The Rockytier

June 2017
Volume 29 Number 6

General Meeting:

Tuesday - June 6th, 2017
Meet- 7:00 pm
@ Forrest Heights United Methodist Church 3007 33rd St. Lubbock, Texas.

Business Meeting:
Tuesday - June 13th, 2017
Eat- 6:00 pm
Meet- 7:00 pm
@ Red Zone Café  3602 Slide Rd. Unit B1 Lubbock, Texas


Monthly themes will be Birthstones. Any stones of the same (or very similar) color as the months birthstones.

May: Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone

*rules continued later in newsletter.
2017 Shows: 
American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Annual Convention & Show 9th-11th
Arlington Gem & Mineral Club, Annual Show 1st-2nd
Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society, Annual show 8th-9th
Baton Rouge Gem & Mineral Society, Annual Show 12th-13th

From the President:
Hello everyone!

Well we pulled off another successful show last month and I want to thank everyone that helped in the effort. It was a lot of work, but was also a lot of fun and I’m sure everyone came away with some new items and/or experiences. We had about 1000 individual visitors, many who came on Saturday returned on Sunday as well. If you missed any of the presentations given, you will most likely have another opportunity to hear them at a meeting in the near future.

On May 20th the Hi-Plains Gem and Mineral Society (Plainview) had a field trip to a gravel pit near Floydada, and 9 of our members were able to join them for a good day of rock hunting and a picnic lunch. Some Petrified wood, agates, jasper's and flint were among the things carried home along with memories and new friends made. It was a beautiful day with mild weather and the owner of the pit reminded us to watch for snakes “we just killed a rattler up by the office this morning”, but we were able to avoid any sightings of our own.

As we roll into summer, please remember that we will have our monthly meetings as usual, and bring a friend or two that might be interested in joining the club. Looking forward to seeing you at a meeting soon!
Walter Beneze, LGMS President

History of Pearls:

Pearls have been used as adornment for centuries —at least as far back as ancient Greece, where they believed pearls were tears of the gods. The oldest known pearl jewelry was discovered in the sarcophagus of a Persian Princess who died in 520 B.C.

Ancient Japanese folktales told that pearls were created from the tears of mythical creatures like mermaids and nymphs. Early Chinese civilizations believed that dragons carried pearls between their teeth, and the dragon must be slain to claim the pearls—which symbolized wisdom.

Other cultures associated pearls with the moon, calling them “teardrops of the moon.” Hindu folklore explained that dewdrops fell from the moon into the sea, and Krishna picked one for his daughter on her wedding day.

Because natural pearls were so rare throughout history, only the richest echelon could afford them. During the Byzantine Empire, rules dictated that only the emperor was allowed to wear these treasured gemstones. Ancient Egyptians were often buried with their prized pearls.

Tudor England was known as the Pearl Age because of the stone’s popularity with the upper class during the sixteenth century. Portraits showed royals wearing pearl jewelry and clothing adorned with pearls.

Pearls became more accessible in the early 1900s when the first commercial culturing of saltwater pearls began in Asia. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market—making this classic gemstone affordable for nearly any budget.

Pictured above: Byzantine Empress Theodora in Pearls

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Moonstone Gem Facts

Despite the belief that moonstone fell from the sky, the gem comes from earth. Moonstone is a member of the orthoclase feldspar mineral family. It is a combination of potassium aluminum silicate. The stones have a crystal structure that shimmers when the light hits them. The shimmer effect is called adularescence. Moonstone jewelry is cut into a smooth cabochon shape to enhance the effect.

Moonstones are translucent with a sheen that resembles pearls and opals. The gems come in a variety of colors--white, gray, peach, pink, yellow, blue and green. Some types are completely transparent and others are colorless. Rainbow moonstone, which is an iridescent white or gray with a blue sheen in the light, is the most popular type. The higher quality moonstones have a high degree of shimmer.

Moonstone is found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Madagascar, India, Germany, Tanzania, Mexico, Australia and the United States. The rarest forms of moonstone originate in Sri Lanka.

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By the light of a silvery moon, an ocean of life awaits your magical touch.

-engraved on the Iris (Moonstone) Necklace seen later in newsletter 

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Tips of the Trade


You might think that a couple pieces of dental gold would be valuable, but if you only have a small amount, it can be a problem. Sending it to a refiner is expensive for small amounts of metal.

I made the mistake of thinking I could melt it and roll out my own sheet. However, the trace metals that dental gold contains to make it a good material in your mouth cause it to crack if you try to forge it or roll it out as a sheet. It ruined my whole ingot.

So what to do with a couple gold crowns? A reasonable alternative is to try incorporating the metal into your jewelry. If you have enough material to do a casting, that's probably the best use for dental gold. If you're not into casting, try melting it on a solder pad and while molten, divide it into small pieces with your solder pick.  Then re-flow each piece to make little gold balls for use as accents on your designs. The balls can also be planished a bit to make small discs or struck with a design stamp to add texture.

Notable Gems

La Peregrina Pearl

In Spanish, “la peregrina” means “the pilgrim”.  This was once known once as the Phillip II pearl and it was the most celebrated pearl of its time. In addition to its great size, its perfect pear shape and bright white coloration boost the pearl’s value. The necklace is comprised of equally spaced floral patterns each of which has a ruby as its centerpiece.  These are surrounded by diamonds in a floral pattern. In 1969, La Peregrina was purchased for a mere $37,000 by actor Richard Burton as a gift for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. It was sold by Christie’s in 2011 for $11.8 million.

