Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club reveals beauty beneath a rock’s surface

Discovering hidden treasures lying around the Okanagan Valley is what the Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club does best.

Some of the 200 members go out searching for rocks that can be polished and moulded into a treasure via a series of machines.

“I like to take the things that I find that look just like a rock on the side of the road and turn it into something beautiful,” said club member Mike Warner.


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“Some have beautiful features inside. Some have beautiful structure, they are clear or they are coloured. There are all kinds of interesting things you can find and it’s just lying there for the average person to pick up and make something out of it.”

The club hunts by roads, in the forest, in mineral deposits and at some construction sites. Members can develop what they call an ‘agate eye,’ able to tell which rock can be taken back to the workshop to reveal what lies beneath its surface and which ones should be left on the ground.

Some of the more common finds for the club are amethyst, peridot and agate, along with other semi-precious stones.

“This club is a hobby that, after one of two trips, is so intense that it becomes a habit, it becomes an issue,” said club vice-president Tony Heisterkamp. “It’s not life or death, but it’s more important than that.

“It’s not just collecting rocks. It’s about education, learning the different minerals, what they are comprised of and what to look for when looking for minerals.”

The club includes faceters who specialize in making jewelry, gemologists and rock lovers of all skill sets.

For some members, the rocks are more than just something beautiful to look at or to adorn one’s body with.

“My suspicion is that like all plants in nature, is that rocks have the ability to speak to our inner voices,” said club member and Okanagan Gem Show organizer Judy Hackman.

“And that might seem a little out there, but it describes what people feel when they are out in nature and collecting rock specimens.”

Some of the club member’s finds and creations will on display at the Okanagan Gem Show, July 19 to 21, at the Rutland Centennial Hall.

For more information about the Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club visit their website For information about the Kelowna Chapter, 1120 Rock Club visit

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