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Rock stars: a gem and mineral show

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 01:15 pm

GEM OF A SHOW – Pauline Zeschuk, one of the organizers of the rock and gem show, with some of her collection
GEM OF A SHOW – Pauline Zeschuk, one of the organizers of the rock and gem show, with some of her collection
GREGORY YAPP/St. Albert Gazette

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Each year at this time about a dozen vendors and exhibitors of the Edmonton Tumbleweed Lapidary Club converge at the 50 Plus Club for a weekend showcase of natural history.

This year marks the fifth annual Rock and Gem Show, where exhibitors come together to display their specimens of crystallized precious rocks, metals, fossils, cabochons, gems, jewelry, minerals, beads and other unusual oddities.

One of the focal points will be Brad Telus’ large Whitecourt meteorite, an iron meteorite that weighs in at 19,730 grams. He will also be displaying other specimens from Buzzard Coulee, Springwater, Mayerthorpe and Bruderheim.

The star of Dean and Mary Praznik’s showcase and sale is a 14-inch ammonite, an actual fossil that if polished would become the rare semi-precious, opal-like ammolite.

“Ammolites have unique colours. Every piece is different. It’s relatively rare. It’s found only in Alberta. There’s nowhere else with this kind of quality,” says Pauline Zeschuk, a 30-year hobbyist and one of the show coordinators.

The club has 60 members and each year they try to bring in new faces. This year the vendors range from Luc and Joan Guillemette from Gemport Jewelry and Libertarian Gardens in Alcomdale to C&D Gemcraft from Winfield, B.C.

Chris Robak of Lacombe deals in rough rocks that are cut into the oval-shaped cabochon and turned into jewelry. Loren Bendall of Discovery Gems instead is featuring crystals of all types, carvings, spheres of semi-precious gems, quartz and jade.

Jake Jakielaszek of Morninville’s Paleo Creations specializes in fossils.

“He does a lot of collecting and hunting on his own whereas a lot of us buy the specimens.”

The show runs Saturday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Demonstrations run daily: 1 p.m. wire wrapping; 2 p.m. bracelet making; 3 p.m. bead works; 4 p.m. chain mail.

In addition, the Gem and Mineral Federation of Canada has opted to host their annual meeting in St. Albert this year. They choose a different city every year. The meeting is at St. Albert’s Best Western Hotel on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and is free.

As well, there is a banquet at 6:30 p.m. All rock club members are welcome to attend. There is a $20 admission for the banquet. Email to reserve before Thursday.


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