Love to collect gems and minerals?
Then you have to join a Gem and Mineral Club. Mineral Clubs are a great resource for anyone interested in mineral collecting.
One of the problems with Gem Clubs is that many new members feel that it is not a good fit for them. They may feel uncomfortable in the new environment or feel that you are being forced into a job with the club. Not every meeting will feel like this, and it may even become an invaluable club that you enjoy attending. Here are my three tips to find a Gem and Mineral Club and have a blast dong it.
1. The secret is to just keep going. It gets better.
Since the world of rocks and minerals is very vast and varied, there are going to be times when the club will talk about something that is totally unrelated or interested to your interests. For example, during my first meeting the members discussed the jewels that were worn by the first ladies. If I had quit attending the club because I did not know anyone or care about the gems of the past president’s wives, I would not eventually become the field trip leader for the group. In fact, sticking with the club, I eventually made several life long friendships and met several digging partners. I cut my first cabochons, served as the show chairman for their annual gem show and learned quite a bit about how mineral clubs worked.
2. You aren’t intruding.
With the next club I went to join, the atmosphere was harder to break through. This club was a group whose members were much more educated about the topic of mineralogy. Talk about intimidating! Myself and other new members felt as if they were intruding on a private gem club meeting. It took several visits to this club before any member would say more than a handful of words to me. It simply took holding my ground and visiting over and over again before many members started opening up to me. In that club I met several people who were legendary in the regional mineral world, curators, teachers, speakers and miners. Within a year I was serving as their show chairman for two years, serving on the board of directors of a non-profit and learning even more about this hobby of mineral collecting. If I had been scared away by this group, I would not have taken my hobby and collecting to the next step.
3. Find a club that fits you.
Each mineral club meeting is going to be different depending on the members and the location. Try out a few in your area to find one that really clicks with you.
Most clubs have a neat welcome for new visitors, where they will let you select a rock from the visitor rock box, which can make it all worthwhile! Some clubs have great field trip leaders and help you find out about local collecting areas. Many clubs have lapidary workshops and have classes teaching basic lapidary skills, such as cutting slabs, making a cabochon or setting a stone into jewelry.
In the end, if you want to get more involved with your collecting, a Gem and Mineral Club is the perfect spot to do so. Many of the clubs love new members and will even welcome their help with various rolls within the club. Most importantly, if you visit a mineral club and do not see people of your age group, your skill level, your passion for the craft, just keep going!
I highly suggest The-Vug.com’s List of Gem and Mineral Clubs across the United States to find out about clubs near you.
Take a look at their page at http://www.the-vug.com/vug/vugclubs.html