February 28th Meeting Featuring “6000 Years of Chinese Jade Culture”

Please join us on February 28th at 6:30 to hear our guest speaker John Messamore’s discussion about Jade (see description below and bio).

6000 Years of Chinese Jade Culture. Will discuss characteristics and sources of jade, working methods, typical Chinese forms, development of culture and impacts of class on early use. Will use historical and personal jade/hardstone examples to illustrate the beauty and mystery of the material.

John Messamore grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and graduated from Vanderbilt University on an Army ROTC scholarship in 1975. He minored in Geology there and learned just enough to be dangerous about rocks.  Later he achieved Master’s degrees in Systems Management from USC and in National Resources Management from the International College of the Armed Forces.  He served for twenty-six years as an Army Air Defense Officer and Topographic Engineer, commanding units of battery, battalion, and brigade sizes and retiring as a Colonel in 2001. He next worked as a Defense contractor for thirteen years focusing on unmanned systems research and development, DOD security program management, and nuclear and conventional physical security requirements. For over thirty years John has had a keen interest in history and antiques. As a collector, dealer, student, and now lecturer on Chinese arts at the Universtity of North Alabama Institute for Learning in Retirement, John enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for Chinese material cultures, especially Jade! He is married to Col (Ret) Pamela Arias and lives in Florence, Alabama.

January 24, 2017 meeting

In January we will do the first of 3 programs this year where members share their prize rocks and stones.
Sharing the Stones: Show and Tell No. 1
At our January 24th Program, we want members whose last names begin with A through H to bring up to 3 (no more than 3) of your favorite rocks, slabs, cabs, or jewelry to a Show and Tell. By limiting the number of people and objects, each person gets to tell how they got the object, what it is (or to ask what it is), and to explain why this piece is important to the person.  By allowing each person who brings something to share a few minutes to show off each piece, the club gets to know each person better as well as to ooh and aah at their pretties. Later in the year we will have 2 more Show and Tell programs where other members get their 10 minutes of fame.

HGMS Presentation ~ “Finding Gems & Crystals in the Southeast & Hogg Mine Mineral Formation” by Chris Painter

rose-quartzOn 22 November 2016, Chris Painter will present “Finding Gems & Crystals in the Southeast & Hogg Mine Mineral Formation”.

Chris’ love for rocks began at a young age. He collected rocks he found from about the time he could walk. He was hooked when he found his first quartz crystal and has been on a relentless search for gemstones ever since. Chris has dug for gemstones and minerals all over the world including Africa, Australia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Brazil. He has a rock business called The Crystals Empire, and he sells and trades at Gem and Mineral shows. Chris is the manager and operator of the Hogg Mine in LaGrange, GA—which is open to the public with advance reservations—as well as other claims he digs at occasionally. He is also the Vice President of Clearview Networks and has several other businesses he runs outside of the gem and a mineral world. Chris is a cutter and jewelry designer. He can cut cabochons, facet, and silver and goldsmith as well when he has time. He has a beautiful Girlfriend Jana and they both have 2 kids each. Bailey (17) Hunter (12) Brooklyn (9) Hana (9). Jana and all of the kids are exceptional rock hounds and have their own rock collections. Check out a couple of his videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wCk1iD-rIM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RGNt0oMTDI.

The HGMS meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.  at the Huntsville Senior Center at 2200 Drake Ave, Huntsville, Alabama and the presentation starts immediately after.

HGMS Presentation ~ “Holography and Gemstones” by Dr. D. Brian Thompson

On 25 October 2016, Dr. D. Brian Thompson will present “Holography and Gemstones”.   Dr. D. Brian Thompson is a Professor of Physics at the University of North Alabama (UNA). He was awarded a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Kentucky in 1994. He spent five years working at synchrotron facilities in England, Italy, and the U.S., performing synchrotron (x ray) light studies on atoms and small molecules. Joining the UNA Department of Physics and Earth Science in 1999, he began a research program in laser optics. Surrounded by mineral specimens in the department, his attitude toward them has been “if it is transparent, let’s shine laser light through it and see what happens.” He has published an article on laser-excited photoluminescence in emeralds in the Gem-A journal, Journal of Gemology (2014); a follow-up article is currently under review at the GIA journal Gems & Gemology.

According to Dr. Thompson several varieties of gemstones exhibit optical properties arising from light reflections occurring inside the stone, including: play of color seen in opals and the similar labradorescence seen in feldspars such as spectrolite and rainbow moonstone, chatoyancy commonly called “cat’s eye” in many species, asterism that is the star in star sapphires, and adularescence that produces a floating blue cloud in moonstone. Static photography of these optical properties, generally referred to as sheen, presents a problem since the sheen effects change both with perspective and with lighting directions. The photographic image cannot reproduce the changing nature of the sheen exhibited by a gemstone in hand. Holography offers another imaging method that may be able to capture the changeable nature of sheen seen in gemstone. Over the past year, we have built and improved a setup that currently uses three laser colors (red, green, and blue) to create reflection holograms of gemstones. Last spring we were successful in creating a three-color holograms of an opal; to quote an industry expert “it looks as if you can reach through and touch it.” In this talk Dr. Thompson will describe the holographic process, review the opal imaging success, describe the acquisition of other specimens for holography, and provide updates on his current efforts to create holograms from these specimens.

The HGMS meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Central Time and the presentation begins promptly after.  Hope to see you there!

