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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Gemboree Exeter Rock and Gem Show

Dec 26, 2016 11:00AM ● By Kendra Kaiserman

Rock On!

January 2017
By Kendra Kaiserman

The Tule Gem and Mineral Society is taking an ancient concept and making it relevant and interesting for everyone involved. The Society puts on the Gemboree Exeter Rock and Gem Show each year, which includes jewelry, games, and of course, rocks and minerals. 

“The goal of the Gemboree is to have fun, share our love and knowledge of rocks and minerals and raise money to keep the club going,” Gemboree Chairperson Laura Manser says.

The Gemboree is going on its 61st year, and members know what they’re doing. They have 21 committees for putting together the Gemboree, each with at least one chairperson. “They know exactly what needs to be done and how. It certainly makes my job as chairperson much easier,” says Manser.

Vendors sell beads, rough rocks, slabs, polished rocks, minerals, gift items, jewelry, lapidary supplies and more. The club runs a Wheel of Fortune game (every spin is a win), fossil painting and mining for gems. They sell grab bags that are full of rough and polished rocks, and there’s a free treasure hunt for kids. Demonstrations in several lapidary arts are also planned, such as wire wrapping and faceting gemstones, Manser says. 

   Members from this club and others will display their handiwork with lapidary arts in approximately 35 display cases, which are “a great educational source,” says Manser.

   The Gemboree has changed over the years and they “are always looking for ways to keep the show fresh and interesting,” Manser says. “We have two and three generations that have been coming to our show. Last year we added fossil painting and mining for gems. Both were a hit.”

Admission and parking are free. While vendors pay for a spot at the show, they keep their proceeds. The money that the club makes helps fund its workshops, rock talks in local schools and a donation to the College of the Sequoias for a scholarship for a student in the geology or earth science field.

The rest of the year, you can find the club participating in the Diggins Productions Gem and Mineral Show in Hanford, organizing field trips, going on a yearly trip to collect rose quartz or out to the desert to collect rocks such as silver lace onyx, petrified palm root, strawberry onyx and butler onyx.

The Tule Gem and Mineral Society is a nonprofit whose goal is “to collect and study minerals and rocks, to provide an opportunity for the exchange and exhibition of minerals and gems and to promote public interest in the lapidary arts and earth sciences,” says Manser.

Anyone can join this club, even if they aren’t familiar with rocks and minerals. “We have many members who are willing to teach newcomers everything from collecting to creating a one-of-a-kind art piece,” Manser says.

Gemboree Exeter Rock and Gem Show 

Jan. 21-22

Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm; 

Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm

Exeter Veterans Memorial Building

324 N. Kaweah Ave., Exeter