Sparkles with Great Finds
By Stacey Kuhns
April 23-24, 2016, the Palomar Gem and Mineral Club (PGMC) put on their annual show, held at the Escondido Performing Arts Center (in what used to be the museum before it closed). The PGMC is located at 2120 W. Mission Rd., #S, Escondido, CA, 92029.
My boyfriend and I attended the show this weekend and last year around the same time. The volunteers who staff the show from the PGMC provide a wealth of information to any rock or gem hobbyist or admirer. There are a good number of vendors with anything from raw gems and stones to jewelry, fossils, shells, and other assorted items.
I would not recommend this show for very young children as there are a lot of delicate specimens around that can be easily broken. There are also minerals and rocks with sharp edges that can cause injury. But with that said, if you have a youngster who is a real rock/gem hound, I would suggest giving them $20 or more ahead of time so they can have their own money to spend at the show. This will hopefully give them more of an opportunity to walk around and really see what there is to offer at the different booths.
Many of the items are in the hundreds and thousands, but there are plenty of vendors who have a huge variety of rocks and gems for $1-$4 each, which is a real bargain. (And yes, my boyfriend and I scored some excellent items from these less expensive vendors).
There are rocks and gems from all parts of the globe which makes it even more interesting to read the cards for each items. Some of the items are sold by the gram, others by the carat, and others just with a base cost. This is also a place where you can try and bargain with the vendors. Some go for it, and some don't but it is always worth a try. Also, cash is preferred. Most vendors take credit cards, but it costs less with cash as there are no added charges. Some even take checks with proper ID.
The PGMC has a booth near the back, staffed by volunteers,
who will identify gems for you at no charge!
I saw people bringing in family heirlooms, such as rings and other items to find out if the stones were precious stones or not. They also have many demonstrations going on and my boyfriend, who makes jewelry out of polished stones, learned how to wire wrap larger stones to make interesting necklaces, something he has wanted to learn for a while.
Also, joining the PGMC is a great way to meet people who have the same interests and can provide all sorts of information about rock and gem hunting, polishing, and anything else you could think of to ask them. Their website is currently under construction, but I believe they meet on the third Wed of each month in Escondido. They also have a place off Nordahl where you can go and use their equipment if you are a member. That is $7 for four hours of use which is awesome!
The rock and gem shows in San Diego County are always amazing. The pictures do not do the specimens justice. Touching and feeling many of the items is part of the experience. Everyone is very friendly and willing to answer any questions. There are a number of upcoming gem and mineral shows in San Diego County. Check the internet for all upcoming shows. A great experience for rock hounds, young and old.