Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Society


The Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Society owes its origin to Mr. Nelson W. Whittemore of Santa Barbara, Mr. Frank Miratti, Jr. of the Beacon Tavern and to Mr. Walter Lauterbauch of Barstow. 

These three, often meeting to discuss rocks and the cutting and polishing of semi-precious stones, conceived the idea of starting a rock club for all those interested in this particular hobby. The first meeting was held at the Beacon Tavern, forming the club on January 20, 1940 with a membership of 4 persons. Mr. Walter Lauterbauch was the first President. Then during 1941 was Mr. Robert Greer of Yermo, with Mr. Walter Rienhart serving during 1942.

The club was inactive during the war and reactivated on March 30, 1945 with Mr. Greer as its President. In 1946 Mr. George Fink of Yermo was elected President with Mr. Bill Gabriel of Barstow following in 1947.

The Society was incorporated February 6, 1946 and is a member of the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies.

The Mojave Desert Gem and Mineral Society sponsored a rock show which was held at the Beacon Tavern in 1941. There were over 1700 visitors from 16 states who saw the displays. It also sponsored its first hobby show in 1947 at Barstow High School. Each year thereafter the hobby show was an annual event until 1954, when it was discontinued because of lack of interest by the public.

Our club also organizes an annual Gem and Mineral show the first weekend in December of each year. It is always a big hit with local residents and rockhounds alike.