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California shows

We attended two California shows this weekend and I thought that some
of you might benefit from some of our observations and impressions.
Our first stop was at the Valley Springs show on the Snyder Cattle
Ranch up in the Sierra Foothills about thirty miles out of Stockton.
It is a Friday thru Sunday event, but we also learned that thursdays
are reserved for dealers. This is a big show which has been going on
for three decades. The setting is very quaint and the countryside is
quite beautiful. There is free parking and admission. An antique
engine show is appended to it…all of the ancient machinery is kept
running during the show and the demonstrations are fascinating. There
are also strolling musical groups and several food venues. There is a
broad variety of merchandise available, but the principal goods are
rough and slabbed lapidary materials. Some of the vendors are pros
and many are amateurs. I found one guy selling jade cutoffs from some
lapidary company and scored a killer one and a half pound piece of
the finest Siberian Jade I have ever seen !( ten dollars )

Some of the local material was really quite good and included some
colorful petrified wood, plume agate and multi-colored jasper. Field
trips are held on the ranch and at nearby sites. The cost for these
is ten dollars per person.

The second show was held in Bakersfield, two hundred miles to the
south. It was being held in a huge hall at the fairgrounds. There
were not many dealers and the selection was slim. Nonetheless, I
found one dealer who had some exquisite material at excellent prices
and I came away very satisfied.

The rock club show phenomenon would appear to be dying. Only the
clubs which have actively encouraged youthful participation would
appear to be thriving. Many of the rock clubs are dominated by
octagenarians who seek more in the way of social activities with
their peers than they do of learning new skills and knowledge.
Nothing lasts forever…Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

I agree with your comments about the nature of many rock shows and
clubs. Also there is a problem here in Indiana with the clubs finding
a place to meet where they can have a lab setup. Another sad comment
on our litigious society.

Dan Wellman
Speedway Indiana where the May 500 festivities are under way.

Dittos to your comments. I was at the Decatur, IL rock show a couple
of weeks ago. Apparently one of the rock widows had donated her
husband’s equipment to the city park commission for kids to learn on
but the park people weren’t going to set it up because it didn’t meet
OSHA standards. What a waste.

Quartzsite, my favorite place on earth

Hi Ron, Thanks for your interesting show report. Don’t worry about
the low attendance, this is just part of a cycle this business goes
through periodically.( 50’s rockhound boom; 60’s bust;70’s see- saw
with Indian jewelry and designer minerals; 80’s metaphysical crystal
boom; and, 90’s television gem and jewelry sales; 2000 …? the
internet ?) Just recently someone suggested that the lull in business
(here in Tucson) was due to Indian Casino Gaming, or was it the
Canadian Dollar and R.V. tax? Actually, Tucson is doing fine, just
going through growing pains. We really don’t “have to” do anything,
people all over the world love beautiful rocks, especially when cut,
polished, and mounted in a beautiful setting. We only need to keep the
hobby and products accessible to all the public. Regards, Will

P.S. Great score on the Siberian Jade.

While on the subject of shows. I would like to mention that the
Glendora Gems annual Gem & Mineral Show has a couple of vacancies. If
anyone would be interested in selling at this show, they can e-mail
Mark Thompson at

Show Location:
Goddard School Gym
Glendora, California

Show Date:
June 3 - 4, 2000
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

P.S. I teach jewelry fabrication at the Glendora Gems Club.

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
P.M.B. 131, 305 N. Second Ave.
Upland, California 91786-6028

E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

Dear Will, I agree with many of your assumptions, but, you may have
somewhat oversimplified the scenario…( that fads tend to be
cyclical ) I prefer to think that some phenomena become integrated
into our culture on a long term basis, others are eliminated, and
still others evolve into something which bears little resemblance to
the original. The rockhound thing is probably well along the path of
evolving into something quite unlike the original simple collecting
and lapidary involvement. One of the principal realities of the
foregoing consideration is that collecting is no longer anywhere near
as rewarding as if once was because all the easy pickings have been
consumed and, in many cases, the best materials are gone forever. The
rockhounding evolution follows a pretty well defined pattern of :
collecting>lapidary>jewelry making>mysticism>bead stringing> ???
Who nows where it will end or morph. One thing is
certain…nothing remains the same. Another thing is also quite
certain…business people had better stay abreast of trends or be
left behind ! Trying to be trendy…Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

About OSHA, bearing in mind the various suggestions and warnings we
have shared here about health hazards that are now answering a lot of
questions about the various ailments some of us have come up with.

I believe most of us understand there is some fire behind that smoke.
There are others who dig heels in and say, “I have always done it this
way and I am fine.” There have been a few right here online who have
labeled some “worry warts.”

We get into a “government vs. us” attitude, and too much resistance to
any change at all. I am personally familiar with workshops and schools
that need to pay attention and attempt to comply, but have many
excuses to not do so.

Carol, how difficult would it be to make a club project to bring the
equipment to an accepted level? I am very frustrated after asking that
some areas be vented, hooded, or old leaking torches and fittings be
dealt with. The first thing I hear is cost, the next “who has the time
to do it?” This is in class and in several different shops. Some of
these locations could be shut down, but hope not to be noticed. I
certainly do not want to see that happen, I use these myself. Just
want health to be as important as everything else. Teresa

Carol, how difficult would it be to make a club project to bring the
equipment to an accepted level?

Hey, I’m just reporting what I heard when I was at the rock show and
the fact that not many young people are taking up lapidary as a hobby,
either due to cost or lack of interest.

If lapidary equipment is being donated for free and it’s not being
used, then I see that as a wasted opportunity for someone who could
and would use it properly.


Carol, Couldn’t agree with you more. Many clubs have handy persons who
enjoy rehabilitating donated machines. Some are incorporated into the
shop, others sold or auctioned off to generate shop operating funds.

Youth needs to be encouraged to learn how to take a rock and create a
thing of beauty. Have yet to find a child who did not love rocks.

Yes! Will it does go thru cycles but Monterey & Santa cruz also
Salinas are alive & well, I think it is club participation - everyone
has to work hard & it is for the future generations that we give it
our all! does not matter what age you are, but you are willing to give
to the future! Aileen