Arizona Governor Ducey signed HB2092 into law on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

The bill amends Section 1, Title 41, chapter 4.1, and article 5 of the Arizona Statutes, by adding section 41-860.04, to read: Wulfenite is the Official State Mineral.

Alex Schauss spearheaded this effort in 2016 and with a mountain of support from across Arizona and a Wulfenite Is Love campaign by Mineralogical Society of Arizona, Arizona has a beautiful mineral to add to official symbols of Arizona.

It has been a pleasure partnering with Alex Schauss and collaborating with Rep. Mark Finchem, Bob Jones, Evan Jones, Lithographie, Don Boushelle, Sen. Gail Griffin, Les Presmyk, Peter Megaw, Bryan Swoboda, Jeff Scovil, Bob Downs, Rob Lavinsky, Paul Harter, Phil Richardson, Bill Yedowitz, Tony Occhiuzzi, Molly Busby, Wyatt Busby, Sam Busby, Jennifer Campbell, Maggie Lyons, John Tibbits, David Tibbits, Stan Keith, Frank Sousa, John Lucking, Mark Hay, Dick Morris, Carole Lee, Pam Wilkinson, Will Wilkinson, Keith Wentz, Danni Sotomayor, Jason New, Imelda Klein, Jim Klein, Anna Domitrovic, and many many more that I apologize if I missed you, but rest assured, Wulfenite would not be Official Arizona Mineral without you and your support. Thank you one and ALL!!!

I shared with Alex and I'll share with you, I will always treasure our journey in igniting a successful Wulfenite Is Love campaign across Arizona, Mineralogical Society of Arizona members visit to Arizona Capitol, installation of historic Wulfenite Exhibition at 2017 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show(R), and a featured segment in 2017 What's Hot in Tucson ... all in awesome support of Wulfenite.

Official Arizona Symbols:
COPPER                  - State Metal
TURQUOISE            - State Gemstone
WULFENITE            - State Mineral

Warmest Regards,
Chris Whitney-Smith
President Mineralogical Society of Arizona


Welcome to the Mineralogical Society of Arizona!

MSA, along with a Coalition of Rock & Gem Clubs, offer several fun and unique Field Trips throughout the year. We host many interesting Programs & Speakers and you are certain to meet new friends among our Rock and Mineral membership.

Refreshments are served at all MSA meetings and attendees have an exciting opportunity to win Great Mineral Raffle Prizes awarded to one Junior, one Adult, and one Visitor. Members who wear their MSA Name Badges to general meetings are also eligible for an additional raffle.

MSA participates in the annual Flagg Gem and Mineral Show in January, Arizona State Fair and Earth Science Day event in October. We look forward to Exploring, Sharing, and Inspiring your participation in our hobby.

Check out the NEWSLETTER for information on meetings, field trips, and other events of interest to Mineralogists and Rockhounds of all ages.

ALERT!!! Be sure to check out MSA website under MSA CLUB for meeting location and time details. Click here for a printable meeting schedule. Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month, except as noted in the meeting schedule at Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale‎ AZ‎ 85253.

New Meeting Format

Junior Members should arrive by 6:40 PM for Junior Education program starting at 6:45 PM.
All other Members can arrive at 7:00 PM with presentation starting at 7:30 PM.
Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month, except as noted in the meeting schedule.
Brief business meeting and raffle after the program, with Refreshments, Silent Auctions, and Buy/Sell/Trade Event.

Contact us via Email: MSAClub1935@msaaz.org


November 9, 2017 Program: “Got Calcite?” Presented by Mr. Chuck Houser

Our November speaker is Mr. Chuck Houser and his program “Got Calcite?”  Calcite makes up about 4% of the earth’s crust.  The interesting thing about calcite is the sheer number of crystal forms and habits this mineral exhibits, as many as 3,500, depending on who you ask.  Moreover, calcite forms twin crystals…. following FOUR twin laws!  So, building a calcite collection offers virtually unlimited possibilities-crystal forms, twins, localities, associations, color….it is as close to a “bottomless pit” as any collecting possibility Chuck knows of.  It also offers an interesting challenge: getting color into the collection.  Calcite itself comes in two colors-white (actually colorless), and pale yellow.  So, getting other than white and pale yellow in your display cabinet requires a little work, but that is part of the fun.

