Find fossils and gemstones in your own backyard
With building works around our region revealing long-buried fossils and rocks, it pays to keep your eyes peeled. John Vincent, president of the Hawkesbury Valley Lapidary Club, says that petrified wood and chert can often be found around Riverstone, Vineyard and Richmond. Diamond Hill in Kurrajong is sitting on an extinct volcano that brought diamonds to the surface of the earth when it was active 200 million years ago.
The Hawkesbury Lapidary Club runs regular fossicking trips in the local area and around NSW to collect minerals and fossils. These rocks can be used to make jewellery, coasters, bookends, other decorative homewares and furniture. An episode of Grand Designs featured a kitchen sink made from petrified wood.
Once you have found your rock, you can learn how to turn this rock to jewellery at the Hawkesbury Valley Lapidary Club. Regular classes and workshops teach members how to grind, shape and polish gemstones to make the most of their natural features. Silver and wire wrapping classes show you how to make customised professional looking jewellery. Members can also learn how to fuse glass in a microwave oven to create spectacular bright-coloured jewellery.
John Vincent encourages new members to join the Club. A stock of rough gemstones is available to purchase, so you can get started even if you haven’t found a stone. On the day I visited the Club, Ian and Shantae from Bligh Park were taking their first lesson as part of the Children’s Class. Membership fees start at $20 for junior members and $35 for adults.
The Windsor Gem and Mineral Fair will be held at the Windsor Function Centre on 25-26 November to give you a head start on Christmas shopping. Unique jewellery, gemstones, beads, opals, carvings and fossils will be available for sale.
The Club also has regular sale days on the second Saturday of every month at the Richmond School of Arts Annex.
Enquiries about the Hawkesbury Valley Lapidary Club should be made to John on 0414 844 507 or email@example.com or Richard on 02 4565 0492.
Starting young – Ian aged 8 and Shantae aged 9 have their first lesson
Glass jewellery made in a microwave