Bright lights attract thousands
By DAWN COHEN
TREASURES have pursued Margaret Dodd since her first Lismore Gem Fest three years ago.
"Once you come here, the stones start finding you," said the Lismore Gemstone and Lapidary Club secretary at the weekend's 15th annual Lismore Gem Fest.
"The older members teach you what to do, and the gems just appear," she said.
The annual celebration of stones, gems and crystals attracted about 3000 people to its 108 stalls.
Demonstrations of polishing and fossicking techniques, discussions on rare fossils and meteorites and sales and displays of jewellery and unpolished specimens intrigued locals, tourists and gemstone experts from all over NSW.
"On my first fossicking trip, in the Hogarth Range, we were strolling through some coffee plantation mounds, and right there just looking at us was labradorite," said Margaret.
The yellow crystal prized by collectors was just what Krissie Cohen, from Jiggi was looking for. "It's amazing that we found one just around the corner," said the 27-year-old.
Krissie and her husband Simon come to Gem Fest to find treasures for their Nimbin shop, Perceptio, and to add to their personal collection.
"We can buy wholesale from other parts of the world, but we come here because it's special to find amazing local crystals," said Simon.
The Cohens' delight was the gem Margaret was looking for from this year's festival.
"The older people's knowledge will die out if it's not passed on," said the 60-year-old.
"We need young people to join our club so that the skills are not lost." For information call 6625 0051.