The 40th Annual Gemkhana

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Club mascot Shadow with his pet human, Bill.

The 40th Annual Gemkhana

The weekend of the 11th and 12th of March saw several members of our club trek to Shepparton for the 40th Annual Gemkhana. The Gemkhana is the name given to the annual combined Victorian lapidary, gem and mineral clubs’ show. It sees members of most of the 34 affiliated clubs get together to buy, sell and swap gems and minerals from all over the world. These gems and minerals are found in all stages of processing from the raw fossicked/mined state to slabbed, polished or even made into finished jewellery.

Our club members could be found selling both indoors and at a couple of the tailgating sites as well as buying items throughout both days and one was even spotted as security walking around in her ‘high vis’ vest. It is good to see such support from our members at these events and as one of our newer members found it is a great place to pick up some interesting rocks and slabs to bring back to the club to turn into beautifully polished cabochons and facetted gems. They were also on the lookout for tools for jewellery making and faceting.

A couple from the Morwell club, Joy and Ray Medew celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on the Saturday night, so after the catered meal at the Kialla race course bistro and the auction to support the Flying Doctors’ service, a lot of us gathered around the campsite at their caravan to drink champagne and to swap stories about lapidary both recent and from earlier times.

Marijana Stokes and her husband Bill may well be able to say that they have kept the doctors in the air for the foreseeable future with their numerous purchases in the auction although Peter Beckwith and his wife certainly added fuel to the fire with their entertaining attempt to outbid each other on the beautiful crystal which was the last item of the night. At one stage Peter’s bidding was so rapid that he started bidding against himself. His generosity in these fund raising auctions is legendary. The Beckwith’s stand won the ‘Best Stand Award’ and deservedly so.

One of our members sold the ticket for the second prize in the raffle which was the chainsaw wood carving and this came with the added accessory of a beautiful pink orchid. Wendy Bergamin won the facetted golden sapphire which was the first prize in the VFG raffle as well as getting second place in the people’s choice award for the showcases. Marijana’s showcase can be seen on our home page. She certainly put a lot of time and effort into her showcase which had several different colours and patterns in Mookaite all of which were cut into numerous cabochons in all shapes and sizes. Margaret Holmes also set up a show  case which had photographic images of all sorts of birds, animals and landscapes reflected in rocks, slabs, wood and cabochons. A truly remarkable collection.

All in all a lovely relaxing weekend with friends from around Australia who get together to talk about all things lapidary and to forget about or at least put into perspective the trivial day to day worries that life may present.