Wednesday, February 22, 2023

March 2023 Del Air Rockhounds Calendar of Events

Thursday March 2: General Meeting                                                                                                           7:30 pm in our regular meeting room at Northridge United Methodist Church 

Sunday March 12: Daylight Savings Time Begins                                                                                        Set those clocks ahead one hour.

Thursday March 16: Board Meeting                                                                                                               At Bernadette Friedman's Home

Friday March 17: St Patrick's Day                                                                                                              Wear your green or you'll get pinched

Saturday March 25: Shop Day at Jeff Dengrove's Home                                                                              


General Meeting Thursday March 2, 2023 - 7:30 pm

TGMS – Not Your Typical Rock Show.

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Society knows how to put on a great show. This society was the first to bring together the hobby enthusiast, the curator/professionals and the general public for this annual four day event. After 68 years, it is the largest, oldest and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world. This year the theme was “Silica, Agates & Opal & Quartz, Oh My!”

Located at the Tucson Convention Center, attendees will find approximately 250 dealers selling a variety of minerals, fossils, jewelry, and lapidary. Throughout the show there are lectures and symposiums. Jaw-dropping world class exhibits from private collections, major universities and museums are on display.  Other exhibit cases, (both competitive and non-competitive) round out this mix.    

This month Mary Pat Weber will provide us with a visual treat of the highlights of this recent event and why this show rocks!


The Rockhound Dennis Miller Show

Dennis will fill us in on March's birthstone; Aquamarine, and will also provide Quartzsite report part 2. Dennis asks all members to bring in something for Show & Tell each month to share with our members and guests.


West Hills 13th Annual Spring Fest

Saturday April 1, 2023 - 10:00 am to 2:00 pm                                                                                              Shadow Ranch Recreation Center                                                                                                            22633 Vanowen St., West Hills CA 91307

The Del Air Rockhounds have been invited to participate as a vendor in the 13th annual West Hills Spring Fest. This is a first time event for us. We will have two (2) 10 x 10 pop-ups. One will strictly be an educational booth with our kids games, touch and feel and our dino/ice age reproductions. The other will feature our boutique items, spin-a-wheel, grab bags, jewelry and other items for sale. Set-up for the booth will be at 8:30 am and the event runs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. As always, we are seeking club members to volunteer their time to help run the booth. Please see Chris Ward, the Dearborns or Shellie Van Winkle 


The Ventura Club will be hosting their annual show on Saturday and Sunday, March 4 & 5, 2023. This is always a great show at a super great location, the Ventura County Fairgrounds, right on the beach!

As in the past, The Del Air Rockhounds will have our educational booth at the show for the entire weekend featuring our famous Volcano, Igneous and Sedimentary Rock displays with touch and feel rocks and educational games for kids and adults alike. Please find the time to attend this fun event and see what we do outside our regular monthly meetings. Looking forward to seeing you all there.


 “Pyrite Decay” is one of the biggest problems for mineral collectors. Minerals that are made of iron and sulfur can have this problem. The two most common minerals are pyrite and marcasite. For reasons that scientists have not been able to fully understand, the sulfur and iron in these minerals combine with oxygen and hydrogen. The sulfur reacts to become sulfuric acid and the stinky gas called hydrogen sulfide. “Hydrogen sulfide” smells like rotten eggs. If you have pyrite or marcasite in your collections and it is decaying, you will be able to smell the sulfur! Open a drawer with pyrite in it and sniff. When this chemical reaction happens, the pyrite and marcasite specimens will first turn dark and lose their shiny metallic luster. Over time you will begin to see yellow and white crusts form. The crusts will be crumbly and will rub off very easily. In the worst case, the specimen will actually fall apart! As the specimens deteriorate, the acids created will attack your specimen labels, too. The paper will turn brown and very  brittle. Scientists don’t know how to stop or even control pyrite decay. There are two things that are known that can help you:

1.   When one pyrite or marcasite specimen deteriorates, it can cause other specimens nearby to deteriorate, too. If you have a number of pyrite and marcasite pieces, keep them separated from one another. If you have a specimen that is beginning to deteriorate, remove it from the collection immediately.

2.   Remember that one of the chemicals created by pyrite decay is the gas called hydrogen sulfide. Keep your specimens in a place where the fumes can’t build up. On an open shelf is a good option. In other words, good air circulation helps.

Many mineral collectors report that pyrite specimens that are more of a darker greenish color are much more likely to change and fall apart from pyrite disease. Avoiding adding pyrite specimens that are darker in color is smart. Bright, brassy, metallic pyrite crystals are much less likely to have pyrite disease. There are some pyrite specimens, like the great cubes and groups of cubes from Spain, that don’t seem to get pyrite disease. The bright, shiny, metallic pyrite specimens from Peru also seem to not break down with this disease. 

Used with permission. Diamond Dan Publications. Mini-Miner Monthly, June 2022, via The Strata Data, 2/2023. Courtesy AFMS March 2023 Newsletter




1 - TABLESPOON BORAX POWDER (can be found in supermarket laundry aisle) If you can not find the borax you can use baking soda.




Bring water to boil, pour into a glass bowl or container, add borax, salt and dissolve. Place aluminum foil in water. Place your silver article in water - it must touch the foil. Tarnish will be gone in 10 seconds or so. Heavy tarnish may take one or two times in the water. Heavy tarnish may look like it has not been cleaned. Remove from water and rub with a soft cloth and it should wipe off the tarnish.


What is silver tarnish? It is silver sulfide and comes from sulfur gasses in the air over time. Sterling silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. This copper makes the sterling silver tarnish faster than pure silver. Remember, every time you remove tarnish, you are also removing a bit of the silver. Silver plate items have a very thin layer of silver and can wear away over time. Another type of home made silver polish is cream of tartar or baking soda and water. Make into a paste and rub on the silver. Use an old toothbrush for grooves. Rinse clean and wipe dry. Commercial silver polishes may have a tarnish retardant in it? Check the label.