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Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
St. Louis, Missouri


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May 2002

If at first we don’t succeed, Try Again!
It was obvious that Mother Nature did not want us to go to Sheffler Mines on May 11th as it rained all week so conditions would have been messy and unsafe. Our next suggestion is for us all to go to the Midwest Federation Show in Springfield, IL on 

October 4-6, 2002. The club is able to pay for part of our expenses. Let us know what you think of this idea.

The Parrotts have a new grandson,
Adam Michael born on April 17, 2002 at 8:07 pm . He is a big boy weighing in at 6lb, 11oz and is 20 inches long. Mother, baby and grandparents are doing fine.

Mineral of the Month

The Mineral of the Month of May will be Sphalerite. If you have an example to share with us, please bring it along to the meeting.

Science Fair Winners

We had two winners in the Elementary Fair. Patrick Broyles, a fifth grader from Highcroft School in Parkway had a wonderful project “Rocks, What is in a Name?” Patrick is a member of our club.
The other winner was a third grader from Shenandoah, John Sundermeyer. His project was “The Effect of Heat on the Three Rock Families.”

Fiber Optic Gems:
What are they?

Bill Grimes in the Rockhound

Fiber optics was developed as a result of someone studying a piece of the mineral Ulexite, also know as TV rock. It is a hard brittle, fibrous stone which when writing is placed underneath, will allow the image to appear on the surface of the stone.

This led to the theory that if this type of fibrous material could be manufactured, it could be used in many different ways. Fiber optic cables were at first very slender and flexible, used in surgeries and in household decorations.

The manufacturing technology improved and soon manufacturers were spinning out miles of cable for a new application - data transmission lines. These lines can be up to two inches across. The cable consists of tough strands of pairs of optic fibers. Each pair carries data for phone, computer, fax, etc. Since the sides of the cable are reflective, there is no need for insulation of shielding around each fibers, as in old phone lines. This translates to more pairs in a smaller space. For us in the hobby, this created one of the newest gem treasures.

Fiber Optic Cabs

In order to make a fiber optic cabochon, the cable scraps are first cut into small lengths. The cable is then either cut into spheres, or it is sectioned parallel to the length of the fiber. Once the slices are made, it is cut much like any other gem. However, care must be taken to protect the ends of the cable from splintering, catching cutting dirt, abrasives, etc. There is an interesting thing about fiber optic gems. If you look at them from a 90 degree angle from the eye of the gem, the gem will be transparent to light, maintaining its properties for light transmission.


Get more out of your tumbling by adding specially shaped stones to your regular stones. Hearts, crosses and elongated triangles made by cutting a rectangular slab across the diagonal are some of the possibilities. (Via: QUARRY QUIPS)


The lava which erupted from Kilauea in Hawaii, in four years could pave a four lane high from San Francisco, California to New York 31 feet deep. (Via: PEGMATITE)


The Fossil Park opened last year and will be open on weekends starting on May 25, 2002. The cost for people living outside Sylvania, Ohio are will be $3.00 to $7.00, depending on what day it is. This will be each carload.
They will try to have from four to six piles of good material on hand at all times. If the budget allows, they might get more added before the end of the season, Oct. 15, 2002. This will be the good shale everyone has been sneaking in to get for the last several years. No more fear of police!