For one of our adventures we went and did some mining. This was the first time I have ever been mining, but my better half did some when she was younger and thought I would like it, and she was correct.
I am not a jewelry type of guy, some guys like rings and bling, and I would much rather have something that does a function rather than a shiny object. With that said, picking out a ring set for our wedding, we wanted to get something special for us both, and what could be more special that mining the gems used for our own rings. Blue has always been my favor color, so I have gravitated to sapphires for any “my favorite gem” question.
She did some “digging” online and found there is a place here in Montana called Gem Mountain that allows people to mine for sapphires. She setup a weekend and told me about it and I thought it would be a fantastic adventure. We went up on a Thursday night, stayed at a local hotel, and then went mining the next day. We got there fairly early, we wanted to get the most out of the day since it was going to be a gorgeous day. Apparently, you must have a reservation months ahead of time because they are booked out and you can’t just show up and get a place The place where you get the dirt is outside, and there is a slew that you wash off the loose dirt and dust, and as our tutorial lady told us, “look for the glass”, which mean the gems would shine brighter than rocks, and look like glass when they were wet.
We spent hours washing, sorting, picking, and saving sapphires. We got a nice collection of gems and cool looking rocks by the end of the day, and a take-home reminder that it was a beautiful sunny day with a nice sun burn. We brought sunscreen and generally are great about making sure we use it, but once we arrived, both of us were too excited and totally forgot it in the car.
We ended with some 60 carats of Sapphires of various colors and the largest one we found was a 2 carat. We have the option to send them away for heat-treatment, which brings out the colors of each gem and then have them cut. That processes takes close to a year, so I have weighted and cataloged each once, and it will be great to see what they look like once we get them back. We have some that were too small to be used, but I’m thinking of using them as gifts or treasure for Geocaching.