Category Archives: WCGMC Activity

Rain Forest Jasper

Each month at the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club Saturday club workshop our President (who doubles as our Collection Curator) brings along something from the club collection to raffle off to all who attend the workshop.  This month she arrived with a superb spread of unpolished slabs of Rain Forest Jasper, a very specific form of jasper from the Mt. Hay volcanic field in central Queensland, Australia.

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New WCGMC Newsletter

The Wayne Country Gem and Mineral Club has moved into the sand business!   Well, I guess you could say we’ve come to the realization that sand grains are minerals and since we collect minerals, well, perhaps we should collect sands.  I guess I fell for the “sport” and then for the documentation part, a new newsletter.  Below is the opening article introducing the newsletter and our mission.  And here is a link to the full newsletter (WCGMC Sand Times Vol. 1, no. 1)


This is the inaugural issue of a newsletter published by the Sand Section of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club.  In 2019, one of us, Jim Rienhardt, introduced the club to a new aspect of “mineral” collector by sharing a collection of sands and talking about the hobby.  A few members took interest and decided to give the hobby a try.  The other of us, Fred Haynes, fell for the challenge of collecting and understanding sands hook, line and sinker.

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My 2020 Vision

Many people make New Year’s Resolutions.  Or perhaps just some people still practice the time old tradition of making personal promises and then breaking them?  I am going to forego that doomed-to-fail endeavor this year and replace it with a vision statement.  Someone told me Vision Statements are still in vogue.  I am going to call it My 2020 Vision and each month (or until I grow tired of the exercise) I will check in to see how well I am maintaining my 2020 Vision.

My 2020 Vision revolves around one word:  MORE 

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Cooking Up Some Bismuth

Lots of folks like minerals.  Many of us also like to cook.  At the October meeting of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club Inga Wells brought native bismuth and her “cooking” equipment and showed us how to cook up some bismuth crystals.  Everybody got a close-up look at bismuth stew and then got to take a piece home.

Bismuth (Bi) is a post-transition metal with an atomic number of 83, directly beside lead on the periodic table and below antimony and arsenic.  However, unlike arsenic, bismuth is non-toxic and heating to the melting point does not emit dangerous fumes.  That said, the silvery-white metal melts at 530⁰ F so you might want to wear gloves and observers should keep at a distance while the crystals grow.  Inga told us that stainless steel pots and silverware and a hot plate seem to be the best tools for heating and handling the molten material.  It is further recommended that once pots are used with bismuth that they are retired from primary kitchen use!  You can also see that Inga wore safety goggles, although not gloves.

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WCGMC makes Garnets

We do a lot of different things at WCGMC meetings and on workshop Saturdays.  I don’t often document these activities to my blog as I don’t think they would generally interest folks outside the club.  But at the June meeting this year we did something a little different and I decided my newsletter note for the July newsletter served to be placed here.   You see we made garnets …. well, sort of. 

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Morrisonite

All who attended the January workshop of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club acquired a nice unpolished slab of morrisonite jasper from the club collection.  Most present at the event struggled to identify the “best” piece remaining when their raffle number was drawn.  It was all so colorful and each piece was unique.  I went home with my piece and decided to learn a bit more about my newest acquisition.

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The Art of Falling

Linda Schmidtgall is the new President of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club.  A little bit ago she wrote a story about her experiences with falling which was published in the September WCGMC newsletter.   With permission I republish here.

