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The Searchers Meeting Archive

7 p.m., May 14, 2024

Speaker:  Dick Webber
The largest commercial deposits of amethyst in North America occur near the Canadian border in Southern Ontario. Unlike the more common Brazilian amethyst, this material is unique due to inclusions of red hematite in the outermost layers of the crystals. 
Dick Weber first visited these deposits in the 1970s while studying for his graduate degree in Geology at the University of MN, Duluth.  
Dick has returned several times over the years and on two recent visits was given special access to the workings of the deposit by the mine owners.  As part of this presentation he will display some of this highly prized amethyst from his personal collection. Dick Weber is a retired exploration geologist and mineral collector.  He has worked and traveled as a geologist throughout most of North America. The Webers also spent a year in New Zealand and Australia examining the geology and visiting numerous major mining areas of that region. He has been an active member of the Conejo Gem and Mineral Club for more than 20 years, serving as president and treasurer. The Weber's enjoy exhibiting their specimens at local shows.

7 p.m., November 14, 2023, at the Anaheim Community Center
No speaker this month.  Board elections and pie night; Bring your favorite pie to share. And, bring a few of your best finds from your recent field trips to show off. 

7 p.m., October 10, 2023, at the Anaheim Community Center
The Diversity of American Gems, Western States
The distance from Anaheim to the Oceanview mine in San Diego County is only 75 miles. There you can dig for tourmalines, kunzites, morganites, and aquamarines, and take a jeep tour of Chief Mountain where you can see the currently active mines. Historically that area was important. From 1898 until 1911, it was the world’s largest producer of tourmaline and it is still producing high quality material like what you see in the brooch by Paula Crevoshay. All the tourmalines in it are from the Stewart Lithia Mine. Renee’s PowerPoint will also include gems from other sources in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and other parts of California. However, it will focus on the most notable ones such as jade, benitoite, sunstone, opal, turquoise, chrysocolla, Four Peaks amethyst and fire agate.
Speaker Bio:
Renée Newman developed her interest in gems in the early 1980's while conducting tours to Asia, South America and the South Pacific. Her passengers wanted to know how to judge the quality of the gems they saw. After searching in bookstores and libraries for this information, Renée discovered that little had been written on the subject of gem quality evaluation, so she decided it would be worth creating books with photos that showed how to judge gem quality.
After receiving a graduate gemologist diploma from the GIA, she was hired as a gemologist at a wholesale firm in downtown Los Angeles. It provided hands-on experience grading diamonds and selecting colored gems and pearls for their jewelry. Armed with trade experience and gemological credentials, Renée decided to create books that showed readers how to visually evaluate the quality of gems. Her first book, the Diamond Ring Buying Guide, was published in 1989. Since that time, she has written thirteen more books on gems and jewelry. They are used as gemology course textbooks, sales training tools, appraisal references and consumer guides.
The books will be available for sale at the meeting for a discounted price. Bring cash or check. For more information about Renée and her books go to

February General Searchers Meeting Topic:
7:00 p.m., February 14, 2023 at the Anaheim Community Center, 

Eastern California Shear Zone: The Formation of a Favorite Rockhound Location

Jason Badgley
Pasadena Lapidary Society & Del Air
Malibu Rocks - California Agate Gallery

About me
I have been interested in nature, photography, geology, and lapidary since my grandfather taught me how to cut and polish stones when I was eight years old.
I belong to several west coast lapidary societies and have displayed my work at many local, state associations, & fairs.
I have won awards at the California State Federation Show and the “Best in Show” ribbon at the LA County Fair.

Experience & Research
I worked for a geologist in Central Mexico mapping, locating, and collecting samples for a mining company to locate new sources of gold, silver, and copper.

I did research of old publications from my grandfather's library and Dibblee Geology Maps to locate the best potential collecting locations for local specimens
Lead field trips for local lapidary societies and private collectors.
I have given presentations about the local materials that I have discovered to several California lapidary societies. I also volunteer as a docent for the Malibu Creek State Park and have led their geology hikes since 2011.

