All posts by gary.collins

September 2017 President’s Note


Summer has passed and definitely left an imprint across the upper Texas coastline. Our hopes and prayers go out to our brother and sister rockhounds who may have been impacted by Harvey. If you can find a way to help through time, talent and/or money, I’m sure it will find worthy causes.

Fall also reminds us that Gem Capers is around the corner. In fact it will be held October 20, 21 and 22. Reserve as many days as you can to help AGMS host a grand show. Volunteer sign up sheets will be posted soon as well as available at the September General Meeting. We can’t host a successful show without you.

GEODES is our theme this year. AGMS will exhibit geodes in the long clear display. We need your geodes. Please bring some of your geodes for our display, Find me at the General Meeting. I’ll collect them, coordinate the display and return them to you. Thank you in advance and I’ll see you at the meeting.

~Laird Fowler

August 2017 President’s Notes


Summer is drawing to a close. Hopefully cooler weather isn’t far behind. This will give us a chance to hunt the valleys and hills for buried gems. Remember; however, duck and deer season is approaching as well. Be sure you know the property you are on and be safe.

Also approaching is AGMS’ annual show GEM Capers. There are many ways you can be part of it. We always need volunteers to help our visitors. The young ones need help in digging in the gem mine and spinning the wheel of fortune. Maybe you can assist as a cashier. And we always need assitance in set up and take down.

Do you have a collection of beading, minerals, fossils, cabochons and/or other gems? We have many secure display cases begging for someone to display their treasures. Are you a cabber? Enter this year’s cab contest. The theme is any material with RED in it. More details coming later.

Hope you had a good summer and I’ll see you soon.


July 2017 President’s Notes


August is approaching. Things to do and things to see. Maybe a rock shop, maybe the Mammoth National Monument in Waco, maybe the Perot Museum in Dallas or the Natural History Museum in Houston. Any would make a good day trip.

But DON’T Forget the AGMS Social and Auction scheduled for Saturday, AUGUST 12 We’ll have an opportunity to visit, have a potluck lunch, then bid for those items that catch our fancy. Come early, take your time, and look at what is offered for bidding. Rumor has it that a couple of big items will be available.

Also, seek one of the board members and tell them how we can make AGMS and Gem Capers better. We just finished a couple of hurdles, with a few more in front of us. Do you have any ideas that can help us find solutions and opportunities? See you at July’s meeting and the Auction\Social.


June 2017 President’s Notes


The HEAT is settling into Central Texas. As always, be careful when outdoors and stay hydrated. You do have some opportunities to practice your rock craft indoors at the clubhouse. Wednesday nights are a great opportunity to cut and polish. Remember the Gem Caper’s Cab Contest is any material with RED in it. Also, the workshop is open on the third Saturday of the month. The Board is looking at some skills sharing moments in the near future. Watch for these notices soon.

Have you been to a Mineral SIG meetings? Another opportunity to enhance your rock knowledge as well as a good time to introduce youth to rocks and minerals. This month I’ll be talking about the Potter-Cramer Mine in Arizona. I’ll have some samples to give away. Most of the samples are micro minerals, but we’ll have the microscopes out for all to use. Many of the mine’s minerals fluoresce so we will be using the UV lights.

Speaking of summer opportunities, don’t forget the AGMS Social Auction, August 12th. A wonderful time for old and young alike as we visit, enjoy a pot-luck meal then have fun with the live auction. More information to follow next month. Be sure to mark your calendar.

See you at the General Meeting which promises to have a fun presentation.

~Laird Fowler

May 2017 President’s Notes


Summer is at our door step. The opportunity to travel is upon us. Where do your plans take you this year? The higher elevations of the West become available to search for minerals, agates and gems. Many travel to Colorado to visit mines, museums and quaint towns. In August I plan to travel to Leadville and visit the mining museum, take a train ride and perhaps scour a dump or two. Of interest was when I scanned Leadville’s webpages I discovered a few mining podcasts; very interesting and informative.

On other AGMS news, a big THANK YOU to Deborah Johnson and Craig Brant for their tireless efforts in rectifying our IRS exempt status. We are back on track now. We can now accept and process donations.

Also, the AGMS Board will be reviewing membership and eMail addresses. AGMS notices, rock news, etc are sent to many that are are no longer an AGMS member. Please review your membership status. If you hear of anyone who hasn’t received a StoneChipper or AGMS news, their eMail address may be incorrect or they haven’t paid the current dues.

Be safe and we’ll see you at the meetings.

~Laird Fowler

April 2017 President’s Notes


April is a month of COLOR. Our hobby is blessed with the full COLOR array. Minerals, cabs, slabs, stones, leaverites, beads and metal craft show off the beauty of COLOR. When you travel around  this month, stop and notice the wildflower COLOR. One of my favorite wildflower scenes is located in and about the less traveled roads of LLano, Burnet and surrounding counties. If you haven’t  been out in recent years, this year promises to be a great year due to the cold & wet Fall/Winter.

