The Bendigo Gem Club has been around for more than 50 years but while its members are as passionate as ever, their numbers are starting to dwindle.
"A few years ago we realised we were really low on volunteers and we could barely pull a committee together," member Andie Downing said.
"We talked about folding at one point but we thought no, that's too tragic. So we did a recruitment drive and we're trying to raise our membership as much as we can."
The club brings together all who are interested gemstones and minerals, and teaches them how to fossick, polish rocks, and make silver jewellery.
"We have a lot of members who are ageing and can't do work around the club like what they used to," Ms Downing said. "So we're trying to attract a younger audience as well."
One way the group has been sourcing new members is through its annual Bendigo Gem Club Expo. The event also serves as the sole fundraiser for the group.
"All of the proceeds raised go back into the club," Ms Downing said. "It helps us maintain the premises that we actually own, as well as upkeep maintenance for all of the equipment - it's not cheap equipment.
"We're also subsidising the memberships. If we had to get the members supporting the premises and maintenance and the rates and all that stuff, then we would have to charge more for memberships.
"We're trying to make it accessible for a broader audience."
Members of the club also showcase their work at the expo as well as demonstrate the different activities and skills on offer at the club - including how to polish rocks, facet gemstones and make silver jewellery.
One of the experts in the group is 84-year-old John Carey who has been a member since 1980. He has a strong passion for minerals and is the resident silversmith instructor.
"I've got the knowledge," Mr Carey said. "When I go, that's lost isn't it? So I do fossicking a lot and show other people."
Mr Carey said he has a collection of approximately 1200 different rocks and minerals, about half of which he collected himself. He said he wanted to share his experience with other younger people in the region.
"It's a great hobby and it's something you can do all of your life," Mr Carey said. "I've just started teaching a young girl out there who would be about 23 and she will be a good member. She will continue on.
"Someone has to take over from me eventually!"
Ms Downing has encouraged people to come along to the Bendigo Gem Club expo on September 14 and 15 at the Bendigo Baptist Church Hall in Junortoun.
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