A brief history
The Montreal Gem and Mineral Club was founded in 1957, incorporated in 1964, and has served the gem and mineral hobbyists in Montreal ever since. Read more about the Club’s history further below.
We have a workshop/clubhouse, where members gather to practice their crafts, or socialize and exchange information.
There is a workshop for stone cutting and lapidary and a another for jewelry making. Safety is always the first priority in the workshop.
Courses on various subjects are also given occasionally at the workshop. Our more experienced members help newcomers and advise them on the use of the equipment. There is a great spirit of mutual aid.
A newsletter, called Geminews, keeps our members informed about events within our club as well as those hobby related happenings outside the club. Over the years, we have received several awards for our Geminews.
Our club is very popular with members who find it not only a place to exercise their craft, but also a place to socialize. Several festivities adorn the year: a wine and cheese, a Christmas party. The Club is a fun place to meet friends and enjoy your hobby.
New members are always welcome!
Also located in the social meeting area is the library, which has mostly reference books that must be read at the club. Back issues of the Geminews newsletter are also available. All publications are very interesting and worth reading.
Board of directors
Willem & Annie Verwoerdt
Ray Del Bianco
Gary & Dianne Bojek
A bit of history...1957
Dick Britton and Ernest Windisch met while visiting the rock & mineral display at the Redpath Museum at McGill in 1957. They compared their mutual interest in mineral collecting, considered the possibility of forming a club and consulted Dr. Louise Stevenson, then curator of the museum.
By writing to the magazine “Rock and Minerals” they obtained the names of four other subscribers in Montreal. Dick Britton called each one on the phone, suggesting the forming of a club. He arranged an exploratory meeting with Ernest Windish, George Brooks, Sam Ronson, Hans Gehrig and Bob Hiller. With Dick Britton they were the organizers and Charter Members of the Montreal Gem & Mineral Club (reprinted from the Geminews of 1 October 1962).
The Club was born on February 14th 1957 at the home of Dick Britton. The name Montreal Gem and Mineral Club was chosen at the 2nd meeting on February 28th, at the home of Bob Hiller, with members Dick Britton, Hans Gehrig, Sam Ronson, George Rybnicek and Ernest Windisch present.
They met periodically at their homes, drew up the by-laws, designed the club’s crest. This crest represents the basic shape of a tourmaline crystal and shows a faceted stone, the rock hammer and a quartz crystal group indicative of the elements of our hobby.
By early 1958 the club had 25 active members, and the first Club Bulletin was issued in July 1958. The first exhibition also took place in that year.
Regular auctions were held to raise money for the club with members donating the minerals. Much later when the club was financially in better shape because of the annual show, these auctions were more held to exchange minerals, cutting materials and tools with only a small percentage going into the club. These auctions ended in the 90s.
In 1960 club members met twice a month to hear speakers mostly on the subject of minerals, initially at the Westmount Victoria Hall, then at the Westmount YMCA. In 1965 monthly meetings were held at the McGill Redpath Museum. The club was very active doing fieldtrips.
In 1984, Bill Verwoerdt opened a new clubhouse open every Saturday 9:00 am to noon. Dan Ungerson, a diamond cutter, lapidarist and faceting expert, was the first instructor.
The equipment at that time were donated used machines: one 8” saw, still at the club, 2 grinding / polishing machines using carborundum wheels. A jewelry making section was added with 2 two-position jewelry benches made by Bill, which are still in use.
As our shows became more successful and our financial position improved, the club replaced the old equipment with modern machines with diamond wheels. And over the years it grew into our current well-equipped workshop with a jewelry making facility.
Bill introduced in ’84 the social side by organizing “President’s Wine & Cheese” parties to bring members together.