Kitchener-Waterloo Gem and Mineral Club
50 Years of Geological Fun and Education
The Kitchener-Waterloo Gem and Mineral Club was formed in 1965.
For fifty years, our club has brought together people
who have an interest in the lapidary arts and in collecting
rocks, minerals, and fossils.
Members are residents of Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph,
and other communities in Waterloo and Wellington Counties, Ontario.
The club meets on a monthly basis, usually
at Button Factory Arts (formerly the "Waterloo Community Arts Centre") in
Waterloo. Meetings include speakers, workshops and the ever-popular monthly
raffle for gems and minerals.
Special events include picnics, pot-luck suppers and field trips.
|June 2016 club picnic|
The club also provides a forum for an exchange of information
and ideas about the hobby. We also promote safe and responsible collecting,
and we work with other federation clubs to secure more collecting areas.
Our club is a member of the Central
Canadian Federation of Mineralogical Societies (CCFMS).
Visit us on Facebook!
Or on meetup.com!
Celestine and Calcite
Niagara Canal Dumps
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Nipissing 404 Mine
Friday, November 2 2018:
Michael Gervers will speak on "Chiseling one's way to Heaven: the rock-hewn churches of Ethiopia, then and now".
Michael Gervers is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Toronto. His interests range from English social and economic history before 1300, to the history of Inner Asia (especially Mongolia), to ancient textiles and to the history of Ethiopia. He teaches a course on the history of Ethiopia and has recently introduced the study of Old Ethiopic (Ge'ez) language to the curriculum. He has published widely on the above fields and is currently co-authoring a major volume on the ancient Ethiopian church of Yemrehanna Krestos (near Lalibela, Lasta).
A new objective, sponsored by the Arcadia Fund, is to document the contemporary but quickly disappearing highland craft of hewing churches from the rock. His thirty-five years of fieldwork has led to an extensive photographic repertory of Ethiopian art and culture.
For a preview of what we will hear about, visit
- Friday, December 7 2018: Our annual holiday party and live auction. About 40 items in the live auction, and an additional 50 items or so in the silent auction. Free pizza and pop for club members.
- Friday, January 4 2019: Our annaul competition for the best specimens of the year. Desserts from Vincenzo's!
For more past meetings, see here.
- Friday, January 5 2018:
Our annual competition night!
See the very best that our club has to offer in minerals, gems, fossils, and other rock-related items. Here are the categories:
1. Best Fossil
2. Best Lapidary or rock art item (non-gemstone)
3. Best Gemstone
4. Best Photograph with hobby theme
5. Best Mineral from Ontario
6. Best Mineral from Canada outside Ontario
7. Best Mineral from the USA
8. Best Mineral outside Canada and USA
9. Best Thumbnail
10. Best "Blue" specimen
11. Best Petrified wood specimen
12. Best Garden Rock
13. Best Mineral oddity
14. Best Quartz specimen
15. Best Specimen Collected by a Kid Under 16
Silent and live auctions, pizza and pop provided by the club.
- Friday, February 2 2018:
Julie Sperling, local mosaic artist, spoke on "Listening to / speaking through stone: mosaic, geology, and storytelling". She writes, "I am a Canadian mosaic artist based in Kitchener, Ontario. My studio practice finds me camped out at the intersection of art, environment, science, and policy, and I firmly believe in the important role that artists play as advocates, activists, and change-makers. I'm happiest when I have a rock in one hand and my hammer in the other." Julie has exhibited in North Carolina, Toronto, San Diego, Michigan, and Kitchener. Julie's website is http://sperlingmosaics.com/about/ .
- Friday, March 2 2018:
Walter and Nancy Marchl spoke on the "stone forests of China". And we watched
a DVD presentation about ammolite.
- Friday, April 6 2018: Club member Jim Reimer
spoke on "Mineral inclusions -- what are they and what do they tell us?"
Examples of minerals with inclusions for a club display.
Mini-talk by Corina McDonald, "How to make snowflake fossils".
Also, our silent auctions for hobby-related items!
- Friday, May 4 2018::
George Kourounis, world-famous
Explorer-In-Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, spoke on "Extreme Geology and Fearsome Forces".
