Annual Gem-O-Rama is Oct. 13-14 in Trona

The Searles Lake Gem and Mineral Society will host the 77th annual Gem-O-Rama in Trona on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14. The show opens at 7:30 a.m. both days, and closes at 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

“This show is the only time Searles Valley Minerals Inc. opens the dry lake to allow collecting of its unique saline minerals,” said a spokesperson.

Three different field trips offer a chance for visitors to collect different specimens.

On Saturday at 9 a.m., visitors can collect clusters of hanksite, trona and borax in sticky black mud. A second trip at 2:30 p.m. to the Blow Holes will allow an opportunity to collect terminated hanksite, cubic halite, borax and sulfohalite on the dry salt surface. The trip includes a demonstration of blowing the minerals, which grow in the brine 20-40 feet below ground, up to the surface. Saturday trips take about two and a half hours and cost $15 per vehicle. Signups can be taken at the Gem Show Building.

On Sunday, the field trip departs at 9 a.m. to collect pink halite at the brine pools. The trip lasts four and a half hours, and the cost is $20 per vehicle.

A bonus field trip will be held Friday, Oct. 12, departing at 2 p.m. The cost is $150 for the driver and an additional $50 for each additional person. To sign up, send name, number of vehicles, number of guests, telephone number and address to

“For all field trips we recommend sacrificial clothing and always an extra pair of shoes,” said a spokesperson. Tools needed for Saturday are a bucket, scrub brush, small garden cultivator, small garden spade or small shovel and something to sit on while collecting (old carpet or towel). Sunday tools include a long bar with a blade at the end or a pick and cardboard flats or plastic tubs to carry your pink halite.

Tours of the Searles Valley Minerals facility are available Saturday from 10:40 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. Bus tours depart every 45 minutes. No photography is permitted inside.

The rest of the show will be held in the Show Building at the corner of Trona Road and Main Street. There will be 19 gem and mineral dealers. The General Store will sell field trip supplies, pink halite, T-shirts, bideos, etc. Visitors can also purchase geodes,and watch while they are cut. To learn more call Bonnie Fairchild at 760-372-5356 or see

Story First Published: 2018-10-05