Coconino Lapidary Club




Tribute to Mineral Man Mel

Mel has been a member of this Club since 2013, and what a tremendous asset he has been. It pretty much goes without saying he is sorely missed. Rocks and minerals were his passion as he attested through his collection, deep knowledge, expertise, unparalleled enthusiasm, and willingness to share it with others. His numerous contributions to this site’s blog are truly a testament to his love of this hobby with articles ranging from showcasing mineral and gem art to technical analysis.

His presence at our meetings is sorely missed as confirmed by the member’s reminiscences:

He was a really nice person. Always ready to give a helping hand. He could identify just about anything you brought to him. Always kind and happy… and he loved cheesecake.

Marty and Linda

 Mel was not only the smartest person that I have ever met, but he was also one of the kindest people I have known. When he was talking about minerals, his enthusiasm and joy were infectious. He loved to share his knowledge, and I learned so much from him. He is missed.


 Mel was the most knowledgeable member of this club and would always share his expertise with the rocks that we had questions about.

He invited Jeanne and me to view his collection, which mostly consisted of metallic minerals and learned about his work at Los Alamos with some of the world’s brightest physicists.

He was generous with his time and energy and was a treat to have known.

Jay and Jeanne

Monthly Meetings

  • Discussion of past field trips
  • Displays of specimens collected on the trip
  • Announcement of upcoming field trips
  • General club business
  • Refreshments/snacks
  • Raffle for fun prizes


  • Presentation of new lapidary information
  • Expanding the resources in our library inventory
  • Members display their collections and share their knowledge of the gems, minerals, and fossils in those collections


  • Dates and locations of upcoming Gem & Mineral Shows

Field Trips

  • Plan future trips to collect gems and minerals (aka “rockhounding”)
  • Our trips are to locations around Flagstaff, as well as throughout the state of Arizona, and occasionaly to surrounding states
  • Make arrangements for carpooling and equipment sharing


  • Rock tumbling labs and equipment available
  • Club equipment is made available by appointment for a minimal fee
  • Cabochon making and wire-wrapping classes


  • Articles, books, periodicals, and DVDs are available to check out the monthly meetings
  • Donations of new resources are appreciated and always welcome
In some minerals color is directly related to a metallic element, is characteristic, and can be useful in identification. As examples,  azurite as shown in Figure 1A, is always blue due to the presence of copper, and rhodochrosite, shown in Figure 1B, is always pink to red due to the presence of manganese,. However minerals such as fluorite, colorless in it self, can be yellow, blue, purple, or green due to low concentrations of metal impurities.
The atoms within the crystal of a mineral are arranged in a regular fashion to form a lattice, and the crystal exhibits a shape with surface regularity which reflects its internal symmetry[Ref1]. The shape of a crystal is often typical of a mineral. and often typical the location where found; thus, crystal shape comprised of crystallographic forms modulated by crystal habit can be a useful tool in mineral identification.