Friday, March 30, 2012

2012 Show Update

Vendor contracts have been mailed to those participating last year.  They are due back April 1.  At that time, we will assess if any vacancies remain and contact our waiting list.   Anyone who is not on the waiting list, but interested in being added should contact Karen Blisard at   The Board of Directors has adopted the following policies for filling vacant space.


Since space at the Gem and Mineral Show is a scarce resource, the Board of the Grant County Rolling Stones has established the following guidelines for assigning empty tables.

The first priority will be to assign tables to former vendors who were unable to attend last year’s show and who gave advance notice that they were not coming.

The second priority will be to admit some new vendors to the show. It is important to bring in new vendors to keep the show vibrant and interesting to customers.

Third priority will be to assign additional tables to existing vendors.

These are general guidelines and the Board and/or Show Committee can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Decisions of the Board and/or Show Committee are final.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This weekend! Gem and Mineral Show in Albuquerque!

Treasures of the Earth – 2012
March 16-18, 2012
Theme: AGATE
Albuquerque Gem and Mineral Club's 43rd Annual Show
New Mexico State Fairgrounds (Creative Arts Center)
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm Friday and Saturday; 10 am to 5 pm Sunday
Admission is $3.00, except Friday is "DOLLAR DAY". Children under 13 are FREE.

We'll have over 40 dealers selling everything from amethyst cathedrals to Zebra rock, rocks and minerals inexpensive to moderately priced. You will find gems (crystals, faceted, cabs, rough, and set in jewelry), decorator items, and jewelry, books and supplies, beads, and lots more. We'll have a mineral ID Booth, visits by a well behaved and socialized wolf, an educational booth from the NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (both a display and maps, books, and guidebooks), grab bags for kids, and three silent auctions per day. We will have displays (about 20), most of them educational, all of them interesting! Displays provided by junior and adult members.

Why have we been doing this for 43 years? Besides being a whole lot of fun for club members and the public, the club raises money to award two $1000 scholarships, one each for a UNM and NM Tech geology student.

New Mexico State Fair Grounds. San Pedro street entrance is just north of Central and south of Lomas. The Creative Arts Center is one block east of our old building (the School Arts building) and is directly across the street from (south of) the Manuel Lujan Exhibit Center.

Contact Paul Hlava, 505-255-5478 for additional information

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rockhound on the Road - Rockin’ the Surf - Installment 3

Camp above Quartsite

Descending into lava tube

Long view of Mojave Desert

Climbing Down

Our favorite rock

Jalama Beach
Weird rocks on beach - oh wait - those are Elephant Seals!

Low tide - wow - look at all those rocks!
See below for Installments 1 and 2 of Rockhound on the Road - Rockin' the surf.  

Rockhound on the Road - Rockin’ the Surf - Installment 2

(Installment 1 is below)

We spent two nights at Plaskett Creek before heading south toward the Hearst Castle where we hoped to get in on a tour before our ultimate destination for the day, Jalama Beach near Lompoc. Just before we got to San Simeon, we encountered the Elephant Seal Beach where thousands of elephant seals of all ages and sizes were sunning themselves, suckling their calves, posturing and bellowing for territorial rights, and generally living what looked like the good life. We arrived at the Castle in time for the next tour, and saw how “the good life” was lived in the 30s and 40s.

Jalama beach was not only windy, but the surf was so loud that it sounded like a gale—not pleasant for sleeping. Here we did more rockhounding, finding something called root beer agate, and of course other pebbles and seashells. There were also tidal pools with orange, yellow, and blue starfish and sea urchins—quite extraordinary for landlubbers like ourselves.

We had hoped to head home through Death Valley, but only had enough time to make a detour through Tecopa Hot Springs. Not much rockhounding there, but the water was good. However it was about this time that the weather began to turn on us, and the next day we arrived in the Mojave Desert in time for an afternoon rain. Living in the desert, we never begrudge a desert rain, and after it stopped we hiked over the lava flows which glistened black in the low light. Then we walked through the short expanse of a lava tube with incredible flows that looked as fresh and sticky as frosting.

Here we split with our friends—they heading toward Laughlin and we heading back to Quartzsite for another afternoon of shopping before hitting the highway the next day. We camped at the same exit on the other side of the highway in what seemed like a private spot even though we could hear other campers maybe a half mile away. It was just off a gravel road, so we were quite startled the next morning when at first light an 18-wheeler zipped by on the way to who-knows-where! Then another! My first thought as the first one roared by was--earthquake! They must have been going to a quarry on a dead-end turn up the road a ways, because from there the road degenerated into something suitable only for 4-wheelers.