As for calcite localities, they are, like the crystal forms, varied and abundant.  Calcite collections will include specimens from every major country (and a number of minor ones), and from a wide array of occurrences.  And of course, there are those “classics,” occurrences and localities that anyone collecting this mineral must have to claim rights as a true calcite collector.  This talk presents an expose of this mineral from the standpoint of mineral specimen collecting.  We will discuss its crystal forms, twinning, the big challenge to calcite collecting, localities, classics, and finally we will see what happens when six calcite collectors get together and are allowed to have ideas unchecked by reasonable people.

By the way, as you recall from your mineralogy classes, calcite has a hardness of 3 on Mohs hardness scale, so you might consider removing your wedding ring before you handle your fine specimens of this abundant and varied mineral.


CHUCK HOUSER with his Calcite Exhibit
2017 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show®;
Chris Whitney-Smith photo


In the early 80’s, while a student at SDSU working toward a bachelor’s degree in geology, Chuck took a mineralogy class with Dr. Richard Berry.  Shortly after taking that class, while on a driving trip from Missouri to California, Chuck encountered a mineral and rock shop somewhere in western Missouri.  Perusing the fine mineral specimens in that shop, Chuck realized that he recognized many of the species, and so he purchased many of them (thanks Dr. Berry!).  At that mineral shop began the Houser Mineral Collection.

There can be a bit of an art to mineral collecting, and only the richest can afford to simply collect EVERYTHING that catches their eye.  Most collectors specialize: a specific country, a mining district or even a specific mine, or a single mineral species.  Due largely to the influence of a long time neighbor who collected calcite specimens, Chuck began to specialize in calcite from worldwide localities, a specialization that he has continued over a roughly 35 year collecting history, and through several other specializations including San Diego County minerals and minerals from the Elizabeth R Mine in Pala.  At one point, Chuck even sold most of the calcite collection in order to fund the purchase of one kunzite specimen from the Pala Chief Mine.  However, he kept the twins and some of the unusual and hard to find specimens, which became the basis for eventually re-building the calcite collection.  Today that collection is around 250 pieces.

In his spare time, he is a hydrogeologist and project manager for SCS Engineers in San Diego.  His full time job is being husband to Cindy (almost 31 years) and dad to Julianna (24) and Jennifer (20).






Mineral of the Month CALCITE
By Mr. Phil Richardson

Mineral of the Month for November is calcite.  GOT CALCITE, WHY CALCITE?  Yes, why calcite?  Calcite, as a mineral specimen, may arguably be the most sought after and collected mineral species.  It could be speculated that specimens of calcite reside in every collection, and by the way, some collections consist only of calcite, with maybe a few auxiliary, accessory minerals.  How so?  Calcite is almost as common, abundant, and as ubiquitous as quartz, rivals and exceeds the many crystal forms of pyrite, and comes close to the bright, vivid colors of fluorite.  All three of these other minerals highly sought after, heavily collected, and well represented in collections.

What is calcite?  It is a carbonate of calcium, with the chemical formula CaCO3, which crystallizes in the trigonal system.  It has a low hardness of 3 on the Mohs scale and well developed rhombohedral cleavage; cleavage being the ability to split the crystalline material along three distinct planes creating blocky rhombohedrons.  Calcite’s colors are spread across the wide rainbow spectrum, with the majority being clear, white, yellow, brown, or grey, and can be heavily influenced by other mineral inclusions and internal impurities.  As a collectible mineral, calcite does have three distinct drawbacks; its low hardness and vulnerability to surface scratching upon handling, its well-developed cleavage if mishandled or dropped, and as a carbonate, its susceptibility to a strong reaction with many acids.  Despite these drawbacks, its attributes of a great variety of distinct shapes and colors makes it highly coveted as an aesthetic displayable mineral.


Members are invited to bring one sample from their collection of the mineral of the month and give a brief story about where they collected it or something about the specimen.

***Unknown minerals for identification can still be brought to the meetings***


Wenshan Mine, Yunnan Province, China;
“The Dragon of Yunnan Province,”
Chris Whitney-Smith Collection, © Jeff Scovil.



