The formal objects of the Society are to promote and support interest in, knowledge of, and appreciation for mineralogy, geology and other sciences, and arts relating to lapidary craft, and to pursue appropriate initiatives in furtherance of such objects.
The motto of the club is Omnem Movere Lapidem – leave no stone unturned!
The Mineralogical Society of Southern Africa was founded in 1962 by a small group of enthusiastic mineral collectors. The prime movers in the formation of the Mineralogical Society of Southern Africa were George Swanson and his mother, Edith, who in 1961 had a lawyer draw up a constitution. On the evening of 5th January 1962, several interested people gathered at the El Sombrero Restaurant in Claremont and formed a committee of the following office-bearers: President, George Swanson; Vice-Chairman, W.H. Linnington; Treasurer, Mrs E. Swanson; Secretary, Mrs I. van der Meulen, and committee members, D. Greef, M. Connor and E. Sawyer. The club first had its meetings at the Athenaeum, and then established workshops at the Montebello complex in Newlands. The first field trip was in March 1962, to the tin mine at Kuils River, followed by an Easter trip to Springbok and Henkries.
The club moved to its clubhouse in Bothasig in 1993. In 2005 it changed its public operating name to The Cape Town Gem & Mineral Club, which is easier to pronounce and remember. The club achieved Non-Profit Organisation status in 2008, but still falls under the auspices of FOSAGAMS (The Federation of Southern African Gem & Mineralogical Societies), the national parent body which was established in 1966.
For members there is a monthly newsletter known as the Mineral Chatter. This contains details of forthcoming events, mineralogical and geological articles and other items of interest. Field trips are arranged occasionally but are only possible over long weekends since Cape Town and its immediate environs have little to offer in the way of mineral specimens. Long distances have to be covered before a suitable location can be reached, e.g. to the pegmatites of the Orange River. We have a strict code of ethics regarding mineral collecting to ensure the protection of sites for posterity, and the respect for farmers or mine owners whose land we visit.
An Open Day is held on the first Saturday of every month. Members and the general public are invited to attend. Minerals are discussed, swopped or purchased according to whim, along with other items of mineralogical or gemmological interest. On the second Saturday of the month, the Monthly Meeting takes place and speakers from within the Club, or invited from outside, talk, show slides, or demonstrate items related to our hobby.
We have workshops for faceting (gem cutting) and lapidary. Occasional courses on gemmology or mineralogy are also arranged.