Rockhounds have to learn how to fall.  It is actually very important to do it with grace.  BUT you do want to make sure someone is watching or you will waste a good fall.  It seems I take at least one great trip down a hill or something every year.  A few I recall are:

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Rock Painting

The new theme for June seemed to be painted rocks.  First, Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club member Donna Smith brought her artistic talents to GemFest and we added a new craft to the event.  Using rocks we had collected from various sites throughout the previous year, Donna set up between Linda Schmidtgall’s highly popular soapstone carving booth and Dave Millis’s gem tree/wire wrapping booth, creating a virtual trifecta of craft activities for youths and adults right in front of the club exhibits. Continue reading

Boy Scouts at GemFest

On the first weekend of June,. the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club holds a two day mineral show in Canandaigua, New York. This year we welcomed a new partner to its annual gem, mineral, and fossil show.  The Seneca Trailways Council of the Boy Scouts of America added GEMFEST to their calendar of events on both their Facebook page and their weekly e-mail which is sent to Scouts and their leaders across the council.   WCGMC believes this is a perfect match.  The involvement of Scouts aligns with both of WCGMC’s primary objectives, providing family fun and working to spread knowledge while stimulating interest in the earth sciences. Continue reading

GEMFEST 2018

For the fourth year is a row, the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club held its annual show at the Greater Canandaigua Civic Center on the first full weekend of June.  Attendance was up over 15%, as over 1400 folks crossed into the arena to visit the venue over the course of two days.  We exceeded our expectations with our club activities, nearly running out of soapstone as 180 1.5” squares were carved, filed and polished by visitors.  The sluice was busy as usual.  Over 300 bags of sand with minerals, gems, shark teeth and more were run across the sluice table. Continue reading

A Weekend in May: Penfield and Central PA

The first weekend of May split the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club into two parties.  Many stayed in western New York and visited Penfield Quarry on the annual Dolomite Products open house.  If you check out our club Facebook page you will find several had a successful day among nearly 200 collectors from across the northeast who visited that day.  But others of us had planned our annual pilgrimage to central Pennsylvania for that weekend, travelling south with visions of wavellite and large lepidodendron tree stumps dancing in our heads.

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Collecting In North Carolina and Tennessee

Last month I wrote about the Arkansas portion of Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club’s November field trip south (quartz, quartz and more quartz).  But we did not stop there.  After three days of collecting SiO2 in and around Mt. Ida, Arkansas, ten of us pointed our large black van east and headed to Tennessee and North Carolina.  There was still a bit of space to fill in the van and in the trailer and we simply could not head north without filling all possible nooks and crannies. Here is how we did it! Continue reading

Arkansas for QUARTZ

In November of 2017, Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club undertook a 9 day collecting trip to Arkansas-Tennessee-North Carolina.  This is mostly a photo essay from the first half of the trip in the Arkansas quartz district of Mt. Ida and Jessieville.   Published in WCGMC December 2017 newsletter.  Part II on the rest of the trip will follow.

3300 miles and 3300 pounds of Arkansas quartz:  the miles are accurate, but the weight may be a bit of an understatement.  Once someone started putting large clusters and quartz-covered pieces into the trailer (I think it was Glenn!) it seemed contagious.  Everyone simply needed more!  Buckets were filled at three sites, half bushel baskets with crystals encased in red Arkansas mud were purchased, we traded for yet more, and eventually even the spaces under the seats in the van were dedicated to Arkansas quartz.  And we hadn’t even headed to North Carolina yet!

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A very busy bunch of rockhounds

The days were shorter in October, but the weather during those days was spectacular and my favorite group of rockhounds was as busy as ever taking full advantage.  The month could easily be renamed Octoborocks by the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club..   While we weren’t planning for our 10 day November trip to Arkansas and other warmer southern spots, we were doing just about everything imaginable. Continue reading

Larimar

At one of Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club’s  December workshops (and we had two!), Robert Webster arrived with some beautiful larimar to cut, grind and polish.  After his successful work he posted pictures of several of his creations to our club’s Facebook Group page.

Raw, cut larimar (left) and some polished pieces.  All prepped at the WCGMC workshop in December. Specimen and photos by Robert Webster, extracted from his post to the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club  Facebook group site.

Raw, cut larimar (left) and some polished pieces. All prepped at the WCGMC workshop in December. Specimen and photos by Robert Webster, extracted from his post to the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club Facebook group site.

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