All that glitters isn't always gold ... sometimes it's goldstone, or sunstone, or mica.
The event featuring a range of sparkling semi-precious gems and minerals as well as ancient fossils was to go under the hammer at the Macksville Showground on Saturday - but the Big Wet has put the kibosh on that.
The Macleay Gem and Mineral Club has unearthed a range of 150 exquisite specimens for their popular annual auction.
Each year the 35-or-so members hit the road on intrepid gem-finding adventures. Many members have been devotedly fossicking since they were children.
"There's an attraction to the 'off-the-beaten-track' places it takes you to," club president Chris Mattick said.
"Every day you head out into the bush it's an adventure.
"And it's as much about the camping and camaraderie as it is about the hunt.
"It's definitely not a money-making venture; if you find something it's a bonus."
But it's not very often that that doesn't happen.
The club's adventuring has taken them to Rainbow Beach on the hunt for agates, to Torrington in search of smoky quartz, topaz and citrine, and to Nundle to spy fossils, rhodonite, gold and sapphires.
Last year a group of members headed to Alice Springs looking for zircon.
"You wouldn't believe some of the places we were taken to: an old mica mine where there was nothing but silver sparkles for a hectare or more," Chris said.
"The next ridge over we found beautiful quartz crystals. We followed a steep, narrow track for another 10km and we dug up sunstone, its flecks of brilliant colours glittering in the sun."
The club runs a variety of courses - like faceting, wire wrapping and silversmithing - when there's interest. They hold monthly meetings and weekly cutting and polishing workshops every Wednesday morning at their permanent workshed at the showground.
"Anyone is welcome to come along and learn - even those with no experience," Chris said.
The postponed date for the event is yet to be determined.
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