Village News Correspondent
The Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society (FGMS) entered an educational case at the San Diego County Fair’s gems, minerals, and jewelry exhibit to honor Dr. Peter Bancroft. The case itself would be honored with the Josephine Scripps Cup for the best mineral from San Diego County.
“It was a bonus, but we’re really happy to win that,” said Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society curator Michael Evans, who designed and put together the display case. “Getting the cup for the best mineral from the county means a lot to us.”
Bancroft passed away September 16 at the age of 99. He lived in Fallbrook during his final years and was a member of the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society. He had been a museum curator and also worked professionally as a school administrator.
Bancroft authored two books: “The World’s Finest Minerals and Crystals” was published in 1973 and “Gems and Crystal Treasures” was published in 1984.
“He really was one of the most famous mineral collectors and personalities in the mineral and gem world during his lifetime,” Evans said.
The exhibit case included those two books along with twelve gems, three fossils, a mining hammer, and a mining lamp. The gems were from all six populated continents, the hammer was from Norway, the lamp was from Mexico, and the fossils were from North America, the Ukraine, and Morocco. Bancroft had owned those items.
One of the gems from North America was a tourmaline stone from the Cryo Genie mine in Warner Springs which was awarded the Josephine Scripps Cup.
“If Dr. Bancroft were alive he’d be proud that that mineral won Josephine’s cup,” Evans said.
Bancroft donated that tourmaline to the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society.
“He bought it for us,” Evans said. “He specifically put up the money to buy it.”
Evans noted that the tourmaline was purchased specifically for the museum and had not previously been in Bancroft’s collection.
“He did own it very temporarily,” Evans said.
Educational cases are given numerical scores with 100 points constituting a perfect score. A case which garners at least 85 points is given an Award of Merit, and the FGMS case earned that distinction. Donated awards may be given for educational exhibits or items an educational exhibit entry. Place ribbons are given for a mixed display case but not for an educational exhibit.
“We really didn’t care about winning the category competition,” Evans said. “We’re educating the public about Dr. Bancroft. We wanted the public to know about Dr. Bancroft.”
Scripps was not only a collector of minerals and gems but also mined for stones. She was a member of several clubs including the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society.
The Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society took over part of Scripps’ collection, and last year Evans put together a tribute to Scripps which included 15 of her minerals along with photos and stories about Scripps. One of those stones won the Josephine Scripps Cup, so the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society case has captured that award two years in a row.
“That’s really a very special honor,” Evans said. “It’s one of three major cups that they give.”