Alabama Mineral & Lapidary Society

The Alabama Mineral and Lapidary Society is a non-profit organization
for people interested in geology, mineralogy, paleontology and lapidary arts.

Interview with Ed Elam, May 20, 2008
(photography by Steve Adams)

In May of 2008, Gloria Adams and I (Steve Adams) visited Ed Elam at his home in Brent, Alabama, to
interview him prior to the club nominating Ed to be American Federation's 2008 Rockhound of the Year.

Ed with the "Big Saw"

Demonstrating intarsia techniques

Ed Elam "rocked" with AMLS from 1975 until his passing in 2010.  Ed was immediately recognized at meetings by his distinguished appearance and kind manner.  And the Channel Work bolas!  He was a loyal and "involved" member for many years, having served as President (1979), Show Chairman (13 years), Field Trip Chair (three years), instructor, and good friend. Ed  was our nominee for AFMS Rockhound of the Year for 2008.  

Tiny slices of rock for Intarsia

Lining everything up

Glued together & drying

We met with Ed at his Brent home and talked with him about his long history with AMLS and his love for the rock collecting hobby.  We found out that Ed was bitten by the rockhounding bug on a family trip to Thunder Bay in Ontario, home of the famous Amethyst mine.  Having been reminded by his wife Phyllis that Amethyst was her birthstone, stopping at an Amethyst mine seemed like the right thing to do.  Ed knew a schoolteacher back home who had a rock shop; the teacher cut & cabbed the rock for Ed.  Ed spent time at the Marion Rock Shop for several years and learned the basics of lapidary from magazines borrowed from the shop.  In 1975, Ed joined AMLS.  

Intarsia grinder made from a flat lap

Rough grinder

World's best polisher!

Ed served as ALMS President in 1979, was Show Chair for 13 years, and was a longtime teacher, both here and at William Holland & Wildacres.  He taught at Wildacres' Eastern Federation workshops for ten years.  Best known in the club for his Channel Inlay Work, Ed taught Channel both at William Holland and Wildacres; his "Channel Work Bola" article was published in Rock & Gem magazine in 2002.  

Soldering station

Firebrick & solder for channel work

Water supply for wheels

Ed's hallmark in AMLS was one of service to others.  He spent countless hours sharing his knowledge with others.  He was the beneficiary of so much pleasure from his hobby that he gave back to others in the form of knowledge or monetary gifts.  He regularly shared his knowledge with others, donated door prizes at virtually every meeting he attended, and enthralled us with interesting presentations at meetings.  William Holland, Wildacres, and the AMLS benefited from his philanthropic donations to fundraising auctions.  He was also half of the finest auctioneer team to ever have wielded a gavel in the State of Alabama.  

There were rocks everywhere!

Ed introduced me to Noreena
Jasper from Australia

Ed's display in the Brent
Public Library

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