Denver Gem & Mineral Guild

Founded in 1964, the Denver Gem and Mineral Guild is an award-winning non-profit organization that pursues exploration, experimentation, and education in the Earth Sciences; the discovery, development, and preservation of minerals and mineral deposits; and the advancement, encouragement, and utilization of the principles of art and craftsmanship, as applied to gems and minerals.  We are a diverse group of women, men, and children who love ROCKS. We love to dig them, cut them for jewelry, and collect them. Our members love to share our passion for rocks and minerals. We have professional geologists, teachers, and people who just love rocks.

We meet the 2nd Friday of the month – September through May at the Wheat Ridge United Methodist Church, 7530 W. 38th Ave, Wheat Ridge CO at 7pm – VISITORS WELCOME!  – CLICK HERE for details.
NOTE: Due to Covid (or snow) some meetings may be held via Zoom instead of at the Church – always check below for the latest schedule details!

Hardrock Summit 2022

Your Ticket to the Hardrock Summit will admit  you to the Denver Gem & Mineral Show and all the other shows in the Hardrock Summit. (Children under 12 have free admission) Attendees under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Get your tickets!

Special Exhibits at the Summit

The S.S. Central America Exhibit


30,000 Pounds of Gold Lost at Sea –
The Greatest Economic Disaster in U.S. Maritime History!

OUR STORY BEGINS IN 1857 – As the California gold rush petered out, over speculation (and embezzlement) lead to the failure of some Eastern companies and financial institutions. Panic spread and several New York banks banded together to arrange a large shipment of California gold from the San Francisco Mint in order to increase their reserves. The gold sailed south, arriving in Panama where it crossed the isthmus by rail (this was years before the Panama Canal). It was then loaded onto the SS Central America which departed on September 3rd from Colón Panama.Then, 160 miles off the South Carolina coast, the ship ran into a category 2 hurricane. On Septermber 12, 1857, the ship sank in over 7,000 feet of water, taking with it 425 of the 578 people on board and its cargo – an estimated 30,000 pounds of gold valued at $8 million, ($550 million in today’s money) – estimates vary. It was dubbed the greatest economic disaster in U.S. maritime history and “The 19th Century’s Titanic”.

GLOBAL FININCIAL PANIC – As word spread, it compounded the financial hysteria. A global bank panic took hold. European banks tried to liquidate American assets. Others followed their lead. Financial concern spread around the world as banks could no longer withdraw their investments held in the U.S. and Great Brittan. Unemployment and poverty swelled. The Panic of 1857 is considered by some to be the first real global economic crisis. Some historians see it as source for the tensions that contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.

DISCOVERY – After years of research, and backed with $12.7 million from 161 investors, deep-sea explorer Tommy Thompson developed new technology to locate and recover the treasure. On September 11, 1988 the wreck of the SS Central America was finally located nearly 1.5 miles below the ocean surface. From 1988 to 1991, Thompson recovered thousands of gold bars, coins and other artifacts worth tens of millions. To date, two tons of gold have been recovered!

SEND IN THE LAWYERS – Hearing of the discovery, 35 insurance companies that had paid out damage claims in 1857 put a claim on the gold and filed a suit. That was not settled until 1996 with 92% being awarded to the discovery team and 8% to the insurance companies.

In 2005, Thompson, who had sold 52 million of the gold bars and coins, was sued by several of the investors and crew members who had not been paid. Thompson went into hiding in 2012 and was not captured for three years. A plea deal was reached, but Thompson was jailed for failing to comply with the terms of that deal – he refused to tell the court where he had stashed hundreds of gold coins. At age 70 he is still in jail.

A receiver has been designated to take over Thompson’s companies and, if possible, salvage more gold from the wreck, to recover money for Thompson’s various creditors.

THE EXHIBITION – The items on display in the upcoming Hardrock Summit were kept in storage in three different states: Maryland, Massachusetts, and Ohio, until a court-approved settlement was reached ending a decades-long ownership dispute.

The Hardrock Summit is one of only a few locations where these items can be seen before they go to auction this fall, where they will be disbursed to many (probably private) collectors. Auction website –


Read More:

USA Today: 



The 1857 Financial Panic:

rare goldAlso See:

The Dragon” the world’s most valuable crystalized gold specimen from the treasury of the Natural History Museum in Houston

And the famous “Ram´s Horn,” – the most valuable, rarest piece of wire gold ever found on Earth. Mined from a Colorado gold mine in 1887. On loan from Harvard’s Mineralogical & Geological Museum, it will be on display at the Hardrock Summit.

