2014 Essendon Gem And Lapidary Club Exhibition

Every year, the Essendon Gem And Lapidary Club holds an annual exhibition in April. It’s a good afternoon out if you happen to be in Melbourne, Australia, because it’s great fun for the whole family, with interesting and novelty showcase displays, bargain gemstones and lapidary equipment for sale, demonstrations, car park fossicking and delightful homemade food on offer. There’s quite a lot to look at and do and the entry price is very affordable at AU$3 per adult and AU$1 per child.

Lots of lapidary exhibitions are held around the country throughout the year, but the Essendon one encompasses the values of a small, friendly lapidary club with an interesting mix of characters and age groups. The retirees mix well with Gen Xers and Yers and everyone has a great sense of humour combined with a burning passion to find and create beautiful gemstones. It's entertaining to hear about the Club's recent fossicking adventures and the members all seem to own large, colourful rock collections.

Another interesting specimen from the Aussie Rocks showcase.
Another interesting specimen from the Aussie Rocks showcase. | Source
ELC hosts a mini museum of rocks, minerals and gemstones that are among the best of Club member collections.
ELC hosts a mini museum of rocks, minerals and gemstones that are among the best of Club member collections. | Source

Showcase Displays

Every year, the Club shows displays of work created by Club members. Some of these belong to lapidary and craft experts who have obviously enjoyed their hobby and others are novelty displays that will keep the kids amused while you peruse.

Each year, the showcases vary but there is usually a good variety of different crafts showcased that are offered by the Club (cabochon making, faceting, beadwork, glasswork, wire wrapping, silver work etc). It’s also a good opportunity to view work produced in new Club courses, before signing up for one.

Rose’ beaded display case this year garnered lots of attention – the kids particularly enjoyed the spiderwebs and pirate theme. Another good showcase was the Australian rock and cabochon display, where bits of the Australian bush contained signposts to what the rocks were and where they were found.

The Rock Rats showcase displayed lapidary work produced by younger club members, including glasswork and cabochons (children over the age of 12 are allowed to operate machinery if supervised by a parent).

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A beautiful bead showcase display by Rose with expertly beaded cabochons and flowers with ornamental glass flowers.Rocks and gemstones from Australia. I think these were found by the display case owner.These rocks were found not far from the Clubrooms.Pudding stone looks like quite an interesting stone.The Hard Rock Cafe is an all round Club favourite. All of the food is made of rocks.A display of faceted gemstones.Another cabochon and gemstone display.Cabochon display.The Rock Rats children's showcase. Notice the rat mascot, which appears every year in this particular display.Faceted stones and wire wrapped and silver jewellery showcase.
A beautiful bead showcase display by Rose with expertly beaded cabochons and flowers with ornamental glass flowers.
A beautiful bead showcase display by Rose with expertly beaded cabochons and flowers with ornamental glass flowers. | Source
Rocks and gemstones from Australia. I think these were found by the display case owner.
Rocks and gemstones from Australia. I think these were found by the display case owner. | Source
These rocks were found not far from the Clubrooms.
These rocks were found not far from the Clubrooms. | Source
Pudding stone looks like quite an interesting stone.
Pudding stone looks like quite an interesting stone. | Source
The Hard Rock Cafe is an all round Club favourite. All of the food is made of rocks.
The Hard Rock Cafe is an all round Club favourite. All of the food is made of rocks. | Source
A display of faceted gemstones.
A display of faceted gemstones. | Source
Another cabochon and gemstone display.
Another cabochon and gemstone display. | Source
Cabochon display.
Cabochon display. | Source
The Rock Rats children's showcase. Notice the rat mascot, which appears every year in this particular display.
The Rock Rats children's showcase. Notice the rat mascot, which appears every year in this particular display. | Source
Faceted stones and wire wrapped and silver jewellery showcase.
Faceted stones and wire wrapped and silver jewellery showcase. | Source
Club President Don Butler demonstrates faceting.
Club President Don Butler demonstrates faceting. | Source
Workshop officer Leo demonstrates silver smithing in a previous exhibition.
Workshop officer Leo demonstrates silver smithing in a previous exhibition. | Source

Demonstrations And Workshop Tours

There is no better time to tour the Club than on Exhibition Day, when most of the workshop officers and the Club President are available to answer your questions.

You can find out about all of the inclusions of membership, such as being able to use the Club equipment on workshop nights or meeting the knowledgeable teachers who can help you create beautiful gemstones from rough rocks.

Demonstrations at the exhibition show the public how to facet gemstones or make cabochons and in previous years there have been silver smithing and wire wrapping demonstrations.

The demonstrators ask that you bring all of your mysterious rocks and questions to the exhibition as it’s the one day they will be able to assist the public with questions (the rest of the year, they are too busy working in the Club).

Each year, the Essendon Gem And Lapidary Club has a variety of showcases and holds a Best Showcase Competition in the exhibition.
Each year, the Essendon Gem And Lapidary Club has a variety of showcases and holds a Best Showcase Competition in the exhibition. | Source

Traders And Club Stalls

At the exhibition, traders and club stalls vary each year, but you can be guaranteed to find affordable roughs, gemstones, equipment and jewellery!

This year, traders attending included Des Liston Lapidary Supplies (well known for a large range of lapidary equipment), Vic and Sehire (new traders with a large collection of lapis lazuli for sale), Vin and Nola (lots of fascinating specimens at good prices), Mariana Stokes (enviable, high quality gemstone pendants that make you want to buy them all), Margaret Holmes (our field trip officer offering found roughs and gems) and Lyn and Chloe (affordably priced gemstone novelties and jewellery).