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Large Alexandrite from the Smithsonian

One of the most valuable gemstones is the variety of chrysoberyl known as alexandrite. Alexandrite is renowned for its color change from red under incandescent light, to green in daylight or fluorescent light. Alexandrite was discovered in 1830 in the Ural Mountains of Russia and named after Csar Alexander II. The original locality for alexandrite is Russia, however, fine gems have also been found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, India, and Burma. Photographed here is a 65.08 carat square-cushion cut alexandrite from Sri Lanka; a 16.69 carat cushion cut alexandrite from Sri Lanka; and a 4.84 carat emerald cut alexandrite from Russia.

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The Iris Necklace

The Iris Necklace features moonstones and diamonds set in platinum and bronze. Donated and designed by renowned jewelry artist, Zoltan David, and created by Zoltan and goldsmith Brian Kruppenbacher, it took 225 hours to complete. The center gem is a 35.63ct marquise cut cat’s-eye moonstone, set in a platinum and bronze pendant. There are 35 round cabochon cut moonstones in the necklace, each weighing 0.50ct. The blue metal is bronze with a blue patina. Pure platinum is inlaid into the blue bronze in the pendant and on each of the round links of the necklace.The inlaid platinum is hand engraved and formed into spheres, a process called “shaped inlay” that is a patented invention of Zoltan David. The reverse side of the pendant has a palladium backplate that is engraved with the following: By the light of a silvery moon, an ocean of life awaits your magical touch.

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Here is a snap of LGMS member, Charlie Cockrell, giving a gem and mineral presentation to some LISD students last month! 
Summit stories, ideas, photos, or anything else you would like to see in the newsletter to


The rules for the JALAF are:
Participants will remain beginners for one year from the month in which they enter their first piece in each category. At the end of one year the participant will be considered experienced in the categories they have entered. The JALAF master will attempt to keep records, but we will operate on an honor system as well.

We want to share and learn from the knowledge you acquired while finding, working or setting the piece, so please come prepared to tell us what you know (don’t worry if you don’t know what you have, hopefully someone can tell you)! The JALAF is open to Members, Juniors and Visitors.

We REALLY WANT and STRONGLY encourage ALL to bring pieces that fit the month’s theme, even if they are not eligible for entry because they do not meet the criteria or have previously won a feather. These pieces will be entered as display only, and will not be part of that month’s competition. PLEASE share your expertise and adventures with the rest of us.


Two levels in each category:

Specimens and Fossils: YOU must have found OR worked an otherwise acquired specimen.
Cabochons, Carvings and Facets: YOU must have created the piece yourself.
Jewelry: YOU must have created the setting OR worked the stone.

Since some months have more than one birthstone, we will be going by the American Gem Society list, found at:

Here is hoping everyone will compete and have fun!

See you at the next meeting!

Lubbock Gem & Mineral Society
Member of South Central Federation of Mineral Societies
Member of American Federation of Mineralogical Societie

THE ROCKYTIER is the official Bulletin of the Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society, Box 6371, Lubbock, TX. 79493. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month @ Forrest Heights United Methodist Church - 3007 33rd St. Lubbock, TX. at 7:00 p.m. unless announced otherwise. Annual dues are: $22.50 for adults, $10.00 for students 15 & up, $5.00 for students 6-15 and free for children under 6. Exchange editors are free to copy anything of interest from THE ROCKYTIER provided credit is given to the author of the article and THE ROCKYTIER.

The purpose of the Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society shall be:
(1) to bring about a closer association of those persons interested in the Earth Sciences and Lapidary Arts;
(2) to increase and disseminated knowledge about rocks, minerals, fossils and other geological materials;
(3) to encourage the study of rocks, minerals, fossils, artifacts, collecting and lapidary work and
(4) to conduct meetings, lectures, displays and field trips.

    President     Walter Beneze (806)797-5832  
    Past President     Bobbie Horn (806) 786-9362  
    Vice President     Michael Zink (806) 451-0039  
    Secetary       Sabrina Krieger  (806) 891-0165  
    Treasurer     Charles Cockrell (806) 786-6895  
              Director (first year)
           Sabrina Krieger
(806) 891-0165  
         Director (second year)  
  Valerie Zink (806) 451-0038  
    Director (second year)   Mica McGuire (806) 445-6859  
    Education Chairperson Club Michael Zink (806) 451-0039  
    Education Chairperson M.E.W. Greg Roberts (806) 787-6262  
    Show Chairperson   Walter Beneze (806) 797-5832  
    Newsletter Editor   Mica McGuire (806) 445-6859  
    Field Trip Chairperson   volunteer needed      
    Benevolence     volunteer needed      
    Web Master     Walter Beneze (806) 797-5832  
    Club Vests     volunteer needed      
    Club Library     Dave Swartz (806) 793-8045  
    There are many more positions that need a volunteer, please consider what
    you can do to help!            
Lubbock Gem & Mineral Society is a non-profit organization recognized under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as an educational entity. Donations in any form are tax deductible as outlined by the IRS.
Copyright © 2017 The Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
The Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society
PO Box 6371
Lubbock, TX 79493