PHOTOS: Fossicking fans rock on at Lismore's Gemfest
IF YOU'RE in the market for a rare gem, say an amethyst from a lava flow in Brazil or a Megalodon shark tooth fossil from Florida in the US, then you should have visited Lismore Showground over the weekend.
The 29th two-day Lismore Gemfest hosted 20 dealers, 140 stallholders and a crowd of about 6,000.
Lynda Cheshire, a dealer and owner of Crystal Encounters, stocked fossils, crystals and jewellery, her most expensive gem priced at $10,000.
Mrs Cheshire showed a fossil that had been found in Florida, a giant tooth from a Megalodon shark that lived millions of years ago that cost $2,500.
"You can actually go fossicking them, I have never heard of anyone other than professionals finding the big ones but you can go into the rivers after a good flood and they are washing out of the river."
She also had an amethyst from Brazil, worth $1450.
"They found it in an ancient lava flow," she said.
"This is my 50th year of being involved in this life. I tell everyone I'm still rocking on."
Mrs Cheshire said one reason she is hooked on gems is her passion for the science of it.
"I also get to travel and hear the stories of the people who mine these gems, and visit the mines."
Jenny Vryenhoek, vice-president of Lismore Gem and Lapidary Club Inc, said stones, jewellery, fossils, gold nuggets, and meteorites were priced from a few dollars to well into the thousands.
"I think with a lot of people it probably starts out as a hobby, once you go fossicking and you find your first sapphires, or you have a metal detector and you find a bit of gold, you sort of get hooked and it can become an obsession. The progression of fossicking will lead you to a club like ours," she said.
"We orientate it towards family and have gem sieving activities on the lawn."