Faceted Gems - The gems
beauty is revealed from a
Malachite - Polished and set
into a hand made silver
Free Form Silver
There are no limits when
Ameythst. - A piece of rough
geode set in silver.
Amber - This fossilized tree
resin is millions of years old.
Making a ring from sterling
The cabachon design is the
most widely used in jewelry.
Combining jewelry and gems
is an age old art.
Once polished they can be
set into jewelry.
Minerals formed by nature
have a beauty of their own.
Agate still contained in lava
rock from Agate Creek in Qld.
|Big Pick, Sieve & Shovel outside
the Sapphire Caravan Park
|Deep Shaft Lease Digging
|Sieving for Topaz
and what we found.
|Feeding my wife to the birds at
O'Briens Creek Caravan Park.
|Entrance To The
(Caravan Park Area)
|Agate to be found at
the top of this hill
just next to the camp.
|Petrified Wood Logs Outside
The Emerald Town Hall.
85.77 ct Blue Topaz from Africa.
140.80 ct Imperial Topaz
Minerals Natural Beauty
Sulphur with Aragonite
Girgenti, Agrigento Province,
Schorl on Feldspar matrix.
Chinchilla - Queensland
Agate - Argentina
Agate - From Agate Creek
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Our Field Trip Adventure
By John Boom
We left Coffs Harbour some 3 weeks ago and decided to visit
some of the various well-known gemstone fields in Queensland.
I've written this for others that may have an interest in a similar
Marlborough - Chrysoprase
After leaving Coffs Harbour we headed up through Biggenden
and had a look around that area but found the gold mine areas
still active without access. So we then made our way up through
Rockhampton and went to Marlborough to look for some
Chrysoprase. To get to the area we went down the old
Marlborough Road and turned left at Currunburra Road. We
searched the creek areas and found the odd white piece but
nothing with any apple greens. We went further past
Marlborough Station and again found some white pieces but
nothing nice to speak of. But we had an enjoyable time in this
area. There are perhaps better areas but most likely on private
We’ve never been this far into Queensland before so this trip
was really just a bit of an adventure for us and at the same time
it gave us the opportunity to decide on places to go again in the
future. Basically eliminating areas of no interest.
Mt Hay – Thunder Eggs - Ryolite
After this we headed back into Rockhampton and made our way
to Mt Hay in the hope of finding some Thunder Eggs and
Ryolite. This was a disappointment as we would have stayed at
their caravan park for no doubt some days but when we got
there the fossicking area had been apparently closed for the
last five years due to public liability reasons we were told. And
now all that remains is basically a rock shop, caravan park and
an area where they just dump some material you pay $12.00
per person to look through. It’s just not the same as fossicking
for it yourself so we left that area a short time later and made
our way toward the Anakie Sapphire fields. It would be hoped
the owners will one-day turn this situation around.
Photos below at the Anakie Caravan Park
Anakie Sapphire Fields - Sapphires
We stayed at the Anakie caravan park on our first night and
did some digging at the Willows and Sapphire areas for a
couple of days. We stayed at other parks in the sapphire
areas as well. We found these areas to be of future interest
no doubt go back there and spend a week or more there.
These type of areas you need to spend substantial time
because it takes time to dig decent holes and get established
in the areas you want to dig in. The Willows and Sapphire
areas have some shallow areas where to dig and sieve.
One good large pick and long handle shovel.
One quarter and eighth inch sieve. I used 500 mm round ones
suspended from a tripod as you can see in the photos. You
will need water and a drum for the final sieving to see if you
have anything in your sieve. You could make your own sieves
as well. A Hessian bag on a table is good to tip the final sieve
lot onto to see if you’ve found anything.
All tools can be purchased at Sapphire if required. No power
tools are permitted on any of the fields unless you have a
lease and then only limited power tools are permitted.
Although we didn’t find any sapphires on this trip we feel these
areas are well worth spending a few weeks holiday on. You
need to put in the hard work and plenty of time.
The sapphires are located in the old wash, which is made up
of small to very large pebbles, sand, dirt and clay. It’s very,
very hard work digging. The depth varies from field areas from
near the surface to around 40 foot deep around the Rubyvale
fields. All the fields are located near each another so you can
try different areas if you’re interested. But even the surface
areas are still hard work though. You could reach most areas
by car but a 4x4 would be better for going down most tracks.
|Miniature ponies at Mount Surprise Caravan Park
After O’Briens Creek we made our way to Agate Creek in search
of Agates. You have to go over at least 120 kms of corrugated
dirt road from Georgetown to get there for a start. We stayed at
the Safari Camp at the end of the track to Agate Creek.
On the way to Agate Creek you’ll come to an intersection where
you can turn right to go to Cobbold Gorge around 7 klms down
that road. The road to Agate Creek is to the left as there is no
sign there to let you know that. Take enough food, water and fuel
for your period of stay. There are no shops in Agate Creek.
The closest town to Agate Creek is Forsayth over 70 klms away.
Then Georgetown after that. Fuel and supplies can be purchased
at both places at higher than city prices. Agate creek is a magic
and mystical place well worth spending a whole holiday period if
you like nature and getting back to the basics.
