John Gaumer

John Gaumer began a lifelong pursuit of gems and minerals with the purchase of a specimen of iron pyrite and quartz when he was five years old.  This first piece became one of many in an ever growing collection of gems and minerals.  He grew up around his grandfather who mined gold in Butte County, N. California.  This underground placer mining operation introduced John to gold mining and encouraged his collecting.  His father, Al Gaumer traveled to Colorado to study mining engineering as a young man but lost his finances due to the failure of the bank in Chico due to the Great Depression.  After returning to Butte County, California, he worked for a time with his father in the New Era Mine and shared the love of rocks and mining with his growing family.  With the mining background, including the use of dynamite, the Gaumer family - Al and Mabel and their three sons, Tom, John, and Jim started in on some serious rock-hounding.  This fascination took the family on countless expeditions in the western United States to collect from many of the notable rock locations of the day.  Favorite digs included Morrisonite in the Owyhee Canyon and Bruneau  Canyon Japser in Idaho.  Oregon plume agates from the Priday Ranch, Carey Ranch, and Eagle Rock were collected in the areas to the east of Bend, Oregon.  In California, they made many trips to Southern California and the Mohave Desert, collecting fire agate, chalcedony, thundereggs, agate, onyx, marcasite, and sagenite.  Vast tracks of Nevada were crossed in search of opal, rhyolite, and jasper.  When shorter trips were called for, the family hit the local areas in search of Stony Creek jasper, Happy Camp jade (idocrase), Pulga jade (idocrase), obsidian, Feather River jade (grossularite), and rose quartz.  While stationed in Reno during his stint in the Air Force, John did some extensive mining on the rose quartz deposit near Hallelujah Junction in California.  In 1965, after college, John and his wife, Terry, returned to Red Bluff and worked in conjunction with John's parents, Al and Mabel to open a rock shop and jewelry store.  Lessons learned from their time as show dealers convinced John that the jewelry was the key to success.  Combining a hobby that he loved with the ability to tranform those gems into treasured pieces of lasting jewelry, John brought Gaumer's to life.  Today, he is still hard at work creating beautiful jewelry, cutting unique gems, and working on rare pieces for the museum collection.