January Speaker: Walter Lombardo, January 10, 2023, 7 p.m.
Gem Pegmatites of Southern California

Southern California is known worldwide for the production of gemstones & mineral specimens from the granite pegmatites in San Diego, Riverside & San Bernardino Counties. Some of the more well known gem minerals are Tourmaline, Garnet, Aquamarine Morganite, Kunzite, Quartz, Topaz & Lepidolite. Most notable are the Pala & Mesa Grande mining districts that supplied beautiful tourmalines to the last Dowager Empress of China, in the early 1900’s, and continue to produce world-class gems and mineral specimens today. This talk will include discussion of the regional geology which made these deposits possible, history of mining in Southern California, some of the more important mines & the gem minerals that they produced.
Walter Lombardo is a geologist with more than 35 years’ experience in mineralogy, mining and mineral exploration. He worked for American Borate Company in Death Valley (Billie Mine), for Cyprus Minerals Company in the California Mother Lode (gold), and several small exploration companies in the Southwestern U.S (gold). For sixteen years he managed the Southern Nevada Office of the Nevada Division of Minerals. And before retiring from the industry, he was a project manager for a company involved in worldwide exploration for uranium, gallium and germanium.
Walter is the owner of Nevada Mineral & Book Company, a natural history gallery and earth science bookstore located in Orange, California. He has lectured nationwide on topics related to mineral resources, mining & mining fraud, mineralogy and gemology.

December Meeting: Holiday Party, December 13, 2022, 7 p.m.
There will be a potluck party at the Anaheim Community Center with the club providing ham asa well as plates, silverware and cups.
Sign up by contacting Gwen Sharp at (preferred) or (714) 672-9525 (leave a message) to let us know you will be attending and what you will be bringing to the potluck (main dish, side dish, or dessert) so that we can have the room set up for the party. We will have a gift exchange! For those who would like to participate in the gift exchange, bring a rock-related gift with a value of approximately $20.

October 11, 2022, 7 p.m.
Mary Pat Weber - Stromatolites
This month Mary Pat Weber will introduce us to “Stromatolites, Past & Present”, a complex melding of biology, chemistry and geology. Considered to be the earliest known
lifeforms on Earth, the ancient organisms that created stromatolites are believed to have played a major role in the development of life on this planet.
As a former exploration geologist, Mary Pat is fascinated with these fossils and the processes that form them. Over the years the Webers have traveled to several well known stromatolite locations such as Northern Minnesota, Glacier National Park and Shark Bay, Australia.
As a long time and active member of her mineral club, Ms. Weber has served as the “Pandemic President” of The Conejo Gem and Mineral Club for the past few years. She enjoys exhibiting her specimens at local mineral clubs and is a consistent blue ribbon winner at the Ventura County Fair. As a collector, she will have a sampling of stromatolite specimens at the meeting for club members to see. 

November Meeting: Silent Auction, Election Night, November 8, 2022, 7 p.m.

September 13, 2022, 7 p.m.
Amber, That Fantastic Tree Resin by Maxine Dearborn
Maxine Dearborn will walk us through the gem stone amber. Yes, amber, like pearls, is one of the few non-mineral gemstones. Amber comes in many colors and she will have samples for you to see and touch. Maxine will go from where amber is found and what it looks like in the rough, to finished items in jewelry. You will also learn how to polish and take care of your amber. You will want your own amber necklace after this program!
Maxine Dearborn has been a member of the Del Air Rockhounds Club in the San Fernando Valley for over 40 years and has been picking up rocks since the 2nd grade. She is co-chairman of the club's Educational Team that talks to 2nd and 4th grade students on local geology, rocks, minerals, fossils and more. Fossils are her favorite, but she has a hard time not picking up any old rock she sees on the ground and looking at it. In her travels, she have collected Trilobites in Utah, Fossil Fish in Wyoming, Ammonites in Texas, Dino Bones in Wyoming, Petrified Wood in many States and all kinds of rocks in every State in the Union. Yes, rockhounding is FUN!!!

