Minutes for Meeting – July 13, 2018

The July meeting was held at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Middletown. Attendance reached thirty. Mike Tedford welcomed everyone. Mike talked about the benefits of membership. Introductions were made.
Treasurer’s Report: Ron Nelson gave the treasurer’s report. The report was accepted.
Minutes: Minutes for the June meeting were published in the Shale Mail. The minutes were accepted.
Committee Reports:
Club Picnic: The location has been reserved for September 8th. Nothing further has been worked out with the Long Island Clubs for a joint event.
Programs: We had a conflict develop for the scheduled August 10th speaker. Still working to fill that vacancy. Ryan Richardson offered to check his schedule.
Club show: Currently quiet.
Webmaster: Nothing reported.
Field trips/digs/misc: Gary Kerstanski is talking with Tilcon about the Dutchess Quarry. We need to get the insurance certificate for them. Gary is also talking with the Atlas Quarry. Ryan Richardson is offering another dig on his claim around the end of August. There may be a peridot location around worth checking into. Phil Fernsten related that the Mid-Hudson Club is going to the Hewitt Mine on July 28th. Hewitt is a fee dig site ($30). We are invited. The club needs to publish these trips in the newsletter or on the website to make them official.
July 21st. FOMS has digs at Taylor Rd and the Buckwheat Dump. Picnic to follow.
July 22nd. Mid-Hudson has geology classes about every other Sunday. That’s typically a class and a dig or field visit. Information available.
Talking to other clubs – Otisville and some of the other local sites are still worth visiting.
14 July - The Mid-Hudson Club picnic is tomorrow. Dealers do set up. The invitation was sent. It’s late for RSVPs but it’s probably not too late if you check in and don’t show up empty handed. They (NoJMS) are also continuing the sale of Sarna Strom’s collection at the Kinnelon Library tomorrow. CAMA has a rock sale at Kent, CT tomorrow also.
21-22 July – Herkimer Show
29 July - The Rock Hound Fest at Woodtick Park in CT.
4 August - The NJ chapter of the Friends of Mineralogy (FM) are hosting a picnic w/vendors.
10-12 August – Springfield
18 August - Morris Museum Show
Old/New Business: Old: The prior initial discussions on a scholarship were finalized. Alex Kerstanski was awarded a scholarship.
New: The Club show next year is 1-2 June. It’s also the EFMLS Annual Conference.
Vincent Boucher asked about social media advertising for next year’s show. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and pamphlets were discussed.
Karen Cestari, Rose and Leonard Gaudino brought in specimen they wanted help identifying.
Program: Mike welcomed Derek back for another presentation. We’ve heard Derek discuss fossils and meteorites a few times, and petrified wood. This time he will be discussing the Gems of Egypt.

With slides to accompany the discussion, Derek gave a great presentation. The lecture is hard to describe. Part art history, part geography, part lapidary, part mineralogy. It was a very interesting overview. He started with lapis lazuli. Speculation that it was an Egyptian favorite may explain why it shows up in so many forms and gets combined with many other semi-precious stones. The lapis was imported all the way from Afghanistan. Derek also showed the typical working environment in the vicinity of the mines. The majority of labor and transportation is not mechanized even today. Derek explained the historic preference for lapis as a blue pigment. The cheaper alternative, azurite, tends to transform into malachite given the test of time. Carnelian was another heavily used stone in artifacts. The distinct source is not known but is assumed to be the Nile River. Turquoise from the Sinai Peninsula worked into many artifacts. Less commonly found are amethyst, Libyan desert glass (impact glass) and meteoric iron. The Egyptians did not have a known source or the technology for iron production. The nickel content certainly also points toward meteorites as the source. Also on the metallic side, plenty of gold is found in artifacts. Certainly not more than you’d expect for a pharaoh. Shoes, plated furniture, jewelry. We’ve all marveled at King Tut’s burial mask. That was only the inner layer. Outer layers of the coffin/sarcophagus also had gold decoration. On the opposite end of the mineral scale as value goes, steatite (soapstone) is frequently found carved as scarabs. Derek discussed the relative significance of the scarab from a symbolic and burial standpoint. The scarab represented rebirth. It was valued for its symbolic value not the mineral scarcity. Faience in the decorative arts was also discussed. Not quite pottery and not quite glass it had characteristics of both and the Egyptians had progressed to the point of controlling the color pigmentation. A turquois blue faience seemed to be the color of choice. Derek explained the significance of the burial figurines (ushabti) to the ancient Egyptians. The figurines represented household servants needed for the afterlife. Many of the other artifact forms seemed to be too diverse to call it a recurring theme but there were certainly plenty of deity, sacred or revered animals and scarabs working into the jewelry and decorative arts. There was a recurring color scheme. Lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquois and gold.

Derek brought in mineral examples of the Egyptian favorites for display. He also had an actual ushabti funeral figurine or as he called it, an Egyptian “action figure.” We appreciate Derek again sharing his expertise on
these additional aspects of mineral collecting.

Raffle: A raffle was held of around sixteen items.
Next Meeting: August 10th will be the next meeting at the Orthodox Greek Church in Middletown. The speaker has not been confirmed.
Mark Kucera, Secretary

Alex Kerstanski (and Gary) confirmed that he (they) will do the August lecture.
"Franklin & Sterling Hill Mining"