Let’s Rock

Rock and mineral societies can help you find hidden gems … literally.

Based in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Mineral and Gem Society provides an educational space for members to learn about jewelry making, fossil collecting and geology. Photo courtesy OMGS
Photo courtesy OMGS

One man’s rock is another man’s treasure. Or at least, that’s the case for rockhounds – the self-identifying moniker for people who enjoy collecting rocks and minerals.

Oklahoma is home to hundreds of said rockhounds, spurring the formation of groups like the Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society (TRMS) and the Oklahoma Mineral and Gem Society (OMGS). These groups act as a community for people to learn more about the earth sciences and lapidary arts.  

Groups to Join

TRMS, which has over 600 members, was first organized in 1958. The group meets every second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Tulsa’s College Hills Presbyterian Church. The society also has a special program for children, Pebble Pups, which meets directly before the meeting at 6:15. 

The member meetings include a social hour, along with an expert speaker who educates on topics like geology and paleontology. 

Eric Hamshar, show chair for TRMS and director at the D.W. Correll Museum, invites Tulsans who are interested in rock hunting to check out the group. 

“The name of the club might sound a little hoity-toity, but we’re very down-to-earth people with all different levels of knowledge and interest,” he says. “You don’t have to be an expert to join.”

Photo courtesy OMGS

Based in Oklahoma City, OMGS provides an educational space for members to learn about jewelry making, fossil collecting and geology. The group meets three times a month at the Rogers Garden Exhibition Center. 

“It’s always a pleasant evening with friends getting together and visiting,” says Dale Moore, board member for OMGS.  

Moore first learned how to make cabochons – gemstones that have been shaped and polished – through OMGS. 

“There were a lot of fine craftsmen in the club,” he recalls. “Jewelry making is what brought me into the club, but my interest in rock collecting … has been a part of my journey.” 

Members can get involved in a variety of activities, from cutting and polishing demonstrations to rock swaps. OMGS also hosts social gatherings, including an annual club picnic and a Christmas Party.

The Big Shows

Both TRMS and OMGS hold annual shows that bring together vendors, kid’s activities and competitive and noncompetitive displays. OMGS will hold the 2024 Annual Mineral and Gem Show on Oct. 25-27 at the Oklahoma City State Fair Park. 

The Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society, which has over 600 members, was first organized in 1958 and meets monthly for socializing and educational speakers. Photo courtesy TRMS

TRMS’ annual show will run July 14-15 at Tulsa’s Expo Square. 

“You can bid on different rocks, minerals and fossils,” says Hamshar. “You can get some good deals.” 

The show will also feature a booth where visitors can get their rock and mineral questions answered by geologists. 

Rock-Hunting Field Trips

Oklahoma was once covered by the Western Interior Seaway millions of years ago, making it a hotbed for marine fossils. OMGS and TRMS often take field trips across the state to see what prehistoric remnants they can find. 

During a field trip to Bartlesville, Hamshar discovered a tooth from a Petalodus, an ancestor of sharks that had petal-shaped teeth.

“It’s a 275 – 300-million-year-old tooth,” he says. “Once I figured out what it was, man – I was excited,” he says. 

Photo courtesy TRMS

Other common finds in Oklahoma are petrified wood, rose rocks, selenite and jasper.  Very little equipment is needed to embark on the clubs’ field trips. Protective sun gear and a rock hammer are recommended. 

“We just go as a group and hope we find something interesting,” says Moore. “We have a lot of fun.” 

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