MAIN: Joan Fields (centre) and members of the Gladstone Gem Club celebrated their 50th anniversary on Saturday.
MAIN: Joan Fields (centre) and members of the Gladstone Gem Club celebrated their 50th anniversary on Saturday. Luka Kauzlaric

Gem Club celebrates milestone half century

A GLISTENINGLY beautiful 50 years was celebrated by the Gladstone Gem Club on Saturday.

The club's past and current members gathered at the Gladstone Showgrounds for their milestone half century birthday.

It all began when 12 interested locals met at the Oddfellows Hall which was called the Gem Hut.

Originally called the Gladstone Rock and Mineral Club, in 1964 its first president was Vic Rhonland. After the club's initiation Mr R Eastley took the helm of president.

For years the members volunteered their time to fundraise by selling arts, crafts and hamburgers at local events with one goal in mind - to have their own club facilities.

In 1991 the members were given land in the showgrounds to build their club rooms.

Fifty years on, the gem club has 40 members who collect gem stones and rocks from across Australia.

Their passion is making anything from brooches, necklaces and rings featuring intricate wire work and a variety or materials.

Their club is home to three faceting machines, grinding wheels, a silver smithing room, wire drawing equipment, flat wraps, a casting oven and more.

Club member John van der Mark has a passion for creating beautiful jewellery, and has been a member for more than 20 years.

"My forte is cutting gem stones. The creation of something new and attractive is very rewarding," he said.

Celebrations for the 50th birthday saw some of the members' best works on display in a showcase.

They enjoyed an afternoon tea and a big birthday cake, as well as raffles, while being entertained by two members who are also keen musicians.

The Gladstone Gem Club meets every Wednesday and Friday from 7-10pm for general workshops.

Silver smithing is held on Saturday from 9am-noon.



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