Volume 53 - Issue 6 - June 2020

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 6,

June 2020

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


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2020 Membership Dues Changes Due to Covid-19

The 2020 membership year has been atypical so far due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on normal activities. We have already cancelled three club meetings and postponed our spring show. We may need to cancel more meetings and activities in the future depending on how events evolve. Because of these cancellations and the distinct possibility of even more being necessary in the future, our members are missing out on some of the benefits of being a member. Since we can’t predict how long into the future Covid-19 restrictions will be in place limiting club activities, the officers and board of directors met (via email) to discuss the club’s 2020 membership options. The decision was made to make 2020 a “free membership” year. Anyone that has paid their dues for 2020 will have their membership continue through the 2021 membership year. This would apply to those that pay their dues later in 2020 also. Those that were paid members for 2019 but haven’t renewed for 2020 will have their membership continue through 2020 and then end unless they choose to renew. This will also be a small monetary break for those members that are finding their finances impacted by the current situation. The free membership year was put into effect in our membership records by adding one year to the current membership expiry dates. Hopefully, Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania in general be able to transition to “green” before the summer picnic!

Monongahela Rockhounds Board of Directors


Important Notice!

CANCELLED: The Monongahela Rockhounds executive has made a decision to cancel our planned meeting for Saturday, June 6 due the present instructions from our political leaders addressing the Covid-19 virus risks. We anticipate that the August picnic will take place on the planned date of August 2, with some modifications to our normal format, but please keep watch on our website as well as the newsletter for updates.


June 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 September meeting! Take care and stay safe, everyone.


Jun 06, 2020, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM EDT


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


Meeting Minutes

2 May 2020

  • There was no meeting 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, June 6, 2020. The September meeting will be on the 12th (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


So You want to Be a Jewelry Vendor?


GLMSDC member and jewelry designer Mia Schulman shares tips on how to get off to a good start!

Whether you create miniature boats, wood items for the home, dolls, or yes, even jewelry, you can sell them all at craft shows. But, how do you get started? For the sake of simplicity, let’s look at how to sell my favorite items: jewelry!

Find the Shows!

Do a Google search for “local craft shows”. An extensive list of websites will pop up with all kinds of helpful information. Contact the local chamber of commerce, visitor’s bureau, and area churches. And of course, check area gemstone and mineral clubs to find out when they host their shows and put out their call for vendors. Find the right contacts, tell them what you sell, and ask to be put on their email list. Such events are planned well ahead of time, so it is important to register early.

Get Organized

It’s not only important that customers see your work and buy it; you also want them to be able to find you for future sales. Register a unique name with your state taxes and licensing office. You can acquire a temporary license that covers a single event until you are ready to establish yourself as a permanent business. Then, print attractive business cards with the name of your business, your own name as the vendor, an email address, and—if you have one—your web address. You can create a unique email account through any number of services, such as Google Gmail. Display your cards on your table.

Buy a floor length table cover in a color that complements your jewelry display. And don’t forget lighting! Some large venues can be cavernous, or you may be assigned to a dark corner. Jewelry lights and extension cords can save the day!

Keep in mind that most people use credit cards when shopping. Be prepared to take credit cards with a device or app like Square. But, keep a good old- fashioned receipt book handy in case of bad wireless connections or customers bearing cash. And speaking of cash, bring a lockbox with anywhere from $100 to $200 in small bills so that you can easily make change.

What should I sell?

Some shows have strict rules about table size. But, if that’s not a factor and you have a small table, you can mainly show one kind of item, such as earrings. However, not everyone wears earrings, so you should still show a few necklaces or bracelets. Just don’t crowd everything on the table! If it is too crowded, people will simply walk past you. Grab their attention by putting an eye-catching piece in front!.

Practice Good Table Manners

When potential customers approach your table, a smile or hello will do. Don’t try to sell before they’ve had a chance to look around. I’m like everybody else; if a vendor tries to tell me about the merchandise before I even ask or have looked at it, I move on! Recall your own reactions in such situations when deciding how to approach customers. Never read a book —or anything—while waiting for customers to stop at your table! They immediately get the impression that you’re bored or have no interest in showing them your creations. If possible, place your chair at the corner of the table where people can see what you’re doing, and work on one of your pieces. They enjoy seeing a work in progress, usually stop to talk, and often end up buying. If you are selling small items, especially jewelry, always have a helper with you— even two if you have a large table. While you attend to the customer, your helper watches the table. I remember an event where I was helping a man at my table but also keeping an eye on his two kids. He saw me watching them, so he shortly left. At another event, I saw a woman shoplifting. Not wanting to create a huge fuss, I went ahead of her and told every vendor to watch her closely. At these events, shoplifting is rampant. Two helpers are also useful so that each of you can take a short break. That always leaves a seller and a watcher at the table.

How do I determine prices?

Again, Google is a great help here! Search “how to price handmade jewelry for sale”, and you’ll find the following steps:

  1. Keep track of your costs. It is imperative that you know how much your supplies cost.

  2. Keep track of your time.

  3. Calculate the price:

  • Time + Material = Cost

  • Cost x 2 = Wholesale

  • Wholesale x 2 = Retail

Go to www.thesprucecrafts.com and read How to Price Your Jewelry Right. There is a lot of information online, including how to calculate profit! By studying it carefully, you should be able to come up with a formula that works for you. But, remember that pricing also depends on the venue. A church bazaar is usually priced a little lower than a large regional show that draws large crowds. If your vendor fee is very high, you will need to charge more.

If all goes well, you can have a successful show that will inspire you to participate in more events. And the more people see you, the more they will look for you and the beautiful, well-crafted jewelry you sell! —Mia Schulman

Editor’s Note: Mia Schulman has been creating and selling jewelry for 35 years. She specializes in beadweaving—using beads so tiny that it takes eight beads to equal 1⁄2 inch—and taught the intricate art at Wildacres Retreat for 18 years. Mia keeps track of GLMSDC business as the club secretary.


If interested, download the June 2020 Newsletter to print a:

2020 EFMLS Wildacres Registration Form

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