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All Wrapped Up!!


By Ortrud Schuh

What better way to show off your pretty stones than wearing them proudly around your neck in the form of a beautiful hand crafted pendant. Not everybody can do this, you say? You are not creative enough, you say? You wish you had the time and patience - but you don’t, you say?

But have you ever tried???

Last week five eager TGMS members met for a two day class on how to wire wrap cabochons. Thanks to the knowledgeable instruction of Jo Anne Sam, we all accomplished what initially seemed like a daunting task. Armed with pliers, snips and silver wire, and loaded with polished stones and big ideas, we met at the TGMS facility. We soon found out that three of us had purchased the wrong size wire due to an error made by the supply store personnel. Kim’s skillful negotiation with the very apologetic vendor got us the correct wire and a very nice group discount.  

In the course of six hours, Jo Ann patiently talked and walked us through all the steps from cutting the first wire to the finished pendant. We learned never to waste a snippet of silver wire, we are well versed in the use of diagonal clips, needle nose pliers, bent nose pliers, round nose pliers, and flat nose pliers and appreciated the advantage of square and half round, half hard silver wire. Marilyn Reynolds found out the hard way that her beautiful new nails turned out to be a true handicap when working with the silver wire.

We were provided with nourishment and coffee … although Valerian tea would have been more appropriate for some of us (LOL)!

Despite burning eyes and cramped up fingers we all mastered the “tacky” task of bending the tacks, setting the stones and not getting too frustrated when we got our wires crossed. The results are very much worth the trouble as you will probably see at the next TGMS gathering – proudly worn by their makers. I will definitely show off mine!!!

If you also would like to learn the art and craft of wire wrapping, please contact Pat McClain, our TGMS Executive Manager, for the next available course. The class is opened to all TGMS members at no charge. This is a great way to connect to fellow TGMS members and to get involved with our club. In the name of all participants I would like to extend a big “Thank You” to Jo Anne for her time and effort to share her passion with us.

It's Still SARSEF!

IT’S STILL SARSEF - Anna Domitrovic

You may know it as the Southern Arizona Regional Science & Engineering Fair. But some may also know it as SARSEF. The anachronism is the same but a few years ago the name was changed to the Southern Arizona Research, Science & Engineering Foundation to reflect their non-profit status, but it’s still SARSEF. And it’s still the science fair held at the TCC every March.

Now that another science fair judging for the TGMS has come and gone, it’s time to thank the excellent judging team of Jeanette and Bob Barnes and Elaine and Bob Royer with yours truly as team leader. Since judging day was on March 30th, the day before the 3-day event that marked the 25th Minerals of Arizona Symposium, special thanks go to Pat McClain, Executive Manager and Rose Marquez, Executive Assistant for assembling and getting our awards to the TCC for the April 1st ceremonies. Thanks to all involved for keeping the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society front and center at this annual Tucson event.

mid-school 2017.JPG

As for the judging, we had some debate on who should get the first place for our middle school award, but majority ruled and it went to Abbey Brumm, a 6th grader at Tucson Waldorf School. Her project was “Smelting Bronze from Ore and Its Implications”. Bronze is tin (Sn) and copper (Cu). Abbey used cassiterite for the tin ore and a specimen with azurite and malachite for the copper ore, then smelted, refined and produced ingots of bronze. She determined it was a low temperature reaction, around 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit, that resulted in the bronze. Quite a project and deserving of the one award we give to a middle schooler.

The elementary school awards went to two 5th graders and a 4th grader. Leading the charge for the 5th graders was Orion Abrell for “Whether Rocks Weather”. Orion described the project as “an experiment about erosion”. The mass of seven specimens (basalt, conglomerate, dacite, limestone, quartz and quartzite and sandstone) was determined first, and then each was subjected to immersion in carbonated water. After a given time in the solution, mass measurements were again taken. Limestone showed the most noticeable “weathering” of the collection of seven. Theresa Barry teaches Orion at Sam Hughes Elementary.