Speaking of COLOR, did you know that AGMS have a Short-Wave and a Long-Wave lights. These lights check for minerals that fluoresce. The lights’ wavelengths excite the electrons in the minerals. When this happens the rock gives off  energy in the form of light. The COLORS are many times intense. The Mineral SIG meets on the second Tuesday and frequently  checking rocks/minerals. To learn more about ‘fluorescence’ visit Nature’s Rainbow site. (

Be sure to show any wildflower and rock COLOR that you discovered in your April travels at our meeting this month.


March 2017 President’s Notes


Spring and March are on the doorstep. Schools’ Spring Break offers chances to hit the road and rock hunt.

One opportunity is to travel the Llano & Burnet county roads. One can find various rock layers which contain interesting rocks/minerals. If you see something interesting, stop and look. Be mindful that you don’t cross and property lines/ fences. Llano has a rock shop on the Square which has Texan rocks and minerals. Mason has an ‘antique/collectible’ shop just off the Square. They have several Mason County Topaz including some with the classic BLUE color. You might even find one of the granite cutting shops opened. They might let you observe the processes.

Regarding the AGMS’ news, we are still looking for some members to fill vacant Chairs. I will speak to these positions at the General meeting; for example the Field Trip Chair & Building/Property Chair. I plan to have a tasks listing to help clarify what is expected. Some of these positions and expectations can be found in the Bylaws & Operating Procedures. You can access these on the Web Page.

And remember, if you go on a trip please share with us during the Show & Tell portion of the General Meeting. See you then.

February 2017 President’s Notes


The warmer months are rapidly approaching (if not already here). Time to get into our garages, closets and shops and make sure our tools and equipment are ready to go. Unfortunately AGMS continues to work without a Field Trip Chair. Any one is interested in coordinating these events, give me a call or email. One doesn’t have to be the leader, just coordinate. Thanks to Sue P. for letting us know about the San Antonio club’s trip to the valley quarry.

Mark your calendar for APRIL 8th. That is the date for our SWAP & SELL MEET. This is your opportunity to sell and swap your handiwork and items. Again, we will have indoor and outdoor spaces available.

  • To secure an outdoor hundred foot space contact James Mercier. the rental rate is $20.00 and includes 1-2 tables.
  • Also contact James Mercer for an indoor space. Indoor space is based upon an 8 foot table. The rental rate is $20.00 and includes one table, two chairs and access to electricity.

Availability is based upon first contact, first reserved.

On another note, James Mercier has stepped forward to serve as Gem Capers Show Chair. This very important job is in good hands following two great Chairs: Chip and Sue P. Other Chairs are still vacant and need someone to step forward and help AGMS. We are in need of a Building Chair. Someone to coordinate the daily and short term maintenance and repairs as needed at the club house. Again, give me a call or eMail and I’ll describe what’s the position is expected to do. As for most Chair positions these jobs are not relying upon one individual but rather the inclusion of the AGMS body.

Remember that the workshop is open on Wednesday nights and the third Saturday. I host the Saturday workshop. Stop by and we can visit about these Chairs vacancies and/or other AGMS’ needs.

Be safe.


January 2017 President’s Notes


Happy 2017! May you find that special specimen, no scratches on that perfect cab/stone, and no kinks in your wire wrap.

Great opportunities will continue this year. At the Min-SIG meeting, field trips will be plannned for the year. Third Saturday workshops will be available for your shop needs.

Thanks to the 2016 Board for their service. We appreciate John C.’s and Paul B.’s years of energy as they leave the Board. We welcome Kathleen H. and Gene H. as the Board tackles 2017.

Hope everyone made a New Year’s resolution to become more active in AGMS.


December 2016 President’s Notes


Here’s hoping that each and every one of you have a joyous and safe holiday season. May you all have a safe and rock filled, adventurous 2017.

Our club saw numerous changes this past year: re-introduction of scheduled field trips, a weekend open shop, partnering with a junior rockhound group, to name
a few. We have plans for the new ideas for 2017. For instance, mark your calendar for January 10th. The Mineral SIG (special interest group) will host a club-wide Field Trip planning session for 2017. Bring your wants, expectations, suggestions, etc., to plan out 2017.

In keeping with our Motto: “Each One, Teach One”; please send to me the number of hours you worked as a volunteer this past year. Include special events (FossilFest, Nature Treasures, etc,) teaching at our workshops, presentations to school groups, scouts, etc. Don’t include Gem Caper Hours, I’ll get those hours from the Committee. These hours are a good measuring stick for our club.

If I didn’t see you at the holiday dinner, I hope to see you in January. As the t-shirt says: Be Calm and Carrying On, but also find a rock or two and/or take a great piece of jewelry.