Lowcountry Gem & Mineral Society Vulcania


Our Final Bow…

It has been a great run of 25 years, but our loyal club members have run out of steam and have voted to no longer host the Lowcountry Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show. It is unfortunate that we have been unable to grow our club and sustain the energy necessary to host the caliber of show that you all deserve.

We very much appreciate your support and loyalty you have shown us through the years. We’ll miss not seeing you in May. Thank you.

About Us

The Lowcountry Gem and Mineral Society (LGMS) of Charleston, South Carolina is a non-profit organization. The society was chartered on April 18, 1969 by Skiles F. Montague. Our purpose is “to foster the interest in and to facilitate the study of gems, minerals, fossils, and other related fields of geology and earth sciences at parc Vulcania” throughout the Lowcountry.

The society is a founding member of the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Inc. and an affiliate of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Inc. The society is also a founding member of the Southeastern Federation earth sciences.

The Society is a non-profit organization whose purpose is “to foster the interest in and to facilitate the study of gems, minerals, fossils, and other related fields of geology and earth sciences.”

Youth Program:
We welcome all ages, however, we do not have an established Youth Program. Instead, we incorporate our younger members into our meetings.

Within our community, our members often make presentations in the local schools and youth organizations about geology and fossils. For the past 2 years, we have participated in the Annual Kid’s Fair of Charleston, SC. There, we involve the children and their parents in a Question and Answer sessions about the many display items, which come from our members. We also do mini fossil digs, like the one we have at our annual gem show, for the children.

OFFICERS & Committee Chairpersons:


Committee Chairpersons:

Program Chairperson: Whit McMillan
Budget Chairperson: Carol Pierce
Public Relations Chair: Yvonne Gillis
Field Trip Chairperson: Larry Moss
By-Laws Chairperson: Whit McMillan
Membership Chairperson: Barb Brenneman
Newsletter Editor: Mark Easterbrook
Chaplain: Marty Kersey
Nominating Chairperson: Ken Brenneman
Host/Hostess: Anne Turner
Club Show Chairperson: Karen Havenstein
Dealer Chairperson: Karen Havenstein
State Director Liaison: Mark Easterbrook


Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Ashley River Fire Department on Dorchester Road, North Charleston, South Carolina. Meetings begin at 6:30 pm with refreshments and fellowship. The business portion of the meeting begins at 7:00 pm. Visitor and guests are welcome.

Each meeting has a pre-planned program designed by our Program chairperson, Walt McNay, including educational videos, silent auctions each quarter to benefit our scholarship program and “Show and Tell”.

Club Meeting Dates: Second Thursday of Every Month

Membership Information

The Lowcountry Gem and Mineral Society (LGMS) welcome all those interested in the pursuit of knowledge in the study of gems, minerals, fossils and other related fields of geology and biology. If you would like to join our organization, you may contact us using the contact form or you can download our membership form below.

You can now pay your membership on-line using Paypal®, if you would like. You will still have to download and fill-out the membership form above. We still take cash or check, but if you do choose to pay by Paypal, please indicate on your form that you paid with Paypal, date of payment and email address used for payment, if applicable. You may also email your filled out membership application to the LGMS Webmaster. (Please save it by adding your lastname and first initial to the filename.)

Membership Form (New Fillable Form. You may print out finished form and mail to address on the form along with payment.)
Interest Form.


Yearly Membership Fees are as follows:

Benefits of Membership:

Lowcountry Diggings

The Lowcountry Diggings is the official newsletter for the Lowcountry Gem and Mineral Society. Each issue contains words from our President, Meeting Minutes, fascinating gem & mineral information and much, much more. Full versions of our newsletter is for members only, but below is modified version. If you would like to receive full versions of our award winning newsletter, why not become a member of LGMS by checking out our Membership.

