Lucky to Live in Sun Lakes—Oh It’s True. Rock, Gem and Silver Club Has Something for You

Linda Shanahan

The Sun Lakes Rock, Gem and Silver Club is more than just rocks, gems and silver. We offer classes in a variety of art forms. This month, we highlight four unique classes that might be of interest to you.

PMC (Metal Clay) is an alternative to working in lost wax or silversmithing. The metal clay is available in silver, copper, and bronze. The metal clay product is rolled out, textured, molded into a piece, and embellished before firing in a kiln. Once the binder is burned out in the kiln and your piece fired, you have a metal work of art. The piece is then thrown into a tumbler to clean and shine. If desired, you can add color to finished pieces with patinas, colored pencils, and enameling. This class will be taught in the near future. Keep it in mind for next year.

Fetish Bears is an advanced lapidary class. Once you learn to use the saws, grinders, and polishers, and feel comfortable forming a cabochon, you might want to move on to this class. Cutting the correct size slab with the stone pattern in the best direction is important in forming this animal. Proficiency in creating curves and angles is a must to produce one of the many fetish designs available.

Dichroic (Two Colored) Glass used in fusing incorporates two or more colors with a metallic coating. When the glass is viewed from different angles, the light creates multiple rainbows of color. That makes this glass perfect for jewelry or to give a fused glass project a bit of extra “bling.” To create these pieces, the glass is cut to shape, designed, then fused in a 1400-degree kiln for several hours. When the glass comes out of the kiln, it is ready for finishing touches, and you have a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Ming Trees (Gem Trees) are artificial re-creations of miniature bonsai trees. These are simply made with a rock base, wire, gemstones, wire cutter, and glue. With a little looping, twisting, and bending of the wire, you form the branches, trunk, and roots of the tree. The roots are then wrapped around a stone base and glued in place. Lastly, the gemstones are glued on the loops at the ends of the branches. They are typically no more than one foot tall (like true bonsai trees) and often have branches that grow flat across the top of the tree. Despite their size, they look very old, which is part of the appeal.

For more information on these classes and a complete schedule of club offerings, go to our website at