GEM FAN: Finlay Stevenson, 8, with his display of lapidary work at Gemfest on Saturday.
GEM FAN: Finlay Stevenson, 8, with his display of lapidary work at Gemfest on Saturday. kate o'neill

Finlay takes shine to Gemfest

WHILE other kids his age are absorbed in their iPads and computer games, eight-year-old Finlay Stevenson prefers to spend his time sorting through his gem collection, or fossicking for new gems in the hills.

One of the youngest members of Lismore Gem and Lapidary Club, Finlay is also one of the most enthusiastic, and for him, the Lismore Gemfest at the weekend was almost as good as Christmas.

Finlay picked up 100 or so gems at the festival to add to his already impressive collection that stands at more than 500.

"I have rose quartz, agate, emerald, tourmaline... I'm getting a new big display case in my room soon," he said.

The country's biggest event devoted to gems, minerals and fossils allowed Finlay and other club members to show off some of the ornaments, including bracelets and necklaces, they crafted from gem- stones during the club's regular lapidary workshops.

Finlay said one of the most exciting things he had learned was how to cut cabachons, or "cabbing" - the art of shaping and polishing a gem - and he and other club members exhibited some fine examples in the club's festival exhibition.

Gemfest also had more than 150 stalls to browse, featuring fossils, minerals and meteorites; jewellery making demonstrations; food stalls and the very popular fossicking activity, which had the kids enthralled for hours.

Club member Jenny Vryenhoek said: "They get a sieve full of gravel, they sift it and then they go through it with the tweezers and find all the gems."