George Kourounis is an explorer who specializes in documenting the extreme forces of nature. He shared tales and imagery from his more intense expeditions that feature a geological perspective, including: exploring the Naica Crystal Cave in Mexico, home to the world's largest crystals, where the oppressive humidity and heat are deadly; rappelling down inside active volcanoes in the South Pacific; and his expedition to gather samples from the bottom of the Darvaza flaming gas pit in Turkmenistan, which the locals call the "Doorway To Hell".
Kourounis' expeditions have taken him to some of the most dangerous places in over 65 countries from Greenland to Antarctica,
to North Korea, The Congo, and beyond.
- Friday, June 1 2018:
Club picnic at the Gneiss Guy Warehouse,
820 Gartshore St., Unit #19 Fergus. Contact 519-400-6133 or
http://www.gneissguy.ca . Ken Dardano was hoping to
tell us about his latest adventures, but illness prevented him
from attending. Nevertheless, he still provided us with hotdogs, hamburgers, pop, paper plates, and lots of beautiful minerals and fossils.
Friday, September 7 2018:
Our annual welcome-back meeting. Stories of summer collecting.
The main talk was by Fred "Mick" McPherson, a meteorite hunter and
collector. Fred is a native of Belleville, Ontario, and a rockhound since the age of 5. Fred visits schools and clubs throughout the province presenting meteorite talks and outreach programs as "Mick the Meteorite Man". Fred has been featured on CBC television, radio interviews, newspapers and is well respected within the meteorite community.
There were also giant silent auctions for rocks, minerals, fossils,
meteorites, gemstones, and other rock-related items.
Friday, October 5 2018: Club member
Symeon van Donkelaar spoke on
"Adventures in Making Pigments from Rocks (or, the process of powdering beautiful mineral specimens ...)".
For more than a decade, artist Symeon van Donkelaar has traveled across much of Canada to forage rocks and dirt to make pigments and paint. Each trip has been an adventure in creating unique earth pigment colours. From abandoned mining operations, like the O'Donnell Burning Fields in Sudbury, to sacred ochre sites, like the Vermilion Bluffs in British Columbia, the range of different places in Canada from which beautiful, bright colours can be created is vast. In this talk, Symeon shared stories, photos and specimens from some of his favourite "pigment" places across Canada.
Mini-talk by Emmanuel "Manny" van Donkelaar on "Finding Silver in Cobalt".
In 2017 Emmanuel van Donkelaar visited friends in Cobalt to search for minerals in Cobalt, Ontario. Over three days, he visited a variety of old mine sites and worked his way through a "ton" of rock. The results of his hard work won him the Best Self Collected Specimen award from
the Kitchener-Waterloo Gem and Mineral Club. You heard about the adventure of rock hounding for silver through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy.
The Pebble Pups is a kids club created by the KW Gem & Mineral Club aimed at younger kids, aged 7 to 12 years old. We meet the first Saturday of every month between September and June, usually
at The Rock Spa (396 Victoria Street North, Kitchener, Ontario)
from 10:15 AM to 11:15 AM.
The Pebble Pups program is packed with games, hands-on activities, and speaker presentations that get the young kids thinking and inspired about the earth sciences. Over the years that the Pebble Pups program has been operating we have averaged approximately six to nine kids per month. On several occasions the Pebble Pups had a high of sixteen kids at one time! We try to entertain and educate the Pebble Pups through numerous activities, and thus far I think my favourite activity to do with the kids (and one that they get most excited about) is playing ROCKO! The other activity that we get a high turnout for is when the kids make their own mineral box to store personal collections.
The Pebble Pups is always looking for in-kind donations in the form of rocks, minerals, fossils, games, and/or books related to the earth science field. The kids are captivated by actually holding a physical specimen in their hands and especially one that they could take home to keep. The more colorful and unique looking the better! The Pebble Pups is always open for KW members to solicit new members. It is very exciting when we get an e-mail or phone inquiry regarding the Pebble Pups because we know that the 'word' is out on the street and more kids are curious to find out about it. It is definitely worthwhile getting e-mails from parents, whose children have moved on from the Pebble Pups due to age limits, that say that their child(ren) had a blast and will cherish their time with the Pebble Pups!
For more information about the kids' club, contact
News and Future Events
last updated October 28 2018
Provided as a public service. Details not guaranteed.
Always check with show venue before heading
out on a long car trip.
