About the British Columbia Lapidary Society

The BCLS is a non-profit organization founded to encourage and promote the lapidary hobby in British Columbia. The organization consists of 29 charter clubs, with a combined membership of approximately 1,200 people who collect rocks, minerals, crystals and fossils. The BCLS offers scholarships and is a member of the Gem and Mineral Federation of Canada.

Beginnings and History

It all started with a newspaper ad

In February, 1952 a group of 85 interested persons responded to a newspaper ad and assembled at the Geology Hut at the University of B.C. to form the Lapidary Club of Vancouver, B.C.

In 1953 the members of this club living in Chilliwack and Hope formed the Fraser Canyon Jade and Rock Society. Early in 1955 the New Westminster Club was formed.

Incorporation of a society

These clubs experienced similar problems and interests; the need for a central group was evident. The solution was to form a federation. Two members from each club met over the next two years to develop the skeleton of the Society and form a constitution. British law does not recognize "Federations" of Clubs, so, under the Societies Act, the constitution of the Lapidary, Rock & Mineral Society of British Columbia was duly registered and the Society was incorporated on December 23, 1955. In 2002 the name of the Society changed to The British Columbia Lapidary Society (the "BCLS").

The formation of the BCLS was to promote and encourage the study, collecting, cutting, polishing and engraving of gemstones, minerals, rocks and other geological materials, and lapidary work generally, as a hobby. The objective was also to encourage exploration of British Columbia for lapidary materials as well as promote and encourage closer association with, and exchange of information between rock hobbyists and lapidary groups.

The objective was to unify clubs within geographical regions and to strengthen inter-club relationships. This was the beginning of the formation of our current Zones: Interior, Island, Kootenay and Northern. A Lower Mainland zone was considered, but not formed as the BCLS was already centralized and having general meetings in the Lower Mainland. Officers are elected for the positions of president, vice president, and secretary/treasurer. A committee consisting of representatives from each club (delegates) was adopted. Meetings are held 2 to 3 times a year, outings and shows arranged. Reports are prepared for the BCLS meetings, detailing activities of the clubs in the particular zone.

Now an umbrella of many rock and gem clubs

The BCLS grew over the years from the original three clubs in 1955 to 35 clubs in 2011 with a total of 1590 adult members and 212 junior members.

Publications include a magazine and calendar

Plans for a yearbook gave way to a "Quarterly Bulletin" with the first copies issued in November 1956. The Bulletin flourished over the next few years and in 1960 it was changed to "The Canadian Rockhound" magazine and became the first Canadian magazine of its kind. A "Newsletter" followed until 1998, when the BCLS began publishing and distributing "The British Columbia Rockhounder Magazine", which has evolved into a first class magazine. In 2006 a BCLS calendar was first produced, and continues each year.

The BCLS was initially responsible for organizing a Prospectors Course offered at Vancouver's Night School in 1959.

Rendezvous unlocked hunting localities

The annual Rockhound Rendezvous, held each year over the May long weekend, began in 1958 in Kamloops. The BCLS sponsors Summer Camps held throughout the province each year in August. Some of the areas we enjoy today are a direct result of the Camps.

The Richmond Gem & Mineral Club members were responsible in the organization and requesting of the BCLS to approach the B.C. Government and in 1968 Jade was declared the Provincial stone. A Jade preserve was designated on the Fraser River at the same time.

The annual BC Gem Show one of North America's finest

The first BCLS sponsored Gem & Mineral Show was held in the B.C. Building, Exhibition Park in February, 1958. Since that time the BC Gem Show has become one of the finest of its kind on the continent.

Membership in External Organizations

The BCLS is a member of the Gem and Mineral Federation of Canada (the "GMFC") and the Outdoor Recreation Council (the "ORC").

The GMFC was founded in 1977 as an organization to assist its members by various means to promote the earth sciences, protect collecting sites, educate collectors, and foster goodwill, friendship and rapport among all. The federation currently consists of 48 member clubs across Canada. The clubs in the BCLS benefit from comprehensive third party liability insurance provided to members. Scholarships are also available to our members. To learn more about the GMFC Scholarship Foundation Inc. please visit: GMFC.

With member organizations, the ORC provides a united voice, to promote the benefits and represent our interests concerning public outdoor recreation in BC. Our membership in the ORC gives us a voice concerning rockhounding in the province.