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Gem and Mineral show at community center this weekend

Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Show:

Where: Cora Harper Community Center, 841 South Barstow Road
When: Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: Free

BARSTOW • Stones, slabs, gems, and all things rock will be on display at the Cora Harper Community Center this weekend as the Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Show takes place.

The show brings lapidary groups from around Southern California to Barstow — a landmark for  mineral enthusiasts. Dealers will have their wares for sale, more than 40 displays will be featured, and visitors will be able to operate a gem polishing machine themselves.

Mineral Show coordinator Gene Haines said the show is not just for gem and mineral hobbyists but an educational and fun event for the entire family. Kids and adults alike will be able to take a away a piece of the hobby for a song.

“We’ll have grab bags  (of stones) for the kids that go for only a dollar,” said Haines. “A lot of shows have grab bags but with ours each stone comes with a tag explaining what each stone is. The kids start trading and learn what different minerals are.”

The show is hosted by the Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Society, which has been in existence since 1940. The Mojave Desert is recognized by rockhounds as an area of jade and jasper deposits. Barstow is also known world-wide as the home of Diamond Pacific Tool Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rock grinders, polishers, and tumblers.

Rough rock, crystal, onyx, jasper, and petrified wood from as close as Barstow and as far as Afghanistan will be on display. Lapidary societies from Long Beach, San Bernardino, and Bakersfield will all be on hand to show off their collections.

Visitors can spin the wheel of fortune and win one of 12 different kinds of hand-made items. A silent auction of gems will also be held.

All proceeds from the event go to fund a scholarship for a local student who wants to pursue an earth-sciences related major. Recent scholarship recipient Nicolette Grill earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from California State University, San Bernardino and is currently working on a post-graduate degree. Another recipient is currently attending Barstow College.

Haines says he hopes this year’s show will bring in $1,500 to $2,000. Anyone interesting in applying for the scholarship can visit the Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Society’s website at

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or

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