HGMS Presentation: “The Joy of Tumbling” by Mike Harrison

Mike_GlamMike Harrison will be making his presentation on 23 August 2016 at the Huntsville Senior Center, 2200 Drake Avenue, Huntsville, Alabama. Mike currently works for Boeing Company and has over 40 years as an engineer in the aerospace industry. He has worked as a Design Engineer, a Productability Engineer, a Quality Engineer, a Program Manager & Scheduler for Lockheed Martin, Phillips Petroleum and the Boeing Company, designing tooling, composite components, structure, and metallic structure for airplanes, satellites, rockets, missiles, unmanned and manned spacecraft as well as wind tunnel models.  His passions are rockhounding, designing & creating, as well as pursuing minerals and precious metals in his spare time.

Mike Harrison will present “The Joy of Tumbling”. Mike will be demonstrating rock tumbling equipment and the media used to polish rocks.  This will be very informal and all are encouraged to contribute what works for them.  Bring your best and favorite tumbled specimen and share how you did it.

The HGMS meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Central Time and the presentation begins promptly after.  Hope to see you there!

2016 Huntsville Gem, Jewelry, and Mineral Show


Huntsville Gem and Mineral Show597px-Quartz-288985


  2017 Huntsville Gem, Jewelry, and Mineral Show

The 50th annual Gem, Jewelry, and Mineral Show, sponsored by the Huntsville Gem & Mineral Society, a non-profit organization and member of the Huntsville Arts Council, will be Friday, October 13 through Sunday, October 15, 2017.  This is the largest jewelry show in the region, the only rock, mineral and gem show in the region, and a great resource for the school earth science curriculum at all levels.

Location:       The Jaycee Community Center at the old airport, 2180 Airport Road, Huntsville, AL 35801

Dates and Hours: 

Friday, October 13                  10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Saturday, October 14             10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Sunday, October 15               12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

  Offerings:     National and International Dealers with every type and quality of  gems, collector specimens, lapidary materials, fossils, finished jewelry (costume to fine), lapidary (rock and mineral) art objects, and jewelry and lapidary supplies.

Lapidary and Jewelry Demonstrations and Displays.

Children’s “gem dig”,  “gem flume”, and presentations

Hourly drawings. Food service.

            Ample, convenient, FREE parking


Donation suggested: $3 for adults. $1 for primary & secondary students.

  Children under 5 FREE.  $5 for adult Weekend passes

Web site:   www.huntsvillegms.org                       Contact:  256-534-8803

Past Show Pictures below –

Huntsville Gem Jewelry and Mineral Show

Huntsville Gem Jewelry and Mineral Show

fluorescent gems and minerals at the huntsville gem jewelry and mineral show

fossils at the Huntsville Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show

HGMS Presentation ~ “Leon’s Exquisite Carvings – Process & Sequence” by Leon Cole

On 26 July 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Leon Cole of Chattanooga will present his exquisite carvings in stone of animals, fish, and scenic events such as sunrise and lightening.  He will bring several examples of his carvings and many of the tools he uses.  Leon will talk about his process and the sequence in which he develops his carvings.  Leon is 1st Vice President and Program Chair of the Tennessee Valley Rock & Mineral Club which meets in Chattanooga. He has had two articles about him published in Lapidary Journal, one of which was a four-page feature article published in 1999.  His carvings have also been in a six month juried show in the Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA.  Leon’s professional career was as an Industrial Painter, working on bridges, water plants, powerhouses, and other industrial facilities.

Leon’s presentation will occur right after the HGMS meeting at the Senior Center on 2200 Drake Avenue, Huntsville, Alabama.  Hope to see you there.


HGMS Presentation: “Mineral Identification: Exploring Crystals” by Myra Soroczak


On 24 May 2016 at 6:30 p.m., Myra Soroczak will present “Mineral Identification: Exploring Crystals”. She will continue our look at mineral identification by exploring Crystal Form and Mineral Habits. She will discuss crystal forms and define the six crystal systems into which all minerals fit. She will show examples of various mineral habits, which sometimes disguise the ideal form of a mineral.

Myra holds a Master Degree in Materials Science from Louisiana State University. Her first courses in mineralogy was in 1977, when TVA sent Myra to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to take Earth Science, Geology, Mineralogy, and Optical Mineralogy. She has also taken Gem Identification and Wire Wrapping Courses at William Holland School of Lapidary Art. Myra recently took advantage of being in her 60’s to take a tuition-free course in Mineralogy at UNA!

At TVA in Muscle Shoals and IBM in Wappinger Falls, New York, Myra spent 23 years doing chemical research and material identification. She then spent another 16 years doing business analysis for TVA.  Myra began her career in 1970 at TVA using a transmission electron microscope to investigate minerals; the lowest magnification of the TEM was 5,000x. Two years later TVA bought a scanning electron microscope with an electron diffraction x-ray detector; she then used the SEM/EDX to analyze the shape and chemistry of all sorts of crystals, minerals, and metals.  At IBM, Myra used a SEM to do failure analysis on semiconductors back when the biggest silicon crystals were only 2.5 inches and the big struggle was to go from one level of metal to two to make computer chips.  At TVA, she also conducted chemical research and holds 3 patents.  Since retiring from TVA in 2009, Myra with her husband Mike have opened M S Enterprises, a small business that sells “Rocks and Things from Rocks.” They sell their wares each First Friday in Florence Alabama and at various Gem and Mineral Shows in AL, MS, GA, and TN, including the Annual HGMS Jewelry, Gem, and Mineral Show.

You won’t want to miss this one! Should be quite interesting!





Auction Catalog

The Annual HGMS Fundraiser Auction will be held this coming Saturday, April 30, Jaycees building, 2180 Airport Rd., Huntsville, AL.

Viewing starts at 8:30, bidding starts at 9:00.

Food available on site.

Print the attached catalog list and bring it with you.

There are some additional items which came in too late to be included on the catalog.

Auction list.docx


2016 Auction Flyer

Here is the flyer for the 2016 auction. It is available to download under the auction tab. Feel free to print and hand out to interested parties.

HGMS_Auction 30Apr