iN PHOTOS: Rock enthusiast rendezvous in North Okanagan this weekend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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iN PHOTOS: Rock enthusiast rendezvous in North Okanagan this weekend

Deborah Wilson showing her jade carving technique at the Armstrong fairgrounds on May 18,2024.

North Okanagan rock enthusiasts are gathering all weekend to check out B.C.’s most interesting gems and precious stones.

The BC Lapidary Society and the Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club have organized the 2024 Rockhounds Rendezvous at the Armstrong fairgrounds in the Horticulture Building.

Rockhounds are amateur geologists who search for and collect precious stones and minerals.

For those who have missed the action today the rendezvous has events tomorrow, May 19, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The hall is filled with vendors and artisans selling their stock and showing off precious stones and minerals.

Remy Kesslar was working at the Kelowna Rocks and Gems booth at the event. She said the rockhounding community is always looking for more members.

“These are the best events because all the people that are coming are in the rockhounding community, which is like our type of cult. So they like a lot of this stuff that's like the rough stuff or stuff that we cut versus some of the more polished things,” she said.

B.C. has 29 member groups dedicated to going out and finding cool rocks.

“Basically it's just a bunch of people that like rocks,” she said. “There's clubs in almost every city in B.C. Kelowna has a club. The Shuswap area has a club. All these places, there's clubs in Vancouver. They get together and we go on field trips going out looking for different rocks. Sometimes they have workshops. Our club has a workshop, so people can come in and learn how to cut rocks or polish them or make jewellery and all that type of stuff.”

Ocean Picture Stone found in Midway B.C. on sale at the Kelowna Rocks and Gems booth.
Ocean Picture Stone found in Midway B.C. on sale at the Kelowna Rocks and Gems booth.

Deborah Wilson is a stone carver who was showing off her jade sculpting at the hall today. Wilson graduated art school in 1973 and has been sharing her jade carving expertise in workshops since 1993.

Wilson brought her smaller scale carving set up to the hall in Armstrong.

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“I have this as a carving tool, or machine rather, that is just a drill press clipped on its side. And so it's got a half inch chuck here so I can put in all kinds of my bigger tools. For the smaller work, I have my Fordham here with a hand piece and these small diamond tools,” Wilson said.

A close-up of Wilson's jade carving.
A close-up of Wilson's jade carving.

She said jade carving can be relaxing, but working with bigger pieces takes a lot of effort.

“Yeah in this scale it’s pretty zen, but in my workshop I have a bigger machine where I’m standing up and working with bigger pieces and it’s loud and there’s water all over,” she said.

Click here for a list of rockhounding groups in BC. 

A piece of Dragon Scale Calcite.
A piece of Dragon Scale Calcite.

A selection of minerals found around Kamloops, Okanagan in a showcase at the event.
A selection of minerals found around Kamloops, Okanagan in a showcase at the event.

Some stones and minerals with various colour gradients at the event.
Some stones and minerals with various colour gradients at the event.

A mix of stones and minerals alongside some antiques at the event in Armstrong.
A mix of stones and minerals alongside some antiques at the event in Armstrong.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jesse Tomas or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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