The Sudbury Gem and Mineral Show — first held on the grounds of the Big Nickel 32 years ago — had rather humble beginnings.
“The first year, it was in a big tent,” said local geologist Ed Debicki, who has been organizing the event for many years along with wife Ruth Debicki. “There was a big windstorm that came along and actually blew the tent down.”
These days, the event, being held this year July 18-20, has a much sturdier venue — the Carmichael Arena.
The gem and mineral show, put on by the Sudbury Rock and Lapidary Society, is known for bringing in dealers selling minerals, crystals, fossils, gemstones, meteorites and more.
“There's a lot of handmade jewellery made out of natural materials,” Debicki said. “A lot of women that come to the show discover that they can purchase a lot of these items at a very inexpensive price. Many of them never end up bringing enough money, and they start looking for a cash machine as quickly as they can.”
The show also features children's activities, rock swapping, hourly door prizes, displays, a field trip where people can collect mineral samples and a fundraising barbecue put on by a local Scout troop.
This year, a certified gemmologist from the Canadian Gemmological Association will be on hand to identify people's gemstones. The activity may have its drawbacks, however.
“About 10 years ago, we did have a certified gemmologist doing gemstone identification,” Debicki said.
“A lady had come out and she had just gotten engaged, and she was very proud of her diamond ring. Unfortunately, the gemmologist had to tell her that it was a cubic zirconia. All you could hear, resonating through the arena, was 'You bastard!'”
The show runs from 5-9 p.m. July 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 19 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 20.
Admission costs $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $1 for children 6-12. Children five and under get in for free. For more information, visit www.ccfms.ca/clubs/Sudbury/show.htm.