SHOW - Speaker Schedule

Sept. 2022 Schedule of Events

September 8 – 11Denver Gem and Mineral Show at the
Denver Convention Center – 700 14th St. Denver CO.

This Year’s Show Theme is Collecting Colorado. See fabulous minerals collected from across the state of Colorado.  Exhibitors include: The Tellus Science Museum, The American Meteor Society, The Sherman Dugan Museum, The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, The American Museum of Natural History, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, The Maine Mineral & Gem Museum, PLUS displays from notable private collectors whose minerals are seldom accessible for public display. Your ticket for the Hardrock Summit will admit you to the Denver Gem and Mineral Show AND all the other shows within the Hardrock Summit!

For More information visit:

NOTE: DGMG members who volunteer to work at the show receive
free admission and free parking.
Sign up now.

Dr. Karen Wenrich
Dr. Karen Wenrich

Friday, September 23, 7pm – DGMG Monthly Meeting – Rescheduled from our regular date due to the Denver Gem and Mineral Show  Speaker – Dr. Karen Wenrich – Uranium Geology/Minerals She is a world-renowned uranium geologist who worked for the USGS for many years, and spent 3 years in Vienna, Austria, working as a senior uranium geologist/diplomat for the International Atomic Energy Agency (United Nations). During that time when the IAEA was a co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. She has been a DGMG member for over 30 years.

In this talk, Karen will discuss uranium geochemistry and uranium minerals, many of which appeared in the hazardous minerals list last month. 

Understanding a little uranium geochemistry is critical to understanding uranium minerals and dispelling some of the fear of radioactivity. Come and learn what might be dangerous about them, and what might not be something to run from!

Saturday, September 24th – Field trip to the DGMG Club Claims to collect, quartz, smoky quartz, amazonite, topaz, fluorite, and other fluorescent minerals. See the September Newsletter for full details.

Join the fun

Join the Denver Gem & Mineral Guild!

The Denver Gem & Mineral Guild is a member of:

The Greater Denver Area Gem and Mineral Council, Inc., host of the Denver Gem & Mineral Show™, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. Trustees from each of our six member clubs sit on the Council Board. The Council oversees the annual show, and twice each year, the Council distributes proceeds from the show in the form of grants to not-for-profit organizations, particularly those based in Colorado, to promote activities that educate the public in the earth sciences.

Annual giving ranges from $20,000 to $30,000. Funds are directed toward site and specimen preservation and display efforts, as well as to assist institutions in purchasing equipment, tools, and supplies. Recent grant recipients have included the Denver Museum of Nature and ScienceColorado School of Mines Geology MuseumDinosaur RidgeMorrison Natural History Museum FoundationHinsdale County Historical SocietyCanyon City Geology ClubBig Horn Basin Foundation, and the Junior Museum of Pennsylvania.

The Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies has a close association with all the clubs in the Society to promote the study of earth sciences, including the lapidary arts, the study of fossils and paleontology, and related crafts.

The RMFMS was organized in 1941, and held its first annual convention at the Argonaut Hotel in Denver, Colorado. There were 16 organizations in attendance. The RMFMS became one of the original four founders of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies when it was organized in 1947.

The Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies covers local clubs in the following states:

Arizona (17), Arkansas (1), Colorado (20), Kansas (5), Nebraska (western portion of state) (1), New Mexico (7), Nevada (1), North Dakota (western portion of state)(1), Oklahoma (9), South Dakota (western portion of state) (1), Texas (1), Utah (7) and Wyoming (7).

The American Federation of Mineralogical Societies promotes popular interest and education in the various Earth Sciences, and in particular the subjects of Geology, Mineralogy, Paleontology, Lapidary and other related subjects and sponsors and provides means of coordinating the work and efforts of all persons and groups interested therein. It sponsors and encourages the formation and international development of Societies and Regional Federations and by and through such means to strive toward greater international good will and fellowship.

The American Federation of Mineralogical Societies is composed of the following seven similar regional organizations of gem, mineral, and lapidary societies.  CFMS – California Federation of Mineralogical Societies | EFMLS – Eastern Federation of Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies | MWF – Midwest Federation of Mineralogical and Geological Societies |  NFMS – Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies |  RMFMS – Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies |  SCFMS – South Central Federation of Mineral Societies
 |  SFMS – Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies

This page last updated on  9/04/2022