Ventura Gem & Mineral Society’s annual event returns March 5, 6
After a year-long pause due to the pandemic, the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society is back with its 59th annual Gem, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 5 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 6 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura.
The show is open to the public, and admission is free although the fairgrounds at Seaside Park charges a parking fee.
“The Ventura Gem Show has been a fun family event for 59 years with its focus on kids and education, gemstone cutting and jewelry-making, and rocks and fossils,” said Jim Brace-Thompson, VGMS show publicity chair. “Proceeds support a $1,000 scholarship for a local college student in the earth sciences and/or jewelry arts and also support for our free educational outreach efforts for local schools, teachers, home-schoolers and youth groups.”
Children will be given a free polished stone at the Welcome Booth, which will also have free rock samples and educational packets for teachers. At the Kids Booth, children will enjoy activities offering an assortment of rocky prizes. A nearby display offers information about the society’s two-room museum in Ojai, where teachers, home-schoolers and other youth groups can arrange tours by appointment.
“Here in California, there’s gold in them thar hills, and you can learn how to pan for it at the show,” said Mr. Brace-Thompson. “At one booth, expert prospectors will guide you through basic steps of gold panning, and you can purchase ‘pay dirt’ to pan for real gold nuggets and flakes at the show or in your own backyard.”
In addition, the free show will feature 60 displays of gems, minerals, fossils and award-winning handcrafted jewelry. These include educational exhibits of fossils collected locally in and around Ventura County as well as a display of the state rock, mineral, fossil and gemstone, including a gold nugget and Ice Age saber-tooth cat and Auggie, the California State Dinosaur.
“Other displays will show how stones collected locally have been crafted into jewelry. Demonstrations throughout the show give visitors up-close looks at artists pursuing their skills, including gemstone cutting, silver work and jewelry making, beading and other arts and crafts made from nature,” Mr. Brace-Thompson said.
Raffle prizes include fine jewelry, carved stones, a $100 bill, mineral and fossil specimens, and more.
Festivities include hourly silent auctions for rocks, minerals and fossils, as well as a Second Hand Treasures white elephant sale, plant sale and 15 dealers selling beads, opals, jade, gemstones, crystals, fossils, jewelry and jewelry-making supplies and gift items.
“It’s a 59-year Ventura tradition the whole family can enjoy,” said Mr. Brace-Thompson, adding that the show “is the society’s major fundraising event which helps to underwrite educational activities, including the annual college scholarship and school visits and donations.”
Founded in 1944, VGMS hosts monthly talks on earth science topics and jewelry arts, makes presentations to area schools and conducts field trips for members and guests that often involve collecting rocks, minerals and fossils in Southern California and neighboring states.