August 9, 2022, 7 p.m.
Wingate Pass Agates by Charles O. Walker, Jr GySgt USMC (Retired).
Our August presentation is on Wingate Plume Agate, aka DEATH VALLEY PLUME AGATE from North China Lake/ Death Valley California. It was discovered in 1953 and exhausted by the early 1960s. The area is now located within a Naval bombing range.
Charles has been gathering many different seam variations of the once famed collecting locality that has been off limits for decades. With that said, he concentrates on collecting the off limits and "can't get that anymore" rocks. Charles will show specimens of Wingate agate.

July 12, 2022, 7 p.m.
Show, Tell, Sell and Trade
Bring your goodies to show, trade, sell or display. Everyone is invited!

June 14, 2022, 7 p.m.

This program will show the future of mineral collecting, the use of modern technology, and minerals that are measured in centimeters not pounds. Where can you find your micro minerals? I will demonstrate how to cut, shape, and mount the minerals. These discarded pieces of minerals will come to life under a microscope. Micromounting brings out the true artist in every Rockhound and mineral collector. You will experience a hand on session of creating a Micromount. You will see how Micromounting is the future of mineral collecting.
Rudy Lopez: I started collecting minerals in the early 80’s. I am Rockhound, Mineral collector, Lapidarist and Mi-cromounter. As a Lapidarist I enjoy using my cabbing machines. I have given live cabbing demonstrations, geode cutting and mineral demonstrations for teachers at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and OC Parks. I have participated in the Urban Festival at the Natural History Museum for the past 10 years and The Cooper Center Prehistoric OC for the past 7 years.
I have been member of MSSC for 16 years. Presently I am the Programs and Education Coordinator. I became addicted to Micromounting in 1999, when I attended my first Pacific Micromount Conferences. My collection contains 3000 micromounts. I have been a coordinator of the MSSC Annual Pacific Micromount Conference since 2005.
March 8, 2022, 7 p.m.
Argentina Agates vs. U.S. Agates, by Luis de Los Santos

Our March speaker is Luis de Los Santos. He will be speaking on Argentina agates vs. U.S. agates; formation, features, familiarity, i.e. Condor, Puma, and Crater agates.
Luis was born in Argentina and began collecting rocks, crystals and gold at 6 years old. He attended the
National Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Buenos Aires and became well known as an actor in theater,
radio and television. However, rocks drew him back. After attending the Denver Gem and Mineral Show
in 1989 with a bag full of petrified pinecones and selling them all within 5 minutes, he was hooked! He
moved to Ontario, CA and has since returned to Argentina several times a year to explore and dig. His
travels to remote, inhospitable areas in Patagonia make Sperry Wash look like Sunday in the park. During
his travels he found and named Condor agate in 1992, Puma agate in 1993, and Crater agate in 1997.
Articles regarding these finds have been published in Rock & Gem and Lapidary Journal.

February 8, 2022, 7 p.m.
Quartz in Arkansas

George R. Rossman is Professor of Mineralogy in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, at Caltech in Pasadena. He got a dual B.S. degree in both Chemistry and Mathematics from Wisconsin State University, Eau Claire. His Ph.D. was from Caltech in Inorganic Chemistry. His principal research interests deal with the use spectroscopic probes to study minerals. His work addresses questions relating to the origin of color in minerals; spectroscopic methods for phase identification; and the special role of trace amounts of water bound in nominally anhydrous minerals. He is also interested in the long-term effects in minerals from the exposure to background levels of natural radiation. He was the recipient of the inaugural Dana Medal, of the Mineralogical Society of America in 2001, the Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching at the Caltech in 2004, the Friedrich-Becke Medal of the Austrian Mineralogical Society in 2005, and this year’s Roebling Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America. He was also honored by having two new minerals of the tourmaline family named after him. He has more than 380 publications in the mineralogical and chemical sciences.spx

