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North Brisbane Lapidary Club: A Hidden Gem

Story: Patricia Higgins | Photo: John Pires
Published On : Jan 21, 2024
North Brisbane Lapidary Club: A Hidden Gem
The North Brisbane Lapidary Club is a haven for those who are interested in adding to a treasure trove of cut gems, jewellery designs and similar handicrafts and participating in related activities.

The Club has existed since 1966 as a not-for-profit organisation offering a space to learn new skills, connect with like-minded people, and gain a broader knowledge of minerals and gemstones.

North Brisbane Lapidary Club Chair, Lewis Shotter, said that a membership also affords the opportunity to take part in exciting fossicking trips and enhanced social activities.

“Activities include faceting, cabbing, silver work, gold work, wire wrapping, enamelling, lost wax casting and fossicking,” Mr Shotter said.

Slightly tucked away near the entrance to Albert Bishop Park in Nundah, this ‘candy store for jewellery makers’ is complete with a display of gemmological and geological materials to rival any museum’s collection.

The workshop area can be described as truly remarkable, brimming with highly technical equipment and a diverse group of individuals executing tasks with remarkable precision and organisation.

It’s here that you might find esteemed Club member Garry Gatfield and his stunning ‘brag book’ of gems (that he has personally faceted), as well as other gem collections such as those from fellow member and expert gemstone cutter (one of Australia’s best) Vicki Thomsen.

Upon a chat with Mr Gatfield, one is illuminated to the fact that ‘lapidary’ is, in fact, a very interesting Latin term, “used to refer to the practice of shaping stone, minerals, or gemstones for ornamental purposes, with the ornamental element distinguishing it from related skill sets such as stone masonry.”

The club operates from Monday to Saturday and often incorporates new courses for the various activities over the weekend, with joining and annual fees kept to a minimum.

The folks at North Brisbane Lapidary Club are also gearing up for the next annual gem show scheduled for early March, which is set to feature live demonstrations (such as faceting and silversmithing) with displays and sales of gemstones, jewellery, crystals and much more.

To find out more about North Brisbane Lapidary Club, including memberships, visit nblc.com.au/.

North Brisbane Lapidary Club 2024 Gem Show
Saturday, 2 March, 9am-4:30pm
Albert Bishop Park
574 Nudgee Road, Nundah.