March Charlotte Gem and Mineral Club

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					                                                                   Charlotte Gem & Mineral Club
                                                                           March 2012
                                                                 citement and expectation
                              z ...                              still runs high. Experienced
                 th e Prez Se                                    rockhounds know that dig-
                                                                 ging in the rain has its ad-
                                                                 vantages as the rain wash-
We’ve been getting a num-        cards but as they get older,    es away dirt and uncovers
ber of e-mails related to the    these hobbies typically         specimens. Suddenly what
upcoming field trip to Dia-      fall by the wayside as the      looked like pieces of mud
mond Hill Mines (Saturday,       kids move on to electronic      or dirty rocks starts to take
April 7th). There are lots       games, texting and inter-       on a sparkle after the rain
of questions about how the       net social media. Somehow       stops.
trip will be organized, costs,   the excitement of collect-
what to bring, etc.. The         ing and enjoying distinctive    2.) People on digs share
comments have expressed          rock and mineral specimens      - they often give freely of
excitement and eager an-         stays with a person well
ticipation of this event.        into their adult years. You         Table of Contents
Specific information will be     become busy developing a
forthcoming the week of          career or raising a family       1-2 Prez Sez
March 5th so stay alert for      but when the clouds finally
the Diamond Hill blasts to       part and circumstances           3 Meeting Notice
follow.                          allow, curiosity about the       3 Jr. Rockhounds
                                 earth’s bounty surfaces
One aspect of these e-           again and the search re-         4 Jewelry Class
mailed queries that has me       news.
really fired up are the ques-                                     5 Dues, Stamps, Cab-
tions coming from newer          For those who have never         bing Class and Gem ID
members who have never           participated in a field trip
been on a dig before and/or      before, whether 10 or 110,       6-8 Gem definitions
are asking about suitability     let me assure you a good
for kids. Most of the older      time will be had by all.         8 Synthetic & treated
members like to tell stories     There are three major as-        gems
about how they became            pects to most digs:
rockhounds at an early age,
often under the guidance         1.) Being outdoors for hours
and motivation of a par-         in the fresh air and (hope-
ent or grandparent. Young        fully) sunshine. Even if it’s
girls may collect dolls and      raining, as long as you’re
boys might collect baseball      properly dressed the ex-
  2012 CGMC                   their experience and of-         for fresh air and new speci-
                              fer advice to those who are      mens for your collection.
Officers & Board              less experienced. Many are       We are fortunate to have
                              the trips where we’ve been       Scott Forward available to
        President                                              guide us on this one. Scott
                              invited to dig by a stranger
       Murray Simon
                              who has found a produc-          is a certified geologist who
      (704) 668-5658          tive area and is willing to      has been to Diamond Hill a
      Vice President          share in the experience (of      number of times. Not only
        Neil Hohmann          course, he might also need       will he be able to point out        your help in moving that         the sites with the best po-
        Secretary             large, heavy specimen to         tential, he will also offer
         Pat Walker           his car).                        advice on how to dig more
       704/523-5261                                            efficiently (with less dam-
        Treasurer             3.) If you hit it right, a dig   age to your specimens) and
        Vivian Philson                                         identify the treasures you
                              can provide you with rock
                              and/or mineral specimens,        have unearthed. An inter-
    Directors at Large
                              and the stories of discovery     esting side note for this trip
        Mary Fisher        that go with them, that can      is the fact that the week
      Bulletin Editor         be enjoyed for many years        before we get there they
         Ron Gibbs            to come. Linda and I have        will be turning over about         one particular grandson          4 acres of land with back-
      Past President          who became excited about         hoes in an area that has
           Jack King          rocks at an early age. Un-       never been dug before. This    fortunately he lives in At-      represents a unique oppor-
                              lanta and is very busy with      tunity for a truly rewarding
  CLUB CHAIRPERSONS           high school football, so our     dig experience and I hope
      SFMS Contact &
                              dig opportunities with him       to see a lot of you there on
                              have become rather rare.         April 7th.
         Pat Walker
       Geode Chair            He’s currently working on
      Jimmy Strickland        his father to give him a ride    Murray
     Workshop Chair           to Diamond Hill on April
        Linda Simon           7th.                             past and current president of the
                                                               CG&MC, recently named “Man
                                                               Most Likely to Secede”
       WebMaster              The Diamond Hill trip offers
         Ron Gibbs            more than the opportunity
         Pat Walker
     Field Trip Chair
           Jack King
  Christmas Party Chair
         Pat Walker
      Special Events                                                         Known as Mary
        Kim Gwyn                                                             Ellen Jasper - it’s                                                      a fossilized stro-
                                                                             matollite from MN.
                                                                             The veins are he-
                                                                             matite. Among the
      WEB Site                                                               oldest life forms on                                                        earth.
March 2012                                 2
 Charlotte Gem & Mineral Club Monthly Meeting
       March 15, 2011 Thursday                   -- 7:00 pm --
Location:    Tyvola Senior Center
             2225 Tyvola Rd.
             Charlotte, NC 28210
             (704) 522-6222