January 11, 2022, 7 p.m.
Why did I pick up that rock? By Jason Badgley

In the presentation Jason will talk about the rocks we pick up in the field, and what the could look like inside because everyone overlooked a good specimen.  We’ll talk about and show examples of desert varnish oxidation weathering on the stones, and the waterworn exterior of stone jade rinds and luster. Join us for this much needed, informative talk.

Jason's Bio:
I have been into Rockhounding and lapidary since I was 7 years old.  My grandfather introduced me to this wonderful hobby.  Since then I have worked in Mexico as a professional prosecutor.  I have been in three different books, "Agates and Jaspers of North America," "A Study of Agates and Their Inclusions of the California Coast," and "Jaspers and Agates of the California Coast Ranges."  I currently do live sales on Facebook every Thursday and Saturday.  I also became an Eagle Scout, too.  I have always loved nature.

Searchers is following the Covid-19 guidelines found at:

December Meeting, December 14, 2021, 6 p.m.
Searchers Potluck and Game Night! 

There will be a potluck party with the club providing Turkey and Ham at the Anaheim Community Center. Bring your favorite game! If you would like to participate in a rock-related gift exchange, bring a wrapped gift worth $10.
Contact Sharon Burson at or at her cell 562 706 2054 to find what to bring for the potluck.
Categories are:
Main Dish
Side dishes (suggested potatoes, yams, mac and cheese, stuffing etc.)
Other dishes (suggested green salad, broccoli salad, fruit salad, bean salad, rolls etc.)

November Meeting, November 9, 2021, 7p.m.
Election and Pie Night, and Adrian Callard Silent Auction

Join us to vote for the Searchers 2022 slate of officers and a silent auction featuring Adrian Callard's fine collection of petrified wood, agates, jaspers, and other rough materials. Bring your shopping bags!

October Meeting October 12, 2021, 7 p.m.
Speaker: Phil Chang
Topic: Viewing Stones
Description: Come and learn about Asian art and the fascinating hobby of “viewing stones” called Suiseki in Japan. We all need another way to appreciate our rocks!

September 14, 2021
Our speaker this month was Walt Lombardo, owner of the local Nevada Books & Minerals shop, who spoke about “The Collection of a Lifetime: the Dr. Joel A. Arem collection”. Dr Arem is a retired geologist who, decades ago, began collecting colored semiprecious gemstones (in other words, gems that are something other than diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or emeralds). Recently demand for some types of semiprecious gems, such as spinels, have caused the values to rise so “semiprecious” gems can be worth as much as comparable precious gems. Dr Arem’s collection is impressive, with many large, clear, beautiful specimens.

September 14, 2021 General Meeting, 7 p.m., Anaheim Community Center [Postponed due to health reasons]
Jeff Dengrove: A Review of Tumbling, Equipment, and Tools

The Searchers General meeting September 14, 2021 will feature Jeff Dengrove talking about how to approach tumbling, how to choose rocks, and a review of tumbling equipment and tools. Join us!

August 10, 2021 General Meeting, 7 p.m., Anaheim Community Center
Silent Auction to benefit the Searchers

Items donated from the Keswick estate will be put up for silent auction. If you would like to donate materials to the silent auction (to benefit the Searchers), please bring your items to the meeting. 