- October 27-28 2018: Rochester (NY) Gem, Mineral, Jewelry, and Fossil Show & Sale, Total Sports Experience, 435 W. Commercial Street, E. Rochester, NY 14445, USA, just off interstate 490. Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM; Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. For more info visit http://www.rochesterlapidary.org/show .
- November 3 2018: Walker Mineralogical Club Annual Auction, Knox United Church, 2569 Midland Avenue, north of Sheppard Ave, Scarborough, ON. Viewing begins at Noon and auction at 1 PM. For more info, visit
- November 10 2018: The CMMA (Canadian Micro Mineral Association) hosts its annual Fall workshop, at the Art Gallery of Burlington, 1333 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, ON, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Fee is $16 including parking, payable when you arrive. Pre-registration is required -- please email Frank Ruehlicke at email@example.com if you would like to attend.
November 16-18 2018: London Gem and Mineral Show, Friday 3 PM - 9 PM; Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM; Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. Agriplex, Western Fair District, 845 Florence Street, London, ON. Admission $6 adult, $3 child. For more info, visit
April 6-7 2019: Brantford Gem and Mineral Club presents their 47th Annual Gem and Mineral Show, Paris Fairgrounds, 139 Silver Street, Paris, Ontario. Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM to
May 4 2019: Kitchener-Waterloo Gem and Mineral Show, Button Factory Arts, 25 Regina St. S., Waterloo, Ontario. Our club's annual show. One day only, 10 AM to 4 PM.
How to Contact Us
Kitchener-Waterloo Gem and Mineral Club
c/o Stephanie Martin
Button Factory Arts
25 Regina St. S.,
Waterloo, ON N2J 1R8 Canada
- Co-Presidents: Gary Winkler (519) 803-4343; firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Partlow (519) 836-6515; email@example.com
Treasurer & Membership: Stephanie Martin (226) 868-4367; firstname.lastname@example.org
Publicity: Donna Hollander (519) 571-1418; email@example.com
Librarian: Mike Koy, 519-576-6595
Liaison: Stan Jones (519) 658-4394
Field Trip Chair: Robert Land, (519) 835-7147; firstname.lastname@example.org .
Newsletter Editor: Jeffrey Shallit (519) 743-8754; email@example.com
Meeting Setup: Stanley Lui (519) 635-6390; firstname.lastname@example.org
Kids' Club Coordinator: Robert Maric (519) 503-1722; email@example.com
Annual Show and Sale
Each year our club organizes an annual show, which is open to the public.
Our show provides an opportunities for people to buy, sell and exchange rocks,
minerals, fossils, gemstones, lapidary material and equipment.
The show is held on the first Saturday in May from 10 AM to 4 PM
at Button Factory Arts, 25 Regina St. S., in Waterloo, Ontario.
Admission is free.
Anyone (including dealers, swappers, clubs, and artists) may participate in
the show. Dealers are not permitted to advertise their business.
The cost for a 6-foot table is currently $30.
To reserve space or to obtain more information, please contact
|Club Field Trip to Cobalt|
Field trips are arranged about twice a year.
Past trips have included
held together with the CCMFS.
- Bancroft for apatite, biotite, and titanite;
- Cobalt for silver and cobalt arsenides;
- Arkona for fossil corals and brachiopods;
- Herkimer, New York, for quartz crystals;
- the Guelph Quarry for sphalerite; and
- the Dundas Quarry for sphalerite, calcite, fluorite, galena, and celestine.
Yearly Live Auction
Each year in December our club holds a live auction for gems, minerals, fossils,
meteorites, and lapidary items. The public is invited.
Each year our club has a competition for the best self-collected
specimen and the best specimen acquired elsewhere (the "Silver Pick" award).
Winners are voted on by members and the winner gets a trophy.
Our annual membership fees are $20
for an individual and $25 for a family. New members are welcome any time.
The Rockblast is published monthly and is currently edited by
Jeffrey Shallit. Members receive the newsletter electronically or
by Canada Post. Our newsletter outlines activities
and includes interesting articles related to lapidary and the rock and
mineral collecting hobby.
We currently exchange newsletters with other clubs.
For some past issues,
see the Rockblast archive.
Our club is sponsored by GemSelect,
a German-Thai company specializing in gemstones in Chanthaburi, Thailand.
Thanks to GemSelect for their support!
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