        North Carolina Gold and Mining History
                    presentation by   Michael Scott

  He is a Historic Interpreter with this State of North Carolina Historic
  Site. Michael’s presentation is a great source of regional gold min-
  ing history and operations, and he will also provide information on a
  potential field trip. The Reed Gold Mine has been featured on many
  national broadcasts (ABC, CBS, and others), and recently highlight-
  ed the renewal of interest in gold panning on an ABC program.

  A link to the WEB site:

                  Charlotte Jr. Rockhounds
                       Saturday, March 24th, 2012
                               10-11:00 a.m.

    Topic:     Gemstone Precious & Semi-Precious

    Location: Matthews Community Center    Contact: Mary Fisher for further
              100 McDowell St.             information at:
               East Matthews, NC 28105

     Special Note: this is not the last Saturday of the month, the
     meeting was scheduled so as not to conflict with school holidays

                                       3                             March 2012
Jewelry Making                                                                    da!
Class by Linda Simon                                                       t’s

We had a fun filled day at
Linda’s in February with
cabochons, clay, wine glass-
es and beads. All 6 students
created a finished cabochon
pendant and covered a wine
glass with patterned poly-
mer clay. A few made beads
and finished a necklace to
coordinate with their pen-

Our next class will be at the
Simon home on Sat., March

Please let Linda know if you
                                notice a similarity between Linda’s vest and the covered wine glass?
are planning to come and
she will set up the
tables accordingly.
Class starts at 10:00
and ends around
2:30. Bring a sand-
wich. Cost will be
$15 or $20 depend-
ing on the amount
of supplies provided.
We usually plan to
create a pendant us-
ing a cabochon that
Ron or Murray has

If you have a project
you want to tackle,
fill free to bring it
and ask for advice.
Call Linda at 704-
543-6651 to reserve
your space and get

March 2012                                    4
Dues are now officially            Gemstone ID                      Hardness is another physi-
past due!                          by ron gibbs                     cal characteristic of gems,
                                                                    but is less useful because
Ok, last reminder for this year,   So how do you differentiate      it requires either scratch-
your club dues are now offi-       a yellow citrine from yel-       ing the stone or letting it
cially past due if you have not    low topaz? Gemstones have        scratch something else.
yet paid them. Starting next       physical properties and we
month we’ll no longer be mail-
                                                                    Either way there is the pos-
                                   use them as a guide to help      sibility of damage.
ing the newsletters tothose
                                   us identify them.
who are not paid-up, and noti-
fications will cease.                                               Determining what a gem-
                                   The first and probably easi-     stone is, often uses the
Look at the fun you’ll be miss-    est thing we use is color. A     method of elimination
ing at Linda’s place without       gemstone type has a dis-         rather than direct detec-
that payment. (See pix to the      tinct range of colors that       tion. By making a series of
left <-- that’s Linda)             help define it. For instance     measurements you are able
                                   if we find a red stone, it       to eliminate more and more
By the way you cannot at-          doesn’t tell us if it’s sap-     types until there is only one
tend our super-duper fieldtrip     phire, garnet, or spinel, but
in April unless you are a paid
                                                                    likely candidate remaining.
                                   helps us rule out or elimi-
member. See last months
                                   nate quartz, and iolite.         Magnetism is actually be-
newsletter of all the info on
the Diamond Hill mine and                                           ginning to be used. Spes-
field trip for April.              Next is specific gravity. This   sartine garnets will actually
                                   is related to density and        jump to a strong magnet
Murray also told me that un-       provides us with a means         other red-orange garnets
less I paid my dues immedi-        of determining which stone       will not.
ately, my gasoline price would     is heavier for roughly the
go up to over $4.00 a gallon.      same volume. Thus to-
I got the message and paid         paz would be heavier than
right away! They’re still hold-    quartz if both stones were
ing just below $3.90 like he       roughly the same size.            spessertine
promised!                                                            on magnet
                                   Another tell-tale is refrac-
You can pay at the next meet-
ing or download the form from      tion, Some stones have
our WEB site and mail it in.       multiple refraction. When        Saturday Cabbing
                                   viewed down the axis these
                                   stones will show double sets
                                   of reflections and hence
Please turn in stamps              we know they are doubly
                                                                    Sarah Lee Boyce has another
to Pat Walker                                                       cabbing class scheduled for
                                   refractive. Again this helps     this Saturday at 10AM and
                                   eliminate some possibilities.    there is room for 2 more
Pat is still collecting stamps                                      students. She leaves to teach
                                   If you have a refractometer      at the William Holland School
for the SFMS scholarship
                                   then you can actually mea-       of Lapidary Arts at the end
program and asks that you                                           of March so this represents
                                   sure the refractive index of
please turn them as soon                                            one of the last opportunities
                                   a stone. Although the me-
as possible. If not she said                                        to study under this remark-
                                   ters are not inexpensive this
she’d “poke you in the eye!”                                        able teacher. Call her at (704)
                                   is one of the best tools for
You betcha I got my stamps                                          827-1431 (between 10AM and
                                   differentiating similar look-
turned in right away!                                               8PM) to reserve your spot.
                                   ing stones.
                                                  5                                  March 2012
Gemstones - a crystalline mineral by any other name?
by ron gibbs

