NATURE'S TREASURES: Toowoomba Lapidary Club president Riki Lewis holds an amethyst geode and workshop manager Lindsay Bidgood has a display of polished semi-precious gemstones.
NATURE'S TREASURES: Toowoomba Lapidary Club president Riki Lewis holds an amethyst geode and workshop manager Lindsay Bidgood has a display of polished semi-precious gemstones. Contributed

Rediscover your childhood love of fossils at Gemfest

REMEMBER how as a kid you'd love to go exploring; picking up rocks, fossils and coloured stones?

Well some people never grow out of it - they just find more to do with what they collect.

You can discover exactly what the attraction is at the Toowoomba Lapidary Club's 36th Gemfest on October 22-23.

Publicity officer Beverley Radke said a lot of older people became involved because as Grey Nomads they found they enjoyed spending time fossicking at gem fields and many brought their treasures to Gemfest for advice.

New club president Riki Lewis said Gemfest, the club's major fundraiser, was regarded as one of the best two-day shows in Queensland, with busloads coming from as far as Tamworth and Hervey Bay.

Calling it a show is actually a bit of a misnomer," he said, "because everything on display is also for sale."

Mr Lewis said it was also a chance to let people know more about the hobby, which goes beyond fossicking to cutting and faceting stones and precious gems, polishing and silver-smithing to create jewellery, gifts or works of art. The club offers tutoring in many of these skills.

"There is more to it than most people realise," he said.

However, that doesn't mean the fossicking isn't fun in itself. The group has camping expeditions, fossicking during the day and gathering at night to compare finds.

"There's a bit of competition for bragging rights, but it's all good fun," Mr Lewis said. "The club is great and gives members lots of support."

Gemfest boasts approximately 60 traders inside and outside the hall, exhibiting a wide range of cut and uncut gemstones, jewellery, semi-precious gemstones, beads, pearls and opals, and crystal and mineral specimens from all over the world.

A qualified gemologist will be on site to identify and test gemstones free of charge and help people with their purchases. You can get a unique piece of jewellery made for yourself or as a gift while you are there and jewellery repairs will also be available. For the kids or grandkids, there's fossicking and other activities.

There's even three jewellery raffle prizes and hourly lucky door prizes.

WHAT: Toowoomba Lapidary Club's 36th Gemfest

WHERE: Heights High School, Cnr Ramsay & South Sts, Toowoomba.

WHEN: Saturday, October 22, 9am-5pm and Sunday, October 23, 9am-3pm.

ADMISSION: $5 adults (13 and over); Children free.


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