July 13, 2021 General Meeting, 7 p.m., Anaheim Community Center
Show and Tell: Bring your projects, finds, or any rock-related item you'd like to show and tell us about. Sign up for Show and Tell by emailing

Speaker: Paul Edison
Topic: Geology of the Portland Oregon Basin

June 8, 2021, 7 p.m. by Zoom

Speaker: Sandie and Tony Fender, Educators
Topic: Eruption of Mount Saint Helens
When: By Zoom, May 11th 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

Description: In 1980 Mt St Helens erupted in a massive explosion. The presentation covers the mountain before the eruption, during the eruption and the aftermath of the eruption. The presentation also covers how nature has recovered with pictures of the mountain and wildlife today. Tony and Sandie Fender have traveled to the Mountain most years since the eruption to observe and document the regrowth of the environment. Tony and Sandie are retired teachers and are involved in both CFMS and AFMS.


Searchers will have the General Meeting by Zoom, April 13, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Speaker: Jimmy Peterson: Sphere Making with Jimmy Peterson

Join our own Jimmy Peterson as he shows us how he makes his beautiful spheres. He will show us all of his tips and techniques. Don't miss it!


Searchers will have the General Meeting by Zoom, March 9, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Speaker: Pete Goetz Topic: Opals

Description: Pete Goetz, of the American Opal Society, will present a problem on opals, including the etymology, chemical make-up, structure, how colors are created, types of opal, where opals are found and mining techniques.


By Sujatmiko Miko 
7:00 p.m., February 9, 2021

Miko was born in 1941 on a small island of Madura, not far from the famous Bali Island. Since 1990 he has collected various types of gemstones from almost all the major islands in Indonesia. In the period 1997 - 2001, 24 varieties of his gemstone collections were published on Indonesian stamps. Miko will focus his presentation on the amazing beauty of moss jasper chalcedonies from several regencies in Indonesia that having different geological environments. Miko passed his geological degree from Bandung Institute of Technology in 1967 and directly worked at Geological Survey of Indonesia in Bandung. In 1975 he moved to Total Indonesie, Subsidiary of Compagnie Francais du Petrole. In 1978 he passed his post graduate degree from the French Petroleum Institute in France. 


January 12, 2021 General Meeting, 7 p.m.
Stan Bogosian: Classic Collecting Localities of New Mexico
About Stan Bogosian:
Stan Bogosian was born in San Jose, California in 1952. He has been a serious field collector since 1990, and has travelled throughout the western United States in search of fine mineral specimens and lapidary material. His current interest is micro-minerals, although he has an extensive collection of rocks and minerals of all sizes, including polished rounds of Miocene petrified wood he collected in Eastern Washington.
Stan graduated from Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington, in 1978 with a Bachelor’s in Education. After teaching high school for several years in Washington and California, Stan worked as a manager in the private sector until his retirement in 2013.
Club Affiliations:
Peninsula Gem and Geology Society, Los Altos, CA (President)
Sequoia Gem and Mineral Society, Redwood City, CA
Bay Area Mineralogists, Menlo Park, CA
San Francisco Gem and Mineral Society, San Francisco, CA (Field Trip Chairperson)
Northern California Mineralogical Association
Searchers will have the January general meeting by Zoom, January 12, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

December 8, 2020 General Meeting, 7 p.m.
Searcher's Show and Tell
View photographs from Searcher field trips and projects.

November 10, 2020 General Meeting, 7 p.m.
Searcher's Show and Tell
View photographs from Searcher field trips and projects.

October 13, 2020 General Meeting, 7 p.m.

Choosing the Best Tool Bits for the Foredom or Dremel

Brad Smith

Brad Smith will share his 24 years of experience as a studio jeweler and adult-ed teacher to explain what each type of tool bit is good for, which can save time, and illustrate how the right bit can improve the quality of your work.

The presentation will help you to choose the best bit for each task. It includes a slide show plus a live demo for demonstrations and an opportunity for questions.

Smith is a studio jeweler, lapidary, author, and jewelry instructor. He enjoys rockhounding, is a long-time member of the Culver City Rock Club, and is the author of five jewelry technique books.

September 8, 2020 General Meeting, 7 p.m.

