PASO ROBLES — “Discover the Magic of Jasper” this weekend at the Paso Robles Event Center. The Santa Lucia Rockhound Association will be holding its 27th annual Rock and Gem Show on Saturday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The show will feature exhibits, dealers, and demonstrators who will have rocks, minerals, fossils, artisan crafted jewelry, and other lapidary materials on display. This event will call special attention to Jasper, an opaque type of quartz found locally and all over the world.
“We have a lot of Jasper in our local area, just go down to the beach and a lot of the rock washed up on the shore is Jasper.” said Tina Clark, spokesperson for the Rockhound Association. “It’s also in the mountains around here, all over. A lot of local club members work with Jasper. It is easy to work and makes beautiful jewelry figurines and other items. Jasper goes back to biblical times its reference in the bible and used throughout history.”
There are some exciting activities added to the show this year including a “rock, cut and polish” drawing.
“We really wanted to get back into the lapidary arts and teaching people how to take a rough rock or raw stone and turn into a finished display or art piece. For instance, a cabochon that someone would wear around their neck,” Clark said.
People can enter their name and the top of every hour the show will pull a slip and call someone, Clark said.
“They will get a piece of travertine and cut it on a rock saw and polish it,” she said.
For the children, there is plenty of fun to be had. Every child who goes to the show gets a free rock and a treasure map. If they find all the items on the treasure map, they get another free prize.
There is also the famous geode cracking booth that is a crowd favorite. You can purchase a geode for as little as $2 and crack them open to see if they fluoresce under a black light.
Gold panning and flintknapping will be available as well. With the flintknapping activity, you can learn how to make arrowhead points using ancient tools like deer antlers or modern tools.
Richard Wade, who has been a speaker for years at the show, will be giving a presentation on dinosaurs at 1 p.m. on both days of the show. The family-friendly presentation is fun for people of all ages.
“We will have 20 exhibits from both club members and outside of the club and you can vote for your favorite exhibit.” Clark said. “This is a great event for families. If you are a grandparent or a family with young kids, single folks we have something for everyone at the show.”
The Santa Lucia Rockhounds are a nonprofit organization that meets monthly in Templeton. Their mission is to promote and educate the public on the study of geology, mineralogy, and the lapidary arts.
“We have over 125 members, many of our are members are open and interested in sharing their love of rocks, geology and the lapidary arts with newer and younger members,” Clark said
They meet the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in downtown Templeton. There is a separate adult program and a kids program where kids can earn badges.
In addition to adults and kids programs, the association hosts collecting and educational field trips. They also give a yearly college scholarship to high school students pursuing Earth Sciences in their studies. The Santa Lucia Rockhound Association is a member of the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies.
“It is a great club for people of all ages.” Clark said.