In a turquoise building tucked away just North of downtown Durango, Four Corners Gem & Mineral Club has been a true “rock” for the local geology community here in Durango and the Four Corners area. Founded in 1947, the club’s primary focus has been to collect, cut and identify rocks, gems and minerals for educational purposes.
The non-profit organization’s spectacular reputation in the area has resulted in nearly 70 years of dedicated members, successful events and informational classes open to all.
“We have an open door policy, so anyone and everyone is open to join or become a member,” Chayse Romero, director of the Four Corners Gem and Mineral Club said.
The club offers classes in lapidary, silversmithing and casting to name a few. For years, the club has been viewed as a home base for rockhounds, scientists and geologists alike.
“We live in such an intriguing part of the country when it comes to geology. It's amazing what has happened to these mountains and I think there's a lot of respect within the gemstone and earth science culture,” Romero said.
Durango’s unique following for geology has led locals to the club’s doorstep for years, and many have appreciated the open environment, knowledgeable instructors and opportunities for camaraderie.
“Just being at the club is so cool. I learn something new every time I’m there,” Romero said.
By far one of the most anticipated events of the year for diehard gem, mineral and jewelry fanatics is the Annual Four Corners Gem & Mineral Show, held at the La Plata County Fairgrounds from July 7-9.
“It's a really historic gem show. This is the 64th year, and it's run by mostly local, Durango-tangs,” Romero said.
This year the event will feature pieces from 60 different dealers and vendors from all across the West, including pieces handcrafted by members of the club and it doesn’t stop at gems and minerals. You’ll find fossils, geodes, crystals, jewelry, beads and accessories at the show.
“We all incorporate gems and minerals into our work, but it's not just gems and minerals, raw rock and fine cut gems. I think there’s a lot of innovation happening,” Romero said.
Bring the little tikes along too, as it is a kid-friendly event with activities planned all weekend to keep them involved (and occupied).
You can feel satisfied knowing that you’re supporting an incredible local club and talented artists from all over the state. To top it off, a percentage of the donations collected are raised for a scholarship program for geology students at Fort Lewis College. To make this possible, a $1 donation is encouraged for admission.
The Four Corners Gem and Mineral Club is an expanding community, always looking for new geology enthusiasts and volunteers. Whether you’re a beginner and had to Google the definition of “lapidary” or have been an expert silversmith for years, the club hopes to host all types of learners.
“For a long time we were considered the ‘hidden gem’ of Durango, which is cute and all, but we don’t want it to be hidden. We want it to be inclusive to all,” Romero said.