Inside the world of minerals
LISMORE Gem and Lapidary Club committee member Val Armstrong can spend up to a full day creating perfect spheres out of ancient rock, including petrified wood.
Her creations and other amazing displays of crystals, fossils and minerals will all be available to the public to purchase and view at the Lismore Showground this weekend.
With only a $5 entry for adults and a remarkable $1 entry for kids, it is a weekend activity sure to brighten anyone's day.
The unique crystal formations are stunning, as is the variety of trinkets, rings and table-top ornaments all available for purchase.
Mrs Armstrong said in the 30 years of being part of the Lismore Gem and Lapidary Club, she had seen it grow and Gemfest now boasted 130 vendors in the showground, with a further 22 dealers in the pavilion.
The Lismore show is rated as one of the biggest displays of gems and fossils in the country, with people travelling from overseas to purchase items.
Mrs Armstrong's own display contains more than 100 spheres made from such materials as smoky quartz, stichite, rhodonite and calcite.
"The aim is to get the biggest piece of rock you can and then the ultimate size of the cube will end up being the size of the sphere," she said.
Petrified wood rates higher on the Mohs scale for hardness than marble, which affects how long it takes to cut, grind and polish the sphere.
The 27th Gemfest will run from 9-5pm today and 9-3pm on Sunday.