RARE GEM: Hervey Bay Gem and Mineral Club member Terry Oldham shows some cut stones and Ray Wilsmore some cast rings, which will be on display and for sale at the club's annual show this weekend.
RARE GEM: Hervey Bay Gem and Mineral Club member Terry Oldham shows some cut stones and Ray Wilsmore some cast rings, which will be on display and for sale at the club's annual show this weekend. Alistair Brightman

Rare opal to steal the show at Bay event

A RARE opal, believed to be part of a dinosaur egg or bone, will add some sparkle to the annual Hervey Bay Gem Club's Gem and Jewellery Expo this weekend.

While the jury is still out as to which of the two the opal belongs to, the Hervey Bay Gem and Mineral Club member is excited to share the exquisite piece with the Fraser Coast community, but will remain anonymous for security reasons.

"We're not exactly sure, it's either a dinosaur egg or a dinosaur bone which has basically turned into a fossil and over probably a 100 million years has been opalised," he said.

"So it's been underground and what happen is the fossil becomes void and it fills with silica, which is basically very salty water.

"The silica becomes hydrated and turns into opal ... so the entire stone is actually opal.

"It's not unusual to find fossilised opal but to find a piece of dinosaur egg or bone is rare."

This rare opal will be a special feature of the Gem and Jewellery Expo.
This rare opal will be a special feature of the Gem and Jewellery Expo. CONTRIBUTED

He said the exquisite piece was mainly made up of striking purple and greens and measures at about 10cm wide and 8cm long.

"If you look on the inside of the opal it has a purple sparkle and on the outside it has a green flash all the way through it."

Gem Club president Terry Oldham said it was the first time in the event's 50-year history that a piece of this kind had been displayed.

"This will be unique to the Hervey Bay Gem and Jewellery Expo," Mr Oldham said.

"We're not too sure whether it's a dinosaur egg or bone but that's up to the individual, when they look at it, to say yes it looks like the hip bone or yes it looks like a egg."

Mr Oldham said a 1000-strong crowd was expected to attend the event, with traders from the Fraser Coast and around Queensland attending on both days.

There will be an array of quality jewellery, gemstones, fossils, crystals and lapidary supplies.

He said demonstrations would include faceting and the wonderful world of micro mounts - crystals so small that they have to be viewed through a microscope.

"The micro mounts viewing is very popular and there is also some musical rocks - you tap them and they send out different sounds.

"It's quite unique."

View Hervey Bay's only named rock, Uranganite, which was discovered during the construction of the Hervey Bay Airport.

Mr Oldham said guests would have the opportunity to chat to the local resident who fossicked for it.

"The hobby is all about discovering all the minerals from around the world or Australian rock formation," he said.

"We have a unique rock to Hervey Bay called Uranganite.

"It was probably 600,000 years old when it was found and it was unique because of all the sand from Fraser Island permeated together and has formed the colours of this rock."

The Kids' Corner also always proves popular, with children under 12 receiving a goodie bag on entry and the chance to fossick for some stones for a gold coin.

"The children can fossick for the gem stones and they are already properly faceted and they get to keep the stones they find," Mr Oldham said.

"It costs them a dollar to play in the sand and I know that the stones they find are valued at about $15 to $20 each so they are definitely getting value for money."

The expo will be held at the Star of the Sea Catholic School, Hughes Rd, Wondunna on Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14, from 9am. Enjoy the fun of the auction being held at 1.30pm on Saturday, with bargains galore - most items have no reserve.

Food and drinks will be available from the canteen.