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Tualatin Valley Gem Club's 61st Rock and Gem Show begins March 8 in Forest Grove.

COURTESY PHOTO: TUALATIN VALLEY GEM CLUB - The Tualatin Valley Gem Club meets every second Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. and every fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., both times at the Forest Grove Community & Senior Center, 2037 Douglas St. Tualatin Valley Gem Club's 61st Rock and Gem Show isn't a diamond in the rough.

Founded in 1957, the club has been based in Forest Grove with members from the surrounding areas and is actively looking for new members, club president Casey Truman said.

At the annual show, cases filled with minerals, rocks and gems from companies in Oregon are on display for visitors to enjoy.

Held at the Forest Grove National Guard Armory, 2950 Taylor Way, the Rock and Gem Show will run from Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dozens of vendors from around the area will be in town to show their wares, as well as demonstrations related to geology, lapidary and more.

Cindy Yablok, a Tualatin Valley Gem Club board member, also works as a host at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals near Hillsboro. She finds joy in attending the club, she said.

"I naturally love to share whatever I can," Yablok said. "I'm a mineral collector, but I really love to learn all about this."

Bringing gems and rocks to the show to ask club members and vendors about is encouraged, Yablok said.

"The vendors are really personable and easy to chat with," Yablok said. "They can really identify rocks and talk to people about what they have."

COURTESY PHOTO: TUALATIN VALLEY GEM CLUB - The Tualitan Valley Gem Club's annual Rock and Gem show will be at Forest Grove National Guard Armory, 2950 Taylor Way, from Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Dick Pugh, a representative from the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory at Portland State University, will also be at the show to share meteorites that the public can touch. Pugh will also help identify possible finds if attendees bring in pieces they believe to be meteorites.

Not only will adults find fun, but children will too. The children's corner will have activities, and young visitors have a chance to take a free rock home.

Even if someone doesn't know much about rocks, minerals and gems, there is learning opportunities and a chance to connect, Yablock said.

Truman owns Treasures in the Grove, a local gem and rock business in downtown Forest Grove.

For Truman, the pastime of collecting minerals, rocks and gems reaches back to his childhood, from rock hunting to gold panning in Alaska.

"It kind of fell into place that I had a passion for rocks and minerals," he said. "When I heard about this club, it was one of those things that I did the research on the club and it was a lot of people there I could learn something from. Everyone is super-friendly, and it was so easy, and I felt I fit right in. We are a big family, and we have the same passion and interest. That is why we go."

Yablok said out of the thousands of minerals, many are waiting to be named, and vendors bring in new items every year she has never seen before.

"It is like the tip of the iceberg here," she said. "It is fun to see as the dealers come with their new stock and see some of the beauty of what they find."

The group of about 30 people meets every second Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. and every fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., both times at the Forest Grove Community & Senior Center, 2037 Douglas St.

"Once you go rock, you never go back," Truman said.

For more information, visit tvrgc.org.



By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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