Two firsts, five total ribbons for Parsley family at SD Co. Fair

Murrieta’s Parsley family won five ribbons, including two first-place awards, in the gems, minerals, and jewelry competition at the San Diego County Fair.

Don Parsley won three awards, including two first-place prizes. His wife, Bonnie Parsley, took home two ribbons.

“We just do it for fun, try to show the public what it is that lapidary people do,” Don Parsley


The Parsley family moved from Colorado to Escondido in the early 1980s and began collecting gemstones approximately 20 years ago. They were originally involved with the Palomar Gem and Mineral Club in Escondido, and after moving to Murrieta in 2003 they joined the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society.

Because Don Parsley does not cut gemstones professionally, he was eligible for the category of one faceted stone for an amateur beginner. The faceted division requires all gemstones to be cut by the exhibitor, and Parsley has been faceting for approximately six years.  

He took first place for a faceted stone this year for the first time, earning the ribbon for a round cut 5.1-carat smoky quartz mined in Madagascar. He also took first place in three cabochons worldwide class; he displayed charoite from Russia, rutilated quartz from Brazil, and a dinosaur bone from the Western United States. The fair also had a one cabochon worldwide class, and Parsley’s agate mined in Argentina resulted in a third-place ribbon.

Bonnie Parsley won both of her ribbons in the wire wrap jewelry single piece class. Her sugilite pendant called “Royal Whispers” took second and her golden rutilated quartz work titled “Angel Hair” won third place.

“It’s really a hobby,” she said.

Bonnie Parsley has started to sell jewelry made with the gemstones the family has obtained.  

“We’ve kind of turned it into a little bit more than a hobby,” she said.

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