Determine the Potential of Rock and Prep for Cutting

Robert Burson
Robert will be our guest speaker for September. The topic will be preparation of rock for cutting purposes. He will explain how to determine the best potential for cutting stone, how to expose, exploit and work up cuttable specimens. His presentation will also include contouring and pressure washing angle grinding (his new toy). Last he will show pictures of some local rocks which he finds interesting.

August 11, 2020, 7 p.m. General Meeting
Design and Build Your Lapidary Workshop
By Doug Flaugh

A presentation on the considerations and process of designing and building lapidary equipment for home use.
As a metal working hobbyist and retired engineer Doug’s entry into lapidary work offered new opportunities to build quality equipment while saving money. This presentation will walk you through the entire process of designing and building a 16” slab saw. We will also discuss other potential projects in work, and take questions from the audience.


July 14, 2020 General Meeting
By George R. Rossman

Professor of Mineralogy, California Institute of Technology
Diamonds have long been of interest both for their emotional and gemological value, and for their technological importance as abrasives and optical elements. Historically, most diamonds have come to us through big holes in the ground where massive amounts of earth are moved and crushed to obtain the low concentration of diamonds contained within. But for hundreds of years, scientists have tried to synthesize diamonds. Early claims of synthesis by crude methods were put forth. It was only in 1955 that scientists at the General Electric Corporation found a catalyst that made diamond synthesis practical. Now, many ways have been found to make diamonds along with new sources in nature which have been discovered. Also new understanding of the source of color in fancy colored diamonds has come about with expanded diamond research. These stories will be the topic of Professor Rossman’s presentation.

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 7 p.m.
Walt Lombardo. Walt Lombardo, esteemed geologist and owner of the Nevada Book and Mineral Store in Orange, will be doing an interesting presentation about rare gems and minerals from California such as Bentonite, Vesuvianite and Lapis.

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 7 p.m.
The Geology and Scenery of Southern Utah
Andrew Hoekstra will be our guest speaker for February, discussing the geology and scenery of southern Utah. He will point out geological sights to visit on vacation and mention what and where you can collect. This topic is timely since the government intends reopen a large area to collecting. Andrew's talk will focus on the Grand Staircase Escalante region. He will review the geological history and rocks of the Colorado Plateau accompanied by many photographs. He will also discuss how a few rock hounds struggled to restore recreational collecting in the area.

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 7 p.m.
Our guest speaker in February, 2020 will be Luis De Los Santos an Argentine native and discoverer of Condor agate from Patagonia in Southern Argentina in 1992.  He also discovered Puma agate in 1993 and Crater agate in 1997.  His presentation in February on Argentine agates will include how many agates, where, formation, features, familiarity and Argentine agates vs. US agates.  His material is considered to be one the most prestigious agates of the world.  Hopefully he will have specimens for sale at our meeting. Mr. De Los Santos is described in a Rock&Gem article as a very gracious gentleman.

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 7 p.m.
January Speakers: Dick and Mary Pat Weber
Chasing Color: Mining Boulder Opal in Australia

During their year-long "walkabout", Geologists Dick and Mary Pat Weber visited most of the major mining districts of Australia. Their favorite area was the boulder opal deposits in the channel counter of Queensland. Miners live under primitive and hazardous conditions in a remote area of the Outback, where there are more snakes, lizards and kangaroos than people. Unique to the region, this opal is found in massive ironstone concretions of Cretaceous age. Through the generosity of their friends at Broken River Mining, learn how this material is mined and processed in order to bring the world's most beautiful opal to market.

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 7 p.m.
Pie and Election Night
Your vote counts!

Holiday Party and Installation of Officers, Saturday, December 2, 2019, 5 p.m. 

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 7 p.m.
Searchers Presents: Fluorescents "Rock!"
Our first rockin' All Hallows Day of the Dead-Man's Glow-tastic Fluorescence Mash-up Party!

