Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs by Reginald J.Dunkley

Greetings from down under where conditions are improving slowly, day by day. We have had some good rain which is helping the bush to regenerate after the fires. We need more to break the drought completely and help the farmers. But we are getting there.

Interstate holidays are now being planned with most states opening their borders, except Queensland at this stage. The bucket list is growing and the hunt for gemstones in Australia continues.

Sapphires, Chrysoprase, Jade, Topaz, Emerald, Ruby, Garnet, and Zircon are all mined in Australia.

Ruby, Garnet, and Zircon are mainly all found in Hart’s Ranges in the Northern Territories, but it is also mined in Queensland, and Western Australia. Faceted Zircons can be mistaken for a diamond and quite often used as substitutes; this popular gemstone comes in many colours. Other gemstones such as Smoky Quartz, Rose Quartz, and Aquamarine are also found in this region.

A fossickers licence is compulsory at no cost, camping is allowed but has to be self-sufficient.

Australian Sapphire is a great favourite and widely sought after, it is found on the East Coast. The New England area of N.S.W. Glen Innes and Inverell, also central Queensland gem fields. The colours found are yellow, green, pink, pale, and deep blue.

hot air balloon

hot air balloon

Many gemstones are found each season, some extremely valuable. The Sapphire found in Glen Innes and Inverell is predominantly blue.  Sapphire is considered a serene stone and can bring peacefulness; it is also believed to help balance the body and ease stress tension.

Chrysoprase is a glorious apple-green to deep green gemstone, known for manifesting optimism, joy, and happiness. It is mainly mined in Yerilla Western Australia, north of Kalgoorlie, and also in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

In the arena of Crystal Healing it is thought to be one of the best antidepressants in the world.  I’m not surprised with its beautiful colour.

Jade has been appreciated by humans for thousands of years. The Chinese revere it above all other gemstones. The largest Australian Nephrite Jade deposit is found at Cowell, in South Australia. It was discovered in 1965 by a local farmer who found a 3-4 kg boulder of nephrite near an outcrop of white marble.

Australia is a major world producer of nephrite jade, mostly from the Cowell deposit. Tonnes of nephrite have been exported mainly to Asia, but also to Germany, Italy, U.S.A. Canada, and New Zealand.

As one of the oldest decorative stones, Jade is prized for its beauty worldwide.

Emeralds have a long and fascinating history and feature in myths and legends as long ago as four thousand years. This green precious gemstone has been mined in various locations in Australia and still is. The first emerald and green beryl was mined in Emmaville, in New South Wales.   Poona in Western Australia still mines Emerald, also Mt. Isa in Queensland, and small volumes of Aquamarine have also been found in Queensland and South Australia.

Fossicking for gemstones in Australia is a favourite pastime, and can well yield wonderful results. It is a good way to see all the various States of the country and enjoy the vast diversity of scenery.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well as people start to get out and about in couples and distanced.  For the first time in weeks I visited the beach just to see the high tides which have been awesome.  Surfers are still battling the waves and loving the rough weather.

My garden is full of multi coloured birds, as they await their morning feeds.  Bonnie Prince Charlie the Pomeranian is settling in very well and is a great favourite of friends and family.

Good wishes to all.

Cheers. Patricia