The rural “village” of Fallbrook in northern San Diego County, California, has arguably one of the highest concentrations of gem and mineral dealers, lapidary authors, researchers and gem miners in the United States. It is also home to the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society (FGMS), whose mission is to promote the study and appreciation of mineralogy, paleontology, and related earth sciences. Founded more than half a century ago, FGMS has a large and diverse membership whose vision to build a scientific and educational resource center led it to purchase a 3,700-square-foot historical building in 2002. With the museum as its centerpiece, the building also features a gift shop, auditorium, and library.
The museum collection emphasizes tourmalines and other minerals of San Diego County, as well as the rich mining history of the region. Additional exhibits feature worldwide minerals, fluorescent minerals, fossils, mining memorabilia, and geology. The collection has been built through generous donations from the mineral community, special fundraising efforts by the society, or both. An example of this collaborative effort is the very recent acquisition of a large, gemmy kunzite specimen from the Oceanview mine of the Pala district of San Diego County (fig. 3).
Michael T. Evans is an instructor of gemology at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. An avid mineral collector for forty-five years, he is a past president of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California and volunteers his spare time as assistant curator of the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Museum.
Jim Walker have been mineral and fossil dealers for more than thirty-five years and serve as independent natural history consultants to auction houses and private collectors. They have been active members of the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society for over twenty years.
Mary Fong/Walker have been mineral and fossil dealers for more than thirty-five years and serve as independent natural history consultants to auction houses and private collectors. They have been active members of the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society for over twenty years.