Rock and Gem Show 2018

For a slightly different take on the Rock and Gem show I asked the vendors for a little personal introduction and the following is in their own words. The interviews are in no particular order.  Some interviews were necessarily shorter than others due to the press of customers (which is a GOOD thing); so if your business has a brief or absent write-up, feel free to send me a paragraph and I will add it (

Seen around the show: click images for slideshow

New Stone Age Cabochons 

Rose: “We specialize in designer cabochons for jewellers and designers.  The business started because my dad is a lapidary worker in Mexico and so he hand-cuts the majority of our cabochons.  We also work with other lapidary artists doing direct trade. We have lots of natural stones like amber, turquoise, drusy and a specialty stone called leopard opal which is a collector’s item – a very rare item that only comes from one mine in the world in Hildago, Mexico.”

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New Stone Age Cabochons | Graeme Bousada, Owner / Operator | | | Tel: 1-250-884-8977


Patrick Lydon: “VIPMA is the Vancouver Island Placer Miners Association. We have 3 claims on the Leach river which is the best river for gold on Vancouver Island.  Gold was discovered in the Leach river in 1864 and it led to a gold rush called the Leachtown gold rush. Leachtown is about 7 miles up the Sooke river.  If you go up to Leachtown you can see the outlines of the cabins on the ground, covered with moss. We have over 100 members, and many of our members have gold that they found in the Leach river.

VIPMA is devoted to hand panning, and is not involved in mechanical mining.  More information is available from the VIPMA website.

VIPMA and VLMS collaborated on the Nellie Cashman project.  Nellie Cashman is a lady who is buried in Ross Bay cemetery and became known as the Miner’s Angel.  She was a fantastic gold miner in her day. She saved a whole lot of miners up in Dease lake in northern BC in 1875.  The Lieutenant Governor unveiled a new headstone on her grave.”

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Jakob Salix Jewelry

Jakob Salix: “It’s all different sizes of wire and you fold them together to create different textures.  More than wire-wrapping, it’s wire sculpting. I’ve been doing this for about 7 years. I use both cabochons and crystals. I get some of my stones from other vendors at shows like this, and some of them online.”

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Jakob Salix Jewelry |

The Aesthetics Underground

Robert G Belcher: “Fine Mineral Specimens, Gems and Lapidary Art from around the world”

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The Aesthetics Underground | | Tel: 1-403-762-5737 | Box 2143, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L 189

Stone Haven Gems

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Stone Haven Gems | |

GemFinders International

Debbie Frank“When I was born my father had a jewellery store so I was honoured to work with my parents. My brother is a gemologist in Rio de Janeiro, I’m a gemologist, I have a brother who’s a watchmaker.  I’m delighted that my niece, Amber, is working with me today, and it happens that today her 11-year old is demonstrating over there on the cabochon grinding machine! So we have 3 generations working for Gemfinders.

A gemologist can tell you if a ruby is a ruby, if a diamond is a diamond. I’ve been doing this show for about 15 years.  I don’t cut and set stones myself. I’m a terrific buyer, I have a feel for quality. I can go into a room and say “There’s the best quality piece”.  I love doing this because it makes people happy.”

Gemfinders International | | | Tel: 1-250-744-2153

Walkabout Gems

Herb Hellmoldt: “I started collecting opal with my parents back in the mid ‘70s in Spencer, Idaho.  There’s 3 primary locations for opal in Idaho, Spencer, the Oahu mountains where you get a blue based opal and south of Homedale Idaho is what’s called Whangdoodle and there you get a jelly opal in a jellybean shape.  

The opals I have here today are Australian and a few from Honduras.  I also have sandstone opal from Andamuka, Australia. Some people call it a cement opal.”

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Ammolite World

David Homayon: “I was born in Afghanistan. I got into this business because my father was also a rock and gemstone dealer. Afghanistan has a lot of gems and minerals, like lapis. I’ve been coming to this show for maybe 18 years. My speciality is ammolite.”

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Ammolite World | | | Tel 1-416-996-8568 | 212 19th Ave, Richmond Hill, ON, L4E 3P6, Canada

Sahara Minerals

KarinMy interest is especially in healing with crystals and stones.  I’ve been a crystal healer for more than 30 years, I teach classes too. Crystal healing is an ancient healing technique.  Every stone has certain frequencies that affects your body and can heal in certain cases. I have many stories from people who buy something and come back and tell me what it did to them. We’ve had this company for 20 years. We travel to the big shows to buy rocks like Tucson and Quartzite and buy our yearly supply.  This is our second show this year, the first was Port Alberni. So this stock is all new.

C & D Gemcraft

David Barclay: “My father took me to a beach when I was about 7 and pointed out an agate and he said, “You should pick that up.  And there’s another one over by that log.” That materialized into a career in geology and gemology. I’m a certified gemologist so I do identifications and appraisals for people.

I switched from geology to the forest industry in ‘72 because the change in government destroyed the mining and exploration world in British Columbia. But I’ve always maintained an active interest in geology, rock and minerals. I was at the first ever BC gem show 60 years ago in Vancouver.  I had a showcase in that show and I was 18 years old.

