Michele and I were lucky enough to be invited to a tour of the Bribie Island Gem and Fossicking Club on Wednesday the 15th of July and what a wonderful time we had. The time we spent with the members flew by as we were shown through the different sheds of cabochoning, silversmithing and faceting, learning just how much time, attention and detail goes into what these guys do.
I could spend hours writing about each and every stage but in all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to do the club justice. The passion and commitment, friendship and loyalty this club has in incredible and I sincerely believe that you need to do yourself a favour and attend the Gem Festival they are having on the 12th and 13th of September. They will be having live demonstrations and let me tell you, this is definitely worth checking out. It is incredible the skill level they have to take what looks like just an ugly piece of rock, cutting the rock and find the beauty inside of it, bring out the colours and the best of the stone or gem, then the amount of polishing it requires before it even reaches the jewellery setting stage is phenomenal.
I met quite a few of the gentleman in the sheds who were happy to explain the process to me and show me just how much work goes into it and I found the whole process fascinating and these guys could not have been more welcoming, knowledgeable and above all patient with me as I am sure I asked a lot of stupid questions!
We then went into the faceting shed, which is where they use a process of cutting planes into a stone in a predetermined pattern. Which they have an awful lot of diagrams they use to determine what cutting needs to be done. Gemstone faceting is a marvellous mixture and blend of engineering and art. Through a mechanical process of cutting surfaces on (for a better word, rock) beautiful gems are created. Then of course, polished. It seems like there is a vast amount of time spent polishing in every shed we visited.
The silversmithing shed was our next stop, this was a very interesting shed! The ladies there were an absolute riot, they had us in stitches of laughter and I could see myself becoming a member just to sit around and listen to their stories. In saying that, they blew us away with the skill and technique used to make the stunning jewellery they showed me. Intricate pieces that require a steady hand, patience and an artist’s eye. There are many steps required to complete these pieces and yet again, I strongly advise you to come and check it out for yourself at the Gem Festival. I promise you will not be disappointed. Keep an eye out in the magazine for more details about the upcoming festival, a lot is happening and will be a fantastic day out for all!!
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and thanks to the club for the invitation, time and lovely reception we received from you all. We will certainly be back again!!!