Before we tackle the slip-         of jewelry. They are often
pery issue of what is a “pre-      cut or shaped to enhance
cious gemstone” verses a           the design, but that is not
“semi-precious gemstone”           always the case either.
maybe we should first de-          Sometimes a natural crys-
fine the word “gemstone”.          tal shape is used in a piece
                                   of jewelry without further
The precise definition of          modification. So cutting or
gem or gemstone is hard            shaping is not a require-
to pin-down, because there         ment.
always appear to be ex-
ceptions after each round          I bring all of this up to sim-
of definition. In general it       ply point-out that the true
is often thought to be, “a         definition of what a gem-
mineral or crystalline mate-       stone is, may be defined
rial that is cut or shaped to      more by a “marketing”
be placed in jewelry or used       function rather than a geo-
for adornment”. But that’s         logic definition. Gemstones
not quite correct because          are traditionally “shinny,
we also use pearls, amber,         pretty things, that are cov-
wood, and a variety of other       eted above other similar
non-geologic materials in          less coveted things.” When
jewelry.                           we call something a gem,
                                   we impart additional value
We also use other non-             to it. Take for example the
crystalline geologic materi-       phrases, “it was a gem of
als like lapis lazuli, obsidian,   an idea”, or “he was a gem
agate, jasper, and rhyolite        of a man”, and here the
(to name only a few) mate-         term “gem” is used to imply
rials which are rocks. They        extra value.
may or may not be crystal-                                          sillimanite
line (obsidian, opal, etc.)        The word gem itself may be
and are not minerals, but          derived from the latin gem-
rather rocks (lapis, agate,        ma meaning bud. Like the
jasper, etc.)                      bud of a flower. So a “bud-
                                   ding” stone or new growth
So maybe the word gem              of stone.
or gemstone is not based
solely on the material. The        So maybe we can only
one thing that seems to tie        say that a “gemstone” is a
the general definition to the      stone with extra value. The
various objects used is the        word “gem” is used to imply
fact that they are used in         the increased worth of the
adornment and the creation         item, and “stone” is pretty      owyhee jasper/black jade
March 2012                                      6
generic for something hard       it became quite common           above list of rare diamond
and usually found under          (hence semi-precious”).          colors). True color change
foot.                                                             alexandrite (a rare form
                                 If you look at diamond,          of chrysoberyl) can de-
Ok, now that I have totally      the price has been mostly        mand higher prices than
confused you let’s discuss       fixed by a single corpora-       the “precious gems”. Pre-
the value of a gemstone.         tion. The DeBeers Company        mium alexandrite remains
These two terms are often        has traditionally had a mo-      among the rarest of gems.
used to further differenti-      nopoly on diamond market         It is not listed as a precious
ate the value of gemstones,      availability. They continue      stone because of that rar-
“semi-precious” and “pre-        to hold vast quantities of       ity . There is not enough of
cious”. So I shall try to        diamonds in their reserve        it outside of fine museums
further confuse you by il-       inventories, and they can        to create a market demand
lustrating that these terms      very effectively set the price   with any but collectors.
also have very flexible defi-    of diamonds world wide.
nitions.                         Although more recent dis-     Moderately recent mining in
                                 coveries of diamonds in       the state of Paraibia, Bra-
Most jewelers will tell you      both Australia and Canada     zil, uncovered a new color
that the precious gems are       are now outside their direct  of sky-blue tourmaline. The
diamond, ruby, sapphire,         control, there is a general   mines have produced stones
and emerald. (keep firmly        advantage to keeping the      with higher values than the
in mind this is marketing        prices stable and high for allsame sized white diamonds.
terminology.) All others are     concerned.                    Just as this stone was be-
considered to be semi-pre-                                     ginning to make market
cious. By their standards it’s   Large diamonds or those of    headway, another discovery
the general cost structure of    unique color (blue, green,    of similar color was claimed
the stones, on a per carat       certain shades of yellow,     in Africa. Due to the rarity
basis. That is the cost of the   and the most rare, red) will of the color this might have
stone by weight, a carat be-     continue to command ex-       had an advantages effect on
ing 1/5 of a gram.               traordinary prices as they    the market, but the valid-
                                 will likely never be common. ity of the African discovery
Market availability and          Other colors like black and   and whether or not the new
demand generally set the         brown (chocolate diamonds) material is “treated” has put
prices. So where does this       are really just marketing     a damper on the sales and
break down? Well on the          fads to help spur sales. The marketing.
availability issue, if we turn   majority of diamonds mined
back the clock (say just         today are dark color and      So availability is a key cri-
before 1492 AD - you re-         used mainly in cutting tools. teria for considering a gem-
member Columbus sailed           About 80% of all diamonds     stone “precious” in the mar-
the blue ...) we would have      are in this category.         keting sense. Thus the term
found that amethyst was                                        “precious” as applied to
considered one of the pre-       What about stones that are    gemstone may well change
cious stones. Fine amethyst      more rare than the tradi-     from time to time as new
was rare in the “old world”      tional “precious” stones.     materials are discovered,
and it was not until huge        There are other stones that or new quantities of older
deposits were uncovered in       are high priced per carat     gemstones are uncovered.
Brazil, Uruguay and other        than all but a handful of
“new world” areas that           colored diamonds (see the     So by general definition a