The second 5th grader to get our attention was Emerson Hoyle, taught by Susan Brindley at Butterfield Elementary. The project, “The Green Penny”, showed how oxidized copper results in green coatings of malachite. Newer pennies (2013, 2014, 2016) were oxidized to extract any copper and compared to the oxidation of older pennies (1972, 1979, 1982) which contain more copper. Attention was also drawn to the Statue of Liberty, showing the green oxidation of the copper contained in this American symbol.

The third of the elementary school awards went to Discovery Plus Academy’s 4th grader, Elisa Verdugo, taught by Diane Thornton. The project, “Copper Electroplating”, asked the burning question “can different metals attract copper?” She attached a battery to a copper sulfate (CuSO4) solution and inserted various objects to determine which ones attracted the most copper, if any. After subjecting objects made of galvanized (nail) and non-galvanized (bolt, screw, washer) steel, sterling silver (fork), stainless steel (fork), aluminum (earring, radiator plate) and cupronickel, a quarter, she determined that the only ones to attract significant copper were the non-galvanized bolt, screw and washer. Elisa expressed an interest in repeating the experiment with a stronger battery. You go girl! There’s your project for next year!

What a fun time it was, and always is, judging at the science fair! The TGMS was the first to contribute and get involved with the science fair when it was first organized more than 60 years ago. We were graciously acknowledged during the opening remarks on judging day. Thank you, SARSEF. We submit our judging team in December every year for the following spring event. Look for an announcement and a call for judges in a fall issue of Rock Talk and contact the office, tgms@tgms.org  or me directly at annamd84pa@aol.com if you want to join the fun at the 2018 science fair.

14th Sinkankis Symposium

What Can I Do On a Spring Saturday in Carlsbad, California?

By Paul S. Harter

The answer to this question is really quit simple: attend the Fourteenth Sinkankis Symposium at the Gemological Institute of America. Marilyn and I have been married for 43 years. She hails from beautiful San Diego. So, over the years we have had many trips to visit parents, friends, to take kids to the beach and so on. We have made this drive well over 200 times since being married and never tire of the drive for many reasons: 350 miles gives you plenty of time to talk (sometimes I think this is becoming a lost art), you get to see a great agricultural belt and what farmers are growing and there is always a stop in Yuma for rolled tacos at Mr. G's. For those who have not made the stop this shop has been a favorite Yuma haunt for over 60 years.

Friday, April 7 dawned bright and cool in Phoenix. Unlike other trips there was no pressure to leave early. Instead, just a leisurely drive. Arrived at Mr. G's in time to beat the lunch rush. A dozen rolled tacos and two drinks make a perfect meal for two. Of course there was an extra Yz dozen for the road. Being familiar with the highways around San Diego allowed us to avoid going all the way west to the 805 (the heart of Mission Valley) and then North. Instead, take the hypotenuse and miss heavy traffic. We got to Carlsbad at about 3:00, checked into the hotel and immediately headed to the Carlsbad Flower Fields. For those who have never visited and have an interest in flowers, this is a must. An entire hillside, 50 acres, planted in ranunculus. Splendid color. In addition to other displays, there was a sweet pea maze. The smell of this flower from Sicily is intoxicating.  To finish the day we had scallops and crab cakes for dinner.

Saturday morning was a bit overcast, not fog, but rather a light mist. No mineral collector I know is deterred by a little rain. So we pull into the secure parking lot at 8:00 and checked in. The Carlsbad facility is a beautiful building with grounds to match. Once inside, OJ and coffee, along with assorted pastries were being served. This gives you time to mingle and say good morning to friends and acquaintances. Then upstairs for the talks. Although this was only my 4th Symposium, it was different this year. Roger Merk, a longtime TGMS Show dealer, was not the host, having passed early last year. But, Robert Weldon, who has lectured at TGMS Shows, took up the responsibility.