Vic and Sehire had a great novelty gemstone lamp on display and Vin and Nola offered many unusual and top shelf mineral specimens at good prices.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Vic and Sehire had a huge collection of lapis lazuli and other gemstones for sale.We made a wish on the gemstone lamp on Vic and Sehire's table.Vin and Nola with lots of interesting specimens.Some of Vin and Nola's minerals, fossils and rocks.Mariana Stokes had a large collection of pendants that made me want to give her my credit card...Pendants by Mariana Stokes.Club President Don Butler visits Des Liston Lapidary Supplies at ELC in 2012.Margaret Holmes, the Club's field trip officer, with her collection of found rocks, shells and gems.Chloe and Lyn with many great gift items at reasonable prices. Also purveyors of glass pendants made by Club members.Elisa with a gorgeous display of gemstones for sale at the 2010 exhibition.
Vic and Sehire had a huge collection of lapis lazuli and other gemstones for sale.
Vic and Sehire had a huge collection of lapis lazuli and other gemstones for sale. | Source
We made a wish on the gemstone lamp on Vic and Sehire's table.
We made a wish on the gemstone lamp on Vic and Sehire's table. | Source
Vin and Nola with lots of interesting specimens.
Vin and Nola with lots of interesting specimens. | Source
Some of Vin and Nola's minerals, fossils and rocks.
Some of Vin and Nola's minerals, fossils and rocks. | Source
Mariana Stokes had a large collection of pendants that made me want to give her my credit card...
Mariana Stokes had a large collection of pendants that made me want to give her my credit card... | Source
Pendants by Mariana Stokes.
Pendants by Mariana Stokes. | Source
Club President Don Butler visits Des Liston Lapidary Supplies at ELC in 2012.
Club President Don Butler visits Des Liston Lapidary Supplies at ELC in 2012. | Source
Margaret Holmes, the Club's field trip officer, with her collection of found rocks, shells and gems.
Margaret Holmes, the Club's field trip officer, with her collection of found rocks, shells and gems. | Source
Chloe and Lyn with many great gift items at reasonable prices. Also purveyors of glass pendants made by Club members.
Chloe and Lyn with many great gift items at reasonable prices. Also purveyors of glass pendants made by Club members. | Source
Elisa with a gorgeous display of gemstones for sale at the 2010 exhibition.
Elisa with a gorgeous display of gemstones for sale at the 2010 exhibition. | Source
Some of us really enjoyed our Devonshire Teas!
Some of us really enjoyed our Devonshire Teas! | Source

Famous Devonshire Teas & Refreshments

The Essendon Gem And Lapidary Club is famous for its delicious homemade food, as well as Devonshire Teas available at the exhibition.

Treat yourself to the best scones around, enjoy homemade sausage rolls and cakes and have a cuppa with all these funny, friendly people who will happily share their fossicking adventures and gemstone knowledge with you.

Kerrie, Mary and Wendy in charge of the kitchen and the wonderful foods which await the unsuspecting visitor!
Kerrie, Mary and Wendy in charge of the kitchen and the wonderful foods which await the unsuspecting visitor! | Source
Carpark pickings in 2012.
Carpark pickings in 2012. | Source

Joining The Club

If you like rocks, minerals and gems, the Club is an interesting place to learn lapidary skills, such as rock cutting (cabochon making), gem faceting (making your gems look like jeweller’s stones), silver work, glass work and fossicking trips where you can go with Club members to find gemstones.

It doesn’t cost very much to join (about AU$42 per year for an adult and children are free until the age of 18) and equipment and some rough is provided for you to start learning lapidary right away. All of the workshop officers are experienced and enthusiastic Club members who’ll teach you everything they know about lapidary.

Carpark fossicking is great fun for the kids. All you need to do is attend the show and look in the carpark before or after visiting to find gemstones on the ground.
Carpark fossicking is great fun for the kids. All you need to do is attend the show and look in the carpark before or after visiting to find gemstones on the ground. | Source

Are you a Rockhound or Lapidary Hobbyist?

See results without voting

Exhibition Details

This exhibition is held annually, in April and admission is around AU$3 per adult and AU$1 per child. The venue is the same every year at:

Cross Keys Reserve
Bridge Street, Essendon
Victoria, Australia

Don't miss the next Essendon Gem & Lapidary Club Exhibtion in 2015!

For more information on exhibition dates, of if you are interested in joining the Essendon Gem And Lapidary Club, please visit the website here: http://www.essendongemclub.asn.au/

© 2014 Suzanne Day

More by this Author


Comments 5 comments

sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

a rocky affair


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Very interesting, Suzanne. I look forward to your lapidary hubs, knowing nothing of the subject myself. My husband had an elderly uncle who used to be a hobbyist in this area and would spend a lot of time showing us his rocks and gems when we visited. I'm not sure we learned much, but we enjoyed the time he spent with us and still have some of the large geodes and other stuff he left us when he passed away.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

This sounds like a wonderful event. I love jewelry even if I only have a few pieces. The photo of the basalt gem made from a railway cutting was really fantastic. This article literally brings jewelry down to earth. Okay, bad pun, I know...


Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Author

Thank you all for your kind comments. Yes, lapidary is a down-to-earth sort of hobby and at the Club, we often joke that we rock on and have rocks in our heads! The annual show is a great outing and the people at ELC are just fantastic.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 15 months ago from Minnesota

I could look at gems all day long and let creative ideas flow. Certainly I would have to buy some to make jewelry with.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working