If gems fascinate you like they do me, you’ll love the gem shows in VenturaCountyWest. We’ve gone to both: the Oxnard Gem & Mineral Society’s annual November show at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center and the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society’s annual March show at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. On display are all sorts of sparkling quartz, tourmaline, jasper, turquoise, pyrite, obsidian and calcite as well as an array of Southern California-collected fossils. There are professional geologists on hand who are happy to share their knowledge as well as craftspeople who are at work creating fine jewelry. Most kids find the thousands-of-years history of rock and gem formations fascinating. Each show is especially geared toward fledgling geologists with kid booths and projects. Assortments of shiny specimens are for sale. Kids can start their own gem collection for as little as $10 with most simple gems selling at the show for a few dollars each. The shows are definitely a family affair—but be warned—finding out about all the cool things that can be found with a little exploration, your young geologists will very likely want to start digging up your backyard!