Before sapphires find their new home in your blue sapphire necklace or pink sapphire earrings, they lay buried in the earth waiting to be discovered. The journey from soil to stone setting begins with mining. Most sapphires, including Montana sapphires, are mined from alluvial deposits, also called placer deposits, that have eroded from the bedrock. Only a few deposits are actually mined out of bedrock; the Yogo Gulch deposit near Utica, Montana, is one of them.
Montana sapphires mined from Rock Creek are found in gravel deposits in the Sapphire Mountains, but only in specific areas. The pay layer-sapphire-bearing gravel-is below the topsoil and above the bedrock, all which vary in depth in each specific deposit. The topsoil is first removed and reserved while the pay layer is processed. After the pay layer is processed, both the pay layer and topsoil are returned to the site. After the sapphire gravel is washed or screened to remove clay and large rocks, the gem gravel is made available to you, the sapphire miner.
Come by the store and see for yourself. Pull up a stool and start panning or take a bag of gravel to go. The sapphires are dense and settle to the bottom of a screen jigged in water. Over-turn the screen carefully and quickly, leaving the sapphires exposed at the top and center of the gravel. Go for them with tweezers and happy mining! Always feel free to call us or email us with any questions!