Passion keeps me going to the shows. I’ve been coming to this show for around 20 years. I like gemstones particularly so I’ve built a huge collection of gemstones.  I have a relationship with a cutting shop in Sri Lanka, so I buy uncut materials and ship them over there and get them cut. Helping people find the right stone and fixing broken pieces, replacing lost stones, I do a lot of that sort of thing.  I live in Winfield just outside of Kelowna but I have long roots in Victoria back to 1854 when my mother’s family came here, we have 7th generation family here.”

C & D Gemcraft | | Tel:1-250-766-4353, cell:1-125-215-9121 | Box 42015, RPO. N., Winfield, BC, V4V 1Z8

 Vancouver Island Rocks

Dave Mullet: “…that’s called tabular quartz.  It has six sides to it, but two are much longer and flatter than the others so it looks really thin and flat. These samples are from my claim near Zeballos up by Port Hardy.I went to a party once as designated driver and in the middle of the table was this quartz and black specimen.  I’d never seen anything like it. I asked around and found the guy who found the specimen. I went up to meet him at the site the next weekend and there were 30+ people up there looking because they’d heard about the find. After they’d all left I staked the claim. And that was in ‘95. I have a silent partner who went up there and started digging again and he hit the jackpot.”

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Vancouver Island Rocks | | Tel: 1-250-902-7401

Mike Hill Designs

Mike Hill: “I grew up beside the river in the interior, Spencer’s Bridge north of Lytton, and I’ve liked rocks for my whole life.  I cut and polish my own stones, I custom make my own jewellery. I’m past president and past vice president of the VLMA; I’ve been in the club for over 10 years.  I’m going to be doing a lot of travelling in the near future. I’m going to India, south east Asia, Switzerland and south America. It’s all rock-related, I’m looking to find people who cut and polish stones so I can send them stones from here, they’ll cut them and send them back.  I’m also hoping to go into the mines and learn how people buy and sell gemstones all over the world. I’ll be posting to my instagram mikehilldesigns during my travels.”

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Mike Hill Designs | on facebook

A Plus Beads

Luke: “I got into the beads business because I like natural stones.  I joined a lapidary club and people started asking me about beads.  Eventually they suggested I should start a beads business, and I did.  I’ve had a store for 5 years, but our beads business started about 10 years ago. I specialise in beads from precious and semi-precious natural stones and pearls. Sometimes they’re treated with heat or pressure, but they’re based on natural stones. The beauty of the natural is that they’re all unique. I get my beads from all over, China, east India, South Africa and Brazil.  Sometimes I go on buying trips, sometimes I have friends in these countries who send me supplies.”

A Plus Beads | | Tel: 1-250-294-0587 | 2666 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC

Mountain Gems

Bruce MacLellan: “What got me started was a fascination with the world around me.  I remember at a very young age taking my father’s hammer and cold chisel into the woods, there was a big boulder of granite and I was sure that if I just hit it right it would split apart and all these jewels would come raining out.  They didn’t. But I just kept looking down at rocks, and finally I joined the Hastings rock club in Vancouver and went from there. I’ve been doing this for 45 years. I go to Arizona and Denver for the trade fairs. I’ve been to Alice Springs in Australia for the Gemboree they had there and noodled around there for zircons.  Then I went up to Queensland looking for saphires in the biggest drought they’d ever had so the ground was hard as a rock. I gave that up and bought some. Even on my holidays, rocks are my life.”

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Mountain Gems | | | Tel: 1-604-298-5883 | 4611 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC, V5C 2K6

Fossil Grotto

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Robert Belz | Tel: 250.715.0734

Milliza’s Cave

Laura: “I have a selection of crystals, minerals and fossils and I also do crystal readings.”

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Bamboo Beads and Bling

… is in hot Chinatown is where gems and inspiration meet – come on down!

Bamboo Beads and Bling | | | Tel: 1-250-595-2061 | 544 Fisgard St., Victoria, BC, V8W 1R4

Shelley Penner

Shelley Penner | web Gallery | | 4168 Bute St., Port Alberni, BC, V9Y 3N5

Forest Crystals

Forest Crystals | | 

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Dragonfly Design

Jewellery, crystals and bead sales

Silvia Findings

Silvia Findings | | | Tel: 1-604-998-7989 | 228-13986 Cambie Rd, Richmond, BC, V6V 2K3

RainCoast Jewelry Design

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on facebook | Tel: 1-250-974-7272


Basic Lapidary Course – January 2018

The basic lapidary course provides the basics of skill sets, safety and shop usage for lapidary work and is the pre-requisite for all other lapidary courses. Participants will be given knowledge of equipment types, usage, safety requirements, rock selection and preparation, and lapidary skills required to complete cabochons. This is primarily a hands on course and you must have reasonable hand strength and coordination. You will complete a basic oval shaped cabochon, a free form cabochon, and a more complex cabochon such as a heart. Children above the age of 8 are permitted as long as a parent is taking the course with them.

These are some snapshots from the January basic lapidary course.

Click on the photos to see bigger images as a slideshow.


Seen in the workshop – February 2018

In the February 10th workshop, David Hosking was awarded his life member name badge (gold instead of green) for 10 years’ membership in the club. David is a stalwart of the workshop and is always generous with his experience and encouragement. He’s currently working on the mosaic cab in the pictures below.

Vanessa is collecting stones that fluoresce under black light – and she conveniently has a flashlight for demonstration.

Click on the photos to see bigger images as a slideshow.