The Sinkankis Symposium differs from others in that it chooses one gem and all of the talks are focused on the selected gem. This year's theme was “sapphire.” Remember - ruby is red, sapphire is blue and all the other colors are "fancy pink, fancy yellow,” etc. My gosh, the beauty of sapphire is stunning. The keynote speaker was Richard Hughes who has spent a lifetime in the study of corundum: ruby and sapphire. Even though ruby had been the theme few years back, there was still a small amount of crossover this year and we saw both red and blue. We were treated to a brilliant lecture and many photographs from his trips to sapphire locales around the world. People and places, most of us will never see. Richard has been a prolific author on his specialty.  The last book, a mere ten (10) pound tome, was available.

As mentioned earlier, the Sinkankis format focuses solely on one gem. There were several talks about the science of corundum, origin, crystal structure, color, etc. While all the presenters are exceptional, one reason I enjoy this symposium is having the opportunity to hear George

Rossman, a Cal Tech professor, talks about color. This year was no exception. He helped all of us learn more about the color of sapphire. If you have the chance to attend a Dr. Rossman lecture, do not miss same. You will not be disappointed. For those interested in history and its interaction with sapphire there were two superb talks, Alan Hart and Lisbet Thoresen. Of course there were talks for those interested in preparation of rough sapphire to finished gemstones. This talk featured re-cutting in order to better show the qualities and attributes of a given sapphire. Photography was not to be forgotten. While all presentations displayed images, there was a fascinating talk about photography and micro-inclusions. Finally, no symposium would be complete without the support of the Larson family. A full size exhibit case was chock full of specimens, gemstones and jewelry from various members of the Larson family. Carl Larson exhibited a magnificent corundum crystal from Riverside, CA and had a "to die for" star sapphire as his "pocket rock.”  Carl, in Bill's absence, shared stories and photographs of many sapphire crystals, gemstones and pieces of jewelry from the family collection.

But wait, there are additional opportunities during the day. Two other enjoyable aspects of the day at the GIA are a chance to enjoy the various exhibits throughout the building and Dona Dirlam opens the GIA library for "browsing" during lunch. A great library for research. Then, sadly at 5:15 the symposium ended. But, there was one more event of the day: a great seafood feast with friends Dona, Lois, Gloria, Wayne and Dave.

We all came away secure in the knowledge there will be another Symposium in 2018. While the theme has not been chosen, or at least shared, Marilyn and I plan on attending and having another memorable day in Carlsbad. So you see, this is what you can do on a spring Saturday in Carlsbad.




Wulfenite - Update!

UPDATE!!! Governor Ducey signed into law HB2092 on the afternoon of March 22, 2017!!!  "Thank you" to all who helped get this bill passed!!


Arizona State Mineral - Wulfenite - History

We expect Sen. Steve Smith, Senator for District-11, to be the sponsor of the bill in the Senate. A vote by the Senate should come up the week of February 28, 2017.

We need continued support for the bill to get through this crucial hurdle. If it passes in the Senate, it goes to the Governor’s office to be signed into law. We expect this would happen about 10 days after it’s received from the Senate.

Please let Senator Smith know of you support. You can email him at: Stsmith@AZleg.gov or call his office: 206-926-5685.

For a complete list of Senate Members on the Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee, click here.  These individuals are key to getting HB2092 out of committee and to the Senate floor on Monday.  Let them know about your support for "Bill HB2092!"

To locate your Arizona State Senator, go to: https://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster/?body=S where you will find their email address along with a phone number.

Thank you!!



Competitive Fossil Exhibit ...


By Dick Gottfried

Here I am, a member of the TGMS, and a fossil nut.  I am not entirely out of place, as, since a child, I have always suffered from that affliction called ROCK POX, and have never been loath to “pick up a purdy rock” if I see one.  When I lived in St. Louis, we had a local fossil club, the Eastern Missouri Society for Paleontology, which had meetings every month and many field trips in the local area.  Missouri and Illinois are fossil-hunting heaven – you could find fossils almost in your back yard.  I could wax rhapsodic on and on, but that’s not the subject of this article.

