Volume 53 - Issue 5 - May 2020

Updated: May 6, 2021

Monongahela Rockhounds

A Pittsburgh Area Mineral, Fossil, & Lapidary Club


The Monongahela Rockhound News is a Monthly Publication of the

Monongahela Rockhounds,

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Volume 53, Issue 5,

May 2020

Visit us on the Web at: www.monongahelarockhounds.org


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President's Message

Hello Friends,

This has been an interesting month! Online education is an adjustment for instructors as well as students. In my down time I have found some interesting online mineral resources and groups. I encourage you to explore Facebook and Instagram, as well as using Google searches for your favorite minerals. I have met some really unique people this month! From high-end dealers to mining hermits, I have received a lot of friend requests and it has been entertaining. Isolation is difficult for everyone and getting involved in online groups or reaching out to friends and family is important in a time like this. I miss touching base with you all, please look me up if you are on Facebook!

I have been teaching and attending a lot of meetings via Zoom. It is an easy to use platform for group discussions. If we are unable to have our June meeting in person, would you be interested in having some form of meeting via Zoom? I would love to hear some feedback on your thoughts regarding this. My email is crystalphaseltd@gmail.com and I look forward to hearing your opinion.

With a week left in April, I have no submissions for the fluorite contest that I posted. I hope that I receive some last minute entries for my give-aways!

Warmest Regards,



Important Notice

CANCELLED: The Monongahela Rockhounds executive has made a decision to cancel our planned meeting for Saturday, May 2nd due the present instructions from our political leaders addressing the Covid-19 virus risks. We will notify everyone prior to the planned June meeting on the status of that meeting.


May 2020 Meeting

CANCELLED to comply with the state mandates for COVID-19. If all goes well, we look forward to seeing everyone happy and healthy at the June meeting! Take care and stay safe, everyone. WHEN

May 02, 2020, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM EDT


Munhall Borough Building, 1900 West St, Munhall, PA 15120, USA


Meeting Minutes

4 April 2020

  • No meeting occurred due to COVID-19.


General Information

Monongahela Rockhounds PO Box 18063 Pittsburgh, PA 15236 www.monongahelarockhounds.orgMission Statement

  • To promote, among its members and the general public, an interest in collection of minerals, fossils, and associated items.

  • To promote their use in lapidary work.

  • To promote the study and classification of minerals, gem stones and other items of such nature.


  • Member: Eastern Federation of Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies, Inc.

  • Member: American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Inc.

Meeting Location Munhall Borough Building 20th Ave. & West Street Munhall, PA 15120


​Club Officers

President Johanna Burnett ​ 1st Vice-President Bret Howard ​ 2nd Vice-President Debbie Braddock ​ Treasurer Tony Orzano ​ Record Secretary Debbie Thompson ​ Silent Auction Debbie Braddock ​ Board of Directors June Epp Donald Laufer Frank DeWinter Webmaster Emmalyn Ilagan webmaster@monongahelarockhounds.orgNewsletter Editor Frank DeWinter editor@monongahelarockhounds.org


We normally meet the first Saturday of every month from September through June at 7:30 pm, in the Munhall Borough Building for a presentation, business meeting and a chance to socialize. There is a major focus on the younger members of our club with portions of the meeting specifically for school aged children.CANCELLED: Our next meeting will NOT be on Saturday, May 2, 2020. The June meeting is planned for the 6th (should conditions allow).


Monongahela Rockhound News is the official newsletter of the Monongahela Rockhounds.

Disclaimer & Release: To the best of our knowledge, all articles and information presented in this newsletter are true, accurate and free of copyright infringement. The Monongahela Rockhounds is not responsible for the usage of the information contained in the newsletter. The Monongahela Rockhounds hereby grants other non-profit organizations the right to republish articles in this newsletter for non-commercial usage as long as complete source credit is given, unless noted otherwise.

Deadline: The editor welcomes any and all contributions to the newsletter. Please provide articles and any other submissions for publication at least 2 weeks prior to the upcoming meeting to be considered for inclusion in that month’s issue.

Please e-mail any newsletter articles to the editor's e-mail: editor@monongahelarockhounds.org


The 2020 Penfield Quarry

Open House:

Another Covid-19 Victim

By Bret Howard

The Dolomite Products quarry in Penfield, New York, had planned to have its 2020 collecting open house on Saturday, May 2nd this year. This open house has been an annual event hosted by Penfield Quarry for a number of years. It is open to the public and very well attended. Last year it was raining in the morning and still lots of collectors showed up. A little rain can’t slow us down! The quarry is located in the town of Penfield, NY. Unfortunately, like most events this spring, the open house has been cancelled to protect the health of the quarry workers and the many collectors that attend from the threat of Covid-19. There is a chance that the open house could be rescheduled later in the year but this is unlikely due to the uncertainty of the timeframe for when it will be safe again to congregate. If it is rescheduled, I’ll let everyone know. In the meantime, we can look forward to Walworth in the fall and hope everything is back to “normal” enough for the open house to be held. I might take some time to finally trim some of our previously collected specimens. Not as good as being there but still enjoyable!



Gem of Life and Lore



is a variety of chalcedony (cryptocrystalline quartz) that is traditionally semi-translucent to opaque dark green jasper with red inclusions of iron oxides, especially hematite. Bloodstone’s alternate name, heliotrope, comes from the ancient Greek word that means “to turn the sun”. In ancient times, these March birthstones were believed to turn the sun red if they were placed in water. The name bloodstone derives from the belief by some that the color pattern has religious significance, representing the blood of Christ.

Several metaphysical properties have been attributed to this March birthstone. They include increasing strength, giving visibility, and preserving health and youth. In modern times, many believe the bloodstone birthstone to be a lucky charm, as it is prized by athletes and others who want to grow their strength. Even

today in India, fine bloodstones may be crushed into a powder and used as an aphrodisiac.

Although bloodstone does not share the same beauty as the aquamarine birthstone, many prize bloodstone for its special properties. Bloodstones used as gems are typically cut as cabochons, though some striking examples are faceted.

Where is Bloodstone Found?

Most bloodstone in the marketplace today is from India. However, the bloodstone birthstone also comes from parts of Brazil, Australia, China, and the United States, among other countries.

Bloodstone can be found filling fractures or cavities in other rocks or as pebbles in riverbeds.

Bloodstone Birthstone Care & Cleaning

Your bloodstone birthstone can be easily cleaned at home with warm soapy water and a soft brush. It is important to keep your bloodstone away from harsh chemicals and extremely hot temperatures. Dry off this March birthstone with a clean, soft cloth. To keep the stone from getting scratched (it’s 6.5–7 on the Mohs scale), it is important to store your bloodstone birthstone in a soft fabric.

Born in March? Pisces and Aries are your zodiac signs. Jewelry designers have fashioned some creative pieces, and we’ve found ones for you to enjoy. The March birthstones aquamarine and bloodstone have it all: They are beautiful, rich in lore, and exceptionally wearable.

Now you know how to pick one that will become a cherished addition to your jewelry wardrobe.