                                               7                                   March 2012
semi-precious gemstone           Buyer Beware - man-made good and bad
must then be one that is         by ron gibbs
“less precious” than a pre-
cious one. The list of such      Many gem materials can           A third variety, a treated
stones is long indeed. Again     now be synthesized in the        gem, is one that was origi-
traditionally the list of such   laboratory. These materi-        nally mined and then treat-
stone might include, tour-       als have the same chemis-        ed to enhance color or clar-
maline, aquamarine (all          try and crystallinity as the     ity. An example is the use
beryls other than emerald),      natural materials.               of leaded glasses to make
tanzanite, citrine, amethyst,                                     non-gem quality rubies into
zircon, garnet, topaz, and       Virtually all the natural        saleable stones. The same
opal. (This list could go on     colors of quartz have now        general practice uses a be-
and on.) Just keep in mind       been synthesized in the lab,     ryllium compound to en-
that certain varieties of        citrine, amethyst, and clear.    hance the color and clarity
these stones, like tsavorite     (Many colors never fond in       of sapphire.
garnet or black opal may         nature have also been cre-
command prices higher            ated) Often the synthetics       The problem today is that
than most of the precious        are more pure than their         many materials coming into
stones.                          natural counterparts, and        the market are now treated,
                                 are useful in industrial ap-     synthetic or simulant but
What I’m trying to impress       plications. This can be the      claim to be natural. Much of
on everyone is that the          driving force for their syn-     the gemstone market cre-
terms we often associate         thesis.                          ated on E-bay has now be-
with gemstones are derived                                        come a dumping ground for
more from marketing than         Sometimes the desire is to       unscrupulous dealers selling
from any physical property       create synthetic gemstones.      these mislabeled materials.
of the stone. We live in a       Carroll Chatham and Piere
computer age where we            Gilson independently creat-      There is nothing wrong with
tend to like precise defini-     ed systems of growing em-        treating sub-par gemstones
tions, and the concept of        erald for the jewelry trade.     to raise their value, but the
“gemstone”, and it’s value,      They produced synthetic          treatment should always
is a slippery one that has       emeralds and sold them as        be disclosed. One example
changed and continues to         such.                            - these were sold to me
change with time.                                                 as natural-color topaz, but
                                 A note here: a synthetic         were irradiated. On expo-
Commercial terms which           stone has the same chem-         sure to daylight the stone
place a value on a stone are     istry and crystallinity as the   became colorless.
not based solely on physi-       original natural stone. Thus
cal properties or rarity. They   Chatham emerald is a syn-
tend also to be driven by        thetic emerald.
marketing and culture. Buy
stones because you like          A simulant stone is made
them, buy them because           to mimic the original, but is
you enjoy collecting them,       chemically different. For ex-
buy them because the color       ample cubic zirconia (never
pleases you, but be very         found in nature) is used as
careful buying them as an        a diamond simulant. It is
investment unless you re-        chemically different but ap-
ally educate yourself about      pears similar.
them!                                                      bottom stone - 8 hours of direct sunlight

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