SOCGEMS Monthly Meetings are held the 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 7:15pm 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 19 July, 2017 at 7:15pm

The South Orange County Gem and Mineral Society is thrilled to welcome Guest Speaker Walt Lombardo.

walt lombard rubies and sapphire of north america
walt lombardo Nevada Mineral and Book Co

Walt Lombardo is the owner of the Nevada Mineral and Book Company. Located in Orange, CA, his shop boasts the largest selection of Earth Science books and objects in North America.
Mr. Lombardo is a geologist with over 30 years of experience related to mining and mineral exploration. He will be speaking about Sapphires found in North America, including Montana and North Carolina. Fascinating … see you there!

Rubies and sapphires are varieties of the mineral corundum, which is made of the elements aluminum and oxygen.  Although corundum is commonly used as an abrasive because of its extreme hardness, the gem varieties ruby and sapphire have long been known for their beauty and durability. Most people are not aware that there are significant resources of these gems in North America. The talk will focus on three major geographic areas: the sapphire deposits of central Montana; the ruby deposits of North Carolina; and the recently discovered ruby deposits of Greenland. We will discuss the geology and origin of the deposits, the history of mining, and the color range and beauty of these gemstones.

Speakers, Field Trips, and More!

Guests and visitors are welcome at all General Assembly Meetings. Join our resident Rock Hounds on one of our monthly field trips! MARK YOUR CALENDAR here’s what’s coming up …

Andy Koch
Excursions Director

Andy Koch Excursion Director
Andy on a field trip

Save the Date!

Aaron J. Celestian, Ph.D, Associate Curator, Mineral Sciences at Natural History Museum of LA

Jeff Fulkerton

Field Trip to the G.I.A. Institute in Carlsbad, CA

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!

MAY 2017

The South Orange County Gem and Mineral Society held their 32nd Annual Silent Auction and Sale. Thank you to all who donated rocks and gems and other stuffs for the club to auction off and sell. A special shout out to the many helping hands that bagged rocks, ran tables, served food and drinks, and basically made the auction the most successful on record! Our members are THE BEST!
MARCH 2017

Pete Goetz, President of the American Opal Society
Russ Madsen, Chairman of the American Opal Society
Frances Todd, with the American Opal Society


The South Orange County Gem and Mineral Society welcomed Thomas Spinks of the Anza-Borrego Paleontology Society

Tom is a retired public service economist who has started a second career in paleobotany learning to identify petrified woods and other fossil plant materials.
He has a BS in Agriculture from South Dakota State University and a MS degree from the University of Minnesota Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.  He has attended fossil wood identification seminars held in Grand Junction, Colorado and has been working as a paleo volunteer at the ABDSP since 2012, learning about the curation of fossil plant materials.

Mike Woodward Stone and Fossil Photography

JUNE 2017 

dayton simmons turquoise

Dayton Simmons, a native of Kansas City, has been involved with turquoise since he set his first piece at age 12 in 1975, never realizing at the time how deeply connected he would eventually become with the wondrous gemstone. 20 years later, he moved to Santa Fe, NM to become a turquoise trader. He established his business, Silver Day Trading Co, and has never looked back. Miners, mentors, and teachers of all sorts have provided a most unique education for Dayton – a degree not currently available at any institute of higher learning, even GIA. He is currently involved in the industry as a surveyor of gem grade natural turquoises and fine turquoise jewelry, a miner, an expert repairman of antique American Indian jewelry and an educator on various aspects of turquoise.

The presentation will focus on the fact that well over 95% of all turquoise currently available on the market is NOT NATURAL, which is defined as turquoise that is hard enough to cut and polish as it comes out of the ground. This includes rough material, cut cabochons, beads, carvings and finished jewelry. The vast majority of said material has gone through one of several artificial hardening processes to make it commercially viable.
Become aware of the various turquoise treatments, learn about discerning natural turquoise from treated material and have an opportunity to see and feel the difference.’

Dayton will be bringing specimens to show and to sell as well (be still my heart) Zuni and Native American Carvings.

Dayton’s turquoise presentation was filmed and is used by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for student training on turquoise.

king tut mask

Turquoise is a blue to green mineral made up of copper, aluminum, and hydrous phosphate.
Turquoise has long been considered a valuable gemstone and is one of the oldest known gemstones. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gemstone and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue.

FUN FACT: The iconic gold burial mask of Tutankhamun, inlaid with turquoise, lapis lazuli, carnelian and colored glass.