Lapidarists present their best work at Central Brevard Rock & Gem Club Show


A couple browses gem trees by Jerri Heer of Nature’s Art at a Central Brevard Rock and Gem Club show.

SENIOR LIFE Michele Huntington


Michele Huntington, first vice president of the Central Brevard Rock & Gem Club (CBRGC), which has 80 members, said the club’s upcoming gem show will be held in February,

“There will be 25 vendors and lapidarists. We will have rocks, fossils, specimens, handmade jewelry, finished jewelry, jewelry parts and beads,” Huntington said, naming examples of the booths’ wares.

After retiring to Florida, Huntington and her husband attended a CBRGC show, then decided to take a class.

“It was just fun. If you like rocks, you become a lover of rocks.” said Huntington, who has gone from rockhounding in Arizona to crystal hunting in Arkansas. “Your family thinks you’re nuts when you look at rocks on vacation and bring home rocks.”

The club offers members these ongoing classes: Beading, cabbing, casting, cold connections, faceting, filigree, gem trees, glass fusing, Kumihimo, opals, wax carving, beginner wire and wire advanced wrap.

“We teach cutting rocks and making jewelry,” Huntington said. “Cutting cabochons is one of the primary things we start people with.”

Matthew Castor, who retired from the Army, is an instructor in classes for the CBRGC. Castor suffered a traumatic brain injury in the military and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He said he must keep his mind active and finds lapidary work to be the right activity for him.

“I take the rock and beautify it and turn it into a piece of jewelry,” Castor said. “There’s science of the rock, then there’s the technical side, cutting, and the artistic side, how to beautify that stone, setting it.

“It’s a nice learning skill you can use as a hobby, and turn into a business if you’re really good at it.”

Castor said the club has been good for him to socialize and have a sense of belonging.

“I feel like a part of things like in the military,” he said. “There are quite a few vets in the club.”

The club’s upcoming show will be held at the Kiwanis Island Recreation Center at 951 Kiwanis Island Park Road on Merritt Island. The show runs two days — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4.

For information on the club and gem show, call 321-799-8536 or go to