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Making Jewelry!

by Nancy Brace-Thompson
sodaliteI made a sodalite and crystal necklace during lockdown! I’ve wanted to do some beading for quite awhile (since I keep buying beads and putting them in a drawer) and when the lockdown came around, even though I’m still working Monday through Friday, I had time on a weekend to put this necklace together. It was so much creative fun that I’m hoping to do it again and use some more of the beads that are sitting in my drawer.

Pebble Pups

We have an active Pebble Pup program for youth from 5 to 13, which meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month from 10 am to noon. Read more about it and see the calendar on the Pebble Pups page.

2018 VGMS Gem and Mineral Show

It was a huge success! Everyone put in long hours and it paid off. Weather was nice, with rain keeping to nighttime hours. We had one new dealer, and a new activity: gold panning. The silent auction had a lot of great material from the Hauser house, and the plant sale and country store had lots of stock, and steady sales. The event happening across from us on Saturday brought in a lot of people keeping dealers and volunteers busy all day. Kids booth, demonstrators, exhibits, raffle – all up to our usual high standards. The food was great and we even had a traditional waffle and bacon breakfast on Saturday. Fun times!

VGMS Show Poster 2018
The Ventura Gem & Mineral Society’s 56th Annual Gem, Mineral, Fossil, & Lapidary Show is coming to the Ventura County Fairgrounds (10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura), on Sat., March 3 (10AM-5PM) and Sun., March 4 (10AM-4PM). There are going to be beautiful displays, the annual Country Store & Plant Sale, silent auctions and a raffle for great prizes, kids activities, demonstrators showing rock cutting and jewelry-making techniques, and all sorts of dealers selling rocks, fossils, minerals, jewelry, and lapidary arts supplies. Entrance to the show is free, although there is a $5 parking fee imposed by the fairgrounds.

VGMS Members Affected by Thomas Fire

At least three members (that we know of) have been seriously affected by the Thomas Fire. Friends have set up GoFundMe pages for them:

Maria Flores & Raul Barraza

Dani & Henry (Pebble Pup)

Julia Mowery

Please help if you can!

VGMS and the 2017 Ventura County Fair

Held about five months after our own VGMS Gem Show and midway between the Oxnard and Conejo shows, the Ventura County Fair provides another opportunity for our members to show off their gems, minerals and jewelry, but this time with the additional excitement of competition. The Fair runs for 12 days and sees about 300,000 visitors. Our own Diane Cook is the Superintendent of the Gem and Mineral and Hobbies, Models, and Collectibles building. She relies on her staff and many volunteers before, during, and after the fair to make this a fulfilling event for all. But it wouldn’t be anything without the exhibitors. The VGMS and our two neighboring gem clubs participate and compete fiercely amongst ourselves, assuring a strong presence at the Fair.

Here is a list of awards VGMS members won in Gems and Minerals in 2017, which encompasses mineral and fossil collecting, jewelry making and lapidary arts. First are the ribbons (blue=1st, red=2nd, white=3rd, pink=4th), followed by additional awards.

Raul Barazza: 1 blue (Pebble Pup case)
Nancy Bogart:1 blue
Frank Boulch:2 blue, 1 pink, Fair Theme ribbon
Jim Brace-Thompson: 11 blue, 4 red, 3 white, 2 pink, Best Fossil Case, Judge’s Choice (2), Staff Favorite
Nancy Brace-Thompson: 2 red, 2 white, 1 pink
Angela Brown: 3 blue, 3 red, 1 white
Luther Brown: 1 blue, 1 red, Judge’s Choice
Diane Cook: Unable to compete, but her non-competitive exhibit won Director’s Choice anyway! Also, Staff Favorite for opal gem tree.
John Cook: 2 blue, 7 red, 4 white, 1 pink, Best Lapidary Case
Kathryn Davis: 4 blue, 2 red, 1 white, 3 pink, Superintendent’s Favorite, Judge’s Choice
Mike Havstad: 5 blue, 1 red, 1 pink, Best Single Mineral
Lucia Hetrick: 2 blue, Best Novice Case
Shirley Layton: 1 blue
Gary Leberknight: 1 red, 1 white, 1 pink
David Mautz: 4 blue, 6 red, 2 white, 3 pink, Best Single Fossil
Jared McGowan: 1 red, 1 white, 2 pink, Judge’s Choice
Jeff Miller: 2 blue, Best Mineral Case, Director’s Choice
Adrian Ruiz: 1 red, 1 white, 1 pink
David Springer: 2 blue, 4 red, 4 white
Miriam Tetreault: 4 blue, 1 red, 1 white
VGMS: 2 blue, 1 white, Judge’s Choice, Staff Favorite
Phyllis White: 3 blue
Terry Wilson: 5 blue, 3 red, 1 white, 1 pink, Judge’s Choice, Best Jewelry Case
Ron Wise: 7 blue, 6 red, 1 white, 1 pink, Best Single Lapidary, Judge’s Choice (2), Staff Favorite

