I am the father of a very keen fossicker and collector of Gems, Crystals and Minerals and have been assisting him selling some of what he has collected from all over Australia at the local market. The Nanango Market is held at the Nanango Showgrounds on the first Saturday of each month and usually has between 300 and 400 different stalls. Because it is a country market it is inclined to specialize in the more essentials of life, such as fruit and vegetables, plants, clothing, hardware, books, second hand tools and other useful stuff. While craft objects, gifts and jewellery stalls are quite common, there are very few stalls selling items usually associated with any kind of hobby. This means ours is somewhat different.
Our stall revolves around a set of tables 6 tables, laden with hundreds of cut, polished and rough gems, crystals and mineral specimens, all set out in a U-shape under an outside awning. Included are a small range of cut semi-precious gems such as Amethyst, Garnet, Citrine, Peridot, Prehnite, Topaz, Zircon and Quartz. In addition to that there is a wide range of tumble polished stone of every color and variety imaginable. A big range of slabs suitable for cutting and polishing into brooches or pendants are also on display. There are Amethyst Plates as well as individual Amethyst crystals of various sizes and shapes. Tumbled Amethyst, Prehnite, Quartz and other semi-precious stones are all available.
Now to answer the above question. Women would make up the majority of buyers, with children a very close second. We have women customers who buy a reasonable quantity every single month and are somewhat miffed if we are not in attendance at that month’s market for some reason. In the main they have gem, crystal or mineral collections, in some cases all over their house. These women shop by feel. They first look at an item and then pick it up and try to get the feel of it. Some will actually say “This one is talking to me”, and in that case, we know we have a sale. The regular women customers, who are normally in their 40’s or 50’s, regularly spend anywhere from $30 to $50 per month at our stall.
The excitement that many children show when they see all those brightly colored stones is a sight to behold. Their enthusiasm sometimes shows no bounds and whoever is accompanying them is usually forced to join in the hunt, providing the money in many cases. Many children have been given a set amount to spend at the market so the decision making process can sometimes take forever. Decisions, decisions, decisions! While girls and boys both take an interest, boys between between the ages of 7 and 10 seem to get the most excited.
It is rather interesting to hear the comments that some fathers make as an excited child rushes up to have a look at what is on the tables. “Our gravel driveway has just as many stones as you will find here” is one of the disinterested remarks heard. This spoil-sport type of comment usually has no influence whatsoever on the enthusiastic child’s approach to a container holding dozens of brightly colored polished stones. Sometimes the father begrudgingly lets the child have a good look, and if that is the case, the child usually gets something small to keep them quiet.
All this and more will be available at the upcoming 2021 South Burnett Gem Show. We will see you there, won’t we?
The 2021 South Burnett Gem and Fossicking Club’s Gem Show at the Kingaroy Showgrounds, Queensland, Australia on the 10th and 11th April will give many a lover of Gems, Crystals, Rocks, Minerals and Jewellery an opportunity to peruse at their hearts content. In addition to that, lapidary equipment, interesting specimens, gifts, informative demonstrations, special children’s activities, door prizes, food etc will all be available from 9am on the Saturday and Sunday.
This is what you can expect. Just look at the expression on this miners face!