The Dayton Gem & Mineral Society is on the lookout for younger rockhounds. Beavercreek resident Joe Brafford, a six-year member, actually got interested in gems, minerals and rocks at a young age himself.
“I just had a couple of minerals when I was a kid, and I just loved them. And after I retired, I wanted to get back into it,” Brafford said. “About nine years ago, I visited a gem and mineral store in Kettering. The owner was liquidating, and I bought a whole bunch of beautiful items at a low cost.”
These items were the beginning of an extensive collection that now numbers near 400. He has malachite, flourite, pyrite crystals and celestine specimens from all over the world, like Africa and Brazil. But most are found during field trips to
limestone quarries in the tri-state area. A few years back he conducted an identification class for some Urbana science students, and they subsequently won a state science competition.
“The DGMS has been around since the ’60s and typically attracts about 40 annual members from across the region. Over the past few years, attendance at monthly meetings has slowly dropped as the average age of our membership continues to climb,” said Brafford, now the club treasurer. “It is important for us to try to attract new, young, interested and active members to keep this good thing going.”
Brafford is concerned that most people do not know about the club’s existence. DGMS members have large collections and are very knowledgeable about gems, minerals, fossils, jewelry, rocks, faceting and displaying at regional shows. The club sets up a booth at the Cincinnati Geo Fair, held annually in May at the Cincinnati Gardens. DGMS has also presented information at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery where they used to hold their meetings.
Currently they schedule 7 p.m. meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at the Dayton Liederkranz-Turner German Club, 1400 E. Fifth St. Amateur geologists Jim and Kathy Bailey of Kettering have been members of the club for the past 35 years.
“I like the fact that they are all friendly, easygoing people willing to share information and knowledge,” Kathy Bailey said. “My favorite pieces are crystals, anything that shines or sparkles. But Jim likes the fossils best.”