Gemfest, Central Queensland’s annual 4-day Festival of Gems is a great exhibition that provides a one-of-a-kind jewelry and gemstone experience. Here you can find the finest offerings from the best-respected gemstone traders from all across the planet and there is lots of quality entertainment and the best food. At the Festival of Gems, you can discover some of the finest and unique Australian Sapphires around, and the festival takes place every August in Anakie, Queensland, at the town’s Allan King Memorial Park. Gemfest is one of the world’s most impressive, and Australia’s best-known showcase for gemstones from both the country itself and from internationally renown artists.
Every year, tens of thousands of visitors from all parts of the world gather in Anakie to enjoy and share the excitement of the Gemfields and to marvel at the numerous gems that are on display. Many Gemfest visitors are staying for the entire Australian winter season and a lot of them are loyal and regular visitors to Central Queensland. The Gemfest festival has enjoyed a high profile for many years and is recognized by experts as among Australia’s finest Gem Shows. The organization behind Gemfest – Festival of Gems has set up a nonprofit agency that’s dedicated to promoting Central Queensland’s Sapphire Fields and stimulating the tourist industry in the region.
Central Queensland’s Sapphire Gemfields cover some 900 square kilometers and the area is among the largest sapphire fields in the world. The region includes the towns of Sapphire, Rubyvale, Anakie, and Willows Gemfields. The area’s sapphire gem fields go back all the way to 1875 when a Railway surveyor found the first gems. Today, visitors from all corners of the world come here to look for the green, blue, yellow, or multi-colored and star-shaped sapphires.
The town of Anakie id located south of the Capricorn Highway. The town functions as the service center of the Sapphire Gemfields, and here you will also find the region’s police station and school. Every year, in August, Anakie turns in to a bustling town full of activity when tens of thousands get together here for the annual Gemfest, the Festival Of Gems, the best-known gem show in Australia. There are several places to stay and well worth paying a visit to is the historic Anakie Hotel that needed to be reconstructed after a dissatisfied guest blew away part of the building’s facade in 1971.
The town of Rubyvale is located some 8 kilometers from Sapphire. The town is offering a fascinating look into all aspects of life in the old days and colorful stories that paint a compelling view of the area’s interesting history. You can take a walk-in tour in the mines and learn all about underground sapphire mining. You’ll see the tiny tunnels that the pioneer miners dug out with pick and shovel as well as the larger tunnels dug by machines these days.
When you wish to dig up your own treasure stones, you can find many fossicking fields nearby. Usually, the daunting task of digging has already been done, so you have the chance to purchase a bucket of wash so you can begin to search for your gems straight away. Everywhere, you’ll find friendly staff to help you with guidance and advice on how to sieve the wash and sort for gems. In case you won’t find any gems, don’t worry; All across Rubyvale, you’ll find small shops and jeweler’s places that sell sapphires in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and for all budgets. The town is great for strolling around the jewelry and hem shops, and when you want, you can take a refreshing drink or eat some snack at one of Rubyvale’s cafes. The town is known for its characteristic local architecture that is showcasing impressive ironbark logs and so-called ‘billy boulders’.
Sapphire is a small town that’s located around 10 kilometers north of Australia’s Capricorn Highway. The town was a mining center since the late 1800s and here, many fortunes were made and lost and many found their treasures right here as many people got hooked on the casual charms and laidback lifestyle of the area. Keep in mind that if you want to experience what fossicking is all about on a public site, you need to have a permit that can be bought at a small fee from numerous license agents and small businesses all through the region. Sapphire boasts many interesting gem stores and also at local markets you can find the most wonderful examples of gemstones that our world has to offer.
In the Willows Gemfields, no corporate mining was allowed in the past and this makes the area a very popular fossicking spot. In this part of the gemfields, a few of the world’s best known, most famous, and largest sapphires were found. Very famous is the 332-carat rough yellow sapphire from the Willows, Gemfields, known by the name of (very aptly) the ‘Golden Willow’. You can enjoy fossicking here at the many fossicking parks that the area offers and also at the shallow Glenalva and Willows digging areas.