GEM OF A SHOW: The Lavis family of Lismore was enthralled by the stones on display at Gemfest. From left: Kydan, Dakoda, Taleya, Shayla and Sarah Lavis.
GEM OF A SHOW: The Lavis family of Lismore was enthralled by the stones on display at Gemfest. From left: Kydan, Dakoda, Taleya, Shayla and Sarah Lavis. Jamie Brown

Fans flock for gems at 24th Gemfest

KYDAN Lavis of Lismore is so passionate about the hidden mystery of rocks and gemstones that he convinced his entire family to come down to the showground and see first hand the largest display of lapidary in the Northern Rivers.

The weekend saw the Lismore Lapidary Club celebrate 24 years of Gemfest in fine style.

Fans were standing shoulder to shoulder at times, all eager to feast their eyes on a huge range of natural wonder.

"Kydan is obsessed with gemstones," explained his mother Sarah as her son eagerly nodded in agreement. "I have gems at home," Kydan said. "But I like to know where they come from. That's why we're here."

Bagotville's Keane Adams is only seven, but he loves rocks and minerals so much, he dug his own mine in the backyard at the foot of the Blackall Range.

"I have found rocks with all different colours," he said.

Professional fossicker Paul Futcher of Caboolture has been collecting stones for 18 years. He showed off his favourite cutting - a pendant gleaned from a combination of naturalight and prehnite.

"I dug it form the ground at Wave Hill Station south west of Katherine," he said, going on to explain Wave Hill was the site of a strike by Aboriginal stockmen who walked off the job 48 years ago to protest poor pay and conditions.

Today the station has a mining claim over the ground that yields Paul's favourite gem, but he literally has a bucket load of specimens to offer his customers.

"For me, I get satisfaction finding a piece in the bush and turning it into a gem," he said. "That is a good feeling."

Simon Fooks from Byron Bay does something a little different with his collection of polished gemstones.

He sometimes combines quartz crystal with carved deer antler to create a shaman wand.

His little stall attracted plenty of interest.

"I travel all over the country and market where I am through Facebook," he said.

"I have just returned from a trip to West Australia and Victoria. It's a good life."