Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Club

Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Club of Montana

The Bitterroot Conglomerate AUGUST 2018 XXXV Issue 9

Mission Statement 

Our purpose is to promote interest and education in earth sciences namely geology, mineralogy, pale-ontology, the lapidary arts and related subjects. We also support promoting and ensuring the right of amateur hobby collecting, recreational rock hunting and the use of public and private lands for educational and recreational purposes related to the earth sciences. 

Presidents Column

Hello Everyone,

Fall is here with a quick summer behind us. The field trips will be finished soon. Hope everyone is having fun at the fair. Give a big congratulations to Beverly Gibson for her ribbons in the fair.

I'll be setting a date for the field trip to the College paleontology at this months meeting. 

SUMMER PICNIC: Turned out very well with good weather and lots of members. The auction went Great and we had four tables of auction items. A BIG thanks to Darrell Coyle for getting the tables, bringing his grill, cooking and being auctioneer.   

WIRE WRAPPING: What a great demonstration and educational talk by Kathy Meuchel. Everyone enjoyed it immensely. A BIG thank you to Kathy!!! 

We added another field trip. On September 16th Ed will lead a trip to the area with Doug Klieger who gave a presentation on to collect beautiful jasper. This will be fairly local and easy walking. Hope everyone will enjoy this last local trip. 

We will be setting a date for our club to travel to the Emerald Creek Garnet dig site near Fernwood, Idaho. The club will be paying the fee to dig for each member. Date to be discussed at this months meeting. 

October is close at hand which means, it's time to consider volunteering for a position in your rock club for next year. Throw your name in the ring or encourage someone you know in the club to take a position. I thank you all for your help with this important task!


Faith Farley 

BGMS President   

Minutes from August 14, 2018 Meeting

Meeting open at 6:30pm with Pledge led by president, Faith Farley. 

The Martinez and Moser Families were introduced and welcomed as new members.

Wayne Farley presented the Treasurers report with a motion to approve by Nona; 2nd by Deb Strickland; voted and approved by all. 

OLD Business:

BGMS Booth at Daly Days was canceled due to lack of volunteers. Faith thanked the folks who had signed up, but unfortunately there was not enough coverage to participate. She reminded us all that this and other events are great opportunities for us to be visible to the community and educate the folks about BGMS. Please think about donating some of your time for these events in the future.

Faith also noted that a few field trips had to be canceled due to no Trip Leaders. Trip Leaders are an important part of our group and help leave a legacy for the next generation of BGMS rock hounds.  Please think about sharing your knowledge and being a Trip Leader.

The College of Paleontology trip will be held in the fall, more info at another meeting.

Faith shared the Brochure for the August 25th MT State Fossil Bed Trip in the Alder/Twin Bridges area.  Discussion ensued and Wayne Farley also shared info about the “Paper Shale”   and how to collect and transport it..

Summer Picnic was confirmed for August 18th at the Kiwanis Park with set up at 11am and lunch at noon.  Auction will follow, with Darrell Coyle as Auctioneer.

Faith has the latest Mineralogical Record magazine about a mine in CA and articles about gold.  It is available to borrow from Faith.

NEW Business:
Faith picked up the Rock kit from the Stevi Library. Victor Library sent a thank you letter.

Faith now has a printed inventory of our items in “The Shed”.

President, Faith Farley, presented a plaque to Wayne Farley for his participation and representation of BGMS in the State Council. An engraved Platter Set was presented to Deb Strickland in appreciation of her hard work as  Chairperson of the BGMS 2018 Gem Show. Two personalized stainless steel travel mugs were to be presented to Doug Klieger to thank him for his presentation of his MT Agate Trail.

Nona asked the club if anyone had an issue with her Therapeutic Animal, Lizzie, the Bearded Dragon. We voted to allow the Therapy lizard to the meetings.

BGMS SPONSORED TRIPS: Darrell Coyle spoke with Blaze N Gems regarding our September 8 and 9th Trip and rates. Motion was made for BGMS to pay $75 per member; 2nd by Ed Kubu, voted and approved by all. Camping will be available at Devils Elbow Campground.

Darrell Coyle also discussed Star Garnets at the Emerald Creek Garnet Area in Panhandle, Idaho. It is run by the Forest Service and there is a nominal fee. Motion for BGMS to pay for digging fees was made by Ed Kubu; 2nd by Deb Strickland; voted and approved by all. 

Other Field Trips: Ed Kubu spoke about an added field trip for September 15th to follow Doug Klieger's map. They will gather the jasper's that Doug had shown in his presentation. Ed volunteered to be Trip Leader.

September 22nd & 23rd will be the “Obsidian” trip to Oregon, Glass Buttes. Mark Harris will be the Trip Leader.

Ed Kubu expressed the need for more name tags. Discussion ensued and motion to order 40 more was made by Ed Kubu, 2nd by Deb Strickland, voted and approved by all.

If you haven't been receiving your reminder emails from Beverly Gibson, please contact her or Faith Farley. 

Shawn Jackson volunteered to set up an Etsy account for us.

Motion to close meeting by Deb Strickland; 2nd by Ken Chulick; voted and approved by all. 


Minutes Respectfully submitted, Dar Williams   

Orientation of Idaho Star Garnet  By Wayne Farley: Aug. 2018 

Idaho Almandine Garnet displays the best star when the dome of the finished gem has been oriented and cut from or towards the center of the rough crystal. This inside-out type of orientation is necessary due to the fact that the star-producing tubes or silk within the garnet will be of a higher concentration towards the crystal core or heart. Also, these garnets contain color and inclusions so dense that it is impossible for the light to penetrate to the area where this high concentration of silk is formed. Thus, it is impossible orient the star from the outside. By orienting the dome of the finished gem from the inside, the high concentration of star-producing silk towards the center of the crystal will be given the chance to display the fullest and brightest star. A complete Idaho crystal will normally be a dodecahedron (twelve sided). Pick the largest of the 12 faces, and cut through the center of the crystal parallel to that face.  The cut surface can then be domed to form the oriented star pattern. The outside crystal face will be the base of the gemstone. Use a narrow beam flashlight from the side of your eye to guide your doming to center the star on the dome.   If you have a broken segment of a crystal use the largest flat faces of the original crystal as the back of the cab. Dome the point that is opposite this flat face because it is closest to the center of the original unbroken crystal. This material has the star on the inside center of the original crystal. If you start grinding from the outside you won't see any star.

Reference: “Star Gems” 16 page brochure by Lame, C. C., Northern College of Education, Lewiston, Idaho, 1953. (Originally $1.00, no longer available). See web-site below for guide from “Star Gems” for orienting Idaho star garnets. 

Field Trip Committee: Current field trip schedule included in this newsletter. 

Program Committee: Check newsletter.

Scholarship Committee: No report this month.   

Show Report Sunshine Committee: No report. 

MT Council Report: No report this month.

N.W. Federation Report: Look in your Federation newsletter for Shows in the Northwest that you might want to attend.