Ripple Rock Gem and Mineral Club

                                                 Garnets on Quadra Island

About Us

The History of the Ripple Rock Gem & Mineral Club from 1989 to 1999.

An ad in a local paper asked persons interested in lapidary to meet at the North Island College a 7:30 on January 13, 1989.

There were 15 present and Myrt Thompson took the chair for an informal meeting.  The first slate of officers included President - Myrt Thompson, Secretary - Gwen Langill, Treasurer - Millie Page.  Dues were set at $10 and the most popular name for the club was "Ripple Rock Gem & Mineral Club".  (I had hoped for "Razzle Dazzle Rock & Gem"). 

Our first year was very active.  Using his own equipment Bob Thompson, an old hand at lapidary, taught us cutting, grinding, polishing, rock identification and wire work.  Invitations further afield brought us Gerry Wiecker and Al Bodman to teach silversmithing and Winnie Espitalier to teach wire jewellery.

We applied to join the Federation and received our charter on May 21, 1989.  Our first delegates to the Vancouver Island Zone were Bob Thompson, Vern Spiers and Clarence Langill.

We met with a New Horizons representative to pursue the possibility of obtaining a grant to buy lapidary equipment.

Our first field trip with wagonmaster Bob Thompson was to Hkusam Mt. for dallasite.

The club was very fortunate to have Bob and Myrt Thompson as our co-founders.  Not only did we learn on Bob's personal machinery, but, a most generous offer saw members renovating Bob's garage for our workshop.  Through Myrt's knowledge and with her guidance, we received a substantial New Horizons grant and equipped the shop.

We are also lucky to have the expertise of member Rudy Brule who has overseen the care of our machines over the years and continues to do so as our official workshop foreman.  He has built, fixed, painted, swept and organized as weekly sessions continue and special projects are attempted.

Members have attended island shows since our inception, and as we learned, we have filled our own cases for Alberni, Victoria, Parksville, Courtenay and Jonanco as well as demonstrating various areas of the craft.

Our first show was on September 29/30 in 1990 and it was held at the old North Island College.  There were 27 cases and we welcomed demonstrations by Gerry, Al and Winnie as well as our own Jack McGowan.  We served coffee and cookies and had a fine time.  We stayed at the College for three shows then moved to the Eagles Hall and then to the Navy League where we are now, with the exception of one year when a fire forced us to the Community Hall.  The show is much larger, but still contains cases, demos, games, silent auction and the best lunch in town.

Ripple Rock's newsletter, "The Bugle" published its' first edition on January of 1990 with Clarence Langill as editor.  Clarence wrote and "went to press" using the Presbyterian Church's copier.  Subsequent editors were Ross Thompson and Pat Doyle, with Clarence and Gwen Langill retaining the position as co-editors since 1996.  In 1995, with Ken Bennett's help, we obtained our own copier which kept the costs at a minimum for many years.

The Bugle has grown and expanded and we now have a subscription list of over 70, mailing to many island club members and clubs as well as exchanging newsletters with clubs in B.C. and U.S.A.

The paper highlights show dates, meeting dates, informative articles, items for sale and member's news.  There is a section on faceting and a by-line on geology.  We showcase island member's collections and talents.

In the last three years your co-editors have been thrilled to win G.M.F.C. awards for the newsletter itself and also for individual articles. 

Ripple Rock Club has always tried to be involved in our home community.  We have joined Westmin to show and demonstrated in a mall display.  Members have manned tables at a similar museum activity.  We visited schools to spark interest in the hobby and worked on an activity table at Kid's Festival.  Our meetings are advertised on the T.V. wheel and in the local paper and of course we have a home page.

Everyone loves field trips and the club has had many - near, far and farther from home.  Over the years we have been hosts and we have been guests.  We've trekked to the Oyster, the Adam, the Eve, White River, Rosewall Creek, Granite Creek, McGee Creek, Saltspring Island, Quinsam Coal Mine, Argonaut, Utah Mine, Mt. Washington, Mt. Arrowsmith, etc. etc. etc.

We've collected fossils, garnets, rhodonite, crystals, agate, porphry, jasper, gordonite, rice rock and an astonishing array of leaverite.  Somewhere in our travels, Doug and Cindy Androsoff instituted the famous "Field Trip Barbecue" and now, as well as fresh air and friends, we have hot coffee and fine fare.

The club continues to flourish, meeting at the new College at 7:00 on the second Friday of each month.  Membership in 1999 was 44.  Credit for our success goes to the dedication of the membership beginning with a list of past presidents - Myrt Thompson, Vern Spiers, Maurice Page, Ken Bennett, Alan Moore and Lewis Thompson and going right through the executive who so ably filled the positions over the years.

Communication among the clubs has also grown.  Members attend Rendezvous on the mainland and Gemboree on the island.  We share picnics, pot lucks, barbecues and field trips. This last aspect of lapidary is a real bonus and one of the most rewarding.  The generous offers of hospitality over the years and the warm friendships formed are as they say on the commercial, "Priceless".

C. & G. Langill