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.