to promote knowledge and expertise in areas such as rock and mineral identification, gemstone faceting, silversmithing, stone cutting and polishing, creative design, base and precious metal workings, enamelling and carving.
As a Member, you will have access to the necessary equipment and you will be taught how to use it. With the assistance of our volunteer teachers you will receive instruction that will provide you with the skill to transform that semi-precious stone into something spectacular. Although we don't as yet have specific programs for our Junior Members, children aged 10 years and over are always welcome to join and to attend workshops with a parent or adult guardian.
Our Members come from different backgrounds and they bring all their varied experiences to the Club along with their passion for rocks, minerals, gemstones and fossils. We all enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty of cabochon making, faceting and jewellery design in all its many and varied forms.
Some of our Members are passionate rockhounds, whilst some are passionate fossilheads; some just adore gemstones with such a passion that they can’t get enough, whilst others love it all with equal passion. (You might have noticed that the word ‘passion’ has made an appearance quite often).
Some of our Members even head off to remote areas to do their own fossicking. We love to share stories about great rock finds, whether as a result of going bush or going shopping.
We invite you to explore all the possibilities and opportunities that our Club has to offer.
So, whatever your passion, join our club and indulge that passion with gusto!!
Membership and/or general enquiries are always welcome.
How to Join
- Visit the clubrooms during open times.
- Look around the workshops and meet some of the Members in action and learn what our Club and lapidary is all about.
- If you like what you see, fill out a membership application form and return the completed form to the clubroom along with your one-off joining fee and annual subscription payments.
- Once you are approved by the Committee as a new Member you will then be taught how to cut your first cabochon.
- Annual subscriptions are due on 1st November annually.
- Great value for money
- Meet new people who want to learn and share their skills
- Free instruction in lapidary skills
- Access to fully equipped workshops to support your hobby
- Access to affordable classes for silversmithing, stone carving, faceting, chain maille, wire wrapping - just to mention a few
- Monthly Mordi-Agate newsletter
- Friendly and safe environment to work at your own pace under the supervision of trained Duty Officers
- Volunteering opportunities within the Club and the Annual GEMFAIR
- Opportunity to attend AGM's and general meetings.
We have 3 workshop areas (rock, silversmithing and faceting), all of which are accessible to Members who have undertaken the required familiarisation and training. At the end of each workshop session, all Members are required to help tidy up their workshop area in preparation for the next workshop gathering.
Rock Room Workshop:
This will be your initial training ground. Our Rock Room is equipped with saws, grinders
and polishers and all the equipment required to transform your bit of rough stone and turn
it into something spectacular. Our volunteer teachers provide supervised training and
instruction as well as workshop safety familiarisation.
Once you have completed an oval and a round cabochon under supervision, you will then be free to let your artistic juices flow in the Rock Room and create different shapes and designs with your own stones.
Silversmith Room Workshop:
Because of workshop safety issues and the fact that some of our equipment is rather expensive, all Members must have undergone our in-house Novice Silversmith Class before accessing our Silversmith Room. If you have outside silversmithing experience or qualifications, you can speak to a Member of the MLC Committee about this and your enquiry will be given due consideration.
Faceting Room Workshop:
The club has a sectioned off workshop area at the back of the Silversmith Room where our faceting equipment is kept.
There is a nominal cost involved for materials used. Information relating to each class is provided in the course details provided at the Club. All classes attract the standard workshop fee. All training is provided without charge.
A Novice Silversmithing Class is run a few times a year. We also have faceting, chain maille, wire wrapping, carving and the occasional enamelling classes as well. Other specialised classes may also be run during the year depending on the availability of trained volunteers.
If you are interested in progressing on to enrol in any of these classes after your Rock Room initiation, you will need to register your interest in the Class Register Folder and familiarise yourself with the required criteria and pre-requisites for each class. You will be contacted close to the commencement time of the class. There may be a waiting list for some classes, depending on the popularity.
Faceting is a mechanical process of cutting surfaces on a piece of crystal OR gemstone. Sounds complicated? Well, put in simple terms: gemstone faceting is the art of cutting gemstones. It is as simple as that. Standard cut faceting looks more complicated than it actually is. Learning how to make beautiful faceted gemstones is within the reach of everybody. All you need is a desire to learn and be willing to be guided and instructed by your teacher.
An example of a facetted gemstone (Amethyst).
Novice Silversmithing class:
Pre-requisite for this Class: Before you can enroll for this class you must have completed your cabochon training by satisfactorily completing 2 cabochons under supervision in the Rock Room (one round and one oval). In addition, you will need to complete 3 cabochons of specific shape and size which will be needed for the silversmithing course. This is because you will be making a ring and two pendants. Your choice of stones for these 3 cabochons needs to be given some consideration. The hardness of your stones must be at least a 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale (MOHS) (named after the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs). You can ask the Duty Officer about the MOHS if you are not familiar with it. Have a chat with one of our Duty Officers so that they can instruct you on the shape and size of the 3 cabochons that are required. Examples of the 3 pieces of jewellery that you will be making are on display in the glass cabinet at the club.
Once you have completed the novice silversmithing class, you are then free to use the equipment in the Silversmith Room (but remember to always ask for directions and instructions when using equipment for the first time of if you are unsure about anything. Help is always at hand - all you need to do is ask).
Use your acquired skills to turn that Rock Room cabochon into something like this ...
... or your facetted gemstone into something like this ...
Chain Maille classes
The word maille derives from the French word maille which means ‘mesh’ and which word in turn comes from the Latin term macula which means ‘mesh of a net’.
We know that chain maille was originally used to make armour breastplates. The oldest piece of maille armour was discovered in the graves of Celtic warriors which have been accurately dated as being more than 2,700 years old.
Chain maille armour was the breastplate of choice in battle because the linked rings created an almost impenetrable barrier which deflected the thrust of sharp weapons.
But in recent times, the art of chain maille has been turned into a fascinating technique for jewellery-making.
Here at the club we run chain maille classes a few times a year.
From protective armour ....
Wire wrapping classes
In simple terms, wire wrapping is the art of taking wire and artistically wrapping it securely around a
gemstone to create a piece of jewellery.
Lapis Lazuli gemstone wrapped in copper wire.
OUR MEMBERS ARE OUR LIFEBLOOD:
Like most volunteer-run clubs we rely on the willingness of our Members to jump in and help out when needed. Examples of when the Club is grateful for any assistance are:
A few times a year the Club organises a Working Bee for a day, usually a Sunday and usually between 10am and 4pm. These Working Bees are necessary to ensure that maintenance is carried out on the building and machinery. Members are encouraged to attend and help with cleaning and other tasks that are not part of the routine housework that is carried out on a regular basis. Lunch is provided and it is a good opportunity to catch up with other Members and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
The Club holds a GEMFAIR offsite every year. The exact dates will be confirmed each year but the GEMFAIR is usually sometime in October. The setting up of the stalls etc is carried out on a Friday and the GEMFAIR is open to the public over the weekend. This is a great opportunity for the Club to promote itself and to raise some additional revenue to help with building maintenance and equipment repair and replacement. Members also take advantage of this period to showcase and sell handmade items. It is also a good opportunity for family and friends to come along and see exactly what it is that is done at your Club. It is hoped that all Members will assist in one way or another in this annual event.
Bunnings Sausage Sizzle
For the last few years the Club has been fortunate enough to be offered a stall at the Bunnings Store in Nepean Highway, Mentone. Just like our GEMFAIR, it is a much welcomed source of revenue raising for the Club. It is hoped that Members will be willing to volunteer a few hours of their time to come along and help get things ‘sizzling’.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT OUR MEMBERS HAVE CREATED