Why not set up a competitive fossil exhibit?  I’ve never done that before, and fossil nuts are a rarity among gem and mineral collectors.

Examining my collection, I had to ask what specimens would be best to show?  Unlike many collectors, I did not specialize in one area. My specialty could be described as:  anything that ever lived at any time and anywhere on earth.  Therefore, I decided to limit the geography to the Missouri/Illinois area.  Of course, this mirrored the Minerals of the Midwest theme of the show. I had an adequate number of good specimens to choose from.

Next, how would I select them?  How could I keep them from looking “ho-hum, just a bunch of dusty rocks”?  Fossils don’t have any flashy colors like purdy rocks do.  Much of my collection consists of small animals, some of which must be stored in coin folders so that they can be examined without being damaged or misplaced.  Others must be seen up close to be appreciated.  So, after many hours of sifting, I came up with a bunch of fossils that I thought would be of interest.  I decided to only use specimens I had personally collected, prepared, documented, and written up on my computer.  This would be duck soup to label up and display!

Duck soup turned out to be a little more complicated recipe than I expected.  How did I want to arrange the display?  What type of order should it follow?  It could be the biggest in the back and the smallest in the front, but that wouldn’t make any sense.  That would be an unintelligible mish-mosh, and it didn’t “speak to me” -- bad feng-shui.   How about the oldest to the youngest?  I didn’t think that would impress anyone. Another gemisch! 

How about the evolutionary path or tree of life arrangement?  Bingo!  That would make sense, and, by golly, I had every phylum and most of the better-known classes.  With the proper explanation and background on the case lining, it should enhance interest into what the display is all about.  So, part of my background would be the TREE-OF-LIFE.  Onto the labels!

There are no specifications for labels, other than BROOOAD hints, so I will do what is most sensible to me.  The name of the specimen.  Scientific name.  Genus and species (if possible).  Plus, the name of the describing author and publication date of his paper. And do it properly and consistently.  This is standard practice in the literature, and, of course, I had all this information at my fingertips (cough, cough).  After ascertaining that this was correct (via the internet, etc.), add the common name. Then the phylogeny (phylum, class, order and family), the stratigraphy (period, epoch, series, formation, member), and the age of the fossil in millions of years (MYA), remembering that you start with the oldest date and end with the most recent (I tend to reverse this often, and it would be embarrassing to be dinged because of this).

Now go back and check my spelling… what, spellcheck doesn’t recognize any of the technical names or geological formations?  Humph!  Why does it seem that my fingers misspell when my brain doesn’t?  OK, Dick, go back and check every spelling, word by word.  You know that you will probably misspell the one word that one judge is the world-expert on, and will take great pleasure in shaming you loudly and in public! (I know that won’t happen, but if I’m going to set up an exhibit, it’s going to be correct and done right).

Since specimens were collected over a wide geographic area, a map is required -- preferably a geological map -- so that the fossil locations can be pinpointed.  This should add the proper dimension to the display. And what about an explanation why all these marine fossils were found in the middle of the continent?  Hmmm…Oh yes, I had written a paper on this and it is still on the internet.  Grab it and plagiarize myself!  Now the exhibit is now coming together.  Let’s see how it looks it at the show. 

Seriously, I am looking forward to the criticisms of the display from the judges because this will be my first exhibit, competitive or otherwise, and it has already been a great learning experience for me.

I must admit that the displays in the show have always been intimidating to me as they are so fantastic.  The professional collections have been world-class, something that I never thought I could compete with.  However, most of these displays have not been self-collected, nor are most of them set up by amateur hobbyists who just love collecting.  I have many fossils that I have purchased, and many that have been offered as freebies at fossil club meetings.  However, the fossils on display in this case have all been collected in the field personally by me, and prepared by me.  I am proud to put these on display, and hope that it will spark an interest in others to this hobby.

