About Us

What is the Maricopa Lapidary Society?

The Maricopa Lapidary Society is a group of people with varied backgrounds and ages, but who share a passion for lapidary. It is an all volunteer non-profit organization that relies on the time and talents of our members.  Rewarding club experiences are made possible by the efforts of volunteers, and we encourage everyone to get involved in helping with activities, such as classes, field trips, displays, or our booth at gem shows.

Current Officers

  • President:Sue Bartz
  • Vice President: Loretta Meador
  • Secretary: Don Richardson
  • Interim Treasurer: Ford Doran

Committee Chairpersons

  • Bylaws: Shirley Cote
  • Coalition: Tony Shannon
  • Membership: Pedro Chavez
  • Displays: John Rusinek
  • Mineral Identification: Joanne Hesterman
  • Parliamentarian: Paul Finell
  • Door Prizes: Pedro Chavez
  • Hospitality: Loretta Meador
  • Facilities: Shirley Cote
  • Historian: Frank Burns
  • Librarian: Frank Burns
  • Museum Co: Doug Duffy, Shirley Cote
  • Field Trips: Tony Shannon
  • Programs: Ann Baker
  • Newsletter Editors: Ann Baker, Larry Jensen
  • Past President: Paul Finell


The Maricopa Lapidary Society (MLS) was founded in 1948 by a small group of dedicated lapidaries. It was Phoenix's second gem and mineral society.

Desert Magazine excerpt on MLS
Excerpt courtesy of Desert Magazine and the Desert Magazine Archive

The club supported the Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum and met at the museum until its closure in May 2011. The MLS currently meets at the North Mountain Visitor Center in Phoenix on the first Monday of each month, except in July.

In 1952, the MLS held its first annual gem show at the Phoenix Armory.  This show would be known as the Phoenix Gem and Mineral Show and continued at various locations, such as the Arizona State Fairgrounds and Mesa Centennial Center.


  • Member of the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies
  • Affiliated with the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies