Bay Area Mineralogists (aka "BAM") was founded in the early 1970's as the brainstorm of USGS geologist Richard Erd, SRI chemist Leonard Piszkiewicz and Menlo College geology professor Kurt Servos. At that time the only avocational venues available to mineralogists for discussion of their interest were the various local gem and mineral clubs. Such clubs were (and continue to be) devoted primarily to lapidary arts with attention to mineralogy or crystallography per se, being limited to small sub-groups of each club. In addition, these clubs have invariably incorporated as tax-exempt organizations, requiring the hosting of annual "shows" to raise funds and requiring formal officers, rules and procedures.

In response to this situation, the three BAM founders proposed and started an informal group to meet on a monthly basis to socialize and to share information relating solely to minerals and mineralogy. The only organizational rule was, "There are no rules." The membership was, and continues to be, comprised of geology professionals and advanced amateur mineralogists. Many of BAM's past and current members (including the late Dick Erd) are authors of scholarly articles in publications such as the American Mineralogist, Canadian Mineralogist and the Mineralogical Record. Several current and past members have had new mineral species named after them. (See below.) Most are experienced field collectors of mineral specimens. Members live in widely scattered cities around San Francisco Bay, including San Jose, San Francisco, Contra Costa County and many points in between. One current member commutes to meetings from Fresno. We have ex officio members in Bolivia, Los Angeles and, until recently, Europe.

Prominent geology professionals who have been BAM members over the years have included the following:

Richard Erd (USGS, founder)
Edgar Bailey (USGS)
Gordon Brown (Stanford)
Charles Chesterman (CDMG)
Robert Coleman (USGS & Stanford)
Jack Crowley (USGS)
Eugene Foord (USGS)
Richard Jahns (Stanford)
Francis Jones (Berkeley)
Konrad Krauskopf (Stanford) Adolf Pabst (Berkeley)

The following mineral species have been named in honor of BAM members:

Chestermanite        More on these minerals may be found here.

BAM's initial meeting forum was at Menlo College through the courtesy of Kurt Servos. Later the venue switched to Stanford University, and around 1991 meetings were moved to the Geology Lab at Foothill College, sponsored by Professor Chris DiLeonardo. It has been BAM's tradition to meet the second Wednesday night of each month except July and August (summer break) and February (when many members travel to the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show). Monthly meetings typically begin at 7pm and last approximately 2-3 hours. Meetings typically include a presentation by a member or a guest speaker as well as show-and-tell relating to field adventures and recent mineralogical acquisitions. In addition each meeting offers the opportunity to access the group's aggregate knowledge to get cooperative visual identification of unknown mineral specimens. At virtually every meeting, members--and guests from the community--take advantage of this unique opportunity, whether for a specimen obtained commercially, field collected or just a family heirloom.

Certain of the BAM members independently engage in outreach programs, presenting geological programs to scout groups, school classes and the public, as well as assisting outside organizations with such activities as identifications, specimen prep and donations.