"Mineral Treasures of the Midwest"

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Society

proudly presents ...

2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®

Below is a list of states that TGMS has designated as "Mineral Treasures of the Midwest."   With the list of states we have also listed some of the possible minerals that you just might see on exhibit February 9th through the 12th ... another exciting time at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®.

Michigan: Copper Country Minerals ... Native Copper, Native Silver Copper in calcite, etc.; Celestine and Native Sulfur, Maybee area

Wisconsin: Chalcocite, Flambeau Mine, Laddysmith; Calcite, Shullsberg area

Illinois: Fluorite, Calcite, etc. from Illinois-Kentucky Fluorite District

Indiana: Celestine, Fluorite, Calcite, Millerite

Ohio: Fluorite from Auglaise, Clay Center, Calcites,  Pyrite, pyritized brachiopods

Missouri: Galena, Chalcopyrite, Fluorite, Calcite from Viburnum Trend

Kentucky: Fluorite (see Illinois) Millerite, Hall's Gap

Tennessee: Fluorite, Sphalerite, Calcite, Elmwood-Carthage

Arkansas: Galena, Calcite, Sphalerite from Tri-State District; Quartz, Hot Springs, Wavellite, Dolomite, Smithsonite ps Dolomite

Oklahoma: Galena, Calcite, Sphalerite from Tri-State District;  Gypsum, Jet Plains;

Kansas: Galena, Calcite, Sphalerite from Tri-State District;.  Ruby slippers, Emerald City (just checking to see if you're paying attention)

Iowa: Keokuk Geodes

S. Dakota: Barite, Elk Creek, Rare and Lovely Phosphates, Tip Top Mine; Gold, Homestake Mine, Lead

N. Dakota: Best known for fossils

Call For Papers

The 38th Annual
Tucson Mineral Symposium

"Mineral Treasures of the Midwest"

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Tucson Convention Center – Crystal Ballroom

Call for papers

The thirty-eighth Annual Symposium held in conjunction with the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® will take place on Saturday, February 11, 2017.  The symposium is cosponsored by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, the Friends of Mineralogy, and the Mineralogical Society of America.  As a tie in with the show, the symposium theme is the same as the show theme: "Mineral Treasures of the Midwest".  Presentations on descriptive mineralogy, classic and new localities, and related subjects are welcome.  An audience of amateur and professional mineralogists and geologists is expected.

Anyone wanting to present a paper should submit a 200-300 word abstract to:

Julian Gray, Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, 26385 NW Groveland DR, Hillsboro, OR, 97124; juliangrocks@gmail.com.   

Presentations will be twenty minutes in length. 

Abstracts must be submitted by August 31, 2016.

.... For Minerals!!!

All The Way From Connecticut To Arizona - For Minerals!!!

A couple of months ago a correspondence was received at our TGMS Office from a lady in Connecticut asking for assistance in helping her eight year old daughter Hannah, an avid rock hound, enhance her Tucson visit by recommending "dig sites."  This information was referred to me to try to assist her in making this visit a positive experience.  All the "dig sites" I could think of were either closed to the public, dangerous (snakes, heat, rough terrain) or only 4-wheel drive accessible.  So with the help of Pat McClain, we came up with a plan. I created a collection of Arizona, New Mexico and California minerals in our traditional egg carton and Pat made a "goodie bag" including a T-shirt, coloring book/crayons and “A Quest for Shiny Purple Crystal” storybook. Merritt Simmons also contributed some very colorful Moroccan specimens.  Hannah was also given a couple of passes to the Desert museum so she could explore their Geology exhibit and little "dig site."