It takes a lot of people to pull off a county fair. VGMS members filled these important roles:

Jim & Nancy Brace-Thompson
Angela Brown
John Cook
Krishna Juarez
Shirley Layton
Adrian Ruiz

Sandra Butchko
John Cook
Laura Driskell
David Mautz
Dick White
Phyllis White
Ron Wise

Setup, Intake, Judging & Take Down:
Andy Anderson
Raul Barazza
Angela Brown
Luther Brown
Laura Driskell
Jeff Geist
Shirley Layton
Adrian Ruiz
Dick & Phyllis White
Ron Wise

Floor Walkers:
Stuart Bloom
Nancy Bogart
Jim & Nancy Brace-Thompson
Luther Brown
Kathryn Davis
Laura Driskell
Austyn Frisk
Adrian Ruiz
Richard Slyker
Miriam Tetreault
Dick & Phyllis White
Terry Wilson
Ron Wise

VGMS Members Well Represented at the County Fair

The Ventura County Fair is still going on, and we had great representation in the Gem and Mineral area. Read all about it, and who won what, here: VGMS and the Ventura County Fair.

The 2017 CFMS-AFMS Show: A Tough Act To Follow!

June 9-11, VGMS hosted the CFMS-AFMS Show & Convention at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.  Thanks to everyone who volunteered and/or put in displays, plus our hard-working Show Committee for making it all happen.  We broke the record for the most competitive entries at a Federation show!  We heard time and time again how great the show was, how well organized it was, complimented us on the variety of displays, and how welcomed they felt.  In addition to that, VGMS won the AFMS All American Club Award (a club yearbook for 2016 events) and the CFMS Sweepstakes Award (for receiving the highest point total for a club for competitive exhibits).


Photos from the show are coming soon! Stay tuned…

77th CFMS Show & Convention was Fun!

Several VGMS members trekked up to Placerville for this year’s CFMS show and we all had a great time. Look for an article by Jim Brace-Thompson in the October newsletter. Meanwhile, here are a few pics and notes from the trip – a good time was had by all!

Clockwise from left: Terry Wilson, Nancy Bird, Nancy Brace-Thompson, John Cook, and Susan & David Walblom.

Clockwise around the table from lower left: Terry Wilson, Nancy Bird, Nancy Brace-Thompson, John Cook, and Susan & David Walblom.

VGMS participated with 5 exhibits. Diane Cook got the first place trophy in Education (and a perfect score!) on her “Shades of Pink” case, and John Cook took a first place trophy for his “Stone Canyon” case. Terry Wilson took a first level on her jewelry case. Jim and Nancy Brace-Thompson exhibited non-competitively for their “Sea Star Fossils” and “Ocean Jasper” cases, respectively. In the publications arena, Diane got first place for her member handbook, Terry took fifth place (at 98 points – they use half-points!) for her article on her Nevada and Utah trip last year. She also got second place for our website.

We got to see the world gold panning championships, and on Sunday we tried it for ourselves:

John Cook panning for gold in the American River.

John Cook panning for gold in the American River.

77th CFMS Show & Convention in September

This year’s show is hosted by the El Dorado County Mineral & Gem Society, and held September 16 – 18 in Placerville, CA. More info: CFMS 2016. This Show & Convention is just after the 2016 World Gold Panning Championships at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds September 11–18. If you haven’t made reservations at any motels, do so immediately.

Competitive and Non-Competitive Exhibit Entry Forms deadline August 1st, 2016. Competitive Entry Form. Non-Competitive Form.

Advanced Registration deadline is also August 1st, 2016. Advance Registration Form.

2017 CFMS-AFMS Show with VGMS Hosting

David Walblom and Nancy Brace- Thompson unveil the poster for the 2017 CFMS-SFMS ShowThe VGMS will once again be hosting the CFMS Show in 2017, and this time the AFMS will join us. Our theme is “Ventura Rocks the Nation!”. Every year the AFMS piggybacks onto one of the seven regional federation shows. It will be at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, June 9 – 11, 2017. Visit the website: We held a contest for theme and logo design. Congratulations to Jim Brace-Thompson for the theme, and Brett Bednorz for the logo!