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Gold Fever Rock Shop

Pick of the Week

Small sapphire tubs now available.

Monster Mine - 3 1/2 gallons of bulk sapphire gravel to mine from your own home.

Small Tub

Go Mining!

Purchase sapphire gravel to 'mine' sapphires from the comfort of your own home. Makes a great gift idea!


Does EVERYONE find sapphires?...

Dear Russ and Deb Thompson,
"Hello, this is Deana. My husband Clay, my girls and my obnoxious dog as well as myself were there this past Monday and Tuesday. I just thought I'd drop you a brief line to let you know that we found 20 sapphires totaling 38 carats, many of them 2 carats and over. We had a great time! I really enjoyed myself. Thanks you."  Deana

Q.Can you recommend a place to stay?

A. You can contact the state commerce department 1-800-visitmt or go to their link on our site at www.sapphiremine.com and request an accomodations guide and travel brochures.  Helena, the state capitol, is a ten mile drive.  Also check Helena Chamber of Commerce (1-406-442-4120). You have choices of motels, bed and breakfast, forest service cabins (US government in the phone book-1-406-449-5490) or campgrounds within 3 miles of the sapphire mine (state-Devil's Elbow, Clark's Bay; federal-Vigilante Campground, private-Lincoln Road RV, Helena Campground or Kim's Marina).

Q. I read that the mine opens on April 1st, what's the best time of the year to go?

A.  The Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine is open year around but the digging is no fun if the ground is still frozen.  April can be iffy - so call for weather updates.  You can see local temperature and forecasts on the local newspaper: www.helenair.com. Heaven in Montana starts after the 4th of July and continues through September. View photos of the mine (winter months vs. summer) under "Newsletters" or order sapphire gravel to mine at home at www.sapphiremine.com

Faceting is the process of taking a raw stone, such as sapphire, and turning it into what you and I think of when we think of gems.



sapphire gems in the raw as you might find them in your sapphire gravels sapphire gems that have been faceted and polished
Here is a sample of what large sapphire stones look like in the raw. Here is a sample of what sapphires look like once they have been cleaned, polished, and faceted.

There has been some difficulty discerning quartz from sapphires - which is normal.  But we use the scale,
hardness test, or bounce test to distinguish the subtle differences.  The facetor does not grade rocks like
Deb can.  Deb can identify the different minerals and as a cutter herself, can tell which gems have a chance
at turning out good.  Some fractures can be ground away and a good stone still salvaged.  Others are poor to
begin with and not worth the time or effort.

A light table is helpful in sorting your sapphire gravel.  Quartz and agate are very common.  Sapphires can
be sparse and easily overlooked.  At times the sapphires can be coated with calcium carbonate or iron that
makes them difficult to see.  If you think there are no sapphires left, be sure and look again.  Broad sunlight
and water are still the best way to sort through the sapphire gravel.  And, this is about the only way to spot
gold nuggets.

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