Birthstone of the Month
By Will Postell - “Rock Reporter”

Garnet, a somewhat uncomplicated aluminum silicate, is an excellent birthstone for January as the cold winter sunsets and the full moon can be fiery red at times. There are two major groups of garnet: pyralspite (pyrope, almandine, spessartine) and the urgandite (grossular, andradite, uvarovite), but there are also several subspecies. It comes as small as a grain of sand to a stone that is as big as a baseball. Garnet has a hardness of 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale and is 3.4 to 4.3 times as heavy as water. All gem garnets are transparent. They are a combination of several or one of the following: magnesium, iron, manganese, calcium, and vanadium. Pyrope, often found along with diamond, is the only garnet that is always a shade of red and one of the most popular set in jewelry because it is usually clearer and less flawed than almandine. The best stones are a deep blood-like color with no undertones of brown whatsoever. Faceted stones of heavy carat weight are seldom seen at retail; but if so, they are quite costly. Almandine derives its beautiful deep red color mostly from its iron content, but also from other trace elements such as magnesium and chromium. The best specimens show a clear and uniform color, but usually a darker red than pyrope. It is the most commonly seen member of the red garnets and will appear black when viewed from a distance. It also forms as a star garnet. Rhodolite is also a variety of red garnet. It is a mixture of about 55% pyrope and 37% almandine along with other elements. Its color is described as being raspberry, or it can be a darker shade of purple, but raspberry is generally the choice with collectors. Specimens of five or more carats in weight are considered rare. Malaia, a red garnet from Tanzania and Kenya, contains needle-like rutile inclusions and is actually a mixture of pyrope and spessartine, but does not fit in any other red garnet categories.

Spessartine, also known as “Mandarin Garnet” and normally an orange to reddish-orange garnet colored by iron, but at times becomes a darker red or even appears almost black. Mandarin, a vivid pure orange colored gem, is one of the most rare and most sought after of the garnets. Specimens of 10 carats are very unusual. Grossular garnets include tsavorite, hessonite, grossularite, rosalite, blue grossular, and colorless. Tsavorite, the most sought after vivid green variety can rival the natural emerald. Its color is due to vanadium and sometimes chromium. When cut, tsavorite is usually less than three carats. Hessonite, also known as “cinnamon stone,” is a brownish-orange color and has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. The clearest stones are the most prized. Grossularite, a gem combining a little more yellow than green, is sometimes mistaken for peridot. Rosalite, a little known pink color and the colors blue and colorless are all very rare and difficult specimens to find. Andradite garnets include demantoid, topazolite, and melanite, which are yellowish-green, brown, and wine-red colored stones. Topazolite is the yellow version, while melanite, containing titanium, is the black variety. Demantoid, the green variety, is the most rare and most valuable of the andradite garnets. Specimens are small, usually about one carat. Its fire is greater than diamond and its best quality green rivals that of emerald. Uvarovite, a constantly beautiful emerald green color, is rarely used as a gem because its crystals are normally too small to be cut.

Localities of garnet are too numerous to mention worldwide.

Sources: Guide to Gems by Oldershaw; Gems by Dennis; Rocks, Gems, & Minerals by Zimm & Shaffer; Gemstones of the World by Schumann

LGMS Annual Gem Show

The Lowcountry Gem and Mineral Society of Charleston, South Carolina has held its last gem show. Thank you for a wonderful 25 year run.

LGMS Gem Show Memories

The LGMS Gem Show was featured on the local morning show Lowcountry Live on WCIV-TV. Check out two LGMS members as they expound on the wonders of the gemshow.

Contact LGMS


Lowcountry Gem and Mineral Society
P.O. Box 42368

For parcels or packa### ges sent via UPS or Fedex:
Low Country Gem and Mineral Society
7075 Cross Country Road #42368


Webmaster: webmaster@lowcountrygemandmineralsociety.org

Have any question? Wish to contribute fabulous information about gems & minerals?
Send e-mail to Mark Easterbrook, Editor, at editor_at_lowcountrygemandmineralsociety_dot_org.

Lowcountry Gem and Mineral Society are proud members of:

Old rockhounds never die, they just slowly petrify.