History of Minnesota Valley Gem and Mineral Club
The Minnesota Valley Gem and Mineral Club was formed in February of 1957, By a small group of local people (10) who were interested in Gems and Minerals.
The constitution was the first item of business. Dues were set at $1.00 per year. Meetings were held on the last Wednesday of all months except June, July, and August. The meetings were held in members’ homes with coffee and cookies served each time.
During the first meetings, terminology such as: hardness, cleavage, color, fractures, crystallization, etc were discussed. Members always brought “bragging rocks” to show and tell. As membership increased, the programs included stone identification, locations to hunt these rocks, and how to cut and polish agate and other stones for display or jewelry.
The Minnesota Valley Gem and Mineral Club had it’s first Public Display Show in 1965. This Gem and Mineral Show was held at the Mankato High School, Now Mankato West High. In later years the Madison East Mall was the location of an annual show, with sales, each year in April.
In 1966, Club Projects started to evolve.
1966-1967: A “Gem Flower Picture” of flowers in a vase on a velvet mat, in a 12 x 14 frame, This was designed from members donated tumbled stones.
1967-1968: A map of the United States was made from agate puzzle pieces completed by members in their homes.. The 12 x 14 framed puzzle map was then put together and framed by an artistic member.
1969:. A “Gem Tree” was designed from tumbled agate and jasper stones. The trunk and branches are formed from copper wire. This tree is about 14 inches tall and stands on a rock which is covered with small green peridot chips.
1971 -1973: The Seppman Grist Mill was completed by our Club.. Many members worked on this project. There was a picnic at the site. Photos and measurements were taken. Also broken pieces of the original sandstone, from the falling warehouse, were gathered. The sandstone was sawed into blocks, Petrified wood was sliced for the shingles and fan for this wind mill. Clear agates was sliced for the windows.
The Mill Project is built to scale of the original Mill. It is 18 inches tall and displayed at the Historical Society in Mankato, MN. The project was finished in 2 years and placed on a 18 x 36 base, inside a Plexiglas case.
The original Seppman Mill was built in the 1800’s and is now located in what has become Minneopa State Park.
In August 1978, this Seppman Mill Club Project was featured in the Lapidary Journal Magazine.
1977-1978: An Oxen Cart was carved from stone and added to the Seppman Mill Project
1979-1980: Stone Carved Horses were added to the Seppman Mill Replica.
By 1968 the Club membership had increased to 50 members.
The Minnesota Gem and Mineral Club was incorporated in 1970.
Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s the Annual Gem and Mineral Shows were held at the Madison East Mall. Members and invited Dealers brought Special Displays for all to view. Club members brought their rock saws, tumblers, and faceting machines and demonstrated how to use them. Members and dealers also bought and sold rocks and jewelry. at these annual shows.
2010– The Club Members donated and displayed a large case of fossils, minerals, agates, crystals, etc. at the Rassmussen Park, in Mankato, for visitors to enjoy. This case was moved to the children’s Museum in 2013.
In 2012 and 2013, smaller displays were featured for children at Rassmussen Park in Mankato and in the St. Peter City Park Art Show.
Field Trips to hunt for agates, geodes, minerals, jaspers, etc. have always been planned in the summer months. Field Trips have been made to many areas in Minnesota as well as South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Amethyst Mine in Canada.
By: Phyllis Granaas