB, Washington, DC 20260-6756
Signed: __________________ Date: _________
Last Month (March, '99 - page 12) 1 noted I had a number of CFMS show pins -- I found another one: 1993 - "Gems to see in '93" -Oxnard Gem & Mineral Society. I am still looking for others .....
If your club has a pin, would you please send me one. If you have pins of earlier clubs - no longer in existence, who were members of CFMS, I would like to have them too.
You will be able to see some of these things in exhibit cases in the future.
I also have a lot of early pictures of shows with nothing noting what year or who the people were. I will bring them to Turlock. Look me up and see if you can identify the show and the people. This could be lots of fim for those of you who have been around for a while....
See you there.
Adults need Tetanus Shots, Too!
While groping for crystals in the red Arkansas mud we were painfully reminded that rockhounding is an activity which is often accompanied by cuts, scrapes, and dirt. Were we protected against tetanus? How long had it been since we had our tetanus booster shots?
Tetanus is an acute, often fatal, disease that affects the central nervous system, producing both stiffness and muscular rigidity or convulsive muscle spasms. The most frequent symptom is a stiff jaw, caused by spasm of the muscle that closes the mouth, accounting for the disease's familiar name, "lockjaw". Tetanus is fatal to more than half of its victims.
This disease is caused by a toxin (poison) released in the body by the tetanus bacteria, Clostridiurn tetani. The bacteria most commonly enter in the human body with dirt in cuts, scratches, and puncture wounds, especially ones that are deep. It is also present as spores, reproductive cells with thick walls that are tough to kill, and highly resistant to heat and the usual antiseptics that treat wounds.
The AFMS Rules Book has been updated to include 1998. It's all in one, rather than Updates being separate. The new price is $9.00. Updates are still available for $1.00 each.
1999 APPROPRIATION BILL
AFMS Conservation & Legislation Committee
The 1999 Appropriation Bill for the Department of Interior directs "the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with appropriate scientific, educational and commercial entities, should develop a report assessing the need for a unified federal policy on the collection, storage and preservation of these fossils... The committee encourages the Secretary to assess the need for standards that would maximize the availability of fossils for scientific study. The committee expects the Secretary to submit the report to Congress no later than February 1, 1999. In addition, the report should evaluate the effectiveness of current methods for storing and preserving fossils collected from public lands."
I have now learned that the Department of Interior has requested an extension of the February 1, 1999 deadline for the report on "A Unified Federal Policy on... Fossils" required by Congress in the Department of Interior Appropriations Bill. I should have known that the February 1, 1999 deadline would not hold. I expect that the report will be several more months in the making. This delay offers us a window of opportunity to request Secretary Babbitt to weigh the benefits to amateurs deriving from fossil collecting on public lands, as well as the benefits of amateur contributions to museums and the advancement of paleontological research. If you can only write one letter this month, that letter should be to Secretary Babbitt. I suspect that the report of D.O.I. to Congress will preempt or shape the proposed BLM rules discussed in last month's article.
in the Natural History magazine 2/96
via GEMS OF NOTE 10/98
In a palace near Saint Petersburg was a magnificent room with twelve intricately carved amber mosaic panels. These were originally created for the Prussian King Frederick I at the beginning of the 18th century. Given to his son, Peter the Great, and installed in the Tsarskoye-Selo Palace in 1755. The six tons of amber paneling were removed and shipped off to Germany in the War, and have not been seen again.
A small group of Russian craftsmen started to re-create the room, starting in 1979. They had a single color photograph, some black and white photos, fragments of amber paneling and a few drawings. Using these, two panels have already been made (April '97). Baseball-sized chunks of amber are sliced into 1/8th-inch pieces. Various types of amber are used: Clear or transluscent amber, frothy amber (containing large bubbles) and bone amber (with microscopic bubbles that give it an ivory or yellowish opaque look) and then the common opaque variety known as bastard amber. Workers cut out the shape of each mosaic piece as seen in detailed, full-sized painted reproductions of the original panels. The pieces are highly polished on special buffing wheels. Floral scrollwork heraldic symbols or royal crests are worked into the design. On clear amber sections images are etched from the reverse side, sometimes with gold fbil placed underneath to illuminate the design. The thousands of amber pieces are fitted together most carefully to match the original panels as closely as possible in shape and coloring.