Wild brumbies roam everywhere, the odd wild pig runs here and
there. With an abundance of wildlife it’s a great place for a real
camping experience for the whole family. Again only basic
facilities with showers and toilets and no power. There's drinking
water from a tap at the toilet block.
We had seats around the campfire every night of our stay with
host Laurie Baron keeping every night interesting. It’s a
fascinating place if you like bush walking and Aboriginal cave
paintings not far from the camp in the hills. Cattle roam free in
these areas outside the camp as do most outback Queensland
areas so be watchful on all the roads when you travel.
There are areas like Crystal Hill where the agate actually lines the
tracks. There is plenty of specimen agate to be found there still
but for the good stuff you’ll need to dig with a pick and a shovel.
There are many areas to search and the agate is found in areas
specific in that the agate is found in the volcanic flow areas.
You’ll need to have a fossickers licence before you get there
which can be purchased from a mining registrar at Georgetown.
(Around $8.20 for a family for one month or dearer for a longer
period.) You can again only use hand tools.
I found that the biggest percentage of the agate you’ll find is
quartz filled and many with geode crystals. Agate can also be
found in the creeks around the general fossicking areas here and
there as well.
If you stay at the Agate Creek Safari Camp (I can highly
recommend it) you can actually walk up the hill in a few locations
and dig for agates surrounding the camp area. You can contact
the camp manager: Laurie Baron on: (07) 4062 5574 or try his
mobile on: 0409 463 192 to make an advance booking and just to
make sure the camp is open as this area can only be accessed in
the dry weather periods.
Usual periods are between April till September but ring before you
go just to make sure. Laurie has a heliport area and phone for
any absolute emergency situation. You can have a campfire for
your personal use there if you like. If you have children they can
easily find some nice colored agate chips and pieces everywhere
around the areas on the ground surface. They will love the area.
Tools needed: Large pick, long handle shovel and small hand
pick. A satellite phone is always good if you have one on a trip
such as this. Always carry water with you and matches in case
you get lost so you can light a signal fire in a safe manner.
A four-wheel drive vehicle is best in this area or if you can take a
four-wheel motorbike to get around the tracks would be just as
good. Make sure your vehicle is in top condition as this is an
Check under "Australian Pictorials" for more field trip
Agate Creek Photos Below.
Alpha - Petrified Wood
We went to a town called Alpha and stayed there the night at
the Caravan park because we heard there was some petrified
wood in the area. The park owners were fairly new and also
filled us in on where to find the wood.
Just before you come into Alpha you turn left into Tambo
Road just before the large bridge that enters the town. The
very first turn left again will take you to a roadside quarry area
1 km down that road on the right hand side. We found about a
bucket of petrified wood between us from small tumbling to
cutting size. You can also find some tumbling size pieces in
the creek under the bridge near the town as well. But the
quarry area is the main source area.
Clermont – Gold Detecting
After that area we spent a couple of days in the Clermont
area and did a little metal detecting. In the caravan park you’ll
also find the Clermont detector shop. These people are
friendly and give advice on the best places to detect in the
You can also purchase a Fossicking Kit from them, which
includes maps of the area etc. I think it was about $5.50 for
two days and more if you stay longer. This is different than
the fossickers license which is required throughout
Queensland. The fossickers license can also be purchased
from them if required. The Clermont detector shop sells new
and used detectors and also hires them out.
We didn’t stay long enough to give the areas any justice and
basically just had a look around for now and will no doubt go
back there for an extended longer stay. This caravan park
has all facilities. A four wheel drive vehicle is best in this area
or if you can take a four wheel motorbike to get around the
tracks would be just as good.
Then it was off to Mount Surprise to look for Topaz. We
stayed at the Mount Surprise Gem Caravan Park in the
centre of town for the first night we arrived. They have a
nice selection of gems on display as well as live birds and
those miniature ponies.
The next day we headed off to O’Briens Creek which is the
actual fossicking area for the Topaz. The caravan park
there doesn’t have power only showers and toilets. You
can get some drinking water from a tap adjoining the toilet
block. It’s all very basic but a most beautiful area. This is an
area well worth spending some weeks at for a holiday.
You have to travel approx. 35 kms down a corrugated dirt
road from Mount Surprise to get there. It’s around a 2 klm
drive from this park to most of the fossicking areas.
I suggest you bring enough food and water for the period
you wish to stay before getting there. We stayed here for a
few days and found some topaz as per the photo.
You can use the same tools as per sapphires but you’ll
only need a quarter inch sieve here. You can dry sieve but
for best results it pays to dip the final sieve after dry sieving
into water. It just shows the topaz up better. Digging here is
a little easier but it’s still hard work as you can see by the
hole we were in on the photos.
Take some bread with you and feed the parrots in the
caravan park and you’ll find them all over you, as they were
very tame. The park managers were very friendly and
helpful with advice on the best places to search. You can
have a campfire for your personal use there if you like. A
four wheel drive vehicle is best in this area or if you can
take a four wheel motorbike to get around the tracks would
be just as good.
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