Dennis Doherty holding his prize winning Gympieite heart.
Dennis Doherty holding his prize winning Gympieite heart. Renee Pilcher

Gympieite heart steals Tassie show

DENNIS Doherty’s heart of stone is so beautiful it dazzled judges at this year’s National Gem and Mineral Show in Devonport, Tasmania.

The exquisite creation was made from a piece of Gympieite, taking out the novice section at the Gemboree in the double fancy cabochon category.

It’s only the second time Dennis has entered his work in a competition, and the hobbyist is quietly pleased with the win. Judges awarded his entry 97.75 out of a possible 100 points, “and no-one ever gets 100 points”, his friend and fellow Gympie Gem Club member Kaye Millers said.

Dennis used Gympieite, a type of blue and green chert found only in the Gympie district, because he enjoys promoting the locally sourced rock.

Judges look for visual appeal, few if any scratches, and a nice polish.

The detail of Dennis’ heart includes a curved edge which set it apart from other heart shapes, Kaye said.

Dennis also works with sterling silver, beading and uses wire-wrapping techniques.

Part of the challenge of stone polishing is finding the right piece of stone that you want to use, he says.

“You won’t know what’s in a rock until you cut it, and you might cut a lot of rocks but only get one out of it,” he says.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find a piece of stone that’s good enough.”

The process then involves marking the stone, grinding, sanding and polishing the specimen.

This may take weeks off and on and the thrill with Gympieite is seeing the colours – ranging from olive green through to pale blue – emerge.

You can see Dennis’ prize winning Gympieite heart at the Gympie Garden Expo this weekend at the showgrounds.

While it won’t be for sale, he will have other examples of his work people will be able to buy.

Gympie Times


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