To further investigate the properties, associations, and relationships of calcite, as well as gain a better insight into this interesting mineral, one merely needs to go online to mindat.org.  Click on the Elements and Their Minerals tab, then click on Ca on the Periodic Table, and finally click on Calcite found by clicking on 138 minerals with Ca and C on the Carbon line within the Element association of calcium in the Mineral World table.  You will be amazed at the enormous treasure chest of information that you have opened.  As of November 2, 2017, there are 23,310 photographs specifically of calcite within the mindat photo archive.  Within this body of photographs, 6,141 pictures are of US locality calcite specimens, with 499 being from Arizona.  (Photographs are added daily to the mindat archive, sorted into the correct mineral categories, therefore the calcite number grows by participant submission.)  Mindat also contains 29,189 photographs of calcite associated with ten other common minerals.  Within this vast mineral archive, 96 significant world-wide locations for calcite are listed out of 28,113 known and recorded mineralized and documented localities.  Within the Crystallographic forms of Calcite section, 29 rotating crystal models can be found by clicking on an image icon.

The rotating crystal models found on the mindat.org website were developed using a Shape Crystal Model program.  These crystal forms were originally identified and documented in the Atlas der Krystallformen, Volume II, Calaverit – Cyanochroit, assembled by Victor Goldschmidt with his original printing in 1913.  Within this crystal drawing treatise, calcite’s vast forms and habits were first illustrated with 2,544 figures.  A simply staggering number of possible crystalline shapes.  The most of any one mineral studied for this endeavor.  Some of these crystal drawings are shown herein.

Given all of this information, it is easy to see how some collectors can be driven to only collect calcite.  One of the most prominent collectors to pursue this endeavor is Victor Yount.  Victor, who resides in Virginia, has assembled a collection of calcite which numbers well over 11,000 specimens.  Currently, he is compiling a Calcite Compendium based off of his personal collection, consisting of ten volumes, with the calcites divided into world locations; such as one volume on South American Calcite.  In 2010, Victor exhibited but a small portion of his calcite collection at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®.  Also contained within this exhibit were several gorgeous cut calcite samples.  On one of the exhibit placards, Victor remarked “too soft to be considered a gemstone – it does make remarkable beautiful faceted stones.”  Victor’s calcite collection has also been featured in both a Mineralogical Record magazine article, and described by Bob Jones in a Rocks & Gem issue.

Written material has supported this vast appeal of calcite as a very collectible mineral.  Bob Jones, in his wonderful book The Frugal Collector, from the Publishers of Rock & Gem magazine, devoted an entire chapter, Chapter 5, to Calcite.  The German publisher, extraLapis, released a 114 page monograph Calcite extraLapis English No.4:  The Mineral with the Most Forms in 2003.  This monograph hits most major world-wide, notable calcite localities with stunning specimen photography, deposit information and history, and expands on the knowledge of calcite presented within the mindat.org site.  If you are not yet sold on collecting calcite, this monograph should do it!   February 1939 issue Rock & Minerals magazine article introduced Tri-State area calcite to its readership.  This article extolled the approximate 30 different crystal shapes found in individual crystals up to several feet in length, and from clear to yellow to lavender in color.  Most recently, Rocks & Minerals magazine highlighted Midwest Calcite in their Jan/Feb 2017 Vol. 92 No. 1 issue.  This is but a glimpse into how well calcite has been represented within the printed word.       





Visiting Mineralogists & Rockhounds, please get in touch with us!

Trade Minerals
Members please feel free to bring minerals for trade to next MSA meeting.

The Rules of Etiquette
From Rockhound Record 1942

At the risk of seeming impertinent, exhibitors of minerals will provide good insurance to specimens if they will display, in a prominent place on their exhibit, the rules of etiquette:

1. Never pick up a piece of material unless it is handed to you by the owner.

2. Always handle carefully – as many specimens are valuable and cannot be replaced.

3. If you cannot see the specimen well, ask the owner to show it to you.

Membership Dues are Due!

Please pay at the next meeting or mail to Mineralogical Society of Arizona, 5533 E. Bell Road Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.
Membership form & dues amounts are on website under MSA CLUB tab.

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New MSA Commemorative Pin

Designed by Chris Whitney-Smith, one of our members, in commemoration of MSA's 75th Anniversary in 2010. 

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Mineralogical Society of Arizona
5533 E. Bell Road
Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Member of the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies
Member of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies

Last Modified May 30, 2017 by Ron Ginn


Mineral logo photo courtesy of Jeff Scovil.

website by Rock Dog

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