The Essential Guide to Gem, Mineral and Fossil Clubs

American Geode

From attending, volunteering for, and being members of gem and mineral clubs in New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and attending camps, seminars and intra-club retreats with people from all over the United States, we consider ourselves gem, mineral, and fossil club aficionados. So whether you are considering joining a gem and mineral show for the first time that perhaps you found on an events page, or you are a veteran of gem and mineral clubs, this primer on clubs will prove to be a valuable resource on what to expect from a gem and mineral club and how to have more fun.

First, consider what you are seeking from a club. Is it the academics and education of gemology, geology, paleontology, or archaeology? Are you seeking rockhound partners and buddies? Are you seeking to use a work-shop for cabochon or lapidary arts? Are you seeking fellowship with a group that meets outside of their monthly meetings? These are questions to ask as you search for the club that is right for you.

The answer may be to join more than one club…

Each club does have a different style, and you can tell what that is from their homepage, or if they do not maintain a homepage, then ask someone from the club. Some clubs have access to facilities offering a complete workshop; saws to cut giant geodes in half, cabochon machines, polishing wheels, lapidary tools, faceting machines, and kilns to heat your wire-wrapping or jewelry projects are for member use! Some clubs maintain all that equipment in their own private clubhouse! Is a workshop something you seek to pursue and hone your hobby? If so, then find the club that offers that equipment.

Now the clubs like this may not always have a special monthly speaker, but the clubs who meet in a rental space, hotel banquet hall or college facility do very likely provide different speakers each month. The clubs in big cities, where a workshop or clubhouse would be impractical, or impossible to acquire and maintain rely on other facilities for monthly meetings and shows, so to keep membership growing, those kinds of clubs keep a lively roster of speakers on their calendars.

Is your goal to get out and rockhound? Do you seek to explore old abandoned mines? A question to ask a club is do they throw and organize field trips? You can often times find out the answer on their homepage. There is often a “field trip” section, much like this Rockhound page. If you can’t tell, then ask the club. Sometime being in a big city can make field trips a challenge. Most people in New York City or Chicago do not have cars for instance. A field trip would require permission and arrangement to visit a site, a bus or fleet of vans, and if it rains, the field trip is canceled. So big city clubs may not offer rockhounding field trips. The age range of the club can also set the tone for interest in rockhounding and field trips. For a club whose members’ days of getting out into the field are past, you may not find these opportunities.

So what is the best approach to becoming involved with gem, mineral, and fossil clubs? The answer is to join more than one. The dues are annual and range from $15 per year to about $50 per year on the very high side. You may live in New York but find the newsletter from a club in Texas is chock full of so many good tips about polishing gems and minerals, cleaning rocks from the field, and other anecdotes that you belong despite the geographical distance.

So join more than one club, to have access to a workshop when you need it, field trips in the spring and fall, the chance to hear academic and scholarly discussions in geology and paleontology, and make new friends during the whole gem and mineral club experience!

Santa Cruz Gem, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show in April!

Jewelry Show
Mineral, Gem, Fossil and Jewelry Show
67th Annual Mineral, Gem, Fossil and Jewelry Show
Wizards, Crystals & Treasures
Sat & Sun • April 28 & 29 • 10 am – 5 pm
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Lecture Daily

Activities for All Ages
Gold Panning, Kids crafts, Rocks that GLOW Treasure Hunt (score wizard crystals treasure!) and Geode Cutting

Cabochon making, Arrowhead Knapping and Hands on Soapstone Carving

$6 Admission, Children under 12 & Scouts in Uniform Free
$1 Off With A Printout Of The Flyer
Mineral, Gem, Fossil and Jewelry Show

American Geode Info
Does your gem, mineral or fossil club or society need new members in your ranks? How about new guests to your gem, mineral and fossil shows? Would you like rockhounds and gem, mineral and fossil enthusiasts to travel across state lines to visit your show? Would you like exponentially more traffic to your club’s homepage or the show’s homepage?

American Geode can help. Between 3000 and 10000 rockhounds and gem, mineral and fossil enthusiasts visit our website each month. They also contact us for suggestions on clubs to join, and shows and events to attend.

Other mineral websites charge between $600 to $1000 per year for a banner ad on their site.

We charge a flat rate of $150 for 12 month basic partnership and offer much more than other mineral sites. Send us two banner ads, 728×90 and/or 150×150, that we will post on our website. As an add-on service, send your club announcements and show announcements for us to post over our famous American Geode Twitter with 10,000+ rockhound followers, fans and friends.

The benefits to you and your club are that you will raise higher in the Google ranks when someone searches for gem and mineral clubs, and gem and mineral shows. You will also view many more visitors to your site, soliciting information about how to join your club, download your member application form, and visit your shows.