                  Nancy .... Hannah ... Becky

                  Nancy .... Hannah ... Becky

I met with Hannah, her Mom Becky and Grandmother Nancy, at  Purple Heart Park to give her all the gifts from TGMS.  She was so excited with everything I brought and they were all so complementary of our willingness to help out a little girl who loves rocks and encourage her in her hobby.

Thank you all so much for your donations and encouragement in making this kind of thing possible. This is our future, we must not let it slip away.

By Diane Braswell

2016 SARSEF Winners!


By Anna Domitrovic

Well, the SARSEF organization switched things around on us this year.  Rather than mid-March, the science fair and judging happened the first week in March, with judging on the 3rd and awards presentation on the 5th at 2 PM for K-5th grade and at 7 PM for middle and high school. But that didn’t deter our intrepid group of judges. Jeannette and Bob Barnes were new to the judging team this year. But return judges Elaine and Bob Royer served as coaches. It was “the girls” judging against “the boys” for the kindergarten through 5th grade projects, and your team leader (that’s me!) judging the middle school, 6th through 8th grades, projects. Longtime team participant, Janet Reue, couldn’t join us on judging day as it’s her docent day at the Desert Museum (the nerve!), but she did help on Saturday presenting our elementary school awards. Those of you who expressed an interest in SARSEF on your membership applications but didn’t make the cut this year, hang in there! I plan to give all of you a chance at participating in this community outreach event.

As for the winners… we went to a 6th grader for the middle school award. Asiel Carranza goes to Gallego Intermediate Fine Arts School. His project, “Measuring the Weight Resistance of Different Metals,” was more in the engineering category, but it got our attention anyway. Using different metal rods, each topped by a five gallon bucket, he added water to the bucket until the rod bent. He then compared how much water in weight was needed to bend each rod. Kelley Brooks-Cavaletto is Asiel’s teacher.

The elementary school project awards came from the 4th, 2nd and kindergarten grades. Our 4th grader was Daria Muratalieva for her project, “Jumping for Geodes: Can You Tell the Inside from the Outside.” She started with ten golf ball-size, uncut geodes and attempted to predict the color and size of the internal crystals by studying the outside, then cracked them open to see if her hypotheses were correct. 70% right on the color, but only 30% on the size. Daria goes to Painted Sky Elementary where she is taught by Mrs. Ronnie.

Aviel Arellano, a 2nd grader at Casas Christian School where his teacher is Yvette Robinson, got our nod for his project, “Are These Rocks Thirsty?” He gathered examples of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, and then determined how much water they would absorb when left to soak. He determined that granite was the least porous and highly recommended granite for countertops. Great advice, Aviel!

And finally, Dalton Grissom, a home schooler at the kindergarten level, received our award for his project, “Awesome Crystals.” This was a crystal-growing experiment using some typical mediums, but the work that went into it and the execution of his displayed project couldn’t be overlooked by our judging team. Pictures even showed him wearing protective gear! Good for you, Dalton and congratulations to mother Kathy.

After our judging job was done, we sat in the caucus area to recap SARSEF 2016. More than 1500 projects were submitted this year. One thing we noticed as we looked for projects to judge in our category was the absence of “cookie cutter” themes. One can tell when a project was designed after science fair idea books. We’ve seen many projects with “what’s the best thing to clean pennies” or "growing salt" and "sugar crystals." But this year was different. New ideas and different ways of doing those tried-and-true projects. It was fun and interesting.

This community outreach event is and has been something very special for TGMS for quite some time now. At the awards presentation program on Saturday, mention was made of an article in the newspaper announcing the very first science fair back in 1955. And lo and behold, guess who was also included in the article as one of the first sponsors? Yes, it was none other than the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. That is certainly something to be proud participants since the very beginning. And this year, special thanks, kudos, accolades and all things grateful and cheery go to our judges Elaine and Bob Royer and Jeannette and Bob Barnes, and to award presenter Janet Reue. Can’t do this for so many years without the team effort! So we can all take a breather for now, but let’s not forget … there’s always next year to look forward to and anticipate.