SOCGEMS Monthly Meetings are held the 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 7:00pm in the multipurpose room at the San Clemente Community Center, at the corner of Avenida del Mar and Calle Seville – next to the library. They are free and open to the public – we encourage you to participate!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 at 7:00pm

The South Orange County Gem and Mineral Society is proud to welcome Lisbet Thoresen 

Lisbet Thoresen is an independent researcher specializing in ancient engraved gems, or glyptic. Her primary interest is reconciling gemological confirmation of gem-minerals that survive in historical collections of glyptic with the transliteration of gemstones described in primary (ancient) literary sources.

Her research also includes the possible geographic origins of gems known in the ancient world, their earliest dates of discovery, periods of use, and transmission, as well as gemstone treatments applied by ancient lapidaries. Her work has been published in professional gemological journals, conference proceedings, and most recently as a contribution to a book chapter on the History of Ruby and Sapphire co-authored with Richard Hughes in his updated opus on Ruby & Sapphire: A Gemologist’s Guide (2017).

Previously, Lisbet worked in all aspects of the preservation, analysis, authentication, exhibition planning, and conservation of antiquities as Associate Conservator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California. Over a 17-year museum career Lisbet also performed research and lectured on topics related to art conservation and archaeometry (archaeological science).

Meetings of SOCGEMS are held the third Wednesday of the month, 7:15 pm in the San Clemente Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente (next door to the library). Guests are welcome at no charge. Speaker presentation is preceded by hospitality and refreshments, a raffle and brief business meeting. SOCGEMS Members are invited to field trips, special auctions, classes in lapidary, Junior Rock hound activities and more.

Public Welcome

The Cultural History of Garnets – The First 3,000 Years

Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Presentation

San Clemente Community Center

The early use of gem garnets in glyptic (engraved intaglios, cameo carvings, and inlays) dating from antiquity (mid-3rd millenium BC) through the early Dark Ages (ca. 10th century AD) is discussed. Most ancient and many historical garnets preserved in museum collections lack information about where they were found, where they were produced, or where the raw materials may have originated. Garnet chemistry and structure together with observable features such as color and inclusions provide characteristic signatures that sometimes help to associate garnets with their geographic origin. Applied to ancient garnets and garnets belonging to later periods, analytical provenance studies throw light on the trade and transmission of material culture, which helps to improve understanding about a distant past that is otherwise opaque.

A survey of important analytical provenance studies on ancient and historical garnets is presented. Such studies help to characterize the garnet species known in different periods, and they help to narrow the field of their prospective geographic origins. This is especially interesting to consider in the light of ancient literary sources that describe transparent, red and purple colored gems and their sources. Analytical studies also contribute useful datapoints on garnet compositions found in nature that have not been observed in gem garnets of the modern gem market, which indicates that many ancient and historical mining localities are now lost.

Speakers, Field Trips, and More!

Join our resident Rock Hounds on one of our monthly field trips! Check here and (probably more up to date) the SOCGEMS facebook page for upcoming rock hounding field trips!

Andy on a field trip


South Orange County Gem and Mineral Society members pursue our hobby with responsibility.
Code of Ethics per The American Federation of Mineralogical Societies:

*   I will respect both private and public property and will do no collecting on privately owner land without permission from the owner.
*   I will keep informed on all laws, regulations and rules governing collecting on private lands and will observe them.
*   I will to the best of my ability, ascertain the boundary lines of property on which I plan to collect.
*   I will use no firearms or blasting materials in collecting areas.
*   I will cause no willful damage to property of any kind, such as fences, signs, building, etc.
*   I will leave all gates as found.
*   I will build fires only in designated or safe places and will be certain they are completely extinguished before leaving the area.
*   I will discard no burning materials – matches, cigarettes, etc.
*   I will fill all excavation holes, which may be dangerous to livestock.
*   I will practice conservation and undertake to utilize fully and well, the materials I have collected and will recycle my surplus for the pleasure and benefit of others.
*   I will support the Rockhound Project H.E.L.P. (Help Eliminate Litter Please) and will leave all collecting areas devoid of litter, regardless of how found.
*   I will cooperate with Field Trip Leaders and those in designated authority in all collecting areas.
*   I will report to my Club or Federation Officers, Bureau of Land Management or other proper authorities, any deposit of petrified wood or other material on public lands which should be protected for the enjoyment of future generations and for public educational and scientific purposes.
*   I will appreciate and protect our heritage of Natural Resources.
*   I will observe the ‘Golden Rule’, will use Good Outdoor Manners, and will at all times conduct myself in a manner which will add to the stature and Public Image of Rockhounds everywhere.

Save the Date!

Guests and visitors are welcome at all General Assembly Meetings.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR here’s what’s coming up …

FEBRUARY: Nathan Renfro – GIA Analytical Manager /Analytical Microscopist -Photomicrographer
MARCH: Renee Newman – Exotic Gems

silent auction

past events and speakers - here’s what you’ve missed ...

Each month it’s something new and interesting – we enjoy renowned speakers, field trips, and the pleasure of the company of other gem and mineral enthusiasts!