Get ready for some glowing, spooky fun! Come for prizes, treats, fun, and get your glow on!
Guest Speaker: Dale Harwood is an ore specialist and is known as the "Cylindrite King." He will be educating us on fluorescent minerals and UV lighting. He will be sure to have display specimens on hand for viewing. Dale was noted in a North County Times article for having over twenty-five thousand specimens, a great many he collected himself here in the Southwest. In case you just must have a new treasure to add to your personal collection, Dale will have some for sale as well. Longtime member and Searchers mega-supporter Walt Lombardo will also provide us with the opportunity to buy new items to add to our own collections.

Franklin, New Jersey - Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World
I've ordered this special video from The California Federation of Mineralogical Societies which will give us some interesting information on the more well-known fluorescent mineral locales. What about us, you ask? Well, I've got you covered there, too. I've compiled a list of local spots where you may be able to hunt and collect your own fluorescent minerals. It will be available to at the meeting. Come, meet and mingle, bring your own fluorescent specimens for show and tell and glow, baby, glow on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at 7 p.m.

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 7 p.m.


A visual presentation by Ken Rogers

Have you ever cut open a mundane stone, and found what looks like an original Ansel Adams photograph or a Claude Monet painting? (landscapes, faces, animals, people, aquatic scenes, etc.) Tonight we will be visiting the “Louvre de roches”.

Photographer, artist, rockhound, & previous “spook”, Ken Rogers is constantly searching for beautiful, or whimsical, art as he cuts chunks of rock, looks at the lapidary work, of others, and, perhaps, just a rock lying on the ground.

Ken came from an artistic family, made up of tailors & floral arrangers, (As a kid, Ken won 1st place in floral arranging, in the local County Fair.)

As a teen, Ken collected stamps, coins, rocks & gemstones, Baseball cards, and MAD Magazines.  Ken won an award in a U.N. Stamp design contest

In junior & senior high school, Ken followed a science and arts program, where, among other things, Ken learned: (cold lead) type setting & printing; creating marbleized paper; set building; stage lighting; woodworking; and silversmithing (created silver jewelry, using gems from his collection).

Following high school (& with the Draft looming), Ken enlisted in the top secret, U.S. Army Security Agency (Intelligence “Spooks”).  While stationed in Japan, Ken made (tumbled stone) jewelry, that he sold to the other guys, to send to their “girl  back home”.  This income allowed him to buy the new Nikon F camera.  
Ken absorbed enough knowledge of photography, that among his other duties, he, also, became the “Base Photographer”.  While in Japan, Ken collected stones, traveled, explored, & photographed, around Japan.

Upon discharge from the Army, Ken returned to L.A., where, to learn more about photography & selling, he took classes and worked in retail. In each job, he quickly worked his way up to management.  This included, Japan's, Seibu Dept. Store, in L.A. (now the Peterson Automotive Museum).  After a few years, Ken left retail, and started working, as a free lance photojournalist, for Time Magazine.  Soon, there after, Ken started working for most of the world's important magazines & corporations.  During this time, Ken, also, headed a few organizations, was a lecturer, publisher, NEA panelist, teacher, and consultant to young photographers, publications, and government agencies.

When photography went digital, and the industry changed, radically, Ken reluctantly retired from photography, and returned to some of his earlier loves, including rocks, and jewelry.  

Come to our monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at 7 pm.

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, August 14, 2019, 7 p.m.

Topic: Jack Hobart: Lake Superior Copper Agates

Download brochure

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 7 p.m.

Topic: Thar be GOLD in that thar meetin’!

The Route 66 Gold Miners will be our guests this month, sharing their passion for gold prospecting & treasure hunting. They will inform us about several topics including: prospecting, panning, and metal detecting. 

Much like The Searchers, they care about the right to access public lands and to keep them open to the public for everyone to enjoy. To that end, Route 66 Gold Miners actively support the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA) and the American Mining Rights Association (AMRA). 

Download brochure

Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 7 p.m.

