Competitions

All members are urged to bring specimens for the monthly competition. Questions may be directed to 
Carlos Peralta, Education Chairperson, at cperalta@wisc.edu. 
Cash awards: 1st place $10; 2nd place $5.

Competition Rules:
1. Only paid members of the Madison Gem and Mineral Club may enter, personally working or fabricating the material unless otherwise designated.
2. No prior-winning competition items eligible.
3. Read the competition requirements carefully. Only one entry per month, but item may be entered in other months if it qualifies (non-previous winner).

Unless specifically instructed, the specimens for the Competitions described below can be self-collected or purchased or given to you by somebody else. 

It will be nice if you tell us something about the specimens that you are entering in the competition. Please write a couple of sentences on an index card (or similar small sized piece of paper) so we can learn something about it. We might also try to write articles for the Agateer highlighting winning entries.

No highly radioactive specimens should be brought to the Competition or for Show-and-Tell.

Carlos would like suggestions for future competitions beyond the listed dates. Lists most recently updated June 11, 2017.

2017 Competitions
 Month Competition  Description
 January Any specimen you own and that a similar one is being displayed in the Geology Museum.  Yes, yours might be much better that the Museum’s (or about the same or not as good.) In other words, "similar" refers to "type" not to "quality."
 February Slab polished by member.  
 March Your most beloved Specimen  
 April Free-form jasper cab cut by member.  
 May Specimens set. Bring 3 or more different specimens that have something in common. Examples: 1. They came from the same mine.
2. They belong to the same group (examples: amphiboles, crinoids, beryls, tetragonal, etc.)
3. Gem materials that are blue (or pink or yellow…..etc.)
4. They were owned by an established collector before they came to your collection.
 June Rock and Tell. Bring one specimen and a short story that relates to that specimen. Keep the story short (100 words or less). Email Carlos a Word file a few days before the June meeting and he will print cards with your story.
 *July Roundest natural rock.

(Note: previously listed competition was: 
Petrified wood rough or polished)
There are al least three different ways that rocks can be very spherical. The most commonly found are called concretions (successive layers that have grown on top of previous layers). Several minerals often form very thin and long crystals growing out from a single point. The resulting spheres are fascinating. Examples: azurite balls, phrenite, wavellite. A third way is by the tumbling action of rivers. A few out of billions of rocks end up being very spherical.
Yes, you are right; I’m forgetting the marble agates. They form inside of perfectly spherical voids inside volcanic rocks. These voids are the result of gas bubbles. The silica came in into the spherical void and filled it in with agate. The rocks eventually released the round agates. We have found them in Marble Beach, Keweenaw, Michigan.
Please remember that the competition is for natural rock only; not for spheres cut by a lapidary
 August Best rocks to give away to kids. We are going to repeat last year’s competition for August. It was a great success. You helped me make several kids happy. Please bring minerals, fossils, crystals, gems, pretty slabs. Just as last year, this is a real competition and you could win a price. No, you cannot take the specimens back because we will give them away to kids. Yes, you are welcome to bring more rocks for kids.
 September Charming obsidians Although the vast majority of obsidians are black, a few have showy colors and chatoyancy. Bring your best specimens to dazzle the Club’s members: golden sheens, silver sheens, mahogany, snowflakes, rainbows, velvets, fire obsidians (the rarest of all), etc. Cut or rough. By the way, common black obsidian can be quite attractive. I could add obsidian needles to the list of potential entries. These naturally formed needles come from northern California. They can poke you and stab you but not cut you. They are cute.
 October Light tricks from rocks  Any specimen that exhibit a light phenomenon: Play of color (“fire”), dichroism, birefringence, TV stones, adularecence, internal rainbows, color change, tenebrescence. Some possibilities: opals, chatoyant gems, tiger-eye, moonstone, labradorite.
We will exclude fluorescence and plain color (with no “tricks”).
November Specimens from our show Bring any specimens (rock, minerals, gems, rough, fossils) that you obtained at any of our Madison Gem and Mineral Shows. It could be a purchase, an exchanged, or a gift. Your specimen must have been brought to our Shows by a dealer or by a Club member. Now it is yours and you are eager to show it to everyone.
December Bicolor stones  Any specimen that shows two natural distinct colors. These can be fossils, rocks, minerals, crystal, gems, etc.

2018 Competitions
Month Competition Description
January Single non-quartz crystal. Bring any crystal that is not quartz. The idea is to be able to see the crystal faces. Crystals that are larger than ¼ inch might be better.
February Recently finished lapidary work. Work done by member that was finished after January 2017. Cabs, faceted gems, polished slabs, specimens with at least one polished side/window.
March Suggested by new member Anyone who have joined the Club after January 2016 can send Carlos a suggestion for March 2018.
April Tiny treasures Many rockhounds really look at their findings under magnification. Some collectors specialize on micromounting. They fix tiny but exquisite crystals on a needle attached to a base. Some members hunt for micrometeorites and microfossils. With a loupe, you can find an incredible new world on otherwise not very alluring specimens. You can see tiny details on fossils that give you clues about their life style. You can see crystals that you didn’t suspect you have collected. Details on jaspers and agates are fascinating. You can explore the inside of quartz crystals to see minute inclusions. Bring your specimens and write a short note about what we can expect to see under a magnifying glass. Bring your magnifying glass. We will probably have a couple of stereoscopes and light sources.
May Pyrites are not fools Any pyrite or closely related minerals. We mean iron sulfides (marcasites, pyrites) and iron sulfides with additional elements (arsenopyrites, chalcopyrites, phyrrhotite, etc.)
I am always puzzled by the “fool’s gold” name attached to pyrite. It doesn’t look like gold at all. Paradoxically, there are known pyrite deposits that are being mined for the gold they contain. The gold is not part of the pyrite itself. It is found disseminated as tiny flakes among the pyrite!
June Fossil Plants Any fossil plant from your collections.;
July
August
September
October
November
December