Gilsum Rock Swap and Mineral Show 2018

Mineral Show
Mineral Show
Mineral Show

Gilsum Rock Swap and Mineral Show, sponsored by the Gilsum Recreation Committee, attracts thousands of rock and mineral enthusiasts from across the country each year. The event, known for its scenic location and small-town hospitality, will take place on the weekend of June 23-24, 2018 at the Gilsum Elementary School & Community Center, 640 Route 10 in Gilsum, NH. All monies raised by this event go to community recreation programs. Admission is free, although we do accept donations.

This year’s event includes a special presentation by mineral hunter and geologist Nancy Swing. Don’t miss “Rock-Hounding in New England,” Saturday at 1:00 PM in the auditorium, when she will share her own experiences rock hunting at key sites in the Northeast. Swing is the owner of Natures. She began collecting at the age of three, and is a regular speaker at rock and gem shows. This presentation is free.

Other events include our annual ham and bean dinner with homemade pies, a chicken barbecue, and panning for minerals for the kids.
Show Schedule: Saturday
8 AM Exhibits open

8 AM – Noon: Wholesome Foods Breakfast
10 AM – 2PM: Library books sale at the Library

1 PM: SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Speaker to be determined.

4:45 PM: Annual Ham & Bean Dinner with homemade beans and pies! Three seatings beginning at 4:45, 5:45 and 6:45 PM at Gilsum Congregational Church. Tickets on sale at the Rock Swap Central information booth all day and at the church at meal time.
6 PM: Dealer exhibits close

8 AM: Exhibits open
8 AM – Noon: Wholesome Foods Breakfast
Noon – 2 PM: Chicken Barbecue
10 AM – 2 PM: Library book sale 10:00 – 2:00 at the Library
4:00 PM: Show closes – See you next year!
Visit us on Facebook at GilsumRockSwap, where you will find photos from last year’s show, announcements for this year’s event and more!

Carbondale Fern Fossil Site – CLOSED

Carbondale had an area, site of former strip mining, that still had piles and heaps of shale and slate that contained fern fossils. American Geode has the good fortune of discovering this site back in 2015 and recovered many fern fossils for our clients in academia, for our collector clients and for donation to the gem, mineral and fossil societies to which American Geode belongs.

American Geode are very sad to report that this fern fossil site is now CLOSED and OFF-LIMITS. We returned to the site and saw a large sign declaring that this was a Pennsylvania State Mine Reclamation Project, and as we walked around, we saw no more hills, no pilings, no mounds. Everything was razed. The site was closed, off limits, we could see the tracks from heavy equipment that bull-dozed over the pilings and fossil mounds; this fern fossil site is gone. We took some photos of the now desolate and closed Carbondale fern fossil site, and American Geode still has some of these fossils in our inventory available for studying or purchase:
Name: Fern Fossils and Tree Branches
Fern Species: Alethopteris
Location: Carbondale, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Time: Pennsylvanian Sub-period, 320-290 million years old
Llewellyn Formation
Carbondale fern fossils 1

Carbondale fern fossils 2

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Carbondale fern fossils 5

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Hyner View State Park

American Geode visited Hyner View State Park during the American Geode rockhounding and fossil hunting trip to Renovo, Pennsylvania and the world famous fossil locale of Red Hill. We were told that Hyner View State Park had the best sunset in the area, so we raced up a very winding road to the top of the mountain to witness one of the great sunsets. The photos speak for themselves, but we need to explain what the platform is that is visible in some of the photos. Due to the freedom of Pennsylvania laws governing outdoors activity, and the self-responsibility that the PA law requires, people go hang gliding off that platform. Per Pennsylvania law, unless you have been invited on to someone’s property, you are liable for yourself. Unless you are under the invitation of a property owner, even if you trespass on someone’s property, and get hurt, the owner of the property is not liable; you are liable. As a result of this, there is much more freedom allowed in Pennsylvania on public lands, as the state is not liable, and you are fully responsible for your safety and well-being. This brings many hang gliders to Hyner View State Park for hang gliding. We were told that someone goes up there with their hang glide, and then they have a friend drive down to meet and rendez-vous with them when they land at the bottom.

The laws of personal responsibility apply to rockhounding as well. One can rockhound along a state road outcrop. As long as the outcrop is not private property, you can rockhound. You are not allowed to rockhound or pull over along national highways however. This is a very important distinction to make because I-80 and I-81 are full of large outcrops, but they are off-limits since the highway is national. This is why American Geode was able to fossil hunt along old Route 15, along the outcrop that is Red Hill and in infamous ghost town Centralia.
American Geode recommends each rockhound to plan their excursions in advance, exercise safety with goggles and protective clothing and gear, and to ensure that you do not trespass on private property. American Geode can provide guidelines from our rockhounding and fossil hunting trips, but American Geode are not legal experts.

Hyner View State Park was full of trails, and a a great place for cooking out. A family could bring a picnic, tools, charcoal, burgers and dogs for grilling out and take advantage of the permanent grills up there at the top of the mountain.

When rockhounding near Renovo, or fossil hunting at world famous Red Hill, American Geodes recommends a drive to Hyner View State Park for one of the world’s great sunsets, and maybe some hang gliders!

Hyner View State Park 1

Hyner View State Park 2

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