Topic: Who is Kent Lauer?

Glass Craftsman Magazine says about Kent Lauer, Master Beveler…”Does art seek us out of do we create are? When a university educated geologist delves into stained glass and blossoms into artistic prominence that spans the globe and encompasses works commissioned by an endless list of Who’s Who celebrities and heads of state, this simple question becomes a poignant statement.”

Kent Lauer has been a lapidary, working with glass, for more than 44 years. What started as a fascination with glass soon became a career. Kent learned to bevel early on, and was determined to find out everything he could about pushing the limits of beveled glass. His work has since been seen worldwide, in important homes, and in historic buildings. Living in Southern California has given Kent the opportunity to work on glass for films and commercials. His work is sought after by notables and celebrities. He has been published in glass magazines and is currently working on a book entitled “Introduction to Coldworking.”

He has been teaching beveling and dichroic glass sculpture both at glass shows and privately at his studio for over 30 years. His classes include: Faceted Dichroic Glass Pendants; Curved Faceted Glass Pendants; Custom Hand Beveling; and Faceted Dichroic Sculpture.

Come and learn from this master of lapidary arts on Tuesday the 11th at 7 pm. He has a fantastic presentation, which may open up a new world of lapidary material to you, and you can view his jaw-dropping work up close and in person.

May 14, 2019, 7 p.m.
Meeting Topic: Walton Wright, Petrified Wood

Searchers April 2019 meeting.jpg

March 12, 2019, 7 p.m.

Speaker Description: 

“CSI Mineralogy”
Fakes, Frauds and Fantasies
Investigate. Detect clues. Observe. Puzzle out the truth.

Learn the forensics to be a Mineralogy SCI.

We are not able to collect every stone in our collections personally. When we do purchase, we need to make educated decisions. Getting fooled or spending too much purchasing gems & minerals is a crime. Learn some of the common misnamed gems & minerals. Learn common “enhancements” that should always be disclosed, and learn to identify possible deception. Some misnomers are innocent errors handed down through history, handy nicknames or tools of tricksters. Let’s sort out the facts together.
The California Federation of Mineralogical Societies has provided a presentation by Anthony Kampf, from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Local gemologist, John Eyre will speak on the topic and be on hand for discussion and questions.
After the formal portion of the evening there will be time for discussion. Please feel free to bring any specimens of your own that you have questions about or want to share with the group.

Also, sign up to help with the Show, have a display case, sell at the Searchers table, contribute prizes or raffle items!

February 12, 2019, 7 p.m.
Speaker Description: It will be packed full! We will have three different terrific topics. 
Joy Rogers will be on site to share personal safety tools for your rockhounding excursions, which can also be used in your daily life. 
We will have a short introduction into fundraising, donations, and development that will help us fund our activities and maintain our nonprofit status. 
Last and most exciting.... We have a stellar mashup planned. We will be celebrating Valentine's Day as well as our Veterans at the first ever VA-lentine's Day. What does your support for the Vets at the Long Beach VA Hospital lapidary shop actually accomplish? Where exactly do your rocks, slabs, and donations go? Come and see for yourself. We will have a speaker from the Veterans Administration Hospital, displays of their lapidary shop work, and selections from their awards and events. 
After the formal speaking portion of the evening there will be time to mix and mingle, and to get an up close view of the exhibits on display. To properly celebrate our newly minted Searchers holiday there will be special VA-lentine’s Day refresh- ments and sweets for the sweet. Come hang where the Searchers ROCK! It will be a night of Hearts & Stars. 

January 8, 2019, 7 p.m.
Speaker Description:
Our local expert and "ROCKstar", Walt Lombardo, will be speaking on
the gem, mineral, and rare-element bearing pegmatites of California. This local area
ranks up with the major gem and specimen producing pegmatite regions in the world. Come
join us in learning about the sources of elbaite, morganite, kunzite, and other treasures
found right here in our own backyard. 


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