Catherine Milner has sold gems and stones at Gemfest for about 10 years.
Catherine Milner has sold gems and stones at Gemfest for about 10 years. Cathryn McLauchlan

Lismore gem fans sparkle at Gemfest

THE annual Gemfest was on this weekend and once again it drew large local and interstate crowds of young and old, amateur and professional collectors.

Gemfest Lismore is the largest of its kind in Australia.

One of the attractions of the two-day show is the opportunity for kids to go fossicking, or searching for stones among gravel.

Gemfest fan Anna Whittaker brought her daughter, Amaya, along to do just that.

“I think it’s good for kids to understand their natural environment and how the world was created,” she said.

“Growing up in this area, the way it’s all been formed ... the whole great divide was formed from a hot spot.

“It’s nice to put things in perspective.”

Stallholder Catherine Milner has been selling wares at Gemfest for the last 10 years.

“Every year it seems to grow,” she said.

“It’s lovely because we get to see a lot more people here, and we still have our regular customers.”

Mrs Milner said they had some standout items this year including stones that have come from Mexico, and large chunks of the translucent quartz, aventurine.

She also sells a lot of small rocks for a couple of dollars each, and fossicking kits to take home.

“We go fossicking a lot ourselves,” she said.

“We get a lot of very small stones and we make it up into little bags with gravel.

“There’s sapphires, garnets, zircons and peridots in there.”

She said she has had an interest in rocks and gems since she was a child.

“I started collecting rocks off the side of the road as a child,” Mrs Milner said.

“When I got married I said to my husband one time that I wanted to go fossicking.

“I wanted to go out to Rubyvale and look for sapphires, and from there both of our interests just grew and grew.”

Gemfest is on again today from 9am until 3pm at the Lismore Showgrounds.

Entry is $5 for adults and $1 for kids.