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Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
St. Louis, Missouri


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The Grapevine

We are happy to  report that our "Sick puppies" are improving. Mary Parrot has survived the operation on her back and is home and improving steadily.

Helen Heitland is home from St. Luke's after suffering from congestive heart failure.

Bob Morse's has a new grandson, Christopher Coilin Davis, born on Nov. 9, 1999. Congratulations!

Thanks to Roy Cottrell for accepting the position of Historian for our club. We still need someone for our Hospitality Chairman.

Dues are Due!
Our dues are a very reasonable $15 for one person and $20 for a whole family. We use this money for items such as speakers, newsletter expenses, postage, etc. Please give your check to Andy Larson.

The Christmas Party was a great success! Many thanks go to Dianne and Andy Larson for the use of their home, Joan Schlichter for furnishing music and to Hank Schlichter, Larry Toenjes, & Andy Larson for their stories.

Rockhounding the Internet

by David Miller – St. Louis Mineral &

Gem Society

I must admit that sometimes you are led to things that can become somewhat of an addiction. The addiction I have, I can blame on a close friend. After he showed me his collection of GOLD the bug began to bite! And so this month my focus will be on Gold, The Rush, and Prospecting.
Man's drive for gold starts back in ancient times as seen in my last article. But for the modem man the real drive for gold didn't begin until January 24, 1848. It is here that James Marshall and a work crew camped at the American River at Coloma, California found a few gold nuggets in the tailrace of a mill they were constructing, Sutter's Mill. The first printed notice of the discovery of California gold was the March 15, 1848 issue of "The Californian". By May 12,1848 Samuel Brannan, a storekeeper and newspaper publisher put in his "California Star" the discovery at Sutter's Mill. He took a bottle full of gold dust, and running up and down the streets of San Francisco he yells "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River," and the rush is on! By August 19, 1848 the "New York Herald" has printed the discovery of California Gold. And by April 1849 the first wagon train departs from Missouri and Iowa heading for California with over 20,000 people. October 13, 1849 the California state constitution is born and the state motto becomes "Eureka". And on September 9, 1850 California is admitted to the Union as a free-slave state to become number 31 of our current 50 states.
The California Gold Rush lasted from 1848 - 1856. In these 9 years over 500,000 people flooded to California. The total net worth of gold taken out of California was estimated at $465,000,000. With all the gold recovered, it isn't until almost the end of the gold rush that the largest piece of California gold is found. It was at Carson Hill in Calaveras County in 1854 that a 195-pound mass of gold was recovered. And since then there has been the Colorado, the Alaskan and Klondike, and the Australian Gold Rush to name a few.
But for those of us living now, what can we do to quench our desire for gold, yet be like the gold diggers of old? Well, I just happened to run across an organization appropriately called "Gold Prospectors Association of America." The one internal organization that has prospecting trips is "The Lost Dutchman's Mining Association." It was founded in 1976 to provide Places to prospect for gold. 'Through the year they sponsor 3 and 5 day trips to different locations. What I like about the LDMA is that it owns and operates 16 properties in 9 different states, totaling nearly 800 acres in which to prospect. In the past anything from flakes to some very large nuggets of gold have been found. Currently, the GPAA website has the 2000 schedule of trips for the LDMA posted.
But if field tripping isn't your forte, well then the internet is just for you! There are several sites that can be explored for the history and purchase of gold. I have found information on gold from all over - AZ, CA, CO, GA, MD, NC, NM, NV, OH, OR, SC, TX, Canada and Australia to name just a few! And with that here are
some sites that I recommend to get you started in exploring the world of gold.

Gold Prospectors Association off America
The California Gold Rush
California's Untold Stories   (A definite must see!!)
California Gold Rush timeline
A-1 Silverado Gold
The Aussie Gold Prospector
The Original 16 to 1 Mine
Colorado Nuggets
Lost Canyon Gold
USGS- Prospecting in the United States
Live N.Y.Gold Market
Good Hunting and see you next month!



Many people do not realize that change is the only constant in the world. Paradoxical? No! Think about it! water evaporates, steel rusts, wood rots, granite decomposes, time passes, the sun rises and sets, old species die out, new species evolve, old "truths" are disproved, new truths" are discovered. The only thing that keeps going (like the Energizer Bunny?) is change. And, yet, some among us would like to stop change, to freeze things as they are, or were, at some instant of their choice.
by John Mastin , Editor of CHAPARRAL CHATTER 9/96

Bright Idea
Reliable Old Vinegar still has many uses.
If you have difficulty removing scratches during polishing, try adding vinegar to your polish. You can spray directly on the lap or pad, mix it with the polish compound, or add it to the water that drips on the lap. This can be helpful in getting a scratch free surface, especially when polishing quartz or agate with cerium oxide. (From Fractured Agate 11/97, via others, via Rock Rollers Bulletin 7799.)

One way to clean quartz and amethyst crystals that does not involve dangerous acids is to cover them with fresh vinegar to remove the carbonates (such as calcite, barite, and lime). Allow the crystals to stand overnight in the vinegar, repeating if it is necessary. Wash well, then place the crystals in washing-type ammonia for 8 to 12 hours; remove, rinse, and wipe.
(From Mineralog. via Pegmatite 12/84, via Breccia 11/94, via Rock Rollers Bulletin 7/99.) Via The Geode August 1999

Plan ahead.., it wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.
Don't listen to critics - do what has to be done.
Build on high ground.
For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
Two heads are better than one.
Speed isn't always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board but.., so were the snails.
If you can't fight or flee....float!!
Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on earth. Don't forget we're all in the same boat. When things get really deep, don't sit there and complain - shovel!!!
Stay below deck during the storm.
Remember that the Ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals
(Author unknown) submitted by Sue Nicol -THANKS, SUE!! From The Glacial Drifter 3/99


The 'Skeeter and the Rockhound both,
Went out to hunt one day.
The Rockhound wanted specimens,
The 'Skeeter wanted prey.

The Rockhound found a likely spot,
and settled with his gear.
He'd dug a short time when he heard,
A buzzing in his ear.

The Rockhound swatted at the noise,
And stood to look around.
He missed the 'Skeeter, but he saw,
A great stone on the ground!

The rockhound bent to lift the stone,
His backside in the air.
The 'Skeeter took an advantage then,
And bit the rockhound there.

The Rockhound jumped and squashed the bug,
His bottom to defend.
The Rockhound and the 'Skeeter had, Both got it in THE END!
Cindy Lind '93

Don't be afraid of pressure. Remember that pressure is what
turns a lump of coal into a diamond.

The Franklin County Rockhounder

Friends and Gems
from Golden Spike News, via The Yellowstone Deposit and Ft. lewis Rock Club News

Rockhounds who have been in the hobby for some time begin to realize that the most precious gems they have collected are the friends they have made along .the way.  Some are still in the rough; some are highly polished;
some are dull and colorless until viewed in the right light.  And like every gemstone in nature, they also have inclusions, sometimes referred to as flaws.  If we enjoy them as they are, realizing that their warmth and beauty  make up for their imperfections, if we concentrate on their better aspects, the flaws become insignificant and merely marks of individuality.