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March 3, 2010 > Mineral and Gem show finds new home in Newark

Mineral and Gem show finds new home in Newark

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco
Photos By Jane Panico

Rocks, gems and minerals... oh my!

Every year during the first weekend of March, the Mineral and Gem Society of Castro Valley (MGSCV) hosts one of the largest exhibits of rocks, gemstones, minerals, and beads on the West Coast. The 7th Annual Mineral and Gem Show promises to be a special event for lapidary and earth sciences aficionados and amateurs as they bask in the spectacular array of fossils and faceted gems on display. The Fluorescent Mineral Society will be showcasing rocks (including "scorpions") that glow under ultraviolet light; it'll be the largest display and sales of fluorescent rocks in California. Special dealers will sell these types of rocks to collectors. Also featured at this year's show is a full skeleton of a 50-70 thousand year old cave bear from the Ural Mountains in Russia. "This fossil is a sight to see," exclaimed Jane Panico, Show Project Manager.

Show producers are looking forward to setting up in the show's new home, the Newark Pavilion. Last year the MGSCV held its final show in Hayward's Centennial Hall because the historic landmark and its surrounding buildings are scheduled for redevelopment this spring. Regardless of where the show is situated, it'll be "a place where families can go and are welcomed," Panico stated. Both new and returning visitors can expect to see fascinating items that they might not have seen before including fossils, faceted stones, petrified wood, lapidary equipment, and jewelry making supplies. MGSCV club membership requires that members learn how to cut a calibrated cabochon (polished gemstone) before learning other lapidary skills. That means many members' items will also be proudly on display at the show.

Usual show attendance is close to 3,000 paid attendees not including children who are admitted for free on Friday. As a non-profit educational corporation, MGSCV (established in 1948) and its members are active participants in the community and local schools, helping to "increase the knowledge and understanding of the sciences pertaining to minerals, gems, fossils, geology, and related subject matter." Year-round MGSCV club members volunteer in schools to teach children about geology and rocks. Classes on a field trip with their teachers are treated to free tours at the show's Friday session (March 5). Schools interested in attending this year's show are encouraged to contact for more information.

This year over 35 dealers specializing in rocks, jewelry and other collectibles will be present. Every attendee will be sure to find something of interest. "People from all walks of life, ages, races, etc. enjoy our show. [The show] attracts the nine year old boy/girl interested in insects and dinosaurs to the 80 year old man/woman who likes jewelry or just collects specimen, and everyone in between," stated Panico.

Bid on a jewelry item or a lapidary accomplishment at the live auction to be held at 3 pm on Saturday to benefit MGSCV's California State University East Bay Geology Department Scholarship Fund. Learn how to make jewelry in the Demonstration Room or attend any of the other demos on lapidary techniques. There will be a lot to do at the show plus door prizes every half hour, kids' games and more.

People who come to the show will be amazed by the beauty of nature's forms and be entertained and delighted with its diversity. Panico hopes that "all visitors [will] leave with an appreciation of the earth sciences and [be able to] say they have learned something new."

For more information about the show or the Mineral and Gem Society of Castro Valley, visit

Mineral and Gem Show
Friday, Saturday, Sunday; March 5, 6 and 7
10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Newark Pavilion
6430 Thornton Ave., Newark

3-day pass: $6/adult
(Children under 12 are free if accompanied by an adult)
Wheelchair Accessible
Free parking

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