Field trips are not automatically included under the CFMS policy.
Please complete the form located on page 13 of the April 1999 CFMS Newsletter OR:
Program Aids Chairman
New Podium Person! Save This In Your Podium People Binder
BETTY EGGER (209) 223-5726
LOST WAX CASTING - A presentation about the wax. the equipment used. and how -the casting is done.
Betty Egrger is 74 and widowed, but she's a very active lady. She does silver smithing, faceting, and cabbing in addition to lost wax casting. She's a member of Amador County Gem and Mineral Society, Calaveras Gem and Mineral Society, Stockton Lapidary and Mineral Society, and the Faceters Guild of Northern California.
Betty Egger became a Podium Person because of a recommendation by Marilyn Cummins in the 1998 Program Report of Amador County Gem and Mineral Society. Marilyn is Editor of the Amador Nugget, not their Program Chairman. We're glad to hear from whoever will send in a report so that the best programs will be shared.
Jessie Hardman reports that the Southern California Micro-Mineralogists do not have regular speakers.
"We choose a mineral, locality, or some other category, and everyone brings something from their collection to share. We bring our microscopes and look at what others have brought. Sometimes we bring material to share or trade. Once in a while someone will bring slides to show from a recent field trip, showing the minerals from that locality."
"Micromounts are a special kind of collecting, so they require a special treatment. There are about 4,000 different species of mineral, but only 800 are visible to the naked eye; so if you are a serious mineral collector, you have to collect microminerals. They do not have to be mounted in a 1" x 1" box, but to some people who are micro mounters the mounting is as important as the specimens, and some people take great pride in mounting the tiniest
specimen they can find. (I'm not one of these - my expression is, 'I don't like gnats' eyebrows mounted on bees' - knees!') I like a thumbnail sized specimen with good microcrystals, if possible. Many of the new species require such expensive instruments for identification that it's a difficult situation for the amateur."
San Diego Mineral and Gem Society has separate monthly programs for their Lapidary Division, Mineral Division, and Fossil Division as well as their General Division. San Diego has over 400 members. Could that wealth of programs be part of the attraction? Anne Schafer, who is a Program Chairman and also Editor of the Pegmatite,
has sent information on all those programs which will be shared in a later issue of the CFMS Newsletter.
Over the years we have received numerous requests from members outside the Eastern Federation to attend one of the popular Eastern Federation sponsored workshops at Wildacres. After much consideration, the Federation has decided to extend a formal invitation to all members of clubs belonging to other Federations to join us.
Wildacres, as many of you know, is a non-profit retreat dedicated to furthering human relations. The Wildacres campus features two residence lodges with motel style private rooms, numerous craft shops, meeting rooms, an auditorium, library and dining room. It is a place of solitude and majestic views set in the mountains of North Carolina about 40 miles from Asheville. The Eastern Federation has been privileged to use the retreat facilities for the past 26 years.
The proposed list of educational classes for the 1999 workshop sessions include:
In addition to the educational classes, each session will feature a guest speaker, an auction, a "fun night", tail gate session, and a free day set aside to explore the picturesque area surrounding the Wildacres Retreat.
Dates and guest speakers for the EFMLS Wildacres Workshops are as follows:
The cost for each session is $250 per person, which includes room and board for the week. There is an additional modest charge for materials for the classes you take.
For those interested in attending, major airlines serve Asheville, NC and Hickory, NC (both about 60 minutes driving distance) and Charlotte, NC (about 2 hours drive).
Want more information?
For your convenience, an application form is printed in this Newsletter. Reservations, along with a deposit of $100 per person should be sent, using the application form to: Angie Teixeira, 24 Ford St.; Seekonk, MA 02771. Checks should be made payable to EFMLS. Click here to see the full 1999 Wildacres Registration form.
We hope to see you at one of the 1999 EFMLS Workshops at Wildacres. Come and see what others have been raving about for years!
Don't miss the opportunity to nominate your candidates for 2000 CFMS officers. There are CFMS members who would be good officers. Don't deprive them of the opportunity to serve. Send your suggestions and their qualifications to the CFMS Nominating Committee NOW!
Any time up to thirty (30) days before the June 19 convention meeting, member societies may send the names and qualifications of any candidate they wish to propose for nomination for any Federation Office to the Nominating Committee. Click here to see the full 2000 Nomination form.