Treasures to find at busy gem fair

FORGET diamonds, Frank Redgen should be a girl’s best friend — the Bundaberg man knows how to turn a rough stone into a brilliant jewel.

At the Bundaberg Gem Fair on Saturday, he had sapphires, garnets and zirconias on display, which he had cut and polished until they sparkled.

After taking a shine to gemstones about 10 years ago, Mr Redgen opened a stall at the annual gem fair for the first time this year.

“I can’t walk and dig and fossick like I used to, but I can still facet, and it’s very rewarding,” Mr Redgen said.

“The fair was very good, I took a lot of orders and met a lot of nice people with similar interests.”

Traders from Queensland and New South Wales set up tables covered with gemstones, jewellery, crystals and even fossils.

“One of the main attractions was a giant fossil with two huge trilobites in it, which was millions of years old,” Bundaberg Gem Club publicity officer Judy Cosgrove said.

“It was nearly a metre in length and about 30 centimetres in height, which was impressive because you don’t normally get them so big.”

But those who preferred a shinier rock were also well-catered to, with about 40 stalls laden with all kinds of glittering goodies.

“The gold nugget jewellery was popular — we had two particularly special nuggets on display, the South American Princess, and the Scorpion nugget,” Mrs Cosgrove said.

She said the fair was well-supported by the public, and stall-holders had already started booking for next year because they had such a successful weekend.

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