A Brief History of Oregon Agate & Mineral Society
From Beginnings and Beginners to The New Century
Oregon Agate & Mineral Society (OAMS) formed in 1933 with twelve rock hobbyists in the laboratory of one of its founders. The club's charter was to promote the rock hobby and educate those interested in learning about the lapidary arts, in collecting, and in just enjoying Earth's many natural geological treasures. The club continues this charter today, with programs, workshops, and participation in local and national exhibitions of the rock hobby.
Oregon contains rich deposits of many types of material, unlike others found anywhere else in the country. Oregon is known for it thundereggs and agate deposits in the central portions of the state, offering interesting rockhounding for Oregon Agate members. The challenges of the material were met head on by OAMS members, who invented tools for cutting and polishing: OAMS members provided the rock hobby with its first diamond-blade rock saws and the high-speed sander.
Oregon Agate is a member of both the Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies and the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies. Oregon Agate and its members have been instrumental in the formation of other related, nationally acclaimed programs and institutions, including the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the OMSI Hancock Field Station, named after an OAMS member, who, with his wife, first introduced young boys and girls to the natural geological and fossil treasures in the Clarno Fossil Beds near Madras, Oregon over 50 years ago.
In 1983, Oregon Agate formed the Thomas J. Bones Foundation Trust, a property of OAMS in honor of a respected member of the club and nationally known amateur paleobotanist. Interest from this fund enables students to attend summer programs at the Hancock Field Station.
Today, Oregon Agate continues its long heritage of introducing newcomers to the rock hobby in all of its aspects, and to support the continuing work of experienced hobbyists. OAMS offers monthly informational programs, periodic workshops, private instruction, and visits to local schools and community centers as invited.
Newcomers are always welcome.
President: Jim Urbaniak
Vice President: Julian Gray
Secretary: Priscilla Hall-Ford
Treasurer: Geoff Lind
Directors: Bernice Hall, Sonia Watt, and Collin Kaeder