The drive home was long and tiring, but we arrived at a good hour with plenty of light to unpack and settle in. I have to mention the price of gas. Most places in California it was around $3.80/gallon. The most we paid was $4.59 in Needles, but with the needle dropping below E, we bit the bullet and paid the price. Altogether the cost was over $500 in gas alone, but it was worth the trip.

Rockhound on the Road - Rockin’ the Surf - Installment 1

by Kyle Meredith
The day after the January Rolling Stones meeting, Josh and Kyle headed west. We got up a lot earlier than we wanted to and drove a long day to the Desert Gardens Gem and Mineral Show in Quartzsite, Arizona.
We arrived about 2:30 in the afternoon with enough time to hurry through the booths, finding the great deals we have come to expect in Quartzsite. One note concerning the various shows: the other big rock show is the Tyson Wells Show. It’s larger than Desert Gardens, and we spent all our time there last year. Although either show is worth going to, we seemed to find the best deals at Desert Gardens in the north end of town. We also encountered Fuad, whom some of you may remember as a vendor at our Show last year.

For those of you who may consider camping there, we chose a secluded area off I-10 at Exit 26, Gold Nugget Road, before dropping down into town a few miles away. You can drive a ways in either direction and find a nice place for a night or two without the congestion you find nearer to town, AND it’s a lot more beautiful with plenty of saguaros and teddy bear cholla. One thing: you’re probably going to still hear the noise of I-10 which seems to get busier at night!

The next day we drove to a friend’s house in Rancho Mirage (near Palm Springs), then on the Sunday of Martin Luther King Weekend, ventured forth in our camper on the Interstate system out of San Bernardino. I think we picked the best possible day to travel—not even as much traffic as Albuquerque on an average day—and we arrived at Plaskett Creek Campground (south of Big Sur) where we met our Colorado camping buddies, Edie and Michael, in time to take a short hike to the bluffs above the ocean where the sun was beginning to cast long shadows.

We began rockhounding in earnest the next day. Jade is what we were there to find, and we were at the northern extremity of the jade collecting area. We had done a little research and learned that a lot of what LOOKS like jade is actually serpentine, but you can easily tell the difference with the scratch test—a knife blade will cut deeply into the serpentine, but hardly scratch the jade. The problem was that many rocks resisted the scratch test and yet were not likely to be jade. We’re still not sure how much jade we actually collected, but there were so many beautiful rocks that it was hard to not pick up each and every one. One of our favorites was definitely not jade.

In doing research for the trip we learned that you are only permitted to collect below the mean high tide line, meaning that we had to know the tide schedule. We felt lucky that it corresponded with the hours we wanted to be out. We started in the morning as the tide had about half receded, and wandered among the cliffs and crags as it ebbed further into the ocean. We also learned to never turn your back on the ocean. If we didn’t pay close attention, an unexpectedly exuberant wave could get our pants wet or try to claim our shoes on the beach. 

We had been worried that it might be foggy and wet and cold, but the weather cooperated beyond our wildest expectations, even though it was a little windy from time to time. Even having to wear jackets, though, we still were able to walk barefoot in the surf the whole time we were at the beach. We spent most of our time scrambling over the boulders pounded smooth by the relentless ocean. Just getting down was tricky verging on treacherous, climbing down the vertical dirt trails with serpentine steps as slick as talc. On the sandy beach it was a different matter, ambling along looking for rocks and shells laid at our feet by a generous surf.

Monday, March 5, 2012

February Field Trip Report

Many great specimens from the February trip
It was a bright sunny day with a gentle breeze that was chilly in the morning but soon warmed into a pleasant day. Rolling Stones gathered at a prospect just this side of Granite Gap off New Mexico Hwy 80. The Peloncillo Range that straddles the New Mexico-Arizona border is a spectacular weathered granite formation in this area. The area was known as the San Simon Mining District in the days when it was active. At the site, selected by field trip leader Ansel, copper ores, pyrites and calcite produced some smaller specimens. Those searching for yard rock found some beautiful white quartz in all sizes. For the first "spring weather" outing in a while, all agreed that it was an interesting and productive trip.

Submitted by Lee Stockman
